The beauty of the pro-life movement is that many diverse people can be united by one single value — the right to life — and can come to pro-life activism in different ways. Everyone has a unique background for their belief, and Students for Life of America (SFLA) President Kristan Hawkins was recently featured in Our Sunday Visitor for her personal story of faith and how she came to be a full-time pro-life activist. Read below to learn more about her experience as one of the “Catholic converts leading the pro-life movement.”
In the article, Hawkins told Our Sunday Visitor contributing editor Katie Yoder that while many might assume her Catholic faith led her to the pro-life movement, it really was the other way around. Here’s how that happened:
Hawkins grew up as a non-denominational Christian, and she explained to Yoder that growing up, she had only known “lukewarm Catholics.” This changed, however, when she became the President of Students for Life of America more than 16 years ago. Through her leadership, the organization has grown to become a national network of more than 1,400 student-led groups in more than 50 states (SFLA groups also exist in U.S. territories) — but when she first took on her leadership position, she had her work cut out for her.
Hawkins described to Yoder that the first job ads she put out basically only offered commission and expenses, and the only people who would apply “to my crazy job ad were these…well-formed Catholics who knew their faith.” Through working with her own Catholic staffers to other leaders in the pro-life movement who were Catholic, she said, “It was absolutely the pro-life movement that led me to the Church.” In 2015, Hawkins joined the Catholic Church.
She told Yoder that she now relies on her Catholic faith for perseverance in her advocacy, as it can be a tough road to walk. Between verbal and physical hostility from the abortion lobby, long hours, managing more than 100 employees, feeling the raw emotion behind this issue, and working in coalition with other pro-life organizations, Hawkins’ role is a tricky one — yet she believes her faith gives her the strength to do it and a resolute hope for the future.
That hope for the future pushes Hawkins to run faster towards an abortion-free America, and to that end, she also spoke with Yoder about SFLA’s upcoming June 24, 2023 rally at the Lincoln Memorial and gala in Washington, D.C. Held on the anniversary of the Dobbs v. Jackson decision, this day was been dubbed National Celebrate Life Day and will celebrate the pro-life movement’s new dream: the 14th Amendment for All.
(To learn more about the National Celebrate Life Day rally and gala, click HERE. Registration for the rally is free, but a registration pass is required to attend. Tickets for the gala can be purchased HERE.)
Everyone walks in the pro-life movement for different reasons, and we are so thankful for each story. If you’re interested in other unique takes on the pro-life movement, check out Hawkins’ podcast Explicitly Pro-Life, where she interviews members of the pro-life movement including Abby Johnson (a former Planned Parenthood director), Dr. Haywood Robinson (a former abortionist), Kelsey Hazzard (the President of Secular Pro-Life, an organization specifically for non-religious pro-lifers), and more.
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