From the SFLA Blog

Minnesota Students (Again) Harassed for Pro-Life Message

Brenna Lewis - 06 Nov 2020

October means National Chalk Day—which actually takes place over several days—where students get to show off their creativity when it comes to communicating the pro-life message. With more reports of students participating, however, comes more incidents of vandalism, similar to other incidents we’ve recently seen.

After being prevented from doing so earlier in the month due to snow, students at the Winona State University participated in National Chalk Day on Monday, October 26. Pro-life students at Winona are no strangers to pro-abortion hostility.

Jamie Scherdin, of the on-campus student group Warriors for Life (W4L), contacted Students for Life to share with us that while the chalkings were mostly fine until Tuesday afternoon, pro-choice students got involved to write their own messages on behalf of the WSU Reproductive Justice group. Though some W4L students engaged in conversation with the Reproductive Justice group, the president of the latter group put a stop to it.

Scherdin also came across students unaffiliated with either group vandalizing the messages on Wednesday. While vandalizing a “pro-life=pro-science” message, a young man excused his actions by saying the statement was untrue before leaving.

She also shared photos of numerous chalk messages, from both groups.

Pro-life messages were positive and hopeful; many had to do with Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a particularly relevant theme Students for Life suggested students go with. These messages included “Justice Amy Coney Barrett Strong as a Judge,” “A Post Roe America Is Near,” and “Men voted in Roe, it will take a woman to get it reversed, ACB” and “Amy Coney Barret Strong as a Mother,” some of which were scuffed.

Meanwhile, the opposing chalk messages were particularly crude in nature, with graphic language being used to quote them. Chalked messages included: “Jesus wasn’t a dick so keep him out of my vagina,” “If I wanted the gov’t in my womb I’d f*ck a senator,” “My neck, my back, my p*ssy will grab back,” Keep your laws off my WAP,” “This pussy grabs back,” and “If abortion is murder, then a blowjob is cannibalism.” Scherdin confirmed that there were students she asked who did agree with that message.

Many of these messages also spoke to the pro-life message as being a religious one. Scherdin told us “Our club is diverse. We are secular group and not politically affiliated.” She is Catholic, which makes up about 50 percent of her group, while the group’s vice-president is an atheist. “Although many of us are religious,” she shared, “we base our pro-life beliefs on science and philosophy.”

The university changed chalking rules last year to prohibit someone vandalizing chalk messages. Scherdin informed us, however, that the university has not said or done anything.

If this university sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Scherdin also got in touch with us in October to report interruptions of and harassment at their National Life Chain event; those protesting the event told Jamie they’d laugh if she were raped.

Scherdin didn’t give up hope though. She shared with us an email she sent out to her group members, which contained our press release following uncertain election results. She also shared that “we plan to continue on campus as usual,” as she shared her group’s plans to have a spring speaker, thanks to a “fabulous grant SFLA gave us,” sidewalk counseling, attending a local March for Life in St. Paul, as well as the virtual pro-life summit from Students for Life, Valentine’s Day events handing out “candy and messages about loving the preborn.” They also help parenting and pregnant students. “We will run as normal,” Scherdin concluded, “because our goal has not been achieved and we will not stop until it is.”

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