GUEST POST: Florida brought the cold, but Students for Life of America (SFLA) President Kristan Hawkins brought the heat recently when she visited our campus as part of her speaking tour. As the president of my SFLA group at the University of Florida (UF), I helped to spearhead this event, and while we had several roadblocks initially, it was all worth it in the end. Here’s what our experience was like:
I’m sure that Hawkins expected to experience warm weather when she came to Florida, but on the day she arrived on campus, the Sunshine State decided to have the coldest day of the year so far. Temperatures dipped into the 40s — which is very cold for us Floridians — but she didn’t stray away from braving the cold while tabling with us and conversing with UF students about abortion and what it means to be pro-life.
Hawkins’ speaking tour this semester is called “I’m Coming for Your Abortion Access,” which was emblazoned across a huge banner that we stood in front of in the middle of Turlington Plaza, a campus spot with the most foot traffic. This means it was a prime place for the tabling portion of her University of Florida tour stop.
Tabling started somewhat slowly, but Hawkins quickly amassed a crowd of onlookers. We even had our very own set of students trying to get signatures for an ‘abortion petition,’ but they declined to interact with us. Many students were intrigued, confused, or angered by Kristan’s bold statement, and while most who passed by did not ask questions, many stopped to listen for a while.
One of my favorite interactions was with a student named Joey. Joey and Hawkins went back and forth on whether a child in the womb is human by discussing DNA makeup. Hawkins factually stated that at the moment of conception, a new genetic code that has never been seen before and will never be seen again comes into existence. This is because the mother and father each contribute 50% of their DNA. At this point, Joey must not have known what to say because this is what came out of his mouth: “Well, bananas have 50% of the same DNA as bananas, so why aren’t you fighting to protect bananas?”
It was hard not to laugh, but this is the problem with much of pro-abortion “logic.” They don’t want to accept that humans are intrinsically more valuable and worthy of protection than a piece of fruit.
During most of the tabling, I was walking around the crowd, greeting people I had not met before and passing out fliers for the nighttime event. I am very proud of my group members for their dedication in spreading the pro-life message. I was particularly impressed when several had side conversations with students who were unable to get to the front to ask their questions directly to Hawkins.
One specific conversation that made pretty much everyone in the crowd frustrated revolved around an abortion supporter saying that because “abortion is a religious issue,” it is “un-American” to prohibit it via law. Hawkins quickly responded with the argument that our Founding Fathers put the three core values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in that order because devastating things happen when they are disordered — abortion being a key example.
This student called himself a Christian but said the most Christian thing to do would be to let others practice their own religions if abortion were a part of them (like the Satanic Temple). He went so far as to say that if a certain religion practiced slavery for certain reasons, that would not be bad and that Jesus would be okay with it because it is “loving” to let others follow their own cultures and religions, even if we see it as immoral as Christians.
It made me very upset to hear someone paint Jesus in such a light that is so distorted, and it’s also not true that abortion is merely a religious issue. Many pro-lifers are actually secular.
Later that day, Hawkins gave a speech to a crowd of about 100 people, but only a small group of abortion supporters showed up. They also left early, not wanting to engage with the president of a national pro-life organization and discuss the five concrete reasons the pro-life movement is coming for abortion access:
- Abortion is fueling population collapse.
- Abortion is destroying women’s health.
- Abortion is harming our environment.
- Abortion is practiced by eugenicists and racists.
- Abortion is a tool of the patriarchy.
Overall, it was a great event, and Students for Life at the University of Florida is so thankful to Hawkins for including us in her “I’m Coming for Your Abortion Access” speaking tour. It was a wonderful experience — so if you’ve never hosted one of Hawkins’ speaking tours, what are you waiting for? Ask your SFLA Regional Coordinator how to get her on campus.
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