ella Causes Abortions
As more Americans are becoming uncomfortable with abortion, the abortion debate has begun to shift and so have the tactics and methods of the abortion industry. In the Summer of 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was debating the approval of a new drug, ella, which was mislabeled as a drug to prevent pregnancy. The drug sponsor touted ella’s ability to delay ovulation, but Dr. Jeffrey Bay, an FDA pharmacologist, admitted that ellacan also prohibit embryos from implanting in the uterus as it contains virtually the same chemicals as the abortion drug RU-486. Realizing that if the FDA approved this drug as an “emergency contraceptive” it would skirt federal laws against funding abortions and mislead women into chemically aborting their children, SFLA decided to raise our voices.
Working with the Family Research Council, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists, 40 Days for Life, Concerned Women for America, Americans United for Life, Human Life Alliance, Life Issues Institute,LifeNews.com, and Life Coalition International, SFLA issued a letter to the FDA asking them to not approve ella and launched an informational website and petition: ellaCausesAbortions.com. We then released an educational video, special fliers to post on campus explaining how the drug worked, and held a webcast where pro-life leaders and medical specialists weighed in on this issue. While the FDA went on to approve the drug, SFLA’s educational efforts have not stopped and students have continued to use our resources to shed light on the abortifacient nature of ella.
When President Obama nominated Elena Kagan, a radically pro-abortion nominee, for U.S. Supreme Court Justice in June of 2010, SFLA immediately sprang into action. Overnight we erected a website, IOpposeKagan.com, to collect signatures for a petition opposing her nomination. LifeNews.com co-sponsored and promoted the petition. In a matter of weeks, the voice of pro-lifers was heard as Students for Life of America’s Missionaries for Life handdelivered over 8,000 “I Oppose Kagan” petitions to all 100 Senators on Capitol Hill. While we lost the battle against her nomination, the impact of our efforts was felt, as we unified the pro-life community on the issue and helped lead the opposition voice to our nation’s leaders.
In July of 2010, two students, Joe Holland and David Avignone, were arrested while praying in front of a ChicagoPlanned Parenthood abortion facility.Both Joe and David were charged with violating the unconstitutional Chicago“Bubble Zone” ordinance, for praying too close to the facility. After hearing of the unlawful arrest, SFLA spread the news about this injustice through our Action Alert system. We emailed and text messaged our students encouraging them to stand up for freedom of speech and religion. In partnership with Students for Life of Illinois, we directed people to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s offices to voice their outrage. Within hours we shut down their phone lines! Additionally, we set up the website ArrestedForPraying.com, where we encouraged people to sign a petition to drop the charges against these students. A month after their arrest, all charges against Joe and David were dropped!
No Abortion in Healthcare
In August of 2010, Students for Life of America (SFLA) was informed that the University of North Carolina (UNC) System had a new mandate on health care coverage for the 2010-2011 school year. The UNC System required its students to have health care and if they did not have their own insurance they automatically enrolled them in a plan that covered elective abortions. SFLA also discovered that taxpayer funds could be partially covering student abortions in North Carolina through federal grants.SFLA launched NoAbortionInHealthcare.com to raise awareness about this issue and to apply pressure to Hannah Gage, the Chairman of the North Carolina Board of Governors, and demand that she reverse the abortion mandate. As a result of SFLA’s efforts, UNC offered an “opt-out” for students not wanting their health care plan to cover abortions. Following the discoveries at UNC, SFLA researched the 200 largest universities in the United States to see how similar their plans were to UNC’s plan. SFLA found that out of the 200 schools researched, 86 or 44.3% of the 194 schools who offer school-sponsored health care plans cover elective abortions. (To see the full study go to NoAbortionInHealthcare.com.)
Working with members of the U.S. Congress, SFLA alerted the Department of Education and inquired as to whether any federal laws were being broken. SFLA is continuing to investigate this issue with the help of members of Congress and student groups.
National Pro-Life Youth Rally
Every year at the annual pro-life march in Washington D.C., hundreds of thousands of young people gather to mark the anniversary of (Roe v. Wade.) Realizing that for some of these young people this was the only pro-life event they participated in each year, SFLA decided to challenge them to do more. Partnering with 40 Days for Life, Human LifeAlliance, and Rock for Life, SFLA launched a website NationalProLifeYouthRally.com and registered students to attend this first-ever National Pro-Life Youth Rally, immediately following the national march. The rally featured Christian rock group, Barlow Girl, and speakers who offered motivation and practical ideas to defend life in one’s own community. Speakers included Abby Johnson, former Director of Planned Parenthood; David Bereit, 40 Days for Life; Kristan Hawkins, Students for Life of America; Erik Whittington, Rock For Life; Lila Rose, Live Action, and Ryan Bomberger, Radiance Foundation. Over 1,200 students preregistered for this event, and SFLA distributed 5,000 Action Kits full of great ideas and practical tools for young people to use in the defense of Life long after the pro-life march!
National Pro-Life Chalk Day
Working with the same coalition from the National Pro-Life Youth Rally, SFLA organized the National Pro-Life Chalk Day as the first pro-life action students could take after returning from the (Roe v. Wade) anniversary march. SFLA provided two pieces of chalk in each Action Kit with an instruction postcard full of recommended Life affirming phrases for students to chalk on the sidewalks at their schools. More instructions and tips were included onNationalProLifeChalkDay.com. With 5,000 Action Kits distributed, we know that Thursday, February 3, 2011was a day that thousands across the nation engaged their campuses with chalked pro-life message potentially saving thousands of lives.
Students for Life International Webcast
Over the years, SFLA has had many international students contact us asking for training and resources. This very real cry for help from students across the globe moved SFLA in March 2011 to connect these students with the resources available from SFLA, Human Life Alliance, Human Life International, Stand True, 40 Days for Life, and Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust.Through a free webcast, the goal of this coalition was to help international students improve their pro-life outreach through free resources, guides, and an exchange of ideas. A recording of this webcast is available at StudentsforLifeInternational.com.
Expose Planned Parenthood
In January of 2011 when Live Action released videos exposing Planned Parenthood workers aiding underage sex traffickers, SFLA immediately took action to promote these videos out to students and supporters. Working with Lila Rose, former SFLA intern and current President of Live Action, and Brett Swearingen of Renewal Forum, SFLA organized an urgent strategy call/webcast to discuss how students can end trafficking and expose Planned Parenthood on campus. After the webcast, the SFLA team and student groups joined in the “Vigil for Victims” with 40 Days for Life calling for peaceful prayer vigils outside of Planned Parenthoods across the nation on Valentine’s Day. Less than a month after launching our campaign, the U.S. House of Representatives, for the 1st time ever, voted to federally defund the nation’s largest abortion chain, Planned Parenthood. However, SFLA knew that in order to havevictory we needed to force the Senate to hear our voice and defund Planned Parenthood as well. SFLA helped to launch a re-designed website ExposePlannedParenthood.com and work in coalition with 37 national and statewide pro-life groups like the Susan B. Anthony List, Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, 40 Days for Life, Live Action, and several state Right to Life groups. Together with the coalition, SFLA launched a contact Congress campaign and collected signers for a letter to House Speaker Boehner – telling him that defunding Planned Parenthood was non-negotiable.
A social media campaign followed, which included asking people to change their Facebook profile picture to the Expose Planned Parenthood logo and donate their Facebook status to a Status 365 application – which daily posted reasons why Planned Parenthood must be defunded. As part of this campaign, a “Tell Congress” video contest was launched asking students to submit YouTube videos telling Congress why they should defund Planned Parenthood.
In the end, it was only a partial victory for the pro-life movement as a deal was struck in March between leaders in the House and Senate to avoid a government shutdown. While the deal did not include defunding Planned Parenthood, it did force the pro-abortion leaders in the U.S. Senate and President Obama to accept the pro-life Dornan Amendment, which prevents tax-payer funding of abortions in the District of Columbia. SFLA continues to raise the issue of defunding Planned Parenthood, and we have seen our efforts raise significant awareness and stir the heart and minds of many. This issue will continue to be a pivotal one at the state and federal levels, and SFLA will continue to provide a platform for students’ to press on – until Planned Parenthood is defunded.