UNM SFL Demands School Stop Fetal Tissue Harvesting

By Bethany Janzen, SFLA Rocky Mountain Regional Coordinator

The University of New Mexico Students for Life group was the first group to host a rally demanding their school stop engaging in fetal tissue harvesting – and that the criminal referrals to the New Mexico Attorney General from the Select Panel on Infant Lives in the House of Representatives be immediately carried out.

At noon we were all set up outside of the Student Union Building on campus and started the rally.

I emceed the event which included David Rodriguez – president of UNM Students for Life, Elisa Martinez – New Mexico Alliance for Life, Dauneen Dolce – Right to Life Committee of NM, and Laura Rosecrans – Founder & Director of Surrendered Hearts Abortion Recovery Ministries New Mexico.UNM rally4

During the speeches, students and community members had the opportunity to sign a letter to the president of UNM calling on him to cease UNM’s participation in the harvesting of aborted baby parts.

See the letter here.

From personal experience on the sidewalk outside of late-term abortion facility Southwestern Women’s Options (the abortion facility implicated in Congress’ investigation because of their relationship with UNM), Rodriguez shared his personal story: “I have seen women crying. Girls holding teddy bears.” He focused on how UNM is taking advantage of women in difficult circumstances.

Elisa Martinez has been directly involved with much of the research that Congress’ investigation built on, and an invaluable asset to helping SFLA put together this event. She spoke about the technicalities of the laws that have been broken including a valuable exchange of services for aborted baby parts and women who did not give proper consent for research to be done on their babies’ bodies:UNM rally5 - elisa

“A journal from UNM’s lab records five years of information about the body parts obtained from aborted babies. ‘Intact pancreas [smiley face]. Twins, one with clubbed feet. Intact 30-week-old. Did not dissect.’”

Rosecrans shared her own story. She had an abortion at a young age and now deeply regrets her decision.

All of the speakers called for the harvesting of baby body parts to cease.

Some students listening to the rally choose to sign the petition to the UNM President (it included over two dozen signatures when delivered on Thursday after the rally, including campus student organizations such as UNM Students for Life and the College Republicans).

Although there was no organized opposition, some students shouted things like “you’re lying” during the speeches, yet others respectfully inquired into the facts and found the answers to their questions.UNM rally1

As students and concerned community members, we implore the UNM president to cease the illegal harvesting of aborted baby parts for research and call on the AG of New Mexico to lead an investigation into UNM and the Southwestern Women’s Option late-term abortion facility.

Similar events will be held in the next couple weeks at other universities who have been involved in fetal tissue harvesting and trafficking.

 

How does a ‘naughty storyteller’ educate students on actual sex-ed?

Sexuality Week has made its second annual appearance at the University of New Mexico, hosted again by the Student Alliance for Reproductive Justice. UNM is a public university so part of this production is paid for with student funding.

Workshops for this year’s Sexuality Week include: “Tell Your Sexuality Story” and “Condoms, Dildos, and Lube! Oh My!” Organizers are also hosting a Drag Show and the return of Dirty Lola, a “naughty storyteller, sex encourager, sex toy peddler, and the creator and host of the live sex-positive Q&A go-go show and podcast Sex Ed A Go-Go.”

“Universities do a terrible disservice to their students when promoting ridiculous ‘sex weeks’ that leave out important topics of how to help students facing unplanned pregnancies, counseling for post-abortive women and sexual assault victims, and complications that can arise from abortions,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America.

Some of the topics of this year’s Sexuality Week are not unlike the event that took place last fall, which also featured Dirty Lola, and according to organizers, “[promoted tolerance of various sexual proclivities.]” There are no workshops on sexually transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancies, contraception, or sexual assault.

Students for Life at UNM is handing out “Debunking the Myth of Safe Sex” cards outside of at least one seminar to educate students and offer them alternative resources. They are also planning on hosting The Real Sex Week next semester, an alternative sex week that was founded in March 2016 at the University of New Mexico.

The Real Sex Week includes workshops that cover self-defense training, sexual assault healing, STD and contraception education, pregnant and parenting support, abortion education and healing, information on the biology of sex, and discussion on natural birth control and abstinence.

Ryan Pennington, a freshman student at the University of New Mexico, says the topics within this year’s Sexuality Week can “normalize unsafe sex and the porn industry” and possibly promote “unrealistic” expectations that could lead to the “misuse of sexuality.” He feels the events focus too much on the empowering aspects of sex and do not include issues like consent and protection.

Pennington also commented that Sexuality Week would better serve students if it “offered factual information on abortion and gave students a better idea of how we can avoid it.”

When asked what Sexuality Week should include, Pennington stressed the need of students to be “more educated on what to do if they are faced with tough situations like sexual assault, rape, and other crimes.”

Some students are excited about this year’s Sexuality Week like Desy Roseking, a senior at the University of New Mexico. “I love Sexuality Week because it’s a safe place to learn about topics and discuss them…I’m going to the drag show this Friday.”

When asked if she thought Sexuality Week was missing any material, Roseking commented, “I don’t think anything is missing. It seems pretty complete for the time they have.”

Juvier Byrant, another UNM student, voiced his opinion on Sexuality Week. “I think a lot of people would be attracted to [Sexuality Week] due to its exploration of human sexuality.”

Byrant went on to say that he will not attend Sexuality Week because “some of the topics seem a little non-academic” and they do not pertain to him. “I do not feel represented by Sexuality Week.”

 

 

 

 

 

Students Respond after Pro-Choice Advocates Vandalize Chalkings

By Sade Patterson, SFLA Correspondent

Most college students would spend their Saturday morning sleeping in or catching a movie, but members of Students for Life at The University of New Mexico (UNM) chose to meet on campus to chalk instead.

It all began last Thursday night during the group’s bi-weekly meeting when 11 members decided to chalk pro-life messages on their campus.

“We mainly chalked near the Student Union Building on the north side, in the plaza area, and the area between the duck pond, Mitchell Hall, and Zimmerman library” explained the president of SFL at UNM, Jessica Roseman.IMG_8014

The group spent the evening chalking various messages like, “Heart starts beating at 16 days”, “Abortion is legal to the day of birth in NM”, “Choose life”, “Women are stronger than abortion”, “Adoption is always an option”, and “Equal rights for the preborn.”

During all the chalking, members at UNM were able to have several conversations with other students who would stroll by, interested in what they were writing.

“We had two sign-ups for our group” said Roseman. “One man who said he was glad we were out there doing it, and another student had a conversation with one of our members about when life begins.”

The biggest thing the group recognized was that all of the people they spoke to were men. They even met a post-abortive man who came and spoke to them that evening.

The group returned to campus the next morning to find all of their messages vandalized. In the past, members of Students for Life at UNM have found their chalk washed away with water, but what they saw Friday morning intrigued them.

“A friend from the Newman Center told us that she saw a man with a bag of chalk writing ‘women’s choice’ on our messages. They did a combination of making our previous messages darker, erased some comments, and responded to others,” said Roseman.

On one message that read, “There are 1.1 million US abortions each year”, they added, “And? There may be a great reason for them.” They crossed out “life” in “pro-life” and added “women’s personal decision” and “What welfare do you propose for single mothers then?” Added to “The heart beat starts at 16 days” was the question, “We respect women’s decisions. Why don’t you?” On the same pro-life message some distance away they wrote, “Let women decide.”IMG_8018

After noticing the vandalism, the group decided to meet on Saturday morning and add messages to the pro-choice additions; they decided to have a chalking-dialogue.

David Rodriguez, Sidewalk Advocates Coordinator for SFL at UNM described one of the messages they added that morning. “The pro-choicer wrote, “Let women decide,” so we responded by adding “…life for herself & her child” right after, so the final message was “[The heartbeat starts at 16 days #prolife. Let women decide … life for herself & her child.”

The group also added messages like, “Keep calm and choose life” and “Moms are heroes.” “We hope that this may be a small way to communicate our love to all moms in an educational institution that is rotting from supporting the Culture of Death,” said Rodriguez.

IMG_8016When asked if Students for Life at UNM would report the vandalism, Roseman commented, “We don’t plan to report it. That individual has the right to respond. What we are doing is causing others to break out of their indifference to the subject of abortion and remind them that this is a vital social issue we are facing.”

So what’s next for Students for Life at UNM? Will they continue to chalk after seeing their work vandalized? Roseman and her group said this experience only excited them to do it again.

Using Student Gov to Help Pregnant and Parenting Students

By Sade Patterson, SFLA correspondent

I was setting up a tabling event for Students for Life at my school, the University of New Mexico, during Welcome Back Week in August when I got a call from the Associated Students of UNM (ASUNM).

Getting a call from ASUNM was surprising in itself, but what came from the other end of the phone was even more surprising to me. Apparently, a couple of ASUNM senators who had been voted in the previous semester had stepped down from their positions, and I was being asked to fill one of those positions. I had toyed with the idea of running for ASUNM in the past, but as a parenting student with several jobs, I couldn’t imagine fitting another role into my schedule.

Despite my reservations, I was compelled to pray about the decision to accept this position, and was led by my convictions to agree to this amazing opportunity.

My main motivation to become a senator at UNM was to be the voice for pregnant and parenting students, and meet the needs of this growing demographic.

To that end, I began work immediately on my first piece of legislation: a resolution to provide diaper-changing stations in all public restrooms on campus.

Currently, there are nearly 4.8 million undergraduate students that are parents of dependent children in this country; many students and even faculty members decide to bring their infants to campus, and I believe they should be able to have a safe and clean place to change their baby’s diaper.

I remember on several occasions, bringing my son, Daniel, to campus as a newborn, infant, and toddler and having to change his diaper on a table because the building my class was in did not have a diaper-changing table.

Mothers often have a difficult time finding diaper-changing stations on campus, but fathers suffer the most in any public area. Fathers seem to be overlooked as a demographic who are students and who bring their children to campus, and we should make every effort to equally accommodate and support them.

After announcing my intention with this resolution, my efforts were embraced and diaper decksupported by my fellow senators, as well as student organizations the Women’s Resource Center and the Equal Opportunity office.  I was able to see the resolution pass through committee and then through full senate without any conflict. In addition, I was grateful to speak on a local TV station about the issue in light of President Obama’s recent bill to provide diaper-changing stations in male restrooms in government buildings.

Despite my resolution passing to provide diaper changing stations in all public restrooms on campus, the University of New Mexico claims they do not have the budget to make this a reality at the current time. My goal is to now send this resolution to the House of Representatives and our Governor’s office in New Mexico in hopes that this initiative will be brought up yet again in state legislation.

This is the first of many resolutions I am working on as an ASUNM senator to support and empower pregnant and parenting students. Future resolutions will include mom-to-be-parking, priority enrollment, parental leave, Title IX protection, child-friendly study zones, scholarships, Bring Your Child to Campus Day, and free daycare during finals.

This is another way to be a pro-life voice on campus and I want to challenge you to join this mission. You don’t need to be a senator at your campus; however, I would encourage you to run for a leadership position if you feel led to.

It is not an impossible task as a student of your campus to support pregnant and parenting students. The best way to further this mission is to table and display with your Pregnant on Campus Initiative resources. It’s a huge source of encouragement to feel that other students are encouraging you as a parenting student.

If you want to go further and create initiatives on your campus through legislation, reach out to your student government with a list of ideas and sit with them as they write out legislation. Go to meetings with your student government and voice your opinion.

Even if you don’t have a position within government on campus, you can still have a voice for pregnant and parenting students who may not feel empowered enough to ask for help.