Dear Jon

By: Kristan Hawkins, President

It’s been almost 3 years since Students for Life of America team members Kortney Blythe Gordon, her pre-born daughter Sophie, and Jon Scharfenberger were killed by a drunk driver. Today on what would have been Jon’s 25th birthday, our team at Students for Life has written a letter to Jon on the progress students across the United States are making with his Pregnant on Campus Initiative.

Dear Jon,

When you died, we were devastated. We had lost our teammate and friend, and we considered letting your Pregnant on Campus Initiative go. We no longer had a leader nor the time to fundraise the money we needed. And I had to deal with the painful fact that I asked you to join our team and take this leadership position. That I had recruited you to a position that placed you on that road to be hit by that drunk driver.

But I decided I couldn’t do that to your legacy, that your work was much too important. That you were too important to us.

And today, almost 3 years later, I want you to know that your legacy carries on, that your work to transform college campuses and support pregnant and parenting students has continued and is thriving.

Over the past 3 years, the Pregnant on Campus Initiative has grown from 46 to over 100 participating groups. Your program is now impacting students in 35 states and the District of Columbia. Participating student groups have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for scholarships for their peers and for local pregnancy resource centers. They have offered pregnancy tests and babysitting services. They have challenged their administrations to offer more pregnancy resources, to remove discriminatory pregnancy policies, and to consider new family-friendly housing plans. They have collected tens of thousands of diapers, hundreds of baby clothes, and many other essential items to aid families in need.

Jon, these students are changing this nation. Let me tell you about some of the great projects that groups have accomplished because of you:

  •  Bama Students for Life raised the bar for your initiative. The students table regularly with resources and pregnancy tests. They created a unique Pregnant on Campus website for their school complete with two videos and a Pregnant and Parenting Resource Guide. They transformed their campus and the Tuscaloosa community with their efforts to increase resources and to improve abortion clinic outreach. They even challenged a fellow student group, Auburn Students for Life, in a competitive diaper drive which resulted in nearly 4,000 supplies for their local pregnancy resource centers.
  • University of New Mexico Students for Life tables every week with resources, and they are active outreach at the late-term abortion facility their university supports. In addition to regular campus educational outreach events, this group confidently speaks out against their university’s ties to the abortion industry and the health center’s avid support of abortion. Moreover, they are actively involved in their local pregnancy resource center.
  • In the last year, Mississippi State Students for Life raised thousands of dollars to support the new pregnancy resource center in Starkville. These students are largely responsible for its opening, and they have been instrumental in its operation with their continued financial support.
  • Boston University Students for Life successfully lobbied to get their completed Pregnant and Parenting Resource Guide on the school website. They also created a new group website which features this guide as well as other helpful resources for their peers.
  • Notre Dame Right to Life, Ball State Students for Life, Xavier Students for Life, and SCSU for Life offered free babysitting services for their peers.
  • William and Mary Students for Life and Students for Life at Virginia Tech have both started student-run pregnancy helplines to offer 24/7 peer-to-peer support.
  • UMiami Respect Life has expanded their outreach to include a Maternal Aid Committee. In the past year, they created a Facebook page and a website for UMiami Pregnancy which features resources and information for peers facing an unplanned pregnancy.
  • St. Louis University Students for Life continue to fundraise for the Virginia D. Murphy Endowment, which offers over $10,000 in scholarships to pregnant and parenting students each year.

And in the past year, these groups have saved over 38 lives that they know about.

Jon, these courageous student groups are changing our nation because you established a program that inspired them to do so.  Because of the transformational role you played on our team and in the student, pro-life movement.

You accomplished something in your short life that most will never be able to compare. And the candles of truth and hope that you lit, continue to burn, now even brighter.

We love and miss you,

Kristan, Tina, and the SFLA team

Pro-Life Display Vandalized at University of Miami

Last night, a pro-life display at the University of Miami was vandalized by fellow students. With graduation nearing, UM Respect Life created graduation cap cut outs to show students just how many 2014 graduates are missing because of abortion. They set up the graduation caps along a prominent sidewalk on campus along with signs explaining their meaning.

However, this display was too much for some students to take. They called the pro-life students sexist and told them they were just there to make women who feel guilty about their abortions, even taking their complaints to the university president.

Then, this morning, UM Respect Life found pieces of their display in the trash. Someone had gone along and ripped up all the signs, throwing them in a nearby trash bin.

“It makes me sad that someone took the immature route and vandalized our display instead of contacting us to have a peaceful discussion. But this act of vandalism has a bright side; it has showed us that our display is getting people’s attention and making them think,” said Adriana Lopez, President of UM Respect Life.

The graduation caps have been out all week and will continue to be up through Friday. Adriana and the rest of the pro-life group quickly re-made the signs and are putting them right back up, with extra vigilance to ensure they are not damaged again.

Today’s assault comes just one week after a similar display was vandalized at the University of Washington. There, our Students for Human Life group put up red flags to remember those babies killed by abortion and found them in the trash after class let out.

These incidents continue the string of assaults on pro-life students by students and administrators on campuses who are afraid of the pro-life message getting out.

“Abortion activists would rather shut down conversation than allow the truth of the pro-life position be heard on campus. They know that when students hear this message, hearts and minds will be changed. And sadly, we know some of these hostile students are post-abortive and are turning to this behavior because they need others to see abortion as ‘okay’ in order for them to be ‘okay’ with their abortion. Students for Life groups are often the only voice on campus telling her that abortion isn’t the way out, that there are options and people who care,” said Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America.

The Time I Sat Next to an Abortionist

By: Brendan O’Morchoe, National Director of Field Operations

When you are working or volunteering in the pro-life movement day in and day out, we can
easily get consumed by the big picture and lose sight of what is happening every day in the nation’s abortion mills. Working in the pro-life movement can sometimes make us too immune to the killing. We worry about money, politics, and metrics and we get bummed by our lack of sleep and time away from family. carhart

But then you sit next to a late term abortionist…

Last Saturday, I was boarding a flight coming home to Virginia from Omaha, Nebraska. I had been in Kearney, speaking to students and local pro-life leaders and activists about creating a Culture of Life in their community and how we are all called to the pro-life movement. Oddly enough, a lot of people asked me that weekend how I keep up the schedule and the travel and where I get my passion and energy. It is the moments like what happened on my flight Saturday night, confronted by evil, that keep me going.

When I sat down and looked across the aisle, I saw none other than notorious late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart, on his way to kill late-term babies at his facility in Germantown, MD. I was face-to-face with a man who has killed thousands upon thousands of babies with his own hands, who is responsible for the deaths of at least two women and who has so callously defended his business. And I had no idea what to do.

What do you really say to someone like that? How can you reach him?

I wasn’t sitting close enough to have a conversation with him (the aisle and a woman I assumed to be his wife were between us, but we were in the same row) and felt he would shut me down right away anyway. I knew I couldn’t sit that close to a man who represented so much evil. My entire body was shaking uncontrollably.

So, I asked to be moved up a couple rows where I couldn’t see him, but he could still hear me and I prayed out loud for his conversion and an end to abortion for the next two hours. When we landed, I waited for him to walk past and called his name. He looked me right in the eye and I said, “LeRoy, we’re all praying for you.” He mumbled something incomprehensible and stalked off, but I knew I had got to him.

I’m not the first pro-lifer to confront Carhart and hopefully I won’t be the last. Just as with any dialogue or conversation with an abortion-rights supporter, each of us is only responsible for planting or watering the seed, hoping and praying that it will one day bear fruit. We must continue to courageously reach out to those participating in the evil of abortion.

We might not know the impact that our actions will have and we might not see all the lives we affect. But we cannot forget what abortion is and what abortion does. We cannot forget that real lives and souls are at stake every day in our communities. We cannot let fear or intimidation stop us from acting. And we cannot rest until abortion is abolished from our nation.

SFLA’s 1st Christian Leadership Summit

christiansummitLeading a pro-life group at a Christian college comes with its own unique challenges. From unreceptive administrators to distinct campus cultures, leaders of pro-life clubs at these schools are regularly obstructed in their pro-life work. We’ve seen this trend across the country and realized that the hardest place to start a pro-life club is on a Christian campus. And that’s often where we see the most hostility from administrators.

Most schools would rather ignore the controversy than prepare their students for confronting it. They would rather pretend that everyone on their campus is pro-life and that students are not getting pregnant. However, we know that students at Christian schools are not just getting pregnant, but are having abortions, partly because their schools do not support them in choosing Life for their children.

This summer, from August 23-25, Students for Life of America is hosting our first ever Christian Leadership Summit for leaders of pro-life student groups at Christian colleges in Los Angeles, CA. We will be meeting to devise strategies, share experiences and network leaders to help you improve your outreach at your college. The summit is a unique opportunity to work one-on-one with other leaders from across the country to solve the problems you’re facing.

The summit is invite-only, so contact Brendan O’Morchoe at Brendan@studentsforlife.org for application details. Travel subsidies are available for a limited number of students. Food and lodging will be provided.

Now is your time to take a stand on your campus. Christian schools have a mission to protect the innocent and vulnerable and to prepare their students to confront and defeat the evils of this world. Christian schools should be the pro-life movement’s strongest base of support. As a student leader, you can make that happen at your school. Join us at the Christian Leadership Summit August 23-25 in Los Angeles to be part of the revolution.

BREAKING: Pro-life Cemetery of the Innocents Torn down – thrown in the trash

This morning, Wednesday April 16th, a pro-life “Cemetery of the Innocents” was torn down and thrown in the trash at the University of Washington. Although the event was approved at the very last minute by the school administration, students set-up the flags in their approved, high-traffic area to memorialize the victims of abortion. The pro-life group on campus, “Students for Human Life” hosted the display.
uw

After leaving the display for a brief period of time the students came back to the whole display completely missing – most flags and other display materials thrown in the trash can.

Instead of giving up, the students went through the trash can, salvaged what they could and put up the display as soon as possible.

uw1

Although the perpetrators of this crime have yet to be identified, the group will go on with their display and turning in a report to the campus police.

JHU Voice for Choice Bakes for Abortion

JHU Voice for ChoiceLast Spring, the student government at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) refused to approve the new pro-life group on campus,  JHU Voice for Life. Student government members were “concerned” about letting a group like Voice for Life, which wanted to educate students about abortion and reach out to women facing unplanned pregnancies. The student government members even got nasty, with one comparing pro-life students to a white supremicist group.

It’s been a year now, and JHU Voice for Life is standing strong on their campus, engaging in respectful discussions about abortion and reaching out to those most vulnerable in Baltimore. They even won our Students for Life of America 2014 New Group of the Year award this January. However, the pro-abortion group that launched to counter Voice for Life has taken a different direction…seeing how far outside the mainstream they can go. Last Spring, SFLA reported that members of Voice for Choice went topless on campus for their inaugural event, “Tits at Twelve,” wearing only electric tape to cover themselves. (See here.)

JHU Penis CakeNow, they’ve done it again.  On April 4th, JHU Voice for Choice hosted a bake sale to raise money for the DC Abortion Fund. Yep, they sold yummy cookies and cupcakes to Johns Hopkins students in an effort to make sure thousands of babies in D.C. never had the chance to try them. In case you felt that men might have been overlooked in this effort– never fear! There was a delightful cake sold in the shape of male genitalia that could also be purchased to support abortion access.

JHU Voice for Choice- Bake saleThankfully, the group only collected $110 for the DC Abortion Fund, unlike the thousands of dollars Students for Life groups collect when they raise support for local pregnancy resource centers. JHU Voice for Choice claims to be an advocate for women on campus. However, they are only choosing to degrade women by funding abortions, which harm women physically and emotionally.

May Event-in-a-Box

Stand Up

Over the past few months, many of you have been challenged to overcome controversy and persevere through discrimination. You have been asked to engage and participate while also working hard as a student. While there are many times when we are pressured to give up, our determination to abolish abortion remains strong.

Being an abortion abolitionist is no easy task. You are asked to sacrifice time, energy, and even relationships. You are placed in uncomfortable situations. Your pro-life message is questioned and criticized, and at times, your resolve is tested. But, here’s the good news– we are winning!

Thanks to your courageous efforts, we have witnessed many amazing victories this year. Here are some of the highlights:

As we come to the end of our school year, we ask that you end your year with at least 1 more victory! Request this month’s Event-in-a-Box, and join us in celebrating the achievements of the pro-life movement as we continue to move forward in changing culture. 

Request a box

*FREE boxes are provided to active pro-life students and student groups only.*

 

Questions? Comments? Email Missy (High School) or Beth (College) about your Event-in-a-Box concerns.

Apply for the 2014 Wilberforce Fellowship!

Are you a leader or officer in your campus pro-life group? Do you aspire to work in the pro-life movement full-time? Do you want to be mentored by a national pro-life leader?wilberforcefellows

If you answered “Yes” to all of these questions, then you should consider applying for the SFLA Wilberforce Leadership Fellowship!

What Students are Saying

“The Wilberforce Fellowship is a great opportunity to experience what is going on in our Movement. It provides an excellent “behind-the-scenes” look at the effort that many good-willed people are putting forth in an attempt to achieve justice for preborn children. You will have the opportunity to influence and be influenced by people of all ages, while focusing on the improvement of your leadership skills. I am thankful for my Wilberforce experience, and suggest that justice-seeking students seriously consider applying for it. ”  - Shea Hasenauer, 2010-2011 SFLA Wilberforce Leadership Fellow

The Mission

The mission of the Students for Life of America Wilberforce Leadership Fellowship is to raise up the next generation of pro-life leaders. We want to train student pro-life activists to be leaders on campus (and beyond) and to network those student leaders with their counterparts in the national pro-life movement to help further develop their skills. Simply put, the SFLA Wilberforce Leadership Fellowship is the training you need for a career in the pro-life movement!

What to Expect

During the 2014-2015 school year, Wilberforce Fellows will be…

  • Learning what it takes to be a leader by reviewing various books and publications and participating in bi-weekly webcasts for discussion and guest speaker lectures
  • Applying the skills they learn to their campus pro-life groups by organizing at least 2 activism/educational events and 1 training event
  • Assisting Students for Life of America in its mission of equipping the pro-life generation
  • Working with their National Wilberforce Mentor (a leader of an existing national pro-life organization) who will help network them with the national pro-life movement and assist in completion on their Fellowship Projects

The Wilberforce Leadership Fellowship will consume a couple of hours a week. At this time, no financial stipends are available.

The Kick-Off

On July 18-20, 2014, all SFLA Wilberforce Leadership Fellows will be flown to Washington, D.C. for the kick-off weekend training retreat including day-long training with representatives from the Leadership Training Institute. Flights, housing, and meals in the D.C. area will be covered by SFLA.

Who is Eligible to Apply

  • Any undergraduate, graduate, law, or med students may apply
  • Must be a current leader in a pro-life organization
  • Must be interested in pursuing a full-time career in the pro-life movement

Apply NOW

Download the SFLA Wilberforce-2014-ApplicationAll applications are due by April 30th. Interviews will be scheduled shortly thereafter. Selections will be made by May 17th. Please email your application to Brendan at bomorchoe@studentsforlife.org 

Lameduck: WV Gov Vetoes Fetal Pain Bill

Last night, the Governor of West Virginia vetoed a bill that would ban abortions after babies have been scientifically proven to feel pain. The previously declared “pro-life” Governor waited until the West Virginia legislative session ended to make it almost impossible to reverse his cowardly act.

CowardKristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, commented on this outrage, “Governor Tomblin’s veto of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act was a cowardly and outrageous act, which will allow hideous late-term abortions to continue in my home state of West Virginia. By vetoing this bill, the Governor as placed himself in the extreme minority, aligning his abortion views with those of President Barack Obama and Democratic National Committee. The majority of Americans and West Virginians stand against this extremist position…this human rights abuse of dismembering and killing babies who are capable of feeling extreme pain.

This bill has passed in 10 other states and even the U.S. House of Representatives – none of which considered the bill to be unconstitutional, as the Governor claimed. I believe this was the plan of the Democratic Leadership in West Virginia all along, to allow the bill to pass so their vulnerable Democrat members could vote pro-life before an important election and then have lame-duck Governor veto the bill. That’s not leadership.”

Students for Life of America is asking pro-lifers to call the Governor’s office at 1-888-438-2731 and remind him where the majority of Americans stand on this human rights issue. Plans are being made for a grassroots event in Charleston, the capitol of West Virginia, this week. Stay tuned for details!

Read the back story of the veto here.

“Abortion is a Gift from God”

Just this week Students for Life of America was on the University of Michigan campus with our “What Has Roe Done For Us?” display, educating and dialoging with students about how abortion exploits and harms women, only to find out that the university is apparently endorsing a different message to their students.

The University is currently sponsoring a pro-abortion display,“4000 Years of Choice”, which declares “Abortion as a Blessing” and a “gift from God,” directly countering to the truth put forth in SFLA’s Roe display which tells the stories of women like Jennifer Morbelli, Karnamaya Mongar, Tonya Reaves, and Marla Cardamone who were killed through legal abortion.  Further, the display declares that “Personhood for zygotes cruelly subverts the very idea of a culture of life and potentially criminalizes every pregnant woman.” Read Lifesitenews.com’s piece about the display.

Kristan Hawkins, Students for Life of America’s President, remarked, “Abortion is never safe for women, legal or illegal, and for the University of Michigan to have the audacity to use taxpayer dollars and a taxpayer-funded building to push forth an agenda and human rights violation that the majority of Americans oppose is disgusting.”

Just to be certain that the display was in fact publicly funded through taxpayer dollars, Tina Whittington, SFLA’s Executive Vice President, called the university’s Institute for Research on Women and Gender (IRWG) the host and co-sponsor of this display along with the UM’s Program for Sexual Rights and Reproductive Justice, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design.  After talking to Debra M. Schwartz, Senior Public Relations Representative for the IRWG, it was discovered that the University of Michigan paid $1,000 to have artist, Heather Ault, come onto campus to give a lecture, as a part of that lecture the artist let them display her “art display,” “4000 Years of Choice”, free of charge.  On the phone Debra said, “Contrary to what they are saying this display is not about pro-choice or even pro-abortion.  This is about the history of women learning to control their reproductive system.  Heather is trying to get past the hanger and the idea of back alley dirty abortions and celebrate the ways women, and men for that matter, can control their reproductive system through birth control and even by aborting a fetus.”  While Heather Ault is trying to portray herself as an abortion historian, the truth is that she is radical, abortion activist, and the University of Michigan has funded this message through taxpayer money.

Take a look at her “art” below and decide for yourself whether or not her display is not pro-abortion:

Source: http://bit.ly/1gKn5kW

Source: http://bit.ly/1gKn5kW

Why is the University of Michigan using taxpayer funds that declare that “Abortion is a gift from God?” Do they support this message? SFLA is calling for the University of Michigan to take down this display, to return the taxpayers money, and to ensure that only private money is used for displays and projects like these.  It is an outrage for the university to endorse this anti-human rights message that “abortion is a gift from God” and that it is “a blessing.”

Source: http://on.fb.me/1jE6H7E

Source: http://on.fb.me/1jE6H7E

Join us in this call to action by calling Mary Sue Coleman, President of UM at (734) 764-6270 or by emailing her at presoff@umich.edu and demanding that she sees that this display is taken down, that all taxpayer money is returned for this event and display, and that never again will UM align themselves so closely with abortion as to allow public funds to be invested in a flagrant agenda to support and promote abortion.