A smear campaign?

Rarely have so many words been written to single out eight members of the Yale community. As president of Choose Life at Yale (CLAY), I read Katie Martin’s piece (“What to expect when you’re expecting (at Yale),” Sept. 23, 2016) more as a smear campaign than a piece of investigative journalism.

Martin’s engagement with CLAY failed to exceed a couple of internet clicks, a few exchanged emails and a phone call with Eve Behling, which Behling found misleading. In Martin’s email, she claimed to be writing “a piece about the New Haven branch of Planned Parenthood.” In contrast, her Facebook post represented the article as a “Cover Story on Pro-Life activism at Yale.” It is odd that an investigative reporter could not bother to approach the seven other people whom she was told constituted CLAY. Martin never attended a single CLAY meeting, which have occurred at the same time and place since 2006.

Setting aside the questionable pretenses under which Martin engaged and quoted Behling, what was the article supposed to be about? If it were about Planned Parenthood, any of us at CLAY would have been willing to voice our concerns.

If it were about being pro-women, all of us would have affirmed our respect and admiration for the women who have touched our lives. I can assure Martin that the hundreds of hours that CLAY and Behling have put in — from ensuring that there are diaper decks in both male and female bathrooms to working with Title IX coordinators — is not a public relations stunt.

And if the article was really about pro-life activism at Yale, we would have invited Martin to meet all of us both individually and as a group — no investigative reporting necessary. Instead, Martin exploited a CLAY member’s willingness to discuss her passion and abused it by relying on outdated sourcing and misconstruing quotes.

At a time when Yale desperately needs students to listen to one another, Martin has insinuated that CLAY is an outgrowth of misinformation, the political right and religious biases. Yet CLAY has no political or religious affiliation (its members span both ends of the political spectrum).

Finally, should RALY, the YDN or Martin wish to have a conversation on whether it is a contradiction to be both pro-life and pro-woman, CLAY is willing to have an open conversation in a public venue. The end to suspicion and conjecture is long overdue.

Eric DeVilliers is President of Choose Life at Yale. Contact him at eric.devilliers@yale.edu .