Faith in Choice: A Perspective Panel
Penn State is undergoing curriculum reform to incorporate abortion education. We are located in rural Pennsylvania, and operate in a very conservative environment where anti-choice sentiment is pervasive and sometimes hostile. To disprove the misconception that Americans of faith are unanimously opposed to reproductive freedom, we wanted medical students to hear an underrepresented voice in the ongoing abortion debate.
I contacted many local congregations for speakers. We were fortunate to find wonderful panelists from Episcopalian, Jewish, and Unitarian Universalist backgrounds that were both impassioned and informed on the issue of reproductive choice. We advertised with printed posters around campus and had digital posters emailed to the first- and second-year medical students. We also sent email invitations to members of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith-based student organizations, the Women's Health Interest Group, and the chaplains of our medical center.
The Rabbi gave an analysis of abortion in ancient Hebrew scripture, and the application of scripture in modern day Judaism. The Reverend shared her personal experience with a complicated pregnancy, and the emotional process of considering abortion. The Father discussed his personal experience with interfaith reproductive health initiatives, and the social/political components of this issue.
What an admirable initiative. I'll do some research to see how Canadian medical students for choice are raising awareness with their peers and colleagues.