By Lisa Atkins, SFLA Northwest Regional Coordinator
Students for Life of America’s Planned Parenthood Project has been touring campuses all across the country since the beginning of the semester. The visual display is made up of 915 pink crosses to represent the number of unborn children that die each day inside of Planned Parenthood. In addition, the display has billboards that cite Planned Parenthood’s own annual report numbers and testimony from former employees to call into question their “caring” image.
I have participated in a handful of these on campuses in my own region, as well as counseled students at other universities who have done similar displays, like the Cemetery of the Innocents, which also consists of putting small crosses in the ground to represent the children lost through abortion. There is an overwhelming concern among the pro-life students during these displays that they are shaming women who have had abortions or causing a bad emotional response for these women. One of my pro-life students emailed me about this:
“Another concern is that we did hurt people yesterday. Many people were offended by our display and said mean and hateful things about it. There were people who were hurt by what we were doing. Though none of us meant to hurt anybody, we still did anyway. How do we handle the hurt and damage we unintentionally spread yesterday? I just feel guilty for offending people who felt offended.”
I completely understand this concern, and it is something that all of us as pro-lifers struggle with. How do we recognize the reality of who Planned Parenthood is and expose the truth, while at the same time walk away feeling like we’ve hurt women? It is a completely valid feeling and question. So how do we deal with it?
Many men and women are hurt by our use of crosses and express to us how it made them feel shame and discomfort.
But that’s the thing, we didn’t hurt them – abortion did.
It wasn’t the dialogue that we started on campus that hurt the post-abortive students or made the pro-choice students feel shame. It wasn’t our peaceful protest that hurt them. It wasn’t the fact that we used the Planned Parenthood color pink for our display that evoked a negative response. And furthermore, it wasn’t even the fact that we used 915 pink crosses to represent the number of abortions that Planned Parenthood commits per day in America that evoked a hurtful emotional response.
It is abortion that hurt them, not us.
Had none of those women had abortions or strongly supported it, using crosses wouldn’t have been an issue. But it was. The pro-life students who do these displays typically witness firsthand the brainwashing and deceit that Planned Parenthood has made our generation believe. They see firsthand how abortion is hurting their peers.
We don’t yell at our peers. We don’t shame them.
We didn’t hurt them, the abortion did.
As hard as it is to deal with and recognize as pro-lifers, I know that we must continue to expose the reality of abortion to our generation so that less women will be post-abortive.
Pro-lifers may not feel like it, but it is their conversations that make a difference in students’ minds and help them to re-think their entire worldview. That’s how we know we’re winning. We don’t have to yell and shout in our protests, because our protest of Planned Parenthood make students re-think Planned Parenthood as a business, and it gets to their hearts.
Being pro-life is difficult but it is through these brave pro-life students and their campus groups that are making a difference.
We are winning this battle because not only do we have the truth on our side, but we have God on our side and only He can truly change hearts and minds. We are just missionaries on the front lines willing to let Him use us to plant the seed.