There was some whispers about an important board meeting. I don't recall if I was an editor yet so I couldn't tell you whether I should have known about it before hand or not. Anyway, the meeting finally came about--it included all of the staff, and the topic was announced.
It seems, one of the pro-life groups in the area had submitted an advertisement--an insert for the paper. Our advertising manager had done the right thing and treated it like any other insert. Then someone else found out about it--they dissented and pushed to drop the ad. The adviser and the editor called up the pro-life group and said we had decided not to run it. The group was understandably upset and made some comments about free speech violations--probably not the best language to use, considering that the first amendment really doesn't have much to do with paid advertisements. The threats from the group did make the editor and adviser sit up and think, though. That's when they called the meeting; it was an odd course of action especially since they didn't seem to mind making up their own mind before the group made a stink.
They explained the situation to us all. By this time, the adds had all been printed up--therefore if we had decided to drop it (and here was a real threat) the group was going to force us to pay for all the prints that they did--which was significant. They passed around a copy of the insert in question. The editors said they were in favor of running it because it didn't seem to have the usual "graphic images;" so a vote was taken and the ad ran.
I mention this story because it was a very original feeling to be on the other side of the fence from a pro-life group. It was revealing to see the excuses the "neutral" editors made for their natural reactions. I'm glad they actually did sit down and think about what they had almost done--cancel a paid advertisement based on one person's bigoted complaint.
'Pro-choice' political correctness
On a similar note, I can recall another time at Whatcom. It was my very first quarter there and it was during an essay topic brainstorming session.
The instructor stood there next to the board writing down every reasonable topic as it was called. I remember it well because, as a joke, I called out "cow tipping"... He started to write it up there and got almost all the way through before he laughed and erased it.
Next to me there sat a young lady--another running-start student. She was obvious about most of her views so in one sense it didn't come as any surprise when she called out "pro-choice" as an essay topic. What did surprise me was the fact that she didn't call the topic in the general terms that I was used to hearing. Instead of just saying "abortion," she just blurted out "pro-choice," perhaps without realizing how odd it sounded. The instructor seemed to think so too for he wrote "abortion" up on the board anyway.
Since then, I've discovered why there is such a strong push for exclusive use of sanitized language like "pro-choice" and "reproductive rights." It's all a matter of hiding from the truth. It's a fearful thing to hide like that and I've heard people do it over and over again. In fact, it's a rare moment when you can get a "pro-choice" activist to say whether they believe that life begins at conception or not. Either they will not answer, or they will say they don't know. They will change the subject, repeat their comfortable themes about reproductive rights and the right of a woman to do with her own body whatever she wants.
It's a sad state of mind in which supporters of abortion must find themselves. Imagine supporting abortion and never admitting it to anyone's face--never saying outright, "I support abortion." What kind of torture must that be?
By contrast, former presidential candidate, John Kerry actually did admit that he believes life begins at conception. And yet, despite admitting that, and his own church's creeds, he still came back with his supposed belief in a woman's right to do with her body as she would--a good example of honest moral bankruptcy.
(cross-posted at Western Washington Unraveled)