Humans & Happy Dolphins

I see an apparent problem in common intuitions about value/rights of living things. I believe most people would agree creatures such as dolphins deserve higher value and more rights than other creatures such as squirrels. Why? Most would likely answer it is because of the dolphin’s higher rationality/brain function. Yet, when we look at the humans living around us, it is undeniable that we have varying levels of rationality/brain function ourselves. Despite our varying levels of rationality, we believe humans deserve basic equal rights/value. This seems contradictory, doesn’t it? When we look at animals we say their intelligence determines their value, but when we look at ourselves we say we’re equal despite our individual levels of intelligence.

There is only one way I see to reconcile these two apparently contradictory views most of us share. That is to conclude that the value of living things must be determined by the rationality of their KIND (aka species), not the INDIVIDUAL. We must look at the collective rationality of Humans as a whole, and treat each of them equally based upon that measure; regardless of the specific rationality of any given individual. The same must be done for all KINDS of living creatures – squirrels, dolphins, frogs, space aliens, etc. The result is that all living things of the same species must be treated equally to one another, but that living things of differing species have varying levels of value. All dolphins are the same, all dogs are the same, all humans are the same. But a human child is still more valuable than an adult dolphin, even if that individual dolphin is more rational than that individual human child, because the human KIND is more rational than the dolphin KIND.

This is the only reasonable way I can find to reconcile these intuitions. But the thing is – this is an inherently Pro-life view. This could be called a “substance view”. The implication is that even pre-born humans in the womb MUST be treated the same in regards to their basic rights (e.g. right to not be killed) as a toddler, teenager, or adult would be treated in the same situation.

If you simultaneously believe all born humans are inherently equal, and believe that some animals deserve more rights than others, I think you have to be Pro-life…

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Pro-Life Student Censored at HS in Las Vegas

STUDENTS FOR LIFE CLUB AT VEGAS HIGH SCHOOL CENSORED; SCHOOL GETS DEMAND LETTER

Amy Dockter-Rozar, Principal of West Career and Technical Academy, and the Clark County School District have received a demand letter from the Thomas More Society, on behalf of sophomore Angelique Clark and Students for Life of America. The letter charges that school administrators have unconstitutionally discriminated against Angelique by denying her the right to form a Students for Life club at West Career and Technical Academy.

This is the third demand letter that Students for Life of America and the Thomas More Society have sent this semester in support of high school students who were censored by their school administers.

“No high school administrator has the right to deny pro-life students their free speech rights,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. “Brave students like Angelique set amazing examples for their peers both in their own communities and on a national level by standing up not only for the preborn and their mothers facing unplanned pregnancies, but for their own First Amendment rights as well. We are so proud of Angelique, who reached out to Students for Life of America for assistance, and for our attorneys at the Thomas More Society for their help to make Angelique’s Students for Life group an official, school-based club, with the same rights as her peers.”

Angelique Clark, a sophomore at West Career and Technical Academy in Las Vegas, submitted her application to start a Students for Life club in December 2014. After months of no response from the school administration, she was finally told by her advisor in February 2015 that Vice Principal Mr. Allan Yee had denied the club. Angelique met with Mr. Yee and was given a variety of reasons why the club could not be approved, including that abortion was “controversial,” that a pro-life club would make pro-choice people feel left out, and that there were others “more qualified” to speak on the issue than a high school sophomore.

“I am not asking the administration to agree with my pro-life position,” said Angelique Angelique ClarkClark, sophomore at West Career and Technical Academy. “I am simply asking the school to give pro-life students at West Career and Technical Academy the opportunity to make our voices heard. We want to discuss our view on an important topic – why choosing life is important. This may be a controversial issue, but that doesn’t mean we should lose our right to free speech.”

“Denying students their right to form a pro-life club on the grounds that it’s ‘too controversial’ and ‘not inclusive’ is an affront to the First Amendment,” said Jocelyn Floyd, Associate Counsel of Thomas More Society. “High school administrators should encourage their students to engage in dialogue on important societal issues, not censor the message simply because there are differing viewpoints.”

As Thomas More Society states in their demand letter, the school’s refusal to allow the Students for Life club constitutes a violation of the students’ rights under both the federal Equal Access Act and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. All students who wish to form non-curricular clubs must be treated equally, even if the clubs they wish to form are religious or political.

Students for Life of America and the Thomas More Society request that the principal promptly approve the Students for Life club at West Career and Technical Academy.

Link to the demand letter here: https://www.thomasmoresociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/150521-SFLA-WCTA-Letter-to-Principal-and-Superintendent-Jocelyn-and-Mark-Signature-redacted_Redacted.pdf.

Introducing Kassie Booker!

We are excited to introduce Kassie Booker as our new National Programs Coordinator!

Kassie has been involved in the pro-life movement since she was 14 years old, volunteering and working festivals with Rock for Life. In high school she organized and ran multiple concerts raising money for the pro-life movement. As well as volunteered at multiple pregnancy centers. She has traveled all over the world to Greece, Macedonia, Turkey, India, and Guatemala reaching out to those in need. She spent two years at Liberty University studying Global studies and leading a prayer group on her dorm (2011-2013). Since then she’s been working in Fredericksburg, VA. Hired to SFLA in March 2015 as our National Programs Coordinator. She is passionate about ending abortion, and helping women and children.

Kassie enjoys running on the streets of Fredericksburg, VA with her fiancee Josiah.

It’s a girl!

We are thrilled to announce that Students for Life’s President, Kristan Hawkins, gave birth yesterday, May 14th, to her fourth child and first long-awaited daughter, Gracie Jane Hawkins! Both Kristan and Gracie are doing well. Little Gracie weighed in at 6 pounds 11 ounces and is 19 and a half inches long. Isn’t she adorable?

gracieLike the pro-life activist she is, Kristan asked our team to make a special “I am the Pro-Life Generation” baby onesie for Gracie to wear after she was born, so of course she took it with her to the hospital 😉

If you’d like your baby, grandbaby, or friend’s baby to follow Gracie’s trend-setting wardrobe, pick up a onesie here. We have them in pink and blue from sizes newborn through 24 months.

Thank you for your support of SFLA and please keep Kristan and Gracie and her whole family in your prayers.

US House passes Pain Capable Bill

Today the House of Representatives passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Please see below for a statement from Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America.

“We are so proud that the House has passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and moved to ban abortions after 20 weeks gestation, where the preborn baby has been scientifically proven to feel pain. There is no excuse for the now pro-life Senate not to bring the bill to the floor for a vote immediately. U.S. Senators must go ‘on the record’ as voting for or against the horrific procedure of abortion at this stage in a woman’s pregnancy, where the preborn baby will feel every effort to end his or her life. It is inexcusable that the United States is one of seven nations that allows abortions after five months.”

BIG WIN IN FARGO!

Brigid O'Keefe

Brigid O’Keefe

In a huge win for two courageous young pro-life high school students, Fargo North and Davies High Schools have officially recognized two Students for Life Clubs organized by pro-life students Brigid O’Keefe and Katie McPherson. The approval came in response to a demand letter sent by the law firm of Students for Life of America, the Thomas More Society, on behalf of the students challenging as unconstitutional the schools’ denial of the pro-life clubs.

“I am happy and thankful that the school has approved our club,” said Brigid O’Keefe, a sophomore at Fargo North High. “We are thankful to the attorneys at Thomas More Society and to Students for Life of America for supporting all our efforts.  We look forward to educating our fellow students on the beauty of life at all stages and offering assistance to those in need in our community. I am grateful to Fargo North for approving Spartans for Life, and we look forward to creating a thriving club at our school.”

“This victory should encourage any pro-life student to fight for the right to start a Students for Life club at her school,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. “It is often in high school that the first fires of pro-life activism are kindled. Brigid and Katie are great examples of courage, standing up for their pro-life beliefs and fighting to protect the rights of the preborn.”

At Fargo North, sophomore Brigid O’Keefe had submitted her application to start a Students for Life in February 2015. School administrators put Brigid and other prospective club members through extensive questioning, including questions about their religious affiliations, before denying the club.

At Davies High School, sophomore Katie McPherson had been trying to start a Students for Life club since September 2014. For months, the school administration would not even let her apply for her club to receive official status or assign a promised room for “unofficial” club meetings.

On April 8, 2015, Thomas More Society sent a letter to the School District, stating that the District’s refusal to officially recognize the pro-life clubs constituted a violation of the students’ rights under both the federal Equal Access Act and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. All students who wish to form non-curricular clubs must be treated equally, even if the clubs they wish to form are religious or political.

Both schools have now approved the pro-life clubs. Davies Teens for Life members already held their first meeting, and Brigid is planning the first Spartans for Life meeting for next week.

“We are glad that the District and High School Administrators in Fargo have recognized the First Amendment rights of all students, including pro-life students,” said Jocelyn Floyd, Thomas More Society Associate Counsel. “High-schoolers do not lose their right to form clubs and speak their message just because they are pro-life. Rather, they should be encouraged to add their voices to the marketplace of ideas, as the pro-life students at Fargo North and Davies will now be able to do.”

 

VOTE on 20-week ban happening next week!

It has been announced that the US House of Representatives will vote on the Pain Capable bill next week, which bans abortions after 20 weeks, when babies in the womb have scientifically been proven to feel pain.

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said the following:

“We are happy to see that dedicated pro-life leaders in the House were able to work together to stop the Pain Capable bill from having significant loopholes for late-term abortions and put in place the necessary counseling and medical treatment that victims of rape and incest need. As soon as the House passes the bill next week, the Republican-led Senate must schedule an immediate vote. No more time can be wasted in trying to protect innocent life, especially for those who have been proven to feel pain and are viable outside the womb.”

RALLY AGAINST ABORTION STUDY HELD IN HAWAII

Students for Life of America organized a rally in protest of a study currently being conducted at the University of Hawaii on abortions committed on babies in the second trimester.

Several pro-life students and leaders in Hawaii gathered together yesterday afternoon Hawaii rallyfor a rally against research being done at the University of Hawaii which tests whether or not oxytocin can reduce bleeding in mothers during and after abortion. The researchers are recruiting girls as young as 14-years-old to participate in second trimester abortions, where the unborn baby is 18-24 weeks gestation and has a fetal anomaly. No information has been given on who is funding this study, and pro-lifers in Hawaii want answers.

“We know that the University of Hawaii is doing research on preborn babies and their mothers. We know that these babies feel pain in the womb. We know that they are targeting minors. We know that they are targeting those with genetic disabilities like my son Gunner, who suffers from cystic fibrosis. But we don’t know who is funding the study,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. “We don’t know if taxpayer dollars are paying for the study. We want an investigation into this research project, and we want it defunded now.”

More than a half dozen pro-life leaders and students spoke at the rally on the campus of the University of Hawaii-Manoa. Hawaii has some of the most lenient abortion laws in the entire country, and a majority of legislators are pro-abortion.

“Babies who have fetal abnormalities – Down Syndrome, Cystic Fibrosis, and other so called ‘imperfect’ babies, are being specifically targeted for abortion by Hawaii researchers,” said Lisa Atkins, Northwest Regional Coordinator for SFLA and a speaker at the rally. “They are deeming these preborn babies not only unworthy of life but only good for ‘research.’ It’s a complete disrespect of life. Abortion is not a research project; it’s a tragedy.”

One speaker at the rally shared her own experience of having an abortion at 14-years-old:

“We all thought abortion would erase the situation I had gotten myself in and we would go on living life the way it was,” said Kelly Stauffer of Silent No More. “This was sadly not the case.”

Other speakers included Jason Jones, Movie to Movement, producer of Bella, and Little Boy, currently in theaters, Eunice MacDonald, Silent No More, and Gloria Haynes, A Place for Women.

Rally participants, pro-life leaders and Students for Life groups are calling on Hawaii to investigate this research study led by researchers at the University of Hawaii.

Baby Saved Through Sidewalk Chalk

By Angela Erickson, SFLA Northern Regional Coordinator

Helping to save lives and make an impact on your campus sometimes doesn’t take much effort at all. In fact, it can be so simple, fun and easy yet have a profound impact on someone else’s life.sidewalkchalkbabysave

Take Lauren Goodale, the president of Promoting the Gift of Life at the University of Wisconsin Platteville, for example. Her club started two years ago and just this year they instituted the Pregnant on Campus Initiative, which seeks to be advocates for pregnant and parenting students.  One easy thing they did to show their support was something all of us pro-lifers do all the time: sidewalk chalking.

Yesterday Lauren sent me a message that described an encounter she had with a young woman on campus and her 15 month-old boy. This woman found herself in an unplanned pregnancy nearly two years ago (when the club started) and was scared. This is how Lauren described what unfolded:

“[The woman] was scared and facing a lot of uncertainty, but she saw our chalk on the sidewalks and said she felt so encouraged, supported, and confident to carry on! I haven’t had anything like that happen before!”

Lauren isn’t the only one who has experienced joy in knowing their group made a difference in someone’s life.

Alec Weber, the president of Jacks for Life at South Dakota State University joined the Pregnant on Campus Initiative this year and recently called me excitedly to share some exciting news. He had been informed that a woman on his campus chose life after seeing the sidewalk chalk Jacks for Life did on campus promoting the two local Pregnancy Resource Centers near SDSU. This young woman went to the Birthright on campus and found the support she had been looking for.

It’s the end of the school year now, and by this time many students are burned out by the hustle and bustle of running a club, being a student, having jobs and maybe even having a social life. Students— don’t be discouraged and take heart! This movement is making a huge difference on our college campuses. You are making a huge difference on college campuses. It may take a couple years to see the difference being made (like in Lauren’s case) or you may know almost immediately. The small things we do can make a huge difference.jacksforlife

If you’re a student looking for ways to make a huge difference on your campus next year, consider the following:

  1. Contact your Regional Coordinator. Wherever you are, we have someone who wants to support you in your mission of creating a revolution on campus. Students for Life of America’s Regional Coordinators are dedicated to equipping and empowering you through training and providing resources for you and your club. Email info@studentsforlife.org to determine who your Regional Coordinator is.
  2. Joining our Pregnant on Campus Initiative. By joining this nation-wide initiative, you can learn practical and fun ways to support pregnant and parenting women at your school and in your community. If you have questions, be sure to contact Beth Rahal, our Pregnant on Campus Coordinator. To learn more, visit http://pregnantoncampus.org/
  3. Start planning your year! I know the end is in sight, but don’t let this summer go to waste. By planning your year before the school year even begins, your group will spend less time during the year focusing on what to do, and can spend more time focusing on how you’re going to do it. Be sure to ask your Regional Coordinator for a Plan Your Year Guide (or download it here) and training—they’ll help you schedule dates to do some sidewalk chalking too!

2015-2016 Plan Your Year Guide Now Available!

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Our 2015-2016 Plan Your Year Guide is now available to help you and your group plan a successful, life-saving, culture-changing year!

One of the key aspects of being a successful group is planning ahead! Before the school year begins, or as your group is forming, sit down with your adviser and other club leaders to plan your year. Use the link below to download your very own copy of SFLA’s Plan Your Year Guide and get to planning!

Tips on using your SFLA Plan Your Year Guide:

1) Use your SFLA Plan Your Year Guide, or another calendar to mark the following dates:

Freshman Orientation
First day of class
All major holidays, breaks, or school events (football games, homecoming, etc.)
Exam week
Last day of class

2) Next, fill in all national and local pro-life events and campaigns – We’ve listed all national pro-life days, but be sure to fill in your local events and campaigns.

3) Now, that you have an idea of what your year will look like, propose a few meeting times. Do you want to meet twice a month? What day of the week works best for the majority of members? What time? Go ahead and mark your meeting times on your calendar so that everyone can plan ahead.

4) Next, plan recruitment events for the beginning, middle, and end of the school year.Have a tabling display or event specifically aimed at recruiting new members. Plan to attend club activities fairs for incoming freshman!

5) Most importantly, set goals for events. We recommend that your group has a least one event per month. This can include a flyering campaign, a baby item drive or baby shower, a fetal development display, etc. Propose at least two days per month for possible events and ask your members what best fits with their schedules. Solidify those dates as soon as possible so the group can plan.

When deciding on events use your vision and mission statement to guide your discussion. What events can you do that will help you accomplish your goal? This keeps your group focused and makes event planning easier. If you want to host a speaker, show a pro-life movie, or find more ideas on exciting pro-life events, visit Studentsforlife.org

For your own copy of this year’s Students for Life Plan Your Year Guide, download from the link above, contact your Regional Coordinator or email info@studentsforlife.org.