Students for Life of America (SFLA) was pleased to honor Senator and Mrs. Rick Santorum with the 2013 William Wilberforce Leadership Award at the 6th annual SFLA Summer Social on July 25th.
Sen. Santorum gave a particularly passionate and inspirational speech that can be watched below:
“Karen and I are both deeply committed to life at every stage, and are grateful that Students for Life of America has chosen us for this award,” said Rick Santorum. “The Declaration of Independence states that we are endowed by our Creator ‘with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’ Life is first for a reason. Because without life, no other rights matter. We believe that every life has value and every life must be protected.”
“The lives of Sen. and Mrs. Santorum exemplify what it means to be pro-life, in word and deed. Sen. Santorum was a pro-life leader in Congress for over a decade and, with his wife Karen, set an amazing example of the sanctity of human life with the love they showed their son Gabriel, who was born and passed at 20 weeks, and their daughter Bella, who was born with Trisomy 18 and is now a beautiful 5 year old,” said SFLA President Kristan Hawkins.
“From the political to the personal, the Santorums are tireless advocates for Life, never wavering from their pro-life commitment to honoring each and every human life. I couldn’t think of a more deserving couple for the 2013 William Wilberforce Leadership Award. It is a joy to recognize such exemplary pro-life leaders who are at the forefront, just like Wilberforce himself, of the modern-day abolitionist movement.”
The Wilberforce Leadership Award is named for the British social justice and human rights activist, William Wilberforce, who led the fight to abolish the slave trade and was successful in helping to end slavery in Great Britain. SFLA awards two pro-life leaders each year who, like Wilberforce, are working to create and uphold laws that will eventually abolish the greatest human rights threat our nation faces, abortion.
A native of Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum was a candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in 2012. Prior to running for President, Rick served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 to 1995, and in the U.S. Senate from 1995 to 2007. He wrote and championed legislation that outlawed the heinous Partial Birth Abortion procedure as well as the “Born Alive Infants Protection Act,” the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act,” and the “Combating Autism Act” because he believes each and every individual has value and the most vulnerable in our society need to be protected.
In June, 2012 Rick and his wife of 23 years, Karen, launched Patriot Voices, a grassroots and online community of Americans committed to promoting faith, family, freedom and opportunity. Rick and Karen are the parents of seven wonderful children. Their youngest daughter, Isabella, was born with a condition called Trisomy 18, and wasn’t expected to survive her first birthday. Beating all the odds, Bella celebrated her 5th birthday in May of 2013 and is a joyful and loving little girl. Bella’s miraculous life has only strengthened Rick and Karen’s belief in the dignity of each of every life.
By Kathryn Jean Lopez
Reposted from The National Review Online
Last night during the debate, the president, in arguing for Planned Parenthood’s continued federal funding, claimed that there are “millions” of women who rely on it for mammograms, in one of three mentions of the abortion giant. Planned Parenthood does not perform mammograms, a point the Students for Life for America immediately made in a graphic put together for social-media educational purposes. Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life, talks with me about mammograms, Planned Parenthood, and the election.
KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: Why does it matter if Planned Parenthood does mammograms or not?
KRISTAN HAWKINS: Women don’t go to Planned Parenthood for breast-cancer screenings. They go to Planned Parenthood for birth control and abortions. Planned Parenthood is the abortion Goliath of our nation.
Planned Parenthood tries to divert attention from the fact that they are the nation’s largest abortion provider by pointing to other medical services they provide, like STD testing, and some they don’t even provide, like mammograms, to explain why U.S. taxpayers should give them over $487,000,000 a year. Starting as early as elementary and middle school, Planned Parenthood’s objective is to establish trust with young people so that when they become sexually active, they turn to their business “to take care of” an unplanned pregnancy.
LOPEZ: Planned Parenthood does abortions, but not exclusively. Go ahead and “Gotcha!” the president on mammograms, but what about the other services they provide?
HAWKINS: Planned Parenthood turned 96 yesterday, and they proudly celebrated their roots back to the first birth-control clinic that their founder, Margaret Sanger, established in New York City. Planned Parenthood’s objective then and now is the same: population reduction. Planned Parenthood does not offer services for those women who want to conceive or who are already pregnant. I’ve been into multiple Planned Parenthoods while visibly pregnant, and they had zero resources for me. They couldn’t even give me names of local OB/GYNs I could see, but I did walk out of every Planned Parenthood facility with a referral sheet for where to obtain an abortion and how much cash I would need.
Last night, the president furthered the lie that Planned Parenthood attempted to tell the American taxpayers – that Planned Parenthood does mammograms. They don’t. As for the other services they provide, there are more than 7,000 federally qualified, taxpayer-supported health clinics across the nation that do the same thing — without providing abortions.
LOPEZ: Shouldn’t students be a little more compassionate and cognizant of the health-care needs of women?
HAWKINS: Of course we recognize the medical needs that women, especially women in low-income families, have. However, we don’t believe that those needs ever necessitate killing a preborn child. Abortion is not health care.
Currently, SFLA works with over 700 active pro-life student groups across the nation. Our Pregnant on Campus initiative was designed to help Students for Life groups promote local medical and material resources in their community. There has never been a case where students referred women to Planned Parenthood because they offered something that no one else did.
LOPEZ: Why do Students for Life hate single women like Sandra Fluke?
HAWKINS: We don’t hate single women, far from it actually. A majority of those whom we work with are single women. However, we don’t believe U.S. taxpayers should be forced to pay for someone’s birth control. Science has proven that some types of morning-after pills can cause abortions, and we don’t believe the U.S. government should ever put pro-lifers, those of conscience and faith, in a position where we are being forced to pay for procedures and drugs we morally oppose.
LOPEZ: What is Students for Life doing to get voters ready to vote?
HAWKINS: Our goal is to work with pro-lifers across the nation to reach more than 300,000 households with the Vote Pro-Life First message before November 6, and we are well on our way to doing that.
Students for Life of America has been engaged since January in this initiative. Our goal is to empower pro-lifers across the nation, regardless of their age, political affiliation, or religion, to vote on November 6 and encourage other pro-lifers to do the same. After releasing a study about this generation of 18- to 24-year-olds in June, SFLA has been directly educating young pro-lifers about the importance of always voting pro-life, in every race — from local school-board member to president of the United States. In September, we organized ourI Vote Pro-Life First campus tour and have signed up dozens of Students for Life groups and young people to volunteer with 501(c)(4) advocacy organizations to knock on doors, call voters, and pass out candidate-comparison information.
We believe, now more than ever, that our generation and movement must stand up and show our nation that the pro-life vote matters. We are paying attention and will continue to do so after November 6.
LOPEZ: What are you hearing on campuses?
HAWKINS: We don’t see a lot of excitement for either candidate running for the U.S. presidency. However, the closer we get to the election, that will change. Pro-life students haven’t been excited about Mitt Romney’s candidacy, but they do understand that President Obama has been an abortion advocate as president. We haven’t spoken to any pro-life student who believes President Obama has helped the preborn or advanced our cause. I think on Election Day the percentage of under-30 voters will be below the 2008 level.
LOPEZ: What would you hope every voter would consider this cycle?
HAWKINS: I would like to ask people to consider abortion first when voting for any candidate, of any office. If you believe that abortion kills a child, a human being, it should be at the top of your list when considering a candidate. If a candidate doesn’t stand for the very right to life in its earliest and most vulnerable stage, how can you trust them on other important issues?
Ask yourself: Could you vote for a candidate who believes that owning others as slaves should be a legal choice? Or would that candidate’s extreme “pro-choice” view on slavery, cause you to question his judgment, his worldview, on every other issue?
If you believe as we do, I would encourage you to sign up to be a get-out-the-pro-life-vote volunteer. We will send you all you need to do to impact this election.
Abolishing abortion isn’t going to happen overnight, and there are many steps we must take to get there. Politics isn’t going to be the final resting ground for the abortion war. It’s going to happen in everyone’s town – when the abortion facility down the street closes and those within your church and community start rising up to take care of those mothers and fathers desperately in need of help. It’s going to happen when no woman feels like she has no other choice than to kill her child.
However, what will it take for us to get to that point? Can we abolish abortion simply by telling folks abortion is wrong, i.e. educating more Americans and providing and promoting more abortion alternatives? What about the abortion industry, the supply of abortion, i.e. the number of abortion facilities; the amount of taxpayer money the abortion Goliath, Planned Parenthood, receives; the money Planned Parenthood receives to go into our taxpayer-funded schools where they tell students that abortion is a healthy procedure and that asking parents for help is an out-dated notion?
Sadly, today, many in our society wrongly equate morality with legality. And even more sad is the fact that some women, even after being educated about abortion and offered every possible resource needed, still choose abortion.
Thus, ending all demand for abortion means we are going to have to make abortion, once again, illegal. And making it illegal means we will have to elect pro-life leaders who can appoint pro-life justices and pass pro-life laws.
We will have to engage in the political system.
I know that many of our movement’s victories have been slow, way too slow, and I’m not happy about that either. But lives have been saved. Every time an abortion facility shuts down, a mother hears the heartbeat of her child and decides against the abortion, one Planned Parenthood affiliate is kicked out of a school system, and a mother is told she can’t abort her 23 week old baby who can now feel pain – babies are saved. Not at the pace we expect or want, but they are saved. And they were saved through laws and grassroots, pro-life activists, like you and I, who elected pro-life officials and held their “feet to the fire” after they were elected.
My post today isn’t meant to be a great philosophical piece of today’s time. It’s a realistic piece written from one abortion abolitionist, mother, wife, and non-profit leader.
Let me clarify here: I’m not getting paid to stump for a particular candidate. My organization isn’t rich; you can check out my bank statements or look online to see how much debt I’m in, if you really want.
I spend 3 days a week away from the 3 most wonderful human beings on this planet: my sons, Gunner and Bear, and husband, Jonathan, to travel the nation speaking to adults and students about why they should care about abolishing abortion. Gunner, my 3 year old baby boy, has cystic fibrosis, a deadly genetic disease, which makes me realize that everyday he has on this earth is precious. To the outsider looking in to my life, I’m a pretty crazy woman. Some have even snidely remarked that I’m not a good mother and wife because of my “career” choice.
But I make this sacrifice, and yes, every moment away from my family is a sacrifice, because I want to abolish abortion in my lifetime.
I do it because I love doing what God has called me to do – this mission of abolishing abortion.
How is that for some street cred? I hope by now I have convinced you that I’m not an evil, Washington, D.C. special interest firm looking just for votes for one candidate.
But I do have to admit one thing to you: I am a lobbyist. Today, I’m writing to you to lobby for the preborn and their moms.
Recently, there has been some chatter on college campuses and in pro-life circles about why pro-lifers should care about the elections coming up on November 6th.
There’s even been some online banter from anti-abortion folks who have said you can’t be a “real” abortion abolitionist if you vote in the Presidential election.
I think this is dangerous talk, which divides and takes away momentum from everyone’s goal of abolishing abortion in our lifetime. Because whether or not we agree on strategy, we all agree on our goal: ending all abortions.
Let me be clear: There will never be a perfect candidate running for any office. As a Christian, I know this because Jesus Christ isn’t running for office.
And we are all sinners. Therefore, all candidates are sinners, just like us.
And just so you know, the guy I really wanted to be elected President, didn’t even run.
However, those Americans who oppose abortion and want to see it ended in our lifetime must vote on November 6th, and we must vote pro-life first.
What do I mean about “voting pro-life first?” I mean that before we check that box we must consider the candidates who are running and decide which will be the most likely to help our movement achieve our goal of abolishing all abortions.
Ask yourself: Which candidate, regardless of his party affiliation, religion, etc, will help us take the first step in ending all abortions in our nation?
Will I vote for the person who has voted against giving medical care to babies born alive during an abortion; has increased the amount of money going to the largest abortion Goliath in our nation, Planned Parenthood, by 30%; has appointed 2 ardent pro-abortion Supreme Court justices; and has stripped freedom of religion and conscience away from the Catholic Church and pro-life, secular employers like myself and has told us all to shove it?
Or will I vote for the person who has pledged to defund Planned Parenthood (a move that will undoubtably save lives), appoint only Supreme Court justices that are in favor of reversing Roe and Doe, reverse the hideous HHS Mandate, and stop taxpayer funding international funding of abortion?
Now, I can’t guarantee what either candidate will really do if elected President, and I know that just because a candidate promises something, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. And I also know that once a candidate who declares himself or herself pro-life and wins, should never be left alone.
We should always be asking and expecting for more.
However, can I morally justify not voting in this election for President? Nope, I can’t. And the Catholic Church (check out Evangelium Vitae) and leaders of the Protestant churches have said the same. Priest for Life’s political responsibility site sums it up best: “The role of citizens and elected officials is to promote intrinsic moral values as much as possible today while continuing to work toward better candidates, laws, and programs in the future.”
Too much is at stake. Too much has been done these past 4 years that I can’t ignore and just hope.
God gave us this awesome gift: America. He placed us in what I believe to be the best nation in the world, a nation where real change is possible. And He’s called each and everyone of us not to segregate ourselves from our neighbors, co-workers, and the rest of our countrymen but to engage and to be His light.
In this election on November 6th and in every election, until all abortions are ended, lives are at stake.
And I hope you will join me in voting pro-life first this November. Sign up at www.ivoteprolifefirst.com to be a Get out the Pro-Life Vote Volunteer to make calls to other pro-lifers encouraging them to get out and vote. The deal couldn’t be any sweeter: help save babies and get a cool t-shirt that you can use to promote our abolitionist message.
3,300 precious preborn babies were thrown in the trash today. I will not do the same thing with my vote. I will vote for them.
A letter by SFLA Executive Director, Kristan Hawkins
Today marks the beginning of the end of religious and conscience rights in America.
As of today, employers, just like myself, will be forced to make a false choice between providing a vital service to their employees and violating their consciences and values.
No matter what your faith or view of abortion may be, the HHS Abortion Pill Mandate is an egregious attack upon the rights of all people of values and faith in America.
Today, the religious liberties of all Americans have been thrown in the trash. And it’s the same trash can where the 3,300 precious babies that will be legally aborted today will be thrown.
While the courts have given a momentary reprieve to one family business in Colorado, today, all other businesses that employ more than 25 employees across America have been given the false choice of abandoning their conscience or religious beliefs or being taxed and fined out of business. And the clock has started ticking for Houses of Worships and other religious institutions to apply for an exemption before their deadline on August 1, 2013. Unfortunately, the requirements are so narrow that many who will apply will be not be exempt. Even Mother Theresa’s Order, the Missionaries of Charity, will not qualify for an exemption.
How many times have you heard news pundits and policy experts talk about how abortion and other social issues aren’t important when it comes to elections and the happenings here in Washington, D.C.?
Yet, time and time again, here we are – when abortion has become a fundamental issue and division line for our nation.
Friends, polls show that the majority of Americans are now pro-life and understand the importance of religious liberty and conscience rights.
And we know that HHS Abortion Pill Mandate isn’t about equality for women, and those of use who oppose it aren’t waging a war on women.
We are waging a war for the soul of our nation, for the very beliefs that this nation was founded upon.
Congressman Jeff Fortenberry has proposed the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. If passed, this simple piece of legislation will stop the HHS Abortion-Pill Mandate and any other mandates like it “dead in its tracks.”
Congress is leaving Washington this Friday for their August recess and will be returning to their districts until Labor Day. Because it’s an election year, I guarantee you that your Members of Congress will be out and about during this month of August campaigning for job in Washington.
Today, please take 3 minutes and click the above image to personally email your Members of Congress and tell them to pass the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act.Then tomorrow, please work on these important action steps:
Call your House of Representatives Member and Senators’ District Offices (You can find their phone numbers at House.gov and Senate.gov) and ask if there will be any town hall meetings or public events you can attend.
Attend an event this August and encourage them to support the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act.
If they are already supporting the legislation, thank them immediately and ask them to ask House and Senate leadership to allow it to come to the “floor” for a vote.
If they are not supporting the legislation, ask them why and share your concerns.
If there are no events you can attend, ask for a meeting with your House of Representatives Member and Senators and organize a group to join you.
And don’t be afraid to email me personally if you have any questions during this process!
America was built on the idea of preserving and protecting our deeply-held beliefs. We must not comply with this direct affront to our liberty. Please take a stand today and let your Members of Congress know that you will not stand for this injustice!
Tuesday evening, SFLA’s Summer Social in Washington D.C. gave pro-life advocates the chance to gather and connect with each other, demonstrating that D.C. is not devoid of an active and growing pro-life community. Pro-lifers of all ages and backgrounds attended and were able to hear speakers Congressman Trent Franks, Kellyanne Conway, Founder and President of the polling company™, inc./WomanTrend, and Kristan Hawkins, Executive Director of SFLA.
Congressman Franks, after receiving the 2012 William Wilberforce award, made it clear that it is very possible to be a candidate who is staunchly pro-life and be electable. In fact, the tide has shifted so much that now it can be more favorable to be a pro-life candidate than one who chooses to remain on the fence.
Kellyanne Conway presented some highlights from the recent SFLA commissioned poll on 18-24 year olds, saying that while a cursory glance of the poll could lead pro-life advocates to be discouraged, the results are actually very encouraging for our side. For example, only 9% of those polled said they believe abortion should be allowed for anyone, for any reason, any time – the same position that our current President holds. This shows that if young people are shown Obama’s position, they will be less likely to vote for a President who wants abortions to be legal 100% of the time.
Kristan Hawkins closed out the event, showing how vital the work of Students for Life of America is to our current culture. While many devalue the impact young people can have on the political or cultural fronts, it is SFLA’s mission to show exactly the kind of impact young people can have. SFLA has over 700 active campus groups across America, while Planned Parenthood boasts a measly 200 groups, many of which are not even active. This is just one fact that shows how the tide is turning, and should encourage the pro-life community that the momentum is on our side!
By: Kristan Hawkins, Executive Director, Students for Life of Americ
The power of words and formulating arguments is an extremely powerful and precise science. While pro-life advocates are careful to use words that accurately represent terms that surround abortion, Planned Parenthood is careful to craft their language and arguments in a way that will subtly manipulate the issue and cause confusion.
In one section entitled, “Talking Points,” Planned Parenthood’s goal is clear: push feelings of empathy for the woman in order to diminish the sting of abortion. They want their representatives to “evoke empathy, emphasize personal decision making, and accept ambivalence” when speaking about abortion. The most shocking bullet point on this page is when Planned Parenthood suggests that in order to win a person over to the pro-choice side your job is to make the other person feel relief that they didn’t have to have an abortion. These talking points blatantly prove that they understand abortion is not liked; a fact SFLA recently documented in our nationwide poll, showing that the plurality of 18-24 year olds view abortion as a “bad thing.”
In another section entitled, “Tips for Fielding Tough Questions”, Planned Parenthood of NYC opens by stating, “The secret to fielding tough questions is to stick to your worldview! After all, questions are simply opportunities for you to get your message out.” Or more straight forwardly interpreted: “Don’t really answer questions, just give them enough so that you can tell them how wonderful Planned Parenthood is.” Their suggested response to the question, “Why are you a baby killer?” is “I’m proud to work for Planned Parenthood. We’re a nationwide healthcare provider…” In a basic high school philosophy class, Planned Parenthood would have learned that they have just committed a logical fallacy of answering a challenge with an irrelevant conclusion. But this guide is not concerned about logic, it’s about ensuring that Planned Parenthood advocates are emotional and argument manipulators.
The good news is that we know we are winning because Planned Parenthood blatantly admits it must use emotion over fact and logical fallacies to make their case. However, we know more must be done and as pro-life advocates we must work to make sure Planned Parenthood does not succeed in steering the public eye away from the issue of abortion. And don’t be afraid to call Planned Parenthood what it really is: an abortion Goliath, manipulator of women, criminal (http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/former-planned-parenthood-employee-sues-abortion-giant-over-medicaid-fraud), and a baby killer.
This past weekend thousands of pro-life advocates spoke out across the country against the forced funding of birth control through the HHS mandate. Students for Life of America stood with hundreds of fellow advocates for life at the Rally for Religious Freedom in Washington D.C. on June 8, 2012. Speakers such as Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life, Michelle Bachmann, David Bereit of 40 Days for Life, and many others voiced their opposition to the HHS mandate which would force non-profits and churches to pay for birth control for their employees.
By: Kristan Hawkins, Executive Director of Students for Life of America
The “Gattaca” test is almost here. When I say “Gattaca” I’m referring to the 1997 movie starring Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman. In the film, according to IMDB, “A genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel.”
Of course, I am not concerned with space travel but I am concerned with genetics and genetic testing. Here’s why: News outlets reported this week that researchers have successfully genetically mapped a 18-week unborn child by taking a blood sample from the mother and a saliva sample by the father. Scientists are predicting that soon widespread use of prenatal genetic testing will make such tests a routine procedure in doctor’s offices, resulting in the identification of 3,500 potential genetic “faults” in an unborn child.
I have a child who has a genetic “fault” – as these scientists would classify it, and he is the light of my life. Gunner is a happy and rambunctious three-year-old with cystic fibrosis. Through all of his doctor appointments and tests, he is patient and kind and loving and is an incredible example to myself and anyone who gets to know him.
Mapping the entire genetic code of their unborn child will allow parents not only know the sex, eye color, hair color of their baby but also their child’s likelihood to develop certain cancers and diseases and whether or not the child possesses genetic disabilities.
While the hopes of those advocating prenatal testing see this as a bright spot for mankind’s future, those of us whose lives have been touched by someone with one of these genetic “faults” see it as another form of discrimination and extermination.
If abortion clinics will kill an unborn baby simply because it’s a girl, as Live Action has so pointedly uncovered in recent weeks, what will stop them from making money off of aborting children with genetic faults?
Already today in our society, OB/GYNs fearful of “wrongful birth” lawsuits push at each visit for a pregnant mother to obtain all of the prenatal tests currently available – for trisomy’s (Down syndrome, trisomy 18, trisomy 13) and cystic fibrosis. Then, if a test is positive, abortion is advised as the only option – in medical schools, students are being taught that abortion is the ethical option in these cases.
Look no farther than the statistics — 90% of unborn children who test positive for Down syndrome or cystic fibrosis are aborted.
With this new genetic test giving parents and society the ability to map the genetic code of their unborn baby, it is no doubt that abortions will rise. Scared mothers and fathers will be told that aborting their baby is the compassionate choice and that you can always try again if you didn’t want a girl with red hair, freckles, and a higher than normal chance of developing breast cancer. The justifications for these genetically-discriminatory abortions will be limitless.
And then will come our “Gattaca”-style society where people will be judged not by the makeup of their character, but by the composition of their genetic code, one that was mapped prior to birth.
And what will our world lose, what will mankind lose? Millions of unique individuals all of whom could have contributed to our society but were never given the chance.
Think of every person lost to cancer or who suffers from an incurable genetic disease – would it have been better off had they not been born at all?
My son, Gunner has already changed the world – he’s touched the lives of those who have met him and made me a better human being.
His genetic “fault” makes him a better person than I will ever be because of the sacrifice and responsibility that will be required of him every day to defeat his disease and continue to move forward with his normal life. His cystic fibrosis will never trump his character — the core of who he is — his love, compassion, intellect, creativity, and joy.