College Republicans split on abortion

Abortion continues to be a hotly debated and seldom agreed upon topic in the political mainstream. UConn’s College Republicans held a debate Tuesday night and the room was split roughly 50-50 over the issue. 

The group’s president, Paul DaSilva, moderated the debate, which began with a discussion over what constitutes a life.

Gianna Bodnar, the external vice president of the group, said she believes a woman should not be able to get an abortion no matter what the circumstance.

“The only exception I will make is because of the life of the mother and I even sit on the line with that one,” Bodnar said. “I guess I am kind of on the extreme end of social issues which is different nowadays… I have family members who are adopted, so this is a close issue for me.”

DaSilva, Bodnar and the group’s internal vice president, Michael Lanza, fell on the anti-abortion side of the debate.

Still, opinions in the room differed sharply. The debate bounced back and forth between members’ philosophical and ideological beliefs.

“Quite simply many people in this room believe it is a life and many people believe it is not, so I think debating that in general is not a worthy debate,” former USG speaker of the house, Kevin Alvarez said. “What we should discuss is whether or not the government has a right to make policy on this issue.”

Alvarez’s comment shifted the debate from a discussion of morality to one revolving around government.

DaSilva said he feels it is difficult to make public policy on abortion, partly because of the emotion that surrounds this conversation but also because women who want to get an abortion will find a way.

“If the only exceptions we make for an abortion is rape then a woman may just say she were raped,” he said. 

The group agreed that abortion is a very difficult topic to find common ground on.

Lanza said Tuesday night’s debate was not planned for any particular reason other than to discuss a controversial topic. The College Republicans meet every Tuesday at 8 p.m. to engage in debates on various issues.

DaSilva admitted that opinions in a room with a Republican majority are likely to be bias. Despite this, the conversation was two-sided.

“We do not consider this a UConn community discussion or anything,” DaSilva said. “This is simply the topic for our weekly meeting.”

The group also discussed the impact of Justice Scalia’s death.

“Justice Scalia was a great man,” College Republicans member Mike LaPorte said. “It is important that we celebrate his legacy.”

Much of the conversation around Scalia’s death revolved around President Obama’s decision to, or not to, replace Scalia.


Jon Hull is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at jonathan.hull@uconn.edu.