When Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, the entire pro-life movement held our breath. For decades there has not been a reliable pro-life majority on the Supreme Court, and in the meantime, we have been suffering the dire consequences. Millions of lives have been lost, which means millions of hurt women and broken families. This, if done right, could be the opportunity of a lifetime.
Once President Trump named Brett Kavanaugh the nominee, Students for Life sprang into action. We carefully formulated our approach and finalized our plan of attack. SFLA President Kristan Hawkins announced a nationwide series of rallies on what we called the #Justice4Life tour. There were five wrapped vans touring the country, with a van full of students and staff in West Virginia, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, and Alaska. Students and staff met with Senate offices in each of these states (and more) to push for the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh.
The primary objective, of course, was to call on key U.S. Senators to listen to their constituents. An accomplishment we couldn’t have predicted, however, is the incredible benefit our students got from their experience on the tour. The students loved it. Throughout the course of #Justice4Life, SFLA headquarters was constantly receiving inspiring stories from the route, personal testimonies, and even funny videos from their time in the vans. Braden Popp from the University of Texas shared the following:
This past week on the Missouri #Justice4Life tour was INSANE. I can remember Sarah texting me the week before asking if I could just randomly go to Missouri and try to help urge senators to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to SCOTUS. Of course I said YES! Perhaps my favorite parts were meeting with both Illinois senator Tammy Duckworth’s staff and Missouri senator Claire McCaskill’s staff. These meetings consisted of us students urging these senators to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and informing them about the other non-abortion options that pregnant students on campuses have. Just by attending these meetings, I felt as if I was playing an important role in the writing of the history of this great country.
Melanie Salazar, one of our college Wilberforce Fellows, also shared her #Justice4Life experience with us:
I had the joy of being a part of the #Justice4Life van tour in Missouri which was by far the most impactful, humbling, and growing experience for me that I hope to never forget. We had to be willing to stop what we were doing to put jobs on hold, put vacation aside, and put our summer relaxation on pause. Instead, we chose to do something bigger and greater than ourselves which was to be a part of history in having Brett Kavanaugh confirmed to the Supreme Court. If and when Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed, I will probably be brought to tears knowing that I had my tiny hands as a part in that. I am proud to be a part of the pro-life gen and I look forward to the future to see the woman and pro-life activist I will grow into.
Throughout the tour week, our students and staff racked up quite an impressive list of politician visits, rally stops, and PRC tours. Take a look at our impact:
- NORTH DAKOTA: rally outside Senator Heitkamp’s office, PRC visit
- ILLINOIS: meeting with Senator Duckworth’s staff
- MISSOURI: meeting with Representative Ann Wagner, Governor Mike Parsons, meeting staff for Senator McCaskill & rally outside her office
- INDIANA: rally outside Senator Donnelly’s office
- ALASKA: meetings with Senators Sullivan & Murkowski
- WEST VIRGINIA: meetings with staff for Senators Manchin and Capito, sidewalk counseling outside abortion facility
…and that is just the highlight reel! Our dedicated young people packed as much as they possibly could into their time with the vans. Many of the students who volunteered to join us were experiencing one or more of our pillars for the first time. We love walking with them through new experiences (both the good and the bad – someone stole our bullhorn in North Dakota!). One of the van participants even rediscovered her faith along the way.
Getting Judge Kavanaugh confirmed to the Supreme Court will be a gigantic win for the pro-life movement. With a reliable pro-life majority, we can finally restore respect for human life and religious liberty. We are in it to win it. We will not stop training this generation of pro-lifers to be leaders who are active both on their campuses and the greater community. We will be there every time there’s an opportunity to make a pro-life advancement, clawing our way to the finish line one win at a time. We’re in it 100% – are you with us?