What’s Up With the Jumbotron?

written by: Morgan Getts, SFLA’s Ohio Regional Coordinator

By now I am sure you have heard and or seen, that Students for Life of America Regional Coordinators and Directors, are traveling to over 90 different college campuses with a jumbotron about the size of your family car. If you haven’t been keeping up with our Stop the Violence display, I would encourage you to check out Students for Life of America’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages. There you will find awesome testimonies from students, and some pretty neat pictures.

Over the past two weeks, I had the opportunity to take the Jumbotron (with the help of Jimmy, “the jumbotron guy”), to Cleveland State University in Ohio, and Westminster College in Pennsylvania. Here are some things I noticed: (1) Administration will do and say just about anything to challenge your right to be there. (2) Students, no matter their preconceived views, are taking the time to watch Dr. Levantino’s video that describes abortion procedures starting at the first trimester, and ending in the third trimester.

First, it is clear that administration has not taken the time to learn their own school’s free speech policy. Before bringing the jumbotron to Cleveland State University, I made sure to check their free speech policy, I wanted to comply as best as I could. To my surprise, Cleveland State was ranked as a “Green Light University” by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Which means, they have policies that, “nominally protect free speech.” This is what Cleveland State’s Expressive Activity Policy states:

  • General Access
    (a) Any person or group may use, without prior notification, any publicly accessible outdoor area of the university’s campus except parking lots, garages and driveways. Federal, state and local laws will be enforced as applicable. The use of walkways or other common areas may not block the free passage of others or impede the regular operation of the university. (b) Use of the general access areas may include speaking, non-verbal expression, distributing literature, displaying signage and circulating petitions. There is no limit to the number of times a month a person or group may access those areas.

We set up in a public area, just off the street, right across from the Student Union. The Grounds-man was the first to tell us that we needed a permit to be there. As you can see, the policy above is clear, we did not need “prior notification,” and that is what we told him. Next, Cleveland State’s Campus Police approached us, and again asked to see our permit. I explained that according to the CSU’s Expressive Activity Policy, we did not. He read over it, and said, “Yes, it looks like you are within bounds of our policy. As far as I am concerned you should be good to go.” Finally, we had a visit from the man in charge of conferences and events at CSU. I was having a conversation with a student, so I am not exactly sure what all was said. But, from what I was told he continuously changed his story as to why we were not allowed to be there. He settled on having us move the jumbotron off the lawn and onto the gravel inches away, and we were happy to comply. The point of this being, that as pro-life activist and students, we must be aware of our school’s policy, and hold administration accountable. Otherwise, our voice would be discriminated against without us even knowing it.

We should look to Michael, the President of Westminster’s Students for Life group as an example of this. Westminster College’s administration shut our Stop the Violence Display down the first time we brought it. There were many reasons mentioned as to why, but among them were that our display was too controversial. Michael stepped up, and refused to let his administration walk on his right to free speech. He set up meetings, and wrote letters to ensure that we could bring the display back… and we did just that.

Second, students, no matter their preconceived views, are taking the time to watch Dr. Levantino’s video on the jumbotron. The jumbotron is big, as its name would suggest. But, you can also see what’s playing from across campus! What does this mean? That even students who are not willing to approach our display and have a conversation, ARE WATCHING IT.  While on Westminster’s campus, we saw students across the courtyard stop and watch the jumbotron, we even saw them whip out their phones and take pictures of it.

All in all, we know that the jumbotron is helping start conversations on campus. After our display at Cleveland State University, an email was sent out to students that touched on how important it is to protect free speech, even if we do not necessarily agree with it. And Westminster College’s Student Newspaper published an article about the jumbotron and display. Students are talking, information is being spread, and minds are being changed all thanks to the jumbotron and student groups willing to engage in conversations on their campuses.

Disturbing trend on college campuses: Attacks on pro-life free speech rights

On Monday, October 16, pro-life students at Baldwin Wallace University in Ohio had their chalkings destroyed. This is another instance of attacks on free speech on college campuses. Even worse, students openly celebrated the destroyed chalkings on Facebook and Twitter:

The school says they have no policy on the erasing of chalking. Brian Istenes, president of Baldwin Wallace Right-To-Life on campus said, “Someone else posted a link to donate to PP on Facebook, and people loved that, and it got over $200 in donations! Other students were also calling her an MVP.  An MVP for what? Violating my free speech, yeah cause that’s MVP worthy!  This event proves that we still have a lot of work to do when it comes to education! Also after the event, the student body Presidents, sent out an email with the freedom of expression policy and a reminder about it! Do I regret sidewalk chalking, no! Do I wish the outcome was different, yes absolutely. I am not mad people disagreed with what I wrote, I am mad they violated my free speech rights. I don’t care if all 4,000 students on campus hate me, even if I changed the mind of one person, that’s all that matters, and it was worth it!”

This is sadly not the first time this semester that SFLA members have had their chalkings destroyed. In mid-September, pro-life students chalked at George Mason University, a public university, outside of a NARAL conference. Video below shows conference attendees destroying the chalking.

“Censorship is not free speech and no one has a First Amendment right to prevent others from speaking,” said Casey Mattox, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom in response to the George Mason situation. “George Mason University should be protecting the free speech rights of its students and encouraging robust debate, not siding with those who choose to stifle student speech that fully complied with the university’s written policies.”

There are countless more stories. At Northern Kentucky University, vandals erased or rewrote over pro-life messages to either cover them up or turn them into pro-abortion messages.

Just on Monday, people stole 175 crosses from a pro-life and anti-violence display at St. Louis University, a Catholic university.

As Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America wrote in a recent op-ed in Fox News, “Over the last few weeks, the free speech rights of students on college campuses have been violated as peaceful chalk messages from students have been destroyed, flyers pulled down and permits for new pro-life groups and speakers slow walked through the approval process to prevent voices from being heard. If you haven’t heard about the college blockade taking place even this week, perhaps it is because the students whose voices are being forcibly silenced favor life over abortion. And while they may not get the attention that millionaire athletes can garner, their points of view are no less valid.”

Students on every campus, in every state, of all political beliefs, should be free to express their opinions without violent attacks on their free speech rights.

Attacks on free speech at Catholic University

Late Monday night, vandals at St. Louis University, a Catholic university in St. Louis, destroyed a Cemetery of Innocents display. The display was commemorating lives lost to abortion and other types of violence.

“Once again, pro-life free speech has been squelched on an university campus. It was truly an atrocious act to steal crosses from this inclusive event that represent lives lost to abortion, homicide, and those who suffer in poverty in our nation. Students for Life strongly condemns the anti-free speech disease that is plaguing our college campuses. The Students for Life group at St. Louis University was bringing a message of truth, love, and compassion to their campus. The intolerant people who ruined a display about the value of life should feel ashamed. We hope the university will quickly find the perpetrators and replace our students’ crosses,” said Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America.

Reagan Barklage, Western Regional Director said, “It’s very unfortunate that when a pro-life group uses their free speech rights as an approved student group, that their display is not only vandalized, but stolen. This display was a memorial for those lives ended by abortion and other acts of violence, and to see it completely destroyed is not only disrespectful to SLU Students for Life, but also to all of those innocent lives that were taken. I hope that the administration at St. Louis University holds whomever is responsible for this hideous action accountable.”

Brielle Heraty, a member of SLU Students for Life said, the club is “deeply saddened to see our display stolen. However, we wholeheartedly forgive the perpetrators of this act and hope that we can come to a place of common ground, effective dialogue, and pursuit of truth….SLU SFL is mobilizing and we will not allow our voices to be silenced. We will continue to be a voice for life from conception until death, advocating for the most vulnerable among us regardless of age, appearance, ability, or background.”

A report has been filed with the university and the issue is under investigation.

#ShoutYourAdoption: Event-in-a-Box

November is National Adoption Awareness month. This month we want to celebrate the courageous women and men that have chosen life amid confusion, fear, and uncertainty. We celebrate these families that have made it possible for another family to love and provide for a child, who became a dream come true. This month we want to bring #ShoutYourAdoption to our social media platforms to show what the power of choosing adoption has done in the lives of some wonderful families.

Did you know that adoption and foster care are two separate systems? Because of this, we want to bring to light some of the common myths and misunderstandings of foster care that are often portrayed. So here goes our edition of Mythbusters: Children in Foster Care.  

 

Myth: All children in foster care are older, so no one wants them.

Truth: So very untrue. According to an article by ABC news, about 40,000 infants are placed in foster care every year. The average age for a foster child is 10 years old, and about 50% are 10 or older.

Myth: There aren’t enough children in the foster care system that can be adopted.

Truth: SO FALSE…there are currently more than 100,000 children in foster care there are awaiting their forever home. 100,000!

Myth: All children in foster care are adoptable

Truth: Actually, adoption is not the plan for every child in foster care. Some are there because their parents are trying to create a better home life for the children. In 2015, 51% of the children that left the foster care system, left to be reunited with a parent or primary caregiver.

Myth:  Children in the foster care system are “hard to deal with”

Truth: Because children in foster care are “in the system”, they get a reputation of hard to handle, or coming with a lot of baggage. The truth is, you never know what situation these sweet children came from. Some might need a little extra love, but they don’t deserve to be qualified as “bad kids”.

 

Foster care and adoption are two very different systems. It is our goal this month to show how the power of adoption and foster care has been a bright light to families and children. We want to hear success stories of adoption and foster care. Please share pictures and stories on social media and use #ShoutYourAdoption and let’s spread the hope of choosing LIFE using the gift of adoption.

We want to equip you to talk about adoption on campus and to come alongside women on campus that might be struggling with the choice of adoption. Brave Love has put together a wonderful presentation for your group to make this discussion easier.

In the box:

  • Discussion and event outline from Brave Love
    • Video links
    • Discussion questions for group
    • Resources for speakers
  • Adoption Facts Flyer
  • #ShoutYourAdoption handout
  • Adoption Saves Lives Stickers
  • 20 Foster Care Postcards

To order your FREE Event-in-a-Box, contact your Regional Coordinator today! 

If you are a student in Southern CA or AZ, contact Camille Rodriguez.

If you are a student in WA, contact Katie Lodjic.

If you are a student in CO or NM, contact Bethany Janzen.

If you are a student in MI, contact Audrey Nitzel.

If you are a student in MD, PA, DC, or DE, contact Michele Hendrickson.

If you are a student in KY or TN, contact Brenna Lewis.

If you are a student in NE, SD, or KS, contact Savannah Falter.

If you are a student in TX, contact Jillian Ferguson.

If you are a student in NY or NJ, contact Keri Landeche.

If you are a student in NC, SC, GA, or FL, contact Ryan Eyrich.

If you are a student in VT, ME, RI, NH, CT, or MA, contact Abby Young.

If you are a student in VA or WV, contact Lori Cascio.

If you are a student in Northern CA, contact Anna Arend.

If you are a student in OR or ID, contact Nichole Bentz.

If you are a student in OH, contact Morgan Getts.

If you are a student in IN, contact Anna Allgaier.

If you are a student in IA or IL, contact David Cordaro.

If you are a student in MN, contact Maddie Schulte.

If you are a student in MO, contact Reagan Barklage.

If you are a student in a state not listed, contact Brielle Heraty.

Pikes Peak Can’t Stop the #ProLifeGen!

Last spring, a Students for Life group started at Pikes Peak Community College (PPCC) in Colorado Springs.  The club’s first event was a baby shower for a young student mom who had to battle her school in order to have her financial aid reinstated with our help.

However, after this the club struggled because the PPCC administration would not respond to the club about reserving rooms for events. Because of this, the club had to cancel their plans to host our  “We Don’t Need Planned Parenthood Tour” and screening the HUSH Film in the Spring.

This Fall, the new president has faced the same reality. We planned to host the “Stop the Violence Tour” three weeks ago on September 25th. After weeks of not responding, the admin replied within a couple days of the event that the club president had missed the club training so he could not hold events. However, the president hadn’t received emails about this training and the club adviser hadn’t either, although supposedly they had been sent to him.

Nevertheless, the SFL president spent the next two weeks working on setting up a training. No email response. He stopped by the office every day last week, only to be told that the staff in charge was on break, in a meeting, or not in that day.

Monday, October 9th was the last chance for PPCC to host the tour, so, we decided to do so anyway, since we had heard no response from the administration (I also left a message with PPCC about reserving a community permit for the event and didn’t get a response also).

Our plan was to host the event outside, but on Monday, October 9th the Springs received the first snowfall of the season. Since we had tried every way possible to reserve a space, we decided to set up the fall Stop the Violence Tour inside.

During the display, we talked with about 50 students, a student named Savannah changed her mind, and we recruited 16 new club members! After two hours, the administration in charge of student activities magically appeared and told us to take down the display because the club leadership hadn’t gone through training. Apparently, the club president had been taken off the email chain with the club adviser. Lesson learned? If you want the school to finally respond to your questions, set up your pro-life display and they’ll appear soon enough!

CHECK IT OUT: Kristan Hawkins’ free speech op-ed on Fox News

The uproar over Vice President Mike Pence’s decision to leave the Colts-49ers game after some NFL players took a knee during the national anthem again highlights the intense cultural debate over free speech that seems of utmost importance to the media and activists. Yet not all “speech” is treated as equal in coverage and attention.

Over the last few weeks, the free speech rights of students on college campuses have been violated as peaceful chalk messages from students have been destroyed, flyers pulled down and permits for new pro-life groups and speakers slow walked through the approval process to prevent voices from being heard. If you haven’t heard about the college blockade taking place even this week, perhaps it is because the students whose voices are being forcibly silenced favor life over abortion. And while they may not get the attention that millionaire athletes can garner, their points of view are no less valid.

Continue reading on www.foxnews.com —>

Nationwide, Students for Life Calls on Senate To “Do the Right Thing” and Protect Preborn Babies 5 months and older in the womb

Across the country, Students for Life leaders and their members are mobilizing to give the U.S. Senate a literal wake up call. This week, Sen. Lindsay Graham introduced the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which recently passed in the U.S. House. A similar effort failed in the Senate in 2015, and many predict it will be almost impossible to get to the 60 votes needed this time. However, if the Senate can follow in the House’s footsteps, President Donald Trump has pledged to sign the bill, which would limit abortion after 20 weeks (5 months) of pregnancy, when preborn babies can feel pain and at a point in pregnancy when the procedure becomes even more dangerous for women.

Students can reach their U.S. Senator’s office by calling the Senate Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or on-line by following directions at this link.

Students for Life President Kristan Hawkins is calling on the U.S. Senate to keep its pledge on this important piece of legislation. She observed, “With the House, Senate and White House in the hands of a party that has consistently promised to support protecting life late in pregnancy, the time is now to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. We welcome all Senators to protect pre-born life, but if such a commonsense measure can’t be passed, we will put out the welcome mat to primary challengers who can get the job done. This bill has bi-partisan support, as most Americans understand that only an inhumane society callously ends the lives of preborn infants after 5 months of pregnancy, an excruciatingly painful death for the infant and a dangerous, late-term abortion procedure for the mother.”

Students for Life of America just traveled to the states of key Senators who will be held accountable for how preborn babies and their mothers are treated in the law. And we are in the middle of a tour of more than 90 college campuses, educating, activating and mobilizing the Pro-Life Generation about the issues at stake right today, like the need to defund Planned Parenthood and put scarce tax dollars into life saving care, and the need to limit abortion after 5 months of pregnancy, when babies become viable outside the womb. Our message to all officeholders is clear: If you don’t cast your vote to protect life and defund the abortion industry, we won’t cast our votes for you. For years, pro-life students have been told that their ideals could never be realized without control of the White House, Senate and House. With those three in the hands of the GOP, there should be no excuse for failing to deliver on the promises made in the platform. There is no better time than today to protect the preborn.

For more information, you can read an op-ed from Hawkins this week on the Pain-Capable bill titled, “The limit on abortion that women, and most of the country want,” click here.

HHS Secretary Pick: Must be Pro-Life

Pro-life leaders look to President Trump to continue fighting for life with his pending Health and Human Services Secretary choice. Abortion is not healthcare, and those supervising so much of our national healthcare system need to be committed to saving life … not ending it.

Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins called on President Donald Trump to keep his word to pro-life Americans by choosing a pro-life replacement for HHS Secretary Tom Price. “The most loyal of President Trump’s constituency has been his pro-life allies, who supported his campaign and believed his promise to protect American taxpayers from their forced funding of the abortion industry. Media reports that a replacement may not share the President’s pro-life views are disturbing, so we are asking the President and his team to continue to show is his commitment to the pro-life movement by choosing someone who values life – born and preborn – and who understands that overburdened taxpayers deserve real healthcare from legitimate medical professionals – not abortionists.”

SFLA just finished a series of rallies in key states across the country, part of our #Sockit2PP National Tour that will travel to more than 90 college campuses this fall. We are talking to the next generation of pro-life voters about the issues at stake, including the need for key personnel like the HHS Secretary to stand for life. And we’re launching a social media campaign to support a pro-life pick, #prolifehhs, aimed at activating the powerhouse of the pro-life movement – Generation Z and Millennials.

Aslan Brewing and Abortion

A few weeks ago, I was standing outside Aslan Brewing protesting their Planned Parenthood Party with my Students for Life group. At one point a man come up to us and said, “You know none of that is true, right? Planned Parenthood doesn’t sell baby parts. That’s just something pro-life people made up.” He also didn’t think babies are dismembered. Ever. He told me we were living in a fairy tale land if we actually believed that.

This led to a long conversation, and by the end of the conversation, I learned that a lot of people don’t have a clear understanding of what Planned Parenthood does, or what abortion is. A majority of people think they simply provide healthcare for women. The man I was talking to told me that to end a pregnancy, you just take a pill, and walk out no longer pregnant. No side effects, no risks, and no pain. He painted abortion as an easy solution to a small problem. The truth is, abortion is violent, abortion is traumatic, and abortion is heartbreaking. I told him if he actually witnessed an abortion, he would be against it.

There are many different abortions methods. The procedure depends on the stage of pregnancy and size of the fetus. Two-thirds of abortions occur at eight weeks or earlier. Pregnancies terminated before eight weeks are called early term abortions. In the first trimester (1-12 weeks along) there are two different kinds of abortion procedures that are available. Medication abortions, which is the use of what is often called the “abortion pill”, and surgical abortions (vacuum aspiration).

The abortion pill is one of the most common abortion procedures. This form of abortion requires two pills to terminate the pregnancy. A nurse or doctor will give you the first pill, Mifepristone, at the clinic. The first pill blocks your body’s progesterone, which is a hormone necessary for pregnancy. Then, your nurse or doctor will send you home with the second pill, misoprostol, the drug that kills the baby. You use the second drug 6-48 hours later, usually at home. It will cause cramping and bleeding, often described as having a really heavy, crampy period or experiencing an early miscarriage. According to Planned Parenthood, you can get a medical abortion up to 70 days after the first day of your last period. Otherwise they do in-clinic abortions to end the pregnancy.

Surgical abortions, also called in-clinic abortions, are the most common in-clinic abortions. One of the primary surgical abortions used are called machine vacuum aspiration abortions. It is the use of a “gentle” suction to empty uterus. Machine vacuum aspiration involves the use of a thin tube (cannula) that is attached by tubing to a bottle and a pump, which provides a gentle vacuum. The cannula is passed into the uterus, the pump is turned on, and the tissue is removed from the uterus. Surgical abortions are usually used in the second trimester (13-27 weeks along), until about 14-16 weeks after your last period.

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) is another kind of in-clinic abortion procedure. It uses suction and medical tools to empty your uterus. You can get a D&E later in a pregnancy than aspiration abortion. Dilation and Evacuation abortions not only take place in the second trimester, but in the third trimester (28 weeks to birth) as well.

Currently in the United States late term abortions are legal, including through the ninth month of pregnancy. Not only are they legal, but late term abortions are more common than most people think. In 2012, the CDC reported that 1.3 percent of abortions were committed at 21 weeks’ gestation and later.  With nearly one million abortions annually in the U.S., roughly 13,000 children every year are killed in very late-term procedures. There are two primary types of late-term abortions. Dilation and Evacuation and Induction Abortion. Induction Abortion is  a surgical procedure where salt water, urea, or potassium chloride is injected into the amniotic sac; prostaglandins are inserted into the vagina and pitocin is injected intravenously. For late term D&E’s the abortion may involve administration of a lethal injection into the fetal heart in utero to ensure that the fetus is not pulled out alive or with the ability to survive.

Late term abortions are incredibly traumatic, and come with drastic risks such as, infection, sepsis, heavy bleeding, and a Ruptured or Perforated Uterus. Not only do abortions kill the most helpless of people, but they are causing millions of women physical and emotional trauma.

After talking to the man at the protest, I decided to read about various types of abortions so I could better discuss this with future people I meet. I had to stop researching because it made me feel sick, and it broke my heart. People need to know what it happening behind the walls of Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities. We can’t ignore it any longer. Abortion is violent, and if we can shine a light on the truth of it, maybe we can change the minds of people who support it.

Pro-Life Men Start Twitter Campaign to Combat Pro-Abortion Men

On Wednesday, September 27, pro-abortion men started tweeting #menforchoice, to show their support for abortion.

But pro-life men and women were not going to let that happen without a fight.

Here are some of our favorite #menforlife tweets: