Speaker talks about talking and listening

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Among other things, October is Respect Life Month, and SLU’s Students for Life made sure to come prepared for spreading awareness. Tuesday, in the Baer-Fuller lecture halls, the pro-life organization introduced this year’s speaker, Jay Watts. Titled “The Case for Life,” Watts’ main goal is to spread awareness on college campuses, as well as a variety of other institutions across the United States, about abortion and the profound effect that it has had on American culture. Stephanie Kaefer, the president of SFL, stated, “We wanted to have an apologetics talk … because sometimes it is easy to focus on event planning and stray away from the cause as to why the group exists and the issues we stand for.”

As an advocate for the pro-life, anti-abortion organization Life Training Institute, Watts has trained students on college campuses all across the globe, from Harvard University to Auckland University in New Zealand, and is an active researcher for the Summit Ministries’ Understanding the Times curriculum. Here at SLU, Watts discussed a variety of issues regarding abortion and “defining the unborn.”

This speech was unlike most pro-life speeches. A dynamic and understanding speaker, Watts emphasized his wish to never have these talks, and instead focus on how to come to an agreement. He insisted that “constant bickering” should be dealt with first for any issue, especially one as controversial as abortion rights. In hopes of enlightening the students and faculty that attended the event, Watts emphasized how “incredibly productive these types of dialogue in this sort of settings” are. According to Watts, one of the problems people face with such issues as abortion rights and euthanasia is that people are unwilling to listen to other viewpoints.

Watts also brought up several strong arguments in defense of all forms of life. Essentially, Watts understands any newborn as something that has intrinsic value and something that is alive from both a philosophical and scientific perspective. The question that consistently came up during his lecture was, “What are they?” It is a question that the U.S. and other nations have long debated. According to Watts, the unborn are considered “whole, distinct, and living” developing and growing like humans. “We tend to view the unborn as non-human,” he stated, “and that is what can cause problems.”

Brody Smith, an SFL member, reemphasized the importance of Watts’ campus presence. Smith stressed “the importance of talking openly about the value of life and abortion.” It is important to note that the entire lecture was dedicated to one side of the issue, but SFL still wanted consistent dialogue.

Smith also felt that “at a university focused on justice, addressing this topic is something that should be far more prevalent so that we are moved to action.”

SFL has more events planned in October to start dialogue about the rights of the unborn and allow student involvement in debates.