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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

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Student pro life groups team up against Planned Parenthood

Jillian+Ferguson+%28right%29%2C+southwest+regional+coordinator+for+Students+for+Life+of+America%2C+discusses+Federally+Qualified+Health+Centers+with+a+student+as+part+of+her+organizations+demonstration.
Photo by Photo by James Bryer

Jillian Ferguson (right), southwest regional coordinator for Students for Life of America, discusses Federally Qualified Health Centers with a student as part of her organization’s demonstration.

Pro Life Aggies partnered with Students for Life of America on campus Tuesday to promote the defunding of Planned Parenthood by the federal government.
According to Jillian Ferguson, the south- west regional coordinator for Students for Life of America, the mission behind the display, which consisted of several signs displaying information, was to advocate the reallocation of funds towards Federally Qualified Health Centers, of which there are 13,000 nationwide. Furthermore, these health centers out- number Planned Parenthood locations about 20 to one, and there are seven FQHCs within five miles of A&M’s campus.
Ferguson works with about 75 groups, such as Pro Life Aggies, throughout Texas and Oklahoma on behalf of Students for Life of America and said they hope to demonstrate reasonable alternatives to Planned Parenthood.
“Our goal today is to educate and encourage activism,” Ferguson said. “We’re trying to show that there are viable and accessible alternatives to Planned Parenthood that can actually provide more services to more people in more locations. And therefore, we’re trying to inform the student body about these other alternatives for them and encourage them to take action against Planned Parenthood because we’re trying to defund [them] and reallocate their federal funds to these other alternatives.              
Regarding women’s health care, Ferguson said the intent of the display is to provide people with the knowledge that Planned Parenthood is not the only way.
“I really want them to know that if Planned Parenthood were to be defunded, there would still be other places for them to go,” Ferguson said. “Planned Parenthood is not the place for women’s healthcare; in fact, 98 percent of American women will not step into a Planned Parenthood. So they’re clearly not the place for health care, and we’re trying to show that there are other places for them to go in the form of these Federally Qualified Health Centers.”
Ferguson said the main focus is not merely pro choice versus pro life, but rather a common ground in terms of the fight for proper women’s health care. Additionally, she said the funds from the federal government shouldn’t aid Planned Parenthood.
“Planned Parenthood has been caught doing some really distasteful and even illegal things, and Students for Life doesn’t believe — the pro life generation doesn’t believe — that our money should be going to fund some of those more corrupt and distasteful things,” Ferguson said.
Meteorology senior and secretary/treasurer for Pro Life Aggies Jackson Milton said alternative options such as FQHCs maintain as high-quality services as Planned Parenthood.
“We just hope that they see that there are other options for them, that Planned Parenthood dominates a news cycle because they have a lot more money and a bigger cash flow,” Milton said. “And that there are other options out there for them that provide just as good of services and that hopefully they can advocate for women to go there instead of Planned Parenthood.”
Psychology and Spanish junior and member of Pro Life Aggies Elizabeth Rodriguez said the reallocation of federal government spending from Planned Parenthood will improve the economy as well as contribute an overall support to women.
“Many people think that the pro life movement is just saving the babies, but it’s not, it’s actually helping women and helping children in the process,” Rodriguez said. “So it’s not a short-term thing. It’s going to be a long term thing because these centers don’t just affect the now, but they’re going to help them throughout their life.”
On the contrary, doctoral student in applied economics and marketing Daniel Chavez argued that federal government spending is a significant issue more complicated than an infographic and that there are other better places to start the process than the unclear resolution of Planned Parenthood.
“In this particular case, whether Planned Parenthood or Federal Health Care clinics, the question and probably the Achilles heel of that conversation is the abortion portion of it,” Chavez said. “I’m a pro choice person, so I believe that women should be able to approach a clinic safely if they need to…so if defunding Planned Parenthood would remove that right from women, I think it’s taking us backwards as a society.”
However, Chavez applauded the understanding perspectives of the people at the display from Pro Life Aggies and Students for Life of America and their willingness to lend an open ear.
“I think it’s a conversation that should be had. I believe in open communication,” Chavez said. “I believe that people should be free to speak, I do believe in that right of freedom of speech and I do believe in freedom of listening as well. So I think that the display was interesting because the people around the display are not preaching their values on other people, but more trying to understand and view things from a mutual agreement zone.”

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