Editorial: Where’s the policy on clubs dealing with abortion?


Justin Hieber

Illustration by Justin Hieber

Walking through the Peace Quad usually doesn’t come with a trigger warning.

Yet for anyone who walked there on Monday, April 23, that’s exactly what they were met with, as Loyola’s Wolf Pack for Life organized a “Memorial for the Innocents” display to oppose abortion.

That display came with a striking 2,000 blue and pink flags meant to represent the number of abortions occurring every day in the United States, according to the group. It was a hard sight to miss.

Many students complained about just that, saying the size of the display was too much. That prompted a petition on Change.org — one that’s garnered hundreds of signatures — stating that the university should allow for a display of the same significance from a group on the abortion-rights side of the argument.

So … what is Loyola’s official policy on the issue?

Apparently, that’s a tough question. Because of four people The Maroon reached out to looking for an answer, none could give one.

Instead, we were told the university’s “leadership team” will have a cabinet meeting on Monday, April 30 to discuss the place of having both sides of the abortion issue have a voice at a Jesuit university.

This is a talk they need to have, but what took so long? This is 2018, and no one seems to know what the university’s stance is on allowing demonstrations on abortion.

No matter what they decide, it’s time for students to know what opinion they’re allowed to express on one of the most contentious issues in American politics.

So far, Wolf Pack for Life has certainly let theirs be known, and the efforts they’ve made are commendable. Hours of attending a training session before putting in the work of actually organizing the display show that.

They even managed to have a woman who previously had an abortion there to talk to anyone interested.

The people in this group did nothing wrong by organizing the display April 23, and the personal attacks seen against members on social media come from a place of ignorance.

If you want to blame someone, blame the university, and it’s unclear policies.

The members of Wolf Pack for Life aren’t the ones who make the rules, they’re just the only ones playing under them — for now.

This isn’t the first time there’s been a challenge to just having one side of the abortion debate on campus, though. But the last time a serious challenge happened, it wasn’t the university itself that shot it down.

Instead, it was the students.

That happened in 2011, when SGA turned down a proposed abortion rights club saying it would have clashed with Loyola’s Jesuit values.

But Ken Weber, interim director of university ministry, said that the culture has changed, and it might be time to actually make an official policy that goes with it.

“Loyola has the privilege and responsibility of providing contexts in which all voices are heard in an ongoing dialogue that pursues truth,” he said.

But if Loyola were to allow a pro-abortion rights club, that would be pretty unprecedented for a Jesuit university. It appears the only Jesuit university that had one was Georgetown, with a group officially recognized by the university for 14 months in 1991 and 1992.

Students there are now pushing for another group to take its place, and that’s not the only Jesuit university where students are putting in that effort.

Creighton University recently had a “Students for Reproductive Rights” group try to officially establish itself on campus, only to be denied by the university’s Student Organization Review Committee, which stated “the current mission and vision of the group — to advocate, educate and program about reproductive rights — does not align with the Jesuit, Catholic mission.”

That may well be true, and students coming to Loyola shouldn’t be surprised that their pro-abortion rights views aren’t accepted by their Catholic university.

All we’re saying is if that’s the case, we need to know.