By Cormac Quinn
On Tuesday night, students gathered in the living room of an off-campus house, commonly known as the Foxhole, to watch fellow students perform a series of monologues and skits of people’s experiences with abortion provided by the 1 in 3 Campaign.
Junior Ally Nelson arranged the event after seeing it last year at another off-campus residence. Her hope, and that of her fellow actors, was to de-politicize and de-stigmatize abortions in what they call a “pro-voice” perspective.
The materials were provided by the 1 in 3 Campaign, which gets its name from a statistic of the number of women who will have an abortion at some point in their life. The organization collects the stories of women who have had an abortion and recognize that men play a role in the decision as well.
By giving the discussion a face, grounding it in real people, they hope to, as their website states, “end the stigma and shame women are made to feel about abortion.” The stories presented spanned a range of socio-economic and marital situations, each time discussing the struggle of coming to the decision.
“I hope people can think and reflect on how personal these decisions are,” Nelson said. “I hope it can be talked about without politics.”
After the vandalization of the pro-life display in Gorecki Fireside last year and the
continued conversation about a pro-choice club in the opinion section of The Record, Nelson thinks it is important to talk about this, even if she must take it off campus.
“I’m here because the event could bring light to the issues in a way they should be talked about,” Senior Mikolaj Puszcza-Szydlowski said before the performance. “I hope it opens up a bit of reality that is concealed to me.”
Junior Marisela Weber was an actor in the performance because she believes theater can be a powerful way to display a message.
“Theater can do so much more for a community beyond entertainment, it can present the conversations that are difficult to have,” Weber said.
The stage was set with a string of lights lain across the floor behind two wooden chairs. Around 40 students attended, watching silently from the couches as the student actors read accounts of real women discussing their reasoning behind their decision.
After watching the stories unfold, facts were presented by Senior Laura Lanigan.
“59 percent of abortion patients already have a child, and 75 percent are classified as poor or low income,” Lanigan said.
“Everyone was respectful,” Lanigan said, “they understood that this wasn’t pro-choice or meant to offend pro-life, but that we’re pro-voice.”
After the event, Nelson commented on the play.
“I’m glad people came, they can go any direction with what they’ve seen here,” Nelson said. “Our goal was to create a safe place where people can step back and think.”
Senior Kyle Munshower was an actor in the performance.
“We live in a world of people, not ideas,” Munshower said. “Decisions don’t happen in a vacuum.”
Senior Maggie Grunow was another actor in the performance.
“This was very empowering,” Grunow said. “I’m sad this is the last time I can do this, I hope other students continue the conversation.”
Laura Lanigan was disappointed that the majority of the audience were their friends.
“We want our community to be able to see this message, but we won’t get far without the support of the school,” Lanigan said.