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MEM uses satire to attack beliefs, not people

We write to address the issues raised in a recent letter by MIT Pro-Life President Monnica J. Williams '91 ["Abusive literature from MEM hides behind pseudo-shield of satire," March 2]. Her letter was fraught with errors.

Williams charges Men Exploited by Masturbation with harassment and likens our satire to heterosexuals at MIT's harassment of homosexuals. She fails to understand that attacking a person's political views is not tantamount to attacking their person. HAMIT's posters were a direct assault on homosexuals' orientation, while our board is directed at the anti-abortionists' political agenda. Attacking a viewpoint does not constitute harassment by any standard, MIT's included.

MEM denies the charge of Catholic-bashing; our concern is with the political activities of the Catholic church. We do concede that MEM was in error about the Church's lack of concern for the unconceived: One of our Catholic members informs us that Church doctrine proscribes masturbation.

We would like to also set the record straight on some other issues. The stated purpose of MEM is "to use humor to raise awareness about the issues of reproductive rights" (as stated in our constitution), not "opposition to the reactionary group Women Exploited By Abortion," a quote Williams obtained from the literature of an unaffiliated organization. Williams indicts MEM for its supposed connection to Refuse and Resist, a guilt-by-association tactic. Also, The Thistle article referred to by Williams was not written by a member of MEM as she claims. Finally, Williams asserted that our "display contains no factual discussion." Either she overlooked the various informative articles from The New York Times, or perhaps she does not count facts which challenge here opposition.

MIT Pro-Life plays fast and loose with the facts whenever they find it convenient. In a letter to The Tech ["Literature not focused on rape," Oct. 6, 1989], Williams writes "morning after medication is contraception, RU-486 is abortion," a direct contradiction of the facts presented in a July 22, 1989 article in Science. MIT Pro-Life member Christopher B. Papineau '90, speaking at a pro-life rally on April 8, 1989, was quoted saying, "We do not support the ERA because it gives women the right to kill their children." This propagates the myth of a link between ERA and abortion, created by conservative opponents of ERA. We also point to MIT Pro-Life's showing of the fraudulent film, The Silent Scream, as a deliberate act to disinform the MIT community

If Williams believes in guilt by association, we must ask what she thinks of homophobic statements by Ruth Pakaluk of Massachusetts Citizens for Life at a forum sponsored by MIT Pro-Life on Nov. 2, 1989.

Williams' hypocrisy is most blatant when she says, "It is unfortunate that MIT women who may have had unpleasant abortions are forced to endure the insults of MEM on a regular basis." We remind her of the less-than-tasteful full-color photographs of dismembered fetuses plastered on the walls of MIT prior to the Women Exploited By Abortion event, or the coat-hanger and impaled plastic fetus (complete with red paint and the caption, "THE REAL VICTIM") displayed in the MIT Pro-Life bulletin board last fall.

Lastly, we offer some examples of genuine harassment. MIT Pro-Life members (including Williams herself) have been observed ripping down MEM posters. Members of MEM have been verbally threatened by Papineau. Perhaps this is not too shocking, given Williams' thinly-veiled threat that "some of our more volatile members might be provoked to take matters into their own hands. Although MIT Pro-Life would strongly oppose retaliation through any means other than official channels, we cannot be responsible for the action of individual members acting on their own behalf."

Dan Edidin G->


Stephen Fromm G->


and three other members->

Men Exploited by Masturbation->