GUEST POST: When I attempted to bring Students for Life of America’s (SFLA) campus tour to the University of Dayton last semester, I was denied entry within 24 hours of the scheduled event. Apparently, only student organizations were allowed to table on campus – a rule that wasn’t enforced for other groups. After pushback from my students, I was told I could come next semester if the students got approval for all the materials that were to be used beforehand — so of course, I was back this semester. However, it wasn’t easy going this time, either.
Upon bringing the ‘This is Chemical Abortion’ tour display on campus, we were almost immediately confronted by an angry, hostile university employee. The executive director of campus student involvement, Amy Lopez-Matthews, told us she did not like our approach, saying we were “harassing students” and going against campus culture/policy.
Guess what we were doing? Saying hello to students passing by and calmly asking if they knew anything about Chemical Abortion Pills. Apparently, greeting someone is harassment now. I told Lopez-Matthews we would be happy to change our approach if she could present us with the policy, but she just angrily left.
Twenty minutes later, a group of girls came up to the display, screaming and yelling. I tried to have a conversation with them, but they weren’t listening. They kept stating how our studies seemed “suspicious.” I guess the well-respected British Journal of Psychiatry and Mayo Clinic were not good enough for them.
As they talked over me, I respectfully asked to have a productive conversation, but one retorted, “No, I’m going to continue talking over your bull sh*t.” At this point, I told them to have a nice day and walked away. They left screaming, “Abortion is safer than Tylenol.”
This is a fallacy because comparing Tylenol to Chemical Abortion Pills is like comparing apples to oranges (or arsenic). Tylenol is a brand name for acetaminophen which can be found in nearly every prescription drug. Most Americans have Tylenol in their homes, and it is unfortunately very easy to take too much acetaminophen. According to the NIH, nearly 60 million Americans consume Tylenol or acetaminophen a week.
In comparison, Chemical Abortions are given out two pills at a time (FDA regulation uses the two-pill regimen
.). People should not have Chemical Abortion Pills in their cabinets or in their purses like they do with Tylenol. It is very hard to compare Tylenol to Chemical Abortion simply because not as many people take these abortion pills in comparison to the millions of people who take Tylenol every day.
Additionally — and perhaps most importantly — since the United States has no national abortion reporting law, we’ll never have the research on abortion outcomes as we do on Tylenol until this is rectified. And just to state the obvious, Chemical Abortions cannot be safer than Tylenol because Chemical Abortions are only successful when at least one unique human being is killed (but sometimes mothers who take this life-ending drug are also killed).
Shortly afterwards, a police officer appeared, stating that the girls had complained that they did not like our display and wanted us removed from campus. The officer, knowing our rights, explained how he had no intention of removing us and appreciated what we were doing.
Seconds later, Lopez-Matthews came running outside to see what the issue was. She proceeded to read off the “policy” she claimed we were breaking but afterwards said, “Well, I guess you have not broken this yet.” What a vote of confidence to say yet!
I thought she would finally leave us alone, but she continued to talk with us for another 20 minutes, saying we might trigger someone who “needed” to have an abortion (direct abortion is never necessary, however). The police officer confirmed we did not need to follow her request to leave so Lopez-Matthews came up with another strategy.
She asked the Flyers for Life (the SFLA group on campus) if they were comfortable “being forced to talk to people.” Lucas, the president of Flyers for Life, set her straight right away, saying: “Ma’am, we invited her here to do this and we volunteered. No one is forcing us to do anything.”
When the conversation ended, I went over to shake her hand as well as the officers and offer them my card if anything else were to come up. She refused my hand and my card.
We continued our display, and the last conversation of the event proved how important it was to be out there. A male student came up asking about the display, and after some conversation, he told me that his girlfriend had had an abortion. I sympathized with him and gave him all the resources we had through our Standing With You initiative.
I explained how the community has financial, food, and housing assistance, as well as support for pregnant and parenting students (and post-abortive students like his girlfriend). He took pictures of all the information and left saying sadly, “Thank you for all you do. If I would have known about this, we could be having a very different conversation.”
Those moments are why it is so important to be out on campus and fighting for our right to speak. Even with all the pushback we faced, Flyers for Life had more than 50 students sign the petition to stop the illegal distribution of Chemical Abortion and more than 100 conversations. Even when we face confrontation, it’s worth it to stick it out.
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