Story by Danata Paulino, Reporter
Photo courtesy of Danata Paulino
Although debate and controversy are generally not requested, this particular individual not only listens to comments from the opposite perspective but invites questions to challenge him. Trevor Pollo visited Aquinas College as the “Pro-Lifer” who encourages questions from all different stances of abortion to “stump” him. The event took place in Wege Ballroom on Thursday night.
Trevor Pollo is the author of “The Diety Debate: A Conversation on the Difficult Questions of Christian Faith” and is brought through this project by Protect Life Michigan. “Stump the Pro-Lifer” has been hosted at many universities and was brought to Aquinas by Protect Life AQ.
The event itself featured the premise of removing the taboo title from abortion in an effort to open up effective conversations that are respectful. The event focused on enhancing conversation and educating people to have a better understanding of the issue to monitor the dialogue.
“In the end, this issue really matters. Because one of us is going to be wrong on this issue. Abortion is either a moral injustice or a reproductive right. It can’t be both at the same time,” Pollo said.
Kelsey Dassance, president of Protect Life AQ, was optimistic with the effects of bringing Pollo to campus. She believes that the event was important in helping students to open up the floor to the more difficult conversations concerning abortion.
“Whatever position they have, I hope that the information they have is more clear, their understanding of it is more clear, and that they have a more solid understanding of what they believe,” Dassance said.
Pollo’s two main talking points were that there is no such thing as a human non-person and that every human has an equal right to live. For his argument, he turned to science, specifically embryology. The first thing to be determined in the discussion, he claimed, was whether or not the embryo is alive.
After Pollo’s presentation concerning his evidence and beliefs on abortion, the floor was opened up for the rest of the time to questions. The room was silent for a moment, as no one seemed eager to ask him any questions to either support their argument or stump him. Once one question was asked, the rest began to trickle onto the floor. Although the content of Pollo’s presentation did not have that a wide expanse of material on the topic, the questions broadened to other issues. The subjects ranged from rumors of aborted fetuses in vaccines to “pulling the plug.”
The audience in attendance had different backgrounds on the issue of abortion. Both pro-life and pro-choice asked questions to Pollo. Although the event was scheduled to go for an hour and a half, the questions were cut at an hour. There were many different opinions in the aftermath. Some attendees believed that the Pro-Lifer did well in standing his ground on the position. On the other hand, there were some voices that were disappointed with the outcome of the event. They had similar beliefs that his presentation was very one-dimensional and that he swerved questions.
Aquinas student Anna Schlutt was one of the students dissatisfied with the lack of a newly enlightening perspective on the topic of abortion. She asked a question about the the premise of saving many individuals by killing one.
“It’s essentially the trolley problem. He either didn’t understand my question or wasn’t able to answer it because he just went back to his main points. From my perspective, the speaker used this strategy with just about every complex question he was asked,” Schlutt said.
Sheets were handed out at the beginning of the event for those in attendance to comment on the speaker. The organizers encouraged both positive and negative feedback so they can continue making positive changes for their cause. Protect Life MI’s mission is to end abortion by training students on pro-life leadership, educating youth on the issues and strengthening community ties to increase the impact. Pollo presented this purpose through his speech and believes that real discussion is what will end abortion.
He commented afterwards, “It comes down to the fear of stigma surrounding the issue and the fact that we know it is controversial, we know it’s emotional and we can’t completely strip that away from the issue. But, I do think that we can come together and demonstrate that we are capable as a society to talk about important issues in a reasonable, logical and respectful manner. We can commit that we are going to follow the truth wherever it may follow.”