To the Editors of the Daily Skiff:
I was initially surprised to see a Perspectives spread in Friday’s Daily Skiff on such a controversial, but very important, issue such as crisis pregnancy centers. However, I was extremely disappointed with what I read for two reasons.
I would like to know why Skiff editors decided to give this particular opinion piece to two male writers rather than female writers. I am not trying to argue that males should not have an opinion on the subject of abortion or pregnancy clinics, because they should. But when publishing a perspectives piece on an issue that is largely female oriented and one that deals in the rights and emotions of pregnant women, what then is gained by running the opinions of two men who will never know how it truly feels to be frightened by the prospect of pregnancy and the extreme distress that pregnancy centers can cause by pushing an agenda on an already vulnerable woman? The Daily Skiff could have chosen to give this story to at least one female writer and given the perspectives a little more credibility.
I was also extremely offended by Mr. Smith’s assumption that he somehow not only knows what it might be like to walk into a pregnancy center, but also the assumption that women are not already aware of the realities of their situation. This is the same sexist reasoning that continues to promote the idea that women cannot make decisions for themselves. How easy do you think it is, Mr. Smith, to not only seek help from strangers, but to just get up and walk out if approached with an agenda? How can you, Mr. Smith, possibly think that the gravity and seriousness of pregnancy and abortion are lost on a woman? No one, in this day and age, is unaware of the consequences of abortion, and not one female ever makes that decision lightly. I, also, very much doubt Mr. Smith’s accusation that abortion is encouraged at a Planned Parenthood center. This, to me, sounds like the ignorant assumption that respecting an individual’s reproductive options means actively encouraging a very serious and traumatic procedure. I also was upset with Mr. Smith’s argument that anyone who disagrees with Oklahoma’s bill forcing women to watch an ultrasound right before an abortion needs a reality check. Perhaps it is you, Mr. Smith who needs a “bold punch of reality” about what it is really like for a woman who, under the burden of an unwanted pregnancy, is forced to look and listen to the fetus that the woman knows she cannot possibly support in the way a child should be. This is psychological torture if I’m not mistaken.
I am sincerely disappointed in the actions of the Daily Skiff to not only run solely male perspectives on an issue of women’s reproductive rights, but also to run articles that, in the end, were not evenly matched in content on the issue of crisis pregnancy centers. I applaud Mr. Varano’s piece for taking a more unbiased stance on the issue and raising legitimate ethical concerns about the way pregnancy centers conduct business. Shame on you Daily Skiff and writer Shane Smith, for being carelessly insensitive to this issue and for the offensive and ill-informed assumptions that were printed in what I had considered to be a respected newspaper. I hope to see better from you in the future.