Students for Life of America (SFLA) strives to create effective and well-rounded student groups that are fighting abortion on multiple fronts. Since SFLA’s existence, we have seen the impact our groups have in their efforts to actively engage in all fronts of the pro-life movement. The most successful of these groups are those who find balance in seeking out opportunities to converse, convert, confront, advocate, and support.
It is certainly easy to fall into the habit of single-minded pursuit of one type of pro-life activism. For example, some groups find comfort in focusing heavily on pregnancy support services and shying away from political engagement. Others are gun-ho in their involvement in controversial engagements (like abortion victim imagery or political lobbying), but they fail to address supportive services and resources for women.
While we encourage groups to enthusiastically embrace their passions, we believe that it is also necessary that each group and leader explores opportunities outside of their comfort zone. Instead of being focused on one area that your group is most comfortable with, challenge your group to try several types of pro-life activism. Diverse activism will foster a more dynamic impact on your campus and in your community. You will also see an increase in membership because you are reaching more people and providing more opportunities for potential members to get involved with your group.
There are five areas of engagement that are crucial to abolishing abortion in which effective groups should be participating. These “5 Pillars” are Effective Education, Industry Impact, Public Policy, Rapid Response, and Supportive Services.
What are the 5 Pillars?
Within this pillar, we want to make students aware of the abortion crisis and recruit them to join our mission in confronting the crisis. This pillar also includes educating the members within your group, so that they can successfully go out and educate the student body about abortion. Some examples of engagement for this Pillar: hosting a local pro-life speaker, SFLA training or display, attending SFLA’s Leadership Workshops or our National Conference.
Over the years, a culture of abortion has been pushed by abortion industry leaders such as Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and NOW. The abortion industry is not only responsible for committing the abortions in their facilities, but they are working to further its acceptance and normalcy in our communities and schools. Systematically exposing the abortion industry and reducing the supply of abortion is essential to abolishing abortion in our lifetime.
It is important that we always remember it is all about the approach. We believe in compassionate, peaceful, and non-violent interactions outside of abortion facilities. Some of the many events that groups participating in Industry Impact can do is join their local 40 Days for Life campaign, exposing Planned Parenthood on campus, sidewalk counseling outside of local abortion facilities, and reach out to abortion workers.
We want to assure that we are doing our best to legally protect women and their preborn children. To do so, we need to secure and enforce pro-life legislation and eliminate pro-abortion legislation. We also want to ensure staunch pro-life people are in office passing life-affirming laws. Public Policy can be intimidating, but it can be super easy! Make sure to keep up with your state pro-life laws, and develop a relationship with your state RTL chapter. Anytime there is an abortion bill coming up, your group should send a few representatives to testify on behalf of the bill. Lawmakers want to see young people participate in public policy. After all, abortion affects our generation more than any other. Other things your group can do are door to door campaigns, your State Pro-Life Lobby Day, and calling campaigns to urge your local elected officials to vote yes/no on an upcoming abortion bill.
Rapid response is historically very important in social movements. We must always be prepared to respond to those who oppose equality of the preborn. There are many instances on campus and in our community where we need to effectively identify, expose, and counter the abortion agenda.
Rapid Response requires your group to be quick and constantly keeping an eye on what the abortion industry is up to on your campus and in your community. If you find out that an abortion advocate is coming to your campus (Gloria Steinem, Cecile Richards, Wendy Davis), you need to send a pro-life presence there. If your school hosts a “Real Sex Week” it is your job to counter with the truth and alternatives.
The pillar of “Supportive Services” aims to provide resources directly to those targeted and affected by abortion so that students can choose life for their children and pursue a hopeful future for their families. “Supportive Services” projects address both serving the needs of individual pregnant and parenting students and actively supporting local life-affirming organizations (e.g. pregnancy help organizations, adoption agencies, maternity homes).
To serve individual pregnant and parenting students, student groups are encouraged to discuss ways in which they can meet the needs of their peers- such as by advocating for life-affirming resources in their school, referring students to life-affirming resources, offering to drive pregnant students to appointments at the local pregnancy help organization, hosting a baby shower for a pregnant student, or even starting up a scholarship fund for pregnant and parenting students.
In support of local life-affirming organizations, student groups become their advocates on campus by advertising these center’s resources, inviting centers onto campus to speak, organizing donation drives, and volunteering at the center’s events. “Supportive Services” is facilitated through our two levels of the Pregnant on Campus Initiative– Building a Better Future (high school) and Pregnant on Campus (college).
Contact your SFLA Regional Coordinator at [yourstate]@studentsforlife.org for a free student group consultation to determine the best ways for your group to incorporate these Five Pillars into your group’s goals. Your Regional Coordinator can offer free trainings on each pillar and provide valuable support, resources, and more!