By Gia Bharadwaj
Though Winsor is a diverse community, our student body tends to hold remarkably similar ideals and beliefs. A survey conducted by The Banner last year revealed that nearly 70% of students identify as Democrats. Though it can be convenient to share the same opinions as our peers, it is also important to seek other perspectives. Hoping to hear some new voices, Winsor’s Political Action Club (WPAC) reached out to a club at an all-girls school in Kansas City, Missouri, for an open discussion about their pro-life stance. Those who attended the meeting gained insight into other viewpoints on abortion and birth control. Oli Hochberg ’23 and Catherine Macenka ’23 offered a snapshot of the meeting.
Hochberg, a head of WPAC, learned that members of the club are pro-life in every sense; rather than only focusing on abortion, they also oppose the death penalty and support gun control. They said they derived many of their beliefs, such as an opposition to birth control, from Christian values. Last year, they participated in the annual March for Life, which they hope to do again. “A lot of it’s from a religious point of view…so that’s important to understand,” Hochberg said.
Hochberg believes that the meeting was mutually beneficial and remained respectful, though she noticed that the club seemed polarized and extreme in their beliefs. However, she also thinks that WPAC can be polarized as well and is “trying to move away from that.” Overall, Hochberg feels the meeting was “valuable,” as it promoted a better understanding of the controversy of reproductive rights. After the club met with Dr. Alice Mark, the associate medical director of the National Abortion Federation, in early November, she found it useful to listen to another side of this debate and hopes to plan similar discussions in the future.
Like Hochberg, Macenka felt that the pro-life club’s beliefs often contradicted themselves. Hochberg remarked that the students relied on religious reasoning to support their beliefs, though they claimed to have scientific evidence as well. Meanwhile, Macenka asked if they wanted “systematic changes put in place before a pro-life law would be implemented…but they didn’t seem to be passionate about having other legislation…put in place.” These contradictions made it difficult for Macenka to process the logic behind their beliefs.
Macenka also reflected, “I think the meeting was helpful because I heard another side, while confirming my own beliefs,” she said. The other club’s perspective affirmed her own convictions, as she consistently disagreed with their opinions. However, she concluded that the meeting “sparked a great conversation with my peers afterwards and even into our health class” and “all talks on ‘controversial’ topics should be heard at Winsor no matter our own opinions or biases.”
Though this meeting did not change any minds, it ultimately fostered respectful conversation and helped students deepen their understanding of another outlook.