Two hundred college students from 20 Texas universities converged on the University of Texas in Austin last weekend to attend the 7th annual Boots on the Ground College Student Conference. The conference occurred January 27-28 and took time to commemorate the 45th anniversaries of the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, which legalized abortion-on-demand in America, by allowing the students a break to participate in the March for Life in Austin. The theme of this year’s conference was “Life-The Primary Element,” and focused on subjects surrounding the beginning of life.
Arland K. Nichols, founder and President of the St. John Paul II Foundation for Life and Family, kicked off the conference with a talk on the science behind abortifacient types of contraception, leading to important discussions about Life beginning at fertilization and the Pro-Life philosophy surrounding contraceptives. Following a break in which the students were able to participate in the Texas Rally for Life, Representative Matt Rinaldi, Pro-Life Whip of the Texas House of Representatives, updated the attendees on the happenings of the 85th Texas Legislature and the first called special session of the Texas Legislature, including attempts to water down life-saving legislation by RINO’s and faux Pro-Life groups. Texas Right to Life Legislative Director John Seago followed by sharing the political strategy for overturning Roe v. Wade. Jannique Stewart of the Life Training Institute closed day one of the conference with an apologetics talk, training the students how to refute five common arguments anti-Life advocates make in favor of abortion.
While day one of Boots on the Ground focused on facts and philosophy, day two carried more emotional testimonies. Jennifer Christie shared her experience of being raped and left for dead on a business trip, only to find several weeks later that she was pregnant as a result. Jennifer and her husband Jeff chose life for their son, and now are outspoken advocates for choosing Life no matter the circumstances of conception. Jaclyn Brown, adoption case manager at Providence Place in San Antonio, debunked common myths surround adoption and encouraged the students to dispel these myths in their communities. During a breakout session in which students chose which talk to attend, Julie Dozier, Director and Psychotherapist at Wings of Hope Counseling in San Antonio, shared her experience of working with women who have Post-Abortion Syndrome while Sarah Zarr, Texas Regional Coordinator with Students for Life of America, exposed Planned Parenthood’s abortion business agenda. National speaker Jewels Green’s keynote speech “The Reality of Abortion Behind the Scenes: From Patient, to Provider, to Pro-Life” highlighted the conversions in her life from post-abortive mother to Pro-Life advocate. To round out the conference, the Texas Right to Life Education Department awarded trophies to campus Pro-Life clubs and club members for various awards.
Students returned to their campuses with a renewed respect for their student body and a new outlook on how best to reach students, in all their diversity, to continue promoting Life on campus.