Image by Dave Kleinschmidt/Flickr

ITHACA, N.Y. — There are many issues that when dropped in a conversation can divide the room. Though many people often dismiss arguments they don’t want to hear, a new local radio series is bringing people together to have thoughtful discussions from both sides.

As a high school student, I often feel my generation’s views on important political issues are overlooked, which is why I launched the new series “Youth Voices” on WRFI. The purpose of the show is to give local students a greater voice in the community by bringing them together to discuss issues they are passionate about. As the show’s founder, producer and host, my goal is to give listeners a well-rounded view of every topic discussed by interviewing students of differing perspectives, and show that students are just as capable of having the same civil and in-depth conversations about complex issues that adults can have.

Students featured on the show choose what topics they discuss. In the first episode of “Youth Voices,” I spoke to two high school students about their differing views on abortion.

Priscilla Ziefle, a senior at Ithaca High School, said she is against abortion because she believes a fetus is a human being and has a soul, and should be seen as its own person rather than as a part of its mother.

She also said she is pro-life because, from a Christian perspective, she believes, “God knows every child before they are born” and thus terminating that fetus is an act of murder, and that abortion takes responsibility out of sex and away from teaching young men to treat women with respect.

“It causes sadness when I think of all the babies that have been killed and also …  my little brother has Down syndrome, and when I think about … all the children with disabilities who are killed, that really hurts me because I know how much joy my brother brings to everyone around him and that he’s valuable and his life has value.”  

On the other side of the issue, Chloe Moore, a junior at IHS, said she believes abortion should be legal because she said a woman has the right to make decisions about her own body. She also said she is pro-choice because fetuses do not have legal status under the U.S. Constitution and thus should not be equated with a human being outside of the womb, and that a woman should not be forced to have a child if she is not financially stable to support one, especially in cases in which a woman does not choose to become pregnant, such as rape and sexual assault. 

“You can’t separate the issue from the rest of the debate about women’s health, including access to contraceptives and birth control, and I think no reasonable person wants abortions to happen. I think we can all agree that most thinking adults are pro-life in the sense that nobody wants pregnancies to have to be terminated, but the fact remains that lots of women don’t get pregnant by choice, or they find complications in the pregnancy, and therefore they should have the option to abortions that are, as Bill Clinton said, ‘safe, legal and rare.’”

Listen to the full conversation with Ziefle and Moore below, which originally aired on WRFI on Jan. 23. Stay tuned for future episodes that tackle other controversial issues including healthcare policies, illegal immigration, and gun control.

Featured image by Dave Kleinschmidt/Flickr

J.T. Stone

J.T. Stone is a contributor for The Ithaca Voice and a 2020 graduate of Ithaca High School. Questions? Story tips? Email him at jt22stone@gmail.com.