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 Pregnant on Campus Changed My Life

By Sade Patterson, SFLA Correspondent

I was finishing my sophomore year of college when I found out I was pregnant. My husband and I had only been married for 11 months, but we were unsure about the future of our relationship at that point.

Getting pregnant while in college was not part of my plan and it certainly wasn’t in the plan at that point in our marriage either. Like many young adults, I hoped to finish my undergraduate education and start a family after working for a couple of years and traveling.

“Do you need to talk about abortion?”

I remember the day I found out I was expecting: I was in the Student Health Center on campus getting a checkup after a cold, when the nurse walked in and told me, “Well, you’re pregnant.”

It was as if she was speaking a foreign language; I couldn’t comprehend what she was saying. How could this happen? This was the worst possible time to bring a child into what seemed to be my broken little world.

At the time, I was a member of Students for Life (SFL) at the University of New Mexico (UNM) and had received training on the scientific proof that pointed to the humanity of the unborn. I knew at that moment that I was carrying a child – my child – and that it deserved life, but the words from my nurse became more clear as I woke from my daze of confusion, “Do you need to talk about abortion?”

Living my words

For a moment I considered it. It seemed like an abortion would solve my issues for just a moment. But then I remembered the women I spoke to that semester who came up to POCour Pregnant on Campus Initiative table and said they were pregnant.

They came to me with fear after facing an unplanned pregnancy and I told them they were strong. I told them they could continue their education, and that they had support to be a successful parent. I realized I lacked the same hope for myself that I had for these women. I too could be strong. I too could continue my education, and had the same support to be a successful parent. “No, I’m keeping my baby,” I told her, and she walked out of the examination room and never returned.

I choose life and accepted help

Most people expect the struggles to resolve after a mother chooses life over an abortion, but it was hard to be pregnant and continue my education. I faced discrimination on campus, which made me doubt my ability to excel in school, and my young age brought insecurities of my ability to be a good mother.

Graduation 3Despite my doubts, I had a wealth of support on campus – members of SFL who advocated for me when I faced discrimination. Through Pregnant on Campus, I was referred to a local pregnancy resource center where I could receive tools on parenting and baby items I needed. Members bought me maternity clothes, took me out for lunch, got me a crib, and most importantly became my family.

Pregnant on Campus was always there

The struggles grew after I had Daniel, as did the support I received and the strength I acquired. Over the next two years I led Students for Life at UNM as President, became a Wilberforce Fellow, began working as a client advocate at the same pregnancy center that assisted me, and was appointed to be a senator on my campus, which gave me ample opportunity to pass five pieces of legislation such as parental leave for students and other initiatives that support pregnant and parenting students on my campus.Graduation

In the midst of what seemed like accomplishments, I faced hardships along the way, but I realize that each trial made me a stronger and a more empowered individual. I had to figure out how to juggle school, several jobs, leadership positions, and a family life, while overcoming my recent diagnosis of depression and PTSD.

The honest truth is that I never figured out how to juggle everything, but I did figure out how to ask for help, and how to prioritize what was important in my life, and I owe a lot of that to Pregnant on Campus and the members of Students for Life.

The resources we offer students through Pregnant on Campus who face pregnancies and are parents on campus are not only physical needs. They include emotional support, a shoulder to cry on, a friend to call late at night, a pep talk, a shopping trip, a glass on wine (after the pregnancy of course), and someone to remind you that you are capable and strong even when you fail to see it yourself.

I graduated!

I graduated this month from the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and am planning to continue in the pro-life movement as a journalist.Graduation 2

I remember myself two-and-a-half years when I found out I was pregnant, and thought my world was turned upside down. I didn’t know what I needed at the time, but what I received was support, empowerment, and friendship from Students for Life of America’s Pregnant on Campus Initiative. My struggles are not gone; sometimes they come stronger than most days. But what I do know now that I didn’t before is that I have support through those struggles.

You can be this support on your own campus. There are women like myself and many who don’t have half the support I did. As we start a new year, commit to seeking out these students and offering the support I was offered. You have the tools; now share them.

 

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.