With a New Year here, we’re holding 2022 under a microscope, including the state of pro-life free speech last year. To say it bluntly, it wasn’t great for our student groups’ freedom of speech, but we’re proud of how many issues our Students for Life of America (SFLA) legal team resolved in order to protect pro-life speech. In fall 2022, SFLA reported an astounding 12 vandalisms, four bullying incidents, and 41 free speech/legal issues – each of these areas up significantly from the year prior.
Here are our top 10 free speech violations from Fall 2022:
1. Financial Foul Play
The SFLA group at the University of Cincinnati (called the UC Students for Life) hosted SFLA President Kristan Hawkins’ speaking tour last semester, and it was a smashing success — maybe that’s why their school sent them an invoice worth hundreds of dollars post-event. The invoice for “security fees” had never been disclosed to the students or spoken of prior to the event, but when SFLA’s legal team swiftly sent a demand letter, the issue was resolved. Read more about this incident HERE.
2. Using Urine As a Threat
When peaceful pro-life students tabled using SFLA’s Abortion Is Not Right display on the Virginia’s William & Mary College, one pro-abortion protestor decided to throw her own urine on them as a scare tactic. That didn’t work so well, however — the body fluid-flinging abortion supporter was arrested and charged with two counts of assault. Read more about this incident in Virginia HERE, a state where 22% of SFLA’s free speech violations occurred this fall.
3. Curbing Chalking
Around the country, members of the Pro-Life Generation labored artistically on National Pro-Life Chalk Day to spread the pro-life message of love for all — but the abortion lobby just wouldn’t have any of the ‘love everyone equally’ message. Pro-abortion students and facility staff members actually mopped over chalk drawings, spitting on them and pouring their water bottles out in a show of absolute disregard for pro-life free speech. Read more about this incident HERE.
4. Gagging Speech With Gun Threats
For a group that denies abortion kills babies, the abortion lobby sure likes to talk about killing full-grown pro-lifers — and especially with guns. At West Virginia University earlier this semester, SFLA staff had to call campus police after a gun threat was directed toward their tabling event — and later in the semester, another gun threat occurred during a Students for Life Action training. Read more about these incidents HERE and HERE.
5. Cancelling Events Culture
In an experience which unfortunately happened to multiple student groups, several universities, including the University of New Mexico (UNM), actually cancelled SFLA events on account of their topic: abortion. Students for Life UNM, the SFLA group at UNM, had their event with pro-life speaker and abortion survivor Joel Fevig cancelled last minute over security concerns “due to the subject matter.” SFLA’s legal team has sent a demand letter to the school, warning that events may not be cancelled because they are deemed too controversial. Read more about this incident HERE.
6. Name-Calling Nonsense
At Virginia’s George Mason University, pro-abortion students told members of the Pro-Life Generation that they “didn’t care about their right to the freedom of speech” and called the SFLA students “Nazis and white supremacists,” promoting campus-wide, misplaced rage at the group. In response to their wrongful allegations of racism, national Black pro-life leaders rallied together to write a letter of support for their group. Read more about this incident HERE; click HERE to read the letter.
7. Student Government Doing the Dirty Work
The SFLA group at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (UNC) experienced discrimination from their own student government (SGA) when a resolution was passed in order to block pro-life vendors from being used by SGA. While this did not limit the activities of the SFLA group, two pro-life students artfully argued in a Daily Wire op-ed that it chilled their freedom of speech as it created an atmosphere of hostility towards the pro-life movement. Read their op-ed at the Daily Wire HERE.
8. Wheeling & Stealing
At the University of California San Diego (UCSD), the SFLA group on campus faced much harassment, including threats and theft. One incident of theft, however, left the skateboarding thief looking like a fool as his attempt to steal an expensive display failed and landed him on his rear in front of a crowd. All pro-abortion thieves come off badly, but this one was especially embarrassing. Read more about this incident HERE.
9. Online Stalking & In-Person Harassment
Sadly, many students saw an increase in both online stalking (through the use on anonymous apps like YikYak) and in-person harassment, and SFLA Student Spokesperson Alivia Grace Talley and her SFLA group at Clemson University were included in that number. When their group hosted SFLA President Kristan Hawkins on campus, the group was severely bullied for weeks prior and following — including Talley being told to her face that an abortion supporter wanted to “slam her face in the cement.” Read more about this incident HERE.
10. Another Day, Another Death Threat
At Campbell University, SFLA Wilberforce Fellow Lydia Taylor said her experience of a Christian university was shattered because her reputation as “the pro-life girl” led to a high degree of online stalking and frequent death threats — including such threats being slid underneath her door. However, this hasn’t stopped her as a pro-life activist — she’s persuaded at least 50 students on her campus to become pro-life. Read more about her story HERE.
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