Town Hall: Invited in, But Silenced

Bethany Janzen
Rocky Mountain Regional Coordinator

It is 6 pm, outside of a Fort Collins, Colorado bar. A couple pro-life Colorado State University (CSU) students enter to attend State Representative Joann Ginal’s Town Hall on “Sex, Politics, and Conversation.” Several of us gather outside with “I AM THE PRO-LIFE GENERATION” t-shirts and signs.

A moment later, Rep. Ginal introduces herself, mentioning that she’s pro-life too, just sees the issue a little differently and strongly encourages us to join the town hall and engage in the discussion.

Twelve of our team accepted the invitation, leaving six outside to be a pro-life presence.

Inside, it wasn’t quite as welcoming. Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, CO Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Population Connection Action Fund, and a community individual made up the panel. “Being pro-choice is actually more pro-life than being ‘pro-life,’” stated one of the panelists. After listing to the avidly pro-abortion speakers for an hour, we were ready to join the dialogue.

“A couple times during Q and A we were the only ones with our hands raised, [but Rep. Ginal] waited until a pro-abortion person had a question and chose them,” Christina Coffman, Denver Pro-Life Future President shared.

However, one CSU student was allowed to ask a question. Ben Jenkins simply asked for the source of stats that sited during the event. Rep. Ginal didn’t answer his question, brushing it aside as a statement.

After the event closed, we had some good conversations, including one with seven pro-choice university students. They were surprised to hear about the resources and support offered at community health centers and pregnancy resource centers and engaged in meaningful dialogue with us.

“A few abortion supporters came up to me, eager to hear what my questions were,” Coffman stated. Her main question was, “How can Planned Parenthood consider themselves pro-choice, yet be here partnered with the Population Connection (formerly called Zero Population Growth) on the panel, the largest abortion provider partnered with an organization aiming to end reproduction of future generations?”

Meanwhile, outside the event – around 6:50 pm, over halfway through the Town Hall – someone posted “I Stand with PP” and “Pro-Choice” signs, smothering the bar’s outside windows. Why the signs showed up an hour after the Pro-Life Gen did, I’ll let you decide.

Pro-Life Chalkings Targeted

Recently, the Students for Life group at University of Idaho saw its pro-life chalking vandalized on Friday, August 25.

The group chalked pro-life messages on Thursday, August 24, including “Pro-Woman, Pro-Life”, “Abortion hurts women”, and the names of pro-life feminists, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Mary Wollstonecraft. The chalking was at the Commons Plaza on campus; the following day the school had FEMFest scheduled for the plaza, a ‘feminist fair.’

A post on the Women’s Center  Facebook, which organizes the event, states, “Come join us on this commons plaza for Femfest from 11:00-1:00! Learn about 20 awesome organizations that serve women on campus and in our community! We’ve got free popcorn and ice cream sandwiches! You could also enter to win one of the many raffle prizes we’re giving away today!”

While there was not a list of the organizations for this year’s event, a past post from 2012 listed the following organizations: “Women’s Center, LGBTQA Office, Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, Moscow Women’s Giving Circle” and a post from 2013 included more groups, such as “Gay Straight Alliance, UI VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood, Violence Prevention Programs, Women’s Studies Program.”

The vandalization of pro-life chalkings is not new; this week as well University of New Mexico Students for Life were targeted for writing pro-life messages.”

A chalked heart had water dumped on it on campus this week. According to a Facebook post, “This happens almost every time we chalk on campus, even though UNM has a policy against defacing other’s chalk.”

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America strongly condemned the vandalism; “Students being targeted for their pro-life beliefs is becoming increasingly common. University administrators should condemn the vandalism and ensure the free speech rights of all students are protected.”

Symposium: Whole Life v. Pro-Life?

Reprinted from Human Life Review
Written By: Kristan Hawkins

We asked participants to respond to one or more of three questions: 1) Should people who defend the right to life of the unborn and the dying call themselves “whole-life” or “consistent-life” rather than “pro-life”? 2) Does defending the right to life today require particular political commitments? 3) Is the “whole life” movement really a newly fashioned “seamless garment”—Cardinal Bernardin’s “linkage” movement of 1983?—The Editors

Diluting the anti-abortion cause with vague terms like “whole life” threatens our movement’s goal of abolishing abortion. The “pro-life” brand is damaged enough without causing further confusion. In the past 11 years, Students for Life has visited more than 1,600 college campuses and now serves more than 1,200 student groups annually. When we go to a campus to start a new group or help recruit for an existing one, we don’t ask students if they are pro-life or pro-choice because the most common response we get is, “Huh? What does that mean?”

The term “pro-life” has already become almost meaningless for millions of Americans. A survey by the Institute for Pro-Life Advancement found that 53 percent of millennials believe abortion should be illegal in all or most circumstances, with 17 percent saying abortion should never be legal and 36 percent saying it should be legal only in extreme cases. However, only 36 percent of those millennials identified as “pro-life.” Poll after poll of all age groups over the past few years reveal similar gaps between respondents’ opinion on the legality of abortion and their identifying as pro-life.

At the core of what we do is a commitment to ending the greatest human-rights injustice our world has ever seen. Since it was legalized by the Supreme Court in 1973, abortion has taken over 55 million innocent lives. This is a horrific tragedy that rightly deserves a movement dedicated solely to stopping the killing. Respect for the dignity of human life begins with protecting the most defenseless and innocent members of our human family. Winning this argument will have effects that spill over into other debates.

“Whole life” or “consistent life” proponents will argue that merging abortion with other issues like the death penalty, poverty, or nuclear proliferation in one movement is necessary to convince people that we’re really serious about being pro-life. They then demand ideological purity on a whole range of issues that aren’t necessarily connected, an approach that reduces the potential number of people who will join our movement. It is hard enough to get people who agree that abortion should be illegal, no matter the circumstance. By bringing in other issues, we limit our ability to build a winning coalition. We should want as many people as possible to feel they can be part of our movement. We ought to expand the tribe, not limit it.

I believe the best way to do that is by being anti-abortion.

To achieve our mission, we need to be completely focused on it, in the same way any successful business or organization remains focused on its mission and what it does best. By giving in to mission creep and trying to do 100 things well, we won’t do anything well.

Just consider the Women’s March movement that began last January. While it turned into a Planned Parenthood rally in most places, there were marchers holding climate-change signs, Black Lives Matter signs, anti-Israel signs, signs demanding criminal justice reform and LGBTQ rights. The Women’s March has since embraced nearly a dozen causes, which they ask their supporters to take action on. But the movement is ineffective because it’s not focused on one, singular issue.

Choosing to focus my resources on abolishing abortion doesn’t mean I don’t care about other issues. Two of my children were born with a genetic disease; their lifespans depend on having access to the best healthcare in the world. My heart breaks for those trapped by human trafficking and modern slavery. I long for the day when there is no more war. To imply that I am indifferent to these and other challenges, as do those who insist on the “whole life” perspective, is demeaning and insulting. Abortion is enough of an injustice that it deserves its own movement, with strategic goals, concise messaging, innovative tactics, and a focused mission. There should be armies of people working in different movements with different specific missions, but all demanding respect for the dignity of all human life. These movements can work in concert, whenever possible, but should not be combined into one.

The term “whole life” was coined to make being against abortion more palatable to political liberals who would never call themselves “pro-life,” a term they view as Republican, conservative, and Christian. It was an outreach tactic for bringing more liberal-leaning Americans to our movement.

Sadly, those people who identify with the term “whole life” are focusing less on trying to bring new people in from the outside and more on trying to convince those already in the “pro-life” tribe to switch their membership. Instead of expanding our movement, we are dividing it.

We have seen this happen with “whole life” and other modified pro-life terms before. One notable pro-life feminist posted on Facebook during this past election season that it was impossible to be both pro-life and a feminist, and she was choosing feminism over pro-life in how she voted. I can’t tell you how many times—long before the 2016 presidential campaign got underway—I’ve met pro-life Democrats who, at the end of the day, vote for the pro-abortion Democrat over the pro-life Republican candidate, using the “whole life” justification.

The question is: Why do so many feel the need to qualify the pro-life label? Many millennials I’ve spoken with say they add something before or after calling themselves “pro-life” because they are afraid to be associated with our damaged brand. If being “pro-life” were socially acceptable, young people wouldn’t rush to say, for example, “I’m pro-life—but I’m also a feminist.”

At Students for Life, we don’t dance around abortion. We don’t try to deceive people with fluffy language. So we’re using terms like “pro-life” less and less and just getting to the point of exactly what we are: anti-abortion.

Where You Are, We Will Go

Planned Parenthood is doubling-down, using the Trump Presidency to fundraise, training more volunteers, and inserting itself into other political issues, in order to push one message: Planned Parenthood is here to help you with all your needs you could ever have.

But, people are not going to fall for it. Students for Life of America (SFLA) is going to make sure the TRUTH about Planned Parenthood is revealed. Planned Parenthood DOES use your money for abortions. Planned Parenthood DOES exploit women by denying the risks of abortion. Planned Parenthood DOES try to get into grade schools and high schools and insert themselves between child and parent.

SFLA is not going to let them get away with it. Wherever Planned Parenthood tries to infiltrate a school (like Reading), whenever Planned Parenthood tries to deny the truth about abortion, whenever Planned Parenthood plans to hold rallies to push its agenda, we will be there. No matter where, no matter when, we will stand up and fight the extreme agenda of Planned Parenthood.

When Planned Parenthood wanted to literally get an office in a high school, we showed up, we told them no, and we spoke the truth: “Planned Parenthoods across the country have failed inspections, failed to report criminal activity (e.g. statutory rape), and failed our communities. The Allentown Medical Center (a center within the Planned Parenthood Keystone network) is a prime example. This center failed inspections 3 years in a row due to use of dirty medical instruments, improper disposal of aborted baby body parts, and failure to evaluate patients prior to administering anesthesia.”

We will not back down to Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood’s Volunteer Army

Following last year’s election, in which they spent over $30 million in their unsuccessful effort to elect Hillary Clinton, Planned Parenthood decided that they needed to revamp the way they promote abortion and the destruction of the preborn. Nearly nine months later, they have decided on a plan of action. Earlier this month, it was announced that Planned Parenthood was planning to build a ‘volunteer army’ of 600 community organizing teams spread across the country. Planned Parenthood bragged that since the election they have reached 226,000 volunteers and nearly 1 million supporters, and that with this ‘army’ they would be making sure that their voices were heard.

While Planned Parenthood is making a huge deal over their plan to have a ‘volunteer army’ of 600 community teams, Students for Life serves over 1,000 student-led groups, training over 11,000 students each year conducting nearly 600 trainings annually.  Each year, an average of a half million pro-life volunteers descend on Washington DC for March for Life, while still thousands more rally at other ‘sister’ rallies across the country. A pro-abortion columnist for the Washington Post estimated that over half of the Marchers are under the age of 30.

Surveys have shown that over 53% of millennials believe that abortion should be illegal in all or most circumstances. What’s worse for them is that not only are the majority millennials pro-life, but, even according to NARAL and EMILY’s List, pro-life millennials are more likely to be passionate about their beliefs than pro-abortion millennials. These passionate pro-life millennials are more inclined to be engaged on social media and ready to stand up for the preborn.

So while Planned Parenthood is planning on doubling down on their pro-abortion policies with this ‘volunteer army’, pro-life organizations like Students for Life will continue to educate, train, and support our thousands of grassroots, student-led groups that are fighting for the lives of the preborn.

Indifference Kills

By Morgan Getts, SFLA’s Ohio Regional Coordinator

“The opposite of love is not hatred, but indifference.” – Elie Wiesel

Indifference.  It is easy to do, it seems safe, and I am not going to lie, it is tempting. As human beings, we love to have a good time and enjoy ourselves.

Naturally, we tend to steer clear of anything that makes us feel discomfort. Most of us don’t want to upset anyone, we just want everyone to like us, and we hate feeling uncomfortable.

Elie Wiesel asked the question, “What is indifference?” He found that, “Etymologically, the word means ‘no difference.’ A strange and unnatural state in which the lines blur between light and darkness, dusk and dawn, crime and punishment, cruelty and compassion, good and evil.” Indifference conveys the idea that you don’t think it is an important enough issue to say or do something. It is simply unimportant.

Not too long ago I would have told you indifference is necessary at times. To practice, it simply means to keep one’s sanity and to live a normal life. It is so much easier to look away from those in need. It is so much easier to avoid confrontations, discussions, and questions that make you feel uncomfortable. It is so much easier to be indifferent. I. Was. Wrong.

I recently spent Sunday afternoon helping the Ohio State University’s Pro-Life Club at their Involvement Fair. During my time there, I had a few conversations with students who were challenging our pro-life stance. It was quite refreshing, and I enjoyed engaging with students who were willing to ask us the “hard questions.”

However, when we asked students if they were interested in joining the pro-life club, most of them said things like this: “No, it’s not my problem,” “No, it’s not my body,” “No, I’ll remain neutral,” or my favorite, “No, I am personally pro-life, but I think others have the right to their body.” To me, these responses come from a place of indifference. The last one is my favorite because that is something I would have said not too long ago. Saying you are pro-life, but then not doing anything about it, is simply cheating the system. It is a selfish answer that you give to protect yourself from any backfire that might occur from you stating what you believe.  It says, “I believe it is wrong to have an abortion, but I am not going to do anything about it.”

And to those who think, “It’s not my problem,” or “It’s not my body,” sure it is not directly impacting you, but it could at some point. It is the problem/body of your friends, your family, your peers that you sit next to in class every day. Just because you don’t experience the issue personally, does not mean it isn’t something you should speak up for or against. Become educated, learn more about the pro-life stance… DO SOMETHING.

The last answer we received on a regular basis was, “No, I’ll remain neutral.” Neutrality or indifference is always the friend of the enemy. The voiceless need people willing to step up to be their voice. If we aren’t the voice for the voiceless, who will be?

I know how tempting it is to be indifferent. To get caught up in our own lives. Busy with classes, sports, and hanging out with friends, to simply ignore the outside world or the struggles of our peers because they inconvenience our lives. But I urge you to take a stand, ask questions, and challenge each other’s views.

We do not have time for indifference. We are better than indifference. There are so many evils to fight against, we can’t be content being indifferent. Maybe you don’t have time to join the pro-life club, that’s fine. But at least be willing to do some research and speak up about what you believe and why.

Will it be uncomfortable? Yes. Will it be worth it? Absolutely.

READING HIGH SCHOOL VICTORY!

After months of heated debate, the board members of Reading School District struck down the proposed “Health Resource Center” last night in a close 5-4 vote.

In theory, supporting a Health Resource Center sounds like a worthy cause, especially in a low-income area like inner-city Reading.  Unfortunately, the organization recommended to facilitate the program would be none other than Planned Parenthood.  This center was proposed by AccessMatters in May 2017, and it would have been facilitated by Planned Parenthood’s regional office, Planned Parenthood Keystone.  A Planned Parenthood counselor would have been able operate from within the school, giving Planned Parenthood direct access to their target clientele (i.e. young, vulnerable students). While parents could have been given the option to “opt out” of the controversial program (which included condom distribution), thousands of Reading students would be exposed to Planned Parenthood’s agenda.

THOSE IN FAVOR?

Board member Robin Costenbader-Jacobson shared that she was in favor of the center because of what she saw as benefits for the students, “What about the students — the human beings, the individuals that would gain knowledge?”

Yes!  We care about our young people!  Yes!  Our students deserve access to healthy and safe education about their bodies- which is why we would never want to refer students to unsanitary, untrustworthy centers.

Planned Parenthoods across the country have failed inspectionsfailed to report criminal activity (e.g. statutory rape), and failed our communities. The Allentown Medical Center (a center within the Planned Parenthood Keystone network) is a prime example. This center failed inspections 3 years in a row due to use of dirty medical instruments, improper disposal of aborted baby body parts, and failure to evaluate patients prior to administering anesthesia.

Manuel Gauzman, a school board member in favor of the center, explained, “I believe it is our moral responsibility as a school board to give access to this information. Put the politics aside. … This is about providing pathways out of poverty.”

We agree – politics should be set aside.  Planned Parenthood, however, is our nation’s leader in abortion politics, spending millions on elections (e.g. $30+ million in 2016 elections, including $1.3 million in PA in ads against Pat Toomey) and lobbying efforts for extreme abortion policies.  Planned Parenthood also has a long track record of aggressively fighting against legislation that protects parent involvement in their children’s health decisions (e.g. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky federal lawsuit in 2017).

Keyara Hunt, Berks Teens Matter Ambassador, spoke during the public comments and spent several minutes talking with us outside after the vote.  She attends the I-LEAD Charter school that already has this program. “I know that Berks county has three times the national rate in teen pregnancies.  A Health Resource Center could provide better education and information on how to be abstinent, use birth control methods, and how to communicate with a trusted adult on their health.”

We are so thankful that Keyara is aware of the issues that affect her generation.  Sadly, Planned Parenthood is not helping in this area.  Planned Parenthood perpetuates the myth that passing out condoms and birth control will lower teen pregnancy and STDs, when in fact abortion and pregnancy rates decrease among teenagers when communities reduce spending on and expansion of contraception, condom distribution, and sex-ed programs:

Let’s also remember, Planned Parenthood has already been operating in Reading PA for decades.  In fact, Planned Parenthood has been offering birth control services in Reading since 1927 (through Reading’s Community General Hospital), and they have been offering first trimester abortions at the Reading Medical Center since 1998. Which makes us wonder, If Planned Parenthood’s services are so critical to reducing poverty and decreasing teen pregnancy, then why does Berks County continue on this path? The answer is certainly not more of the same.

THOSE OPPOSED?

Community members lined the streets for hours waving to cars and holding signs saying Vote NO to Planned Parenthood in RSD.

America Franco, a concerned parent, said, “I am not supportive of Planned Parenthood in our school!”

Inside the meeting, more concerned parents and students gave their testimony.  Nilda Nieves pleaded with the board to “raise the standard and believe in our youth.”

Stephanie Sanchez is a senior this year at Reading, and she explained, “My peers at RHS are worth more than just giving up and providing them all with condoms hoping it’ll make things better. They are worth fighting for and that’s what I’m trying to do. I as a student, a resident, and a friend to many at RHS, beg you not to allow planned parenthood into my school. That is not the legacy I want to leave.”

DECEPTIVE TACTICS 

Hours before the meeting, members from both sides crowded together to stake their spots.  Among the confusion, sign-holding, spot-saving, chanting, and rallying, people on both sides started some interesting conversations.  It was no shock to our team that those supporting Planned Parenthood were terribly misinformed.

A woman holding an AccessMatters Sign commented to me, “This is not about abortion. It’s about our kids having access to good health education.”

I assured her that I too want “good” health education, but “Planned Parenthood is the last place to find it.  Plus, the Keystone Center who is sending their counselor is dangerous for our kids.  They have continually failed their health inspections.”

She bluntly said, “Oh, there’s no way. I don’t believe that at all.”

Having read the report myself a few times, I asked, “Since we’re both standing here anyway, would you mind if I showed you the report?” to which she replied, “Sure, go for it.”

When I pulled up the report from the Pennsylvania Department of Health listing several years of failed inspections, with the most recent being April 2017, she was shocked.  She admitted that she had no idea Planned Parenthood was guilty of repeat health code violations.

Shortly thereafter, another woman from their side realized that she had been misinformed as well.  Elda, who only spoke Spanish, explained that she was approached at a Spanish Counsel in the city where it was explained to her that the group she would be supporting was not supportive of abortion.  Thankfully, Elda was able to communicate with an interpreter on our side, Maggie Sweet from Silent No More, who explained what AccessMatters and Planned Parenthood truly represented.  Elda was so upset, she returned her protest materials right back to the box and joined our side!

WHAT’S NEXT?

  1. Please consider sending a sincere THANK YOU card or email to the following Board Members who bravely voted no: Brian Buerke, Bernardo Carbajal, Jean Kelleher, Julio Martinez, and Eddie Moran.
  2. Send a heartfelt and respectful note of disappointment and correction to these board members who voted yes: Abraham Cepeda, Robin Costenbader-Jacobson,  Manny Guzman, and David McCoy.
  3. Continue to show your support on this issue!  Audrey Ross, spokeswoman for AccessMatters, claimed that their proposal could reappear on the board’s agenda later for another vote.  Sign and share the petition HERE: http://prolifeamerica.org/readingschools2017/.  We will continue to send in your comments and concerns to board members since we know Planned Parenthood will not give up this easily.

 

LOCAL ALTERNATIVES

Access to affordable, safe healthcare and family support services is important for every community. We encourage Reading families to explore unbiased, comprehensive healthcare alternatives to Planned Parenthood, like your local federally qualified health center (Berks Community Health Center). For life-affirming, free pregnancy and parenting support, check out your local pregnancy support organizations (LifeLine of Berks County and Mercy Community Crisis Pregnancy Center).

Berks Community Health Center
838 Penn Street, Reading, PA 19602
Phone: (610) 988-4838
Sliding Fee Program: http://www.berkschc.net/images/Media/Sliding_Fee_Discount_Program_Application_COMPLETE_March_2015.pdf
Women’s Health Services: http://berkschc.net/index.php/services/women-s-health
Prenatal Care: http://berkschc.net/index.php/services/prenatal-care
Free pregnancy testing is available at all of our health center locations.

“There is no need to make an appointment, and you don’t have to be a BCHC patient. You may simply walk in and request a free pregnancy test at the front desk and our staff will take care of you.”

Lifeline of Berks County
Phone: (610) 374-8545
612 Reading Avenue, West Reading, PA 19611
Free Services: Pregnancy Tests, Options Support, Emergency Material Aid, Maternity Clothes, Parenting Support and Preparation, Referrals (community, medical, housing, drug and alcohol counseling, etc), Breastfeeding Support, Insurance Information

Mercy Community Crisis Pregnancy Center
105 S. 5th Street, Reading PA 19602
Phone: 610-376-0828
Free Services: Pregnancy Tests, Options Support, Material Aid, Peer Counseling, Referrals for Social Services, STI Information, Emergency Material Support, Parenting Education

Planned Parenthood Supporter Claims Abortion Reduced Black Crime

Planned Parenthood Supporter Claims Abortion Reduced Black Crime

Bethany Janzen, Rocky Mountain Regional Coordinator

On Saturday, August 19th, a middle-aged white man who supports Planned Parenthood confronted a minority member of the Students for Life protestors with racist remarks.

Ten pro-life high school, college, and young professionals stood peacefully outside of Dona Laurita Art and Photography which is hosting a Planned Parenthood fundraiser in Louisville, Colorado. But many Planned Parenthood supporters did not respond in a similarly respectful demeanor.

One of these was a middle-aged white man who stopped with his family, inquiring why Kimberly, a minority graduate of a local university was holding a “We Don’t Need Planned Parenthood” sign. Kimberly explained that Planned Parenthood does abortions which end an innocent human life. His response? Abortion is good because the crime rate has lowered since the 60’s due to a reduction in black crime.

Confused, Kimberly told him that about 66% of black children are aborted. The man responded this is why the crime rate went down.

“I asked him if less black people meant less crime and he said that’s exactly what he meant,” Kimberly stated.

As a minority herself, Kimberly realized that this man is racist and close-minded. Personally feeling the affront on people minorities, she had to walk away from the conversation.

This man’s racist view that abortion is good because it reduces the African American population is not isolated. On campus and in the community, we often hear Planned Parenthood supporters state that abortion is needed “for poor black women.”

As our nation reels in unrest from last week’s events in Charlottesville, it is important that we recognize the racism that many abortion supporters possess.

Deconstructing the Concept: Eradicating Down Syndrome in Iceland

By Brenna Lewis, SFLA Appalachain Regional Coordinator

If you’ve been online recently, you’ve probably seen some of the huge uproar following a CBS story about Iceland’s Down Syndrome abortion rates. One would think, based on the victorious tone of CBS and other progressive news outlets, that Iceland had somehow found a cure or way to prevent the chromosome disorder in utero. So, has Iceland “virtually eliminated” Down Syndrome? Not quite.

Instead, they eliminate almost 100% of people with the condition.

The government mandates that pregnant women be offered a prenatal test that screens for chromosome abnormalities. Majority of women choose to take the test, and almost all mothers who receive test results that could indicate Down Syndrome choose abortion (despite the fact that the test is about 85% accurate). As a result, an average or two or three babies are born with Down Syndrome in Iceland each year. That’s it. Let’s examine some of the finer points from our pals at CBS:

  • “[…] few countries have come as close to eradicating Down syndrome births as Iceland.”

Contained within the first sentence of the article we have our first red flag. Firstly, this is a congratulatory statement, as if Iceland is winning a race we’re all running. Secondly, there’s quite a conflict of interests coming from a party who claim to champion minority rights, yet are excited about the termination of a minority. They tread a thin line by terming it “eradicating births.” We know this to mean aborting a child before it is born, whereas many readers will gloss over that point as if no child had been conceived in the first place.

  • “Many people born with Down syndrome can live full, healthy lives, with an average lifespan of around 60 years. Other countries aren’t lagging too far behind in Down syndrome termination rates.”

This part almost seems like a joke, as if the author couldn’t see how ridiculous these statements are right next to each other. “These people are valuable. Here are the other countries doing a great job at eliminating them.” Perhaps the only way to defend abortion anymore is to not listen to what you’re saying.

  • “Iceland has on average just one or two children born with Down syndrome per year, sometimes after their parents received inaccurate test results […] “Some of them were low risk in our screening test, so we didn’t find them in our screening.”

This reads ice-cold. The first part points out the stark reality of how few babies with Down Syndrome make it to birth, which is tragic in and of itself. The second part suggests that these babies were only born because they slipped through the test, and that their parents would have otherwise chosen abortion. Anyone who doesn’t believe this isn’t a targeted hunt ought to be a bit more convinced by the doctor’s phrasing: “we didn’t find them.”

  • Helga Sol Olafsdottir counsels women who have a pregnancy with a chromosomal abnormality. They speak to her when deciding whether to continue or end their pregnancies. Olafsdottir tells women who are wrestling with the decision or feelings of guilt: “This is your life — you have the right to choose how your life will look like.”

My body, my choice, right? Medical professionals have a heightened obligation to provide women with the entire truth because they are so heavily trusted by their patients. As the expert, this counselor holds so much power over the lives of these children. That women feel guilty making this decision entitles them to at least an unbiased opinion.

  • “We don’t look at abortion as a murder. We look at it as a thing that we ended. We ended a possible life that may have had a huge complication… preventing suffering for the child and for the family. And I think that is more right than seeing it as a murder — that’s so black and white. Life isn’t black and white. Life is grey.”

Abortion sounds so pretty when it’s packaged as a merciful act. First the humanity is removed by calling it a “possible life.” Next, there’s a faux assurance that it’s preventing suffering for everyone involved. A novel could be written about everything that is wrong with this, but the simplest issues are the lack of dignity and the airy assumptions. Referring to babies who were terminated because they have Down Syndrome as “a thing that we ended” is cold, indifferent, and dangerous. That person only “may” have had a “huge complication,” and this was enough reason to end his/her life? And what is this “more right” business? Are right and wrong on a spectrum as well now?

Advocates for the rights of the disabled, pro-life advocates, and honestly just society in general should be horrified by this. Deciding that someone should be allowed to be killed by virtue of their age (i.e. typical abortions) is bad enough, but the increasing trends in sex-selective and fetal abnormality abortions make it blatantly clear that we’re headed towards a eugenicist’s utopia. Each step we take leads farther down the slippery slope until nobody’s life seems valuable. People with Down Syndrome are some of the kindest, most loving individuals on this earth. That any society would seek to wipe them out is unimaginable.

Wrap Up of the 2017 Christian Leadership Summit

Students for Life of America recently held its fourth annual Christian Leadership Summit in Jacksonville, Florida.  Students at the event had the opportunity to hear speakers on a variety of important topics, such as leadership, pushing back against apathetic students and hostile school administrations, and being pregnant on campus.

Jay Watts from the Life Training Institute presented on apologetics. Also, Maddi Runkles presented on being pregnant on a Christian campus. This past Spring, SFLA helped Maddi in her battle with her school over its handling of her pregnancy. SFLA President Kristan Hawkins gave an interesting talk as well about the history of the pro-life movement.

“Christian students face surprising pushback from their administration over starting pro-life clubs. Many times administrators are reluctant to address the realities of teen pregnancy while balancing it with codes of conduct. As we saw with Maddi Runkles this past Spring, there needs to be a conversation about balancing the promotion of a code of conduct with how to handle pregnancy by teenage students” said Hawkins.

Anna Allgaier, Indiana Regional Coordinator and the Christian Leadership Mentor for SFLA, said “Our Christian Leadership Summit is an opportunity to strategize, share experiences, and network with Christian leaders from across the country to help improve outreach, and engage administration on their respective campuses.”

Students also benefit from the ability to network with other student leaders on Christian campuses. Christian campuses can pose unique issues that public college students do not face,  such as unreceptive administrators and distinct campus cultures. In fact, leaders of pro-life clubs at religious schools are regularly obstructed in their work.