GUEST POST: It’s easier to cut someone down than sit down with them and have a discussion, and in this way, the abortion lobby unfortunately likes to take the “easy” way out. Students for Life of America (SFLA) New England Regional Coordinator Stephanie Luiz realized this once again when she brought the “Abortion is Not Right” 2022 Fall Tour to the University of Connecticut (UConn). Here’s what happened:
With Luiz’s help, the UConn SFLA group had set up the display with the intention to change the hearts and minds of their peers on abortion. The display for the “Abortion Is Not Right” tour gets right to the heart of the issue: abortion violates basic human rights, and we cannot stand by while lives are ended. With UConn being Luiz’s seventh campus tour in just four weeks, she was prepared for anything — and considering what she and the UConn students were going to experience that day, that was a good thing.
During the tour display, a group of pro-abortion students declined Luiz’s request to engage in productive dialogue and instead chose to block the table and prevent any passersby’s from speaking with the pro-life students. Additionally, these pro-abortion protestors harassed the pro-life group, accusing them of being racist, killing women, and spreading misinformation (is that what we are calling basic biology these days?).
After rejecting the pro-life students’ attempts at peaceful conversation, several other young women chose instead to loudly gossip in a nearby corner, speaking just loud enough to announce to the campus that preborn children are nothing but parasites. The pro-abortion girls even stuck around to vandalize the display with coat hangers and attempted to steal and deface SFLA materials with crude language and false information.
One pro-abortion extremist went so far as to knock over the SFLA banners and steal two “Abortion Is Not Right” poster boards before running off. Unfortunately, the campus police have ignored any attempts to make a report and hold the person responsible, further illustrating the intolerant climate on college campuses towards students who support the rights of the preborn.
Thankfully, SFLA staff and students were able to get the person on camera stealing SFLA property.
Luiz spoke up on the pro-abortion harassment and thievery experience at UConn, saying:
“Most students in New England have genuinely never spoken to a pro-life person, and the University of Connecticut campus was no exception. Despite the protests, harassment, and vandalization, I know our presence is worthwhile because almost every person who took the time to listen walked away knowing that we are a movement that supports and cares about women and their children.”
Luiz and her students have had just short of 1,000 conversations on seven campuses with this tour display alone. She has been protested multiple times and changed 79 minds on the issue of abortion.
A pattern Luiz noticed, in addition to the hostility and vandalism, was that many students she encounters on campus have never actually dialogued with a pro-life person before. The New England culture has young people growing up believing that pro-lifers really do want to oppress women and do nothing to serve their real needs. As a result, not a single “pro-choice” student could accurately explain the position of the pro-life movement. It wasn’t until they engaged with the SFLA display that they realized we are human beings who desperately want to serve and save the lives of other human beings.
Despite the disruptions and vandalizations, Luiz and the UConn SFLA group had 243 conversations, changed 19 minds on the issue of abortion, and shared life-affirming resources with women on campus. The courage of pro-life activists to stand strong on hostile campuses is invaluable. Without their boldness, our culture will continue to buy into the lie that abortion exists in service of women.
SFLA staff and students remain resolved in their mission to change culture and offer women and families more than the violence of abortion, as well as the pain and desolation it leaves behind. Check out SFLA’s initiative Standing With You to see all the amazing resources SFLA groups can bring to pregnant and parenting students on campus.
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