Since last spring, the University of Washington has hosted an array of activists who all seek to deny full reproductive health care choices to women based on religious doctrine. Last May brought us Abby Johnson (a.k.a., Ms. Liar-liar-pants-on-fire). In October 2012, the campus allowed anti-choice protesters, including children under the age of 15 who should have been in school at the time, to harass women walking through Red Square with giant posters of miscarried babies — these pictures were supposedly aborted 6-11 week fetuses, but the size and development were much farther along, and their own website admitted to using falsified photos for shock value. Last month, the administration announced failed Republican candidate John Huntsman will be the UW Seattle Commencement Speaker; he petitioned pro-life groups for support for his campaign based on his anti-abortion activities in his home state. And today I learned that on this Thursday, May 9, the UW will yet again host another anti-abortion activist under the guise of “science:” John Bruchalski will be speaking in Kane Hall at 6:30 p.m., using campus facilities and resources.
The University of Washington is in the heart of one of the most liberal cities in America, and is supposedly one of the best medical research facilities, yet the choices made by the administration since the new President joined us from Salt Lake City seem more appropriate for a religious institution. I would expect this kind of moralizing at Brigham Young University or even on the Seattle University’s campus. But the University of Washington is a public institution, taking federal dollars and my own in order to provide a fact-based education.
It must be said, that I am probably insulted mostly by the administration’s ability to dismiss the life of fetuses when it’s most convenient while still paying speakers to come shame women for not wanting or not being able to continue their pregnancies. Two years ago, while working for the University of Washington as a teaching assistant overseas, I was exposed to tear gas on a work assignment and lost my baby: well, the administration refers to my baby as a fetus, because it wasn’t viable yet. It died at 8 or 11 weeks, depending on which of my doctors you ask. Since then, not only have I had to pay for medical costs out-of-pocket because my employee insurance wouldn’t cover my surgery overseas unless it was an emergency (apparently miscarrying, no matter how painful, doesn’t count?), but the administration even went ahead and sent me to collections two months ago for $40 because my employee insurance didn’t fully cover my follow-up at UW medical facilities, either.
So my question is, which is it? Do human fetuses matter or not? If they do, if they feel pain at 6 weeks like your pro-life speakers say they do, then stop making me go through the court system for justice. Reimburse my medical fees that I originally asked for, and on top of that, pay for the loss of my child’s life, and pay for my pain and suffering that was prolonged by your lack of assistance. If fetuses don’t matter, then stop harassing women on campus with false “experts”. Women should be able to walk on campus without being reminded of their personal losses. We pay for the privilege of education from professors (and exploited grad students), not to fund someone else’s religious, anti-feminist crusade.