How My SFLA Group Countered & Took Back Campus Culture During a Pro-Abortion Event  

Caroline Wharton - 26 Oct 2022
Guest post by Anna Johnson, Virginia Tech SFLA President

GUEST POST: Earlier this semester, a graduate student forwarded me an email she had received from  STEM-oriented graduate groups asking for support for an “Abortion Day of Action” on campus that they were planning. This event would include table displays about abortion access, theatrical performances, a march around campus, and most concerningly, a petition to offer Chemical Abortion pills at our own student health center. Understanding the necessity give the pro-life perspective, my Students for Life of America (SFLA) group at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VA Tech) began making plans for a counter-protest. We dubbed our protest, “We Don’t Need Abortion.”  

Using the pro-abortion event’s schedule as a guide, my group and I planned our own tabling event, with tables on human development, the dangers of Chemical Abortion pills, ways to contact legislators to support life, and different supportive services for pregnant and parenting students. Our officers even prepared a counter petition, asking for VA Tech to never support abortion with our tuition money and to respect pro-life students by allowing us to continue our work on campus. We printed posters, made displays, shared graphics on social media, and had a group apologetics training to prepare our members to talk with other students.  

On the day of the event, we tabled all day long, starting way before the pro-abortion groups arrived, and continuing until they left. The pro-abortion students were definitely shocked when they showed up, and we were already tabling right next to their spot!  

For most of the day, the support of our efforts was overwhelming. Friends from our group, pro- life faculty, and students from various campus ministries came to table with us and had meaningful discussions with fellow students. I personally spoke to people with all kinds of viewpoints. 

One girl that I spoke to identified as fully “pro-choice,” but she changed her mind when I prompted her to articulate when she thought a preborn child was a human. Another guy I had a conversation with said he was pro-life personally, but as a libertarian, he wasn’t sure if abortion should be illegal. However, after we talked about the dangers of abortion procedures, how preborn babies have heartbeats and can feel pain early on in pregnancy, he said he would support abortion being illegal in most cases after all. 

Our SFLA group’s social media chair, Claire, also went to talk to the pro-abortion students at their table to see what they were tabling about. They shared with her that they were supporting abortion access and would personally help fund and/or drive anyone to an abortion facility out of the area if she didn’t have access to abortions here in Blacksburg.  

Claire asked, “What if I decided to keep my baby, though? Would you drive me to an adoption agency?” They said they absolutely would not help someone in that situation, and they also didn’t know about any alternative options.  

We ended our day by marching around campus and standing in front of Burruss Hall, praying and then standing silently. While we were praying, two pro-abortion women (one of whom had written “My Body, My Choice” in red lipstick across her torso) came up to us and started screaming in our faces and cursing our families. They mocked our prayers, chanting the words and yelling that they were praying for us to become pro-abortion, instead. We kept praying quietly and didn’t engage them. 

In the end, we had so many more people actively involved than the pro-abortion groups there that they didn’t even end up doing a march — clearly, “We Don’t Need Abortion” was a total success. 

To see so many pro-life students and faculty come together to defend life at our school was incredibly inspiring to me. It’s my third year as the president of our group, and this event was the biggest we had put on in my time. Our petition has many signatures, and it’s still gaining more; according to faculty members, it’s unlikely that we’ll see Chemical Abortion pills offered on campus any time soon. I could not be more proud of our leadership team, our group, and our school — the Pro-Life Generation is always up to something amazing!  

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