Testimonials, literature paint picture

Anna Holland

Discussions about abortion usually break down to right and wrong. But Tuesday night, that was not the case.

Seven members of the ISU chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance read personal testimonies, letters, poems, short stories and excerpts from plays to illustrate their views on women’s reproductive rights in the Oak Room of the Memorial Union.

Cara Harris, ACLU president, said the reading was about taking the politics out of the abortion debate.

“A lot of the readings dealt with personal issues,” said Harris, sophomore in liberal arts and sciences.

“People deal with this issue on all kinds of different levels.”

Harris said she came up with the idea for using literature after reading author Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants,” a short story about a couple dealing with the issue of abortion.

Cicely Schramm, vice president of FMLA, read a letter from Bill Bell to the Connecticut State Legislature.

Bell’s daughter Becky died in 1988 after an illegal abortion.

Bell wrote the letter to discourage the passing of a bill that would outlaw abortion in Connecticut.

Schramm, junior in genetics, said she chose the letter for a variety of reasons.

“It’s a really personal look at something that’s unpersonalized,” she said.

“When we get into laws, they don’t take the time to look at repercussions of what they’re doing.”

Abby Hansen, FMLA president, said the groups wanted to “get the ball rolling on the issue.”

“It’s an issue coming up more intensely next semester with RU-486 and the student health center,” said Hansen, senior in women’s studies.

She said she was happy with the turnout of about 20 people.

“I was not expecting a huge turnout because it was the end of the semester,” Hansen said. “It was better than I thought. Reaching a small amount of people is enough.”

There were no anti-abortion advocates present at the event.