February 12, 2019

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Re: ‘Class Council to Host Valentine’s Day Gala for Planned Parenthood’

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To the editor:

A little over a month ago, Dr. Leana Wen, President of Planned Parenthood, confirmed what the American pro-life movement has recognized for years when she tweeted: “First, our core mission is providing, protecting, and expanding access to abortion and reproductive health care.” In the words of its own leader, Planned Parenthood is an organization that believes its primary purpose is to push for more abortion, full stop.

This admission renders the decision made by the Class Councils of 2021 and 2022 to fundraise for Planned Parenthood at their Valentine’s Day Gala completely inappropriate and extraordinarily insensitive. Although the majority of Cornellians may favor abortion rights to one extent or another, there exists a great many of us who believe that the result of the procedure is the ending of a distinct human life deserving of dignity like any other. Despite my own strong feelings on the matter, I understand that in a diverse community such as ours, disagreement on this issue is inevitable. What I fail to understand, and what I object to, is the Class Councils’ reckless decision to spend money collected from each and every undergraduate via the Student Activity Fee on a fundraiser for such a deeply divisive organization — an organization that performed 332,757 abortions in 2018 alone.

For students horrified by that statistic, the Class Councils’ choice quite literally makes them complicit with what we believe to be murder. The Class Councils should respect this belief, especially when it is those students’ money that helps fund the gala. While Student Activity Fee funds are spent by many individual organizations in ways that others may find offensive or objectionable, the key difference here is that the Class Councils are meant to represent an entire year of undergraduate students — rather than some small constituency. As a student body, we would be better served by a fundraiser for a more unifying, and less controversial cause. I am therefore urging those responsible for this decision to consider more fully the implications of this fundraiser — and to choose a more broadly acceptable organization to support.

Isaac Schorr ’20