Pro-Choice, Pro-Life has become a dividing line. No matter the side, everyone has an opinion along with some facts to back it up.
Early Saturday, Feb. 20, pro-life activist Richard Hurzeler and Deborah Streckfus gathered with many other supporters at 3400 S. Broadway Ave. to pray Planned Parenthood out of business. With signs in hand, the protesters stood strong in their convictions as the day wore on.
“We believe that life begins at conception: when the fertilized egg takes place and that the process by which this occurs is sacred life developing and human beings must respect that,” said Hurzeler.
Extreme views on this a topic can spark a heated debate, so it’s understandable that passersby would respond to an anti-abortion protest with extreme measures.
“We have gotten people that give the finger and shout at us. One man revved his truck up so the fumes when he passed by would engulf our signs and us,” said Hurzeler. “Our supporters can be heard giving a rat-a-tat-tat on their car horns or sometimes a thumbs up in approval.”
Hurzeler and Streckfus’ group is well known in the Tyler area. Not a part of any particular religious group or local church, they consider themselves Interfaith. A combined group made up of people with different faiths out to serve a greater good.
“We are trying to change people’s hearts and minds by allowing them to think what’s going on inside their bodies,” said Hurzeler.
Deborah Crawford, who organizes the monthly gatherings, spoke on some of the long-term health effects that women experience after having an abortion.
“Post Abortion Stress Syndrome – there’s a whole constellation of effects and women who have had them who have not recovered from them. They have a whole host of physical and psychological difficulties. Many women have to deal with infertility due to the procedure used,” she said.
Silent No More Awareness is a group who encourages women to speak out about the abortions that have hurt them.
“Worst side-effects have to be psychological because these are hidden,” said Streckfus.
Half of the equation has been left out though; the father or sperm donor. In many cases, the child’s father pressures the woman into an abortion. In addition, many women may consider abortion the only option after rape.
“The majority of abortions are to women who are married and have children, and after the abortion women find it hard having relationships and to trust men again,” said Streckfus.
Statistics, facts and polls fuel the pro-life argument. Through hours of studies and many conferences both sides can accurately debate their views.
“It has been shown that if you were born after 1973 you are a survivor of abortion,” said Streckfus. “A woman whose first pregnancy is ended with abortion has a 110 percent of developing venereal and breast cancer, and if she’s a teenager the percentage goes to 150 percent,” said Streckfus.
Some pro-life activists believe in abstaining unless a woman is looking to conceive. This would even apply to those who are happily married.
“Abstaining would be the safest thing to do. People have used it for thousands of years. It has no physiological or emotional effect on the couple,” said Streckfus.
Virginity and purity has become trendier over the last few years. With Disney pumping out powerhouse pop groups who proudly support being a virgin and wear purity symbols, today’s teens are growing up with the background to wait for sex.
Twenty-year-old Tyler Junior College student Leah Crawford, whose adopted mother is Deborah Streckfus, has also chosen to wait along with choosing the pro-life platform. Her strong pro-life support comes from her being given up for adoption.
“I was adopted as an infant. My birth mom wasn’t married and my birth dad left her when he found out she was pregnant,” said Crawford.
At 20 years of age she has chosen to abstain based on her strong convictions and pro-life beliefs.
“The point of marriage is to have a family. That’s the way God designed it. That’s the institution of the family and that’s what holds society together is a strong family unit and if the family is strong ,society is strong,” said Crawford.