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photo taken by Neha Chauhan

“Abortion is and always will be the opposite of empowerment,” said Kristan Hawkins during her pro-life lecture Monday night.

Hawkins was invited to speak by Princeton Pro-Life. She has been the president of the Students for Life of America since 2006, and is the organization’s official spokeswoman.

In introducing her role as spokeswoman to her audience, Hawkins emphasized that conversations around the life of a fetus are hardly ever easy. “We [often] can’t even have a rational conversation about [abortion] because it’s personal,” she said.

Nevertheless, these conversations are happening with greater frequency with students nationwide, as exemplified by Hawkins’s lecture itself. Hawkins’ talk at the University was a part of an national tour, “Announcing the Lies Feminists Tell.” As part of the tour, she will also speak at UC Berkeley, Dartmouth, Harvard, University of Kansas, the Benedictine University of Kansas, UC Irvine, and University of Southern California.

At the University, Hawkins lectured for approximately 90 minutes before playing a video promoting defunding of Planned Parenthood and answering her audience’s questions. Throughout its segments, Hawkins’s talk was anchored in an examination of feminism.

According to Hawkins, a discussion of abortion is judicious in the current U.S. political climate. Abortion, she said, is being brought up more and more, especially with the election of President Trump. In this climate, said Hawkins, it is important to analyze what feminism means as well.

“I am way more than the sum of my parts,” Hawkins said, referencing a view with which she disagrees: Limiting women’s access to contraceptives and abortion limits women’s rights.

“My main points tonight are that the mainstream feminist movement has lied to women,” Hawkins said. She explained that she does not refer to herself as a feminist, and that she instead breaks with the modern movement over one issue: what she calls the “violent act of abortion.” According to Hawkins, abortion is a violent act that ends the life of a distinct, living person. Because of this, she holds that encouraging abortion is contrary to feminism’s goal of promoting equality between men and women.

“I think mainstream feminism has been used [to spread] lies of the abortion industry,” Hawkins said. “I reject the lie that I must kill my unborn child in order to be free or in order to be equal to the men in my life.”

In her talk, Hawkins expressed her view that abortion does not improve the situation of a woman who has an unwanted pregnancy.

“She’s having a problem…. You haven’t cured her poverty, you haven’t stopped the abuse, you’ve prolonged it. In fact, you’ve compounded her struggle,” she said.

Building upon her discussion of abortion, she also expressed that she does not support the use of contraceptives.

“Every decision, every action we make has a consequence — that’s just the reality of it,” Hawkins said regarding the responsibility accompanying sexual activity. “When sex is trivialized, when sex is just a part of the hookup culture, of course the second lie of feminism had to be … that contraception is necessary for the advancement of womanhood.”

According to Hawkins, pro-life movements are bastions of support for women. She expressed her view that pro-life movements support a woman by preserving the lives of her children instead of “shipping her off” to have an abortion. To this point, Hawkins also specifically explained why she believes abortion should not be an option.

“I’m not telling you what to do; I don’t care about your body,” she said. “I believe that human beings have the right to live. Human beings should never be subject to the will of other human beings because of how one person views their worth.”

Moreover, Hawkins said encouraging abortion discourages women from trying to have both families and careers.

“Abortion tells women in our country that we [women] can’t. [It tells women] no, you’re not strong enough to be a student and be a mom,” Hawkins said.

In Hawkins’s opinion, modern feminism does not appropriately address the difficulties of motherhood — and therein lies her break with the movement. Women should be focusing on creating and re-assessing priorities as they juggle motherhood with other goals, Hawkins said. These conversations, according to her, are not happening often enough, which she says contributes to the number of abortions.

“It’s gonna be really hard . . . You’ve been told your whole life, like, ‘oh, yeah, women can do it all; it’s easy,’” Hawkins said. “It’s not gonna be easy. You’re gonna have to sacrifice more than you ever thought you were gonna have to sacrifice before.”

After her lecture, Hawkins and PPL played a video titled “Meet Jocelyn: Planned Parenthood Victim” that discussed a woman’s emotionally distressing experience with an abortion at a Planned Parenthood clinic.

“They [Planned Parenthood] send money furthering an abortion culture,” she said. “They [Planned Parenthood] are the driving force of pro-abortion legislation in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the country.”

Hawkins said she thinks that Planned Parenthood is “self-interested” and “inhospitable” and that Federally Qualified Health Centers should receive funding in its place.

The talk took place on Monday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. in Guyot 10.

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