An English professor at Iowa State University has vowed to dismiss any students who make Pro-Life arguments in her class. According to Young America’s Foundation (YAF), the professor, Chloe Clark, put a disclaimer on the syllabus for her English class that she deems Pro-Life arguments to be discriminatory.
The syllabus, obtained by YAF, states:
GIANT WARNING: any instances of othering that you participate in intentionally (racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, sorophobia, transphobia, classism, mocking of mental health issues, body shaming, etc) in class are grounds for dismissal from the classroom. The same goes for any papers/projects: you cannot choose any topic that takes at its base that one side doesn’t deserve the same basic human rights as you do (ie: no arguments against gay marriage, abortion, Black Lives Matter, etc). I take this seriously.
The irony of listing Pro-Life arguments as discriminatory and claiming they “take at its base that one side doesn’t deserve the same basic human rights as you do” is rich. The essence of Pro-Life arguments is that every person, born and preborn, has the Right to Life and that right should not be taken away unjustly by another person. Far from arbitrary, the Pro-Life position is grounded in the sanctity of all human Life and does not discriminate.
Furthermore, the Pro-Life position is not merely a political ideology but a fundamental worldview. Seeing all people as equal in dignity and deserving of the Right to Life simply because they are and not basing rights on what people can do is the antithesis to the “racism, sexism, ableism, etc.” that Clark tries to condemn. The history of abortion is frequently bound up with eugenics, even in our present day.
YAF received the syllabus from a concerned student in Clark’s class through the Campus Bias Tip Line. The student chose to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. YAF noted, “This bigoted behavior from a public university professor is truly unbecoming.” YAF continued, “This blatant discrimination against conservative students, in particular those who are pro-life or oppose the Marxist BLM organization cannot stand at an institution of higher learning.”
As Texas Right to Life has previously reported, such instances of discrimination against Pro-Life students in the college classroom is not isolated. Anti-Life activists have infiltrated many faculties leading to extreme bias and suppression of Pro-Life argument and perspective. Academia has for decades been dominated by anti-Life professors and beholden to anti-Life organizations.
Although at the time of originally printing, the University of Iowa had not yet responded to YAF’s request for comment, in a surprising move the university did eventually respond. The statement confirmed that Clark’s syllabus as written was “inconsistent with the university’s standards and its commitment to the First Amendment rights of students.” The statement continued, “After reviewing this issue with the faculty member, the syllabus has been corrected to ensure it is consistent with university policy. Moreover, the faculty member is being provided additional information regarding the First Amendment policies of the university.” Such swift and decisive correction is rare.
The extent of the bias and the need to educate and support the next generation of Pro-Lifers led to the founding of the Dr. Joseph Graham Fellowship for College Pro-Life Leaders. The program has trained students to speak on their campuses and lead Pro-Life groups. In the face of anti-Life bias and discrimination, which occurs even in Texas, having a strong understanding of Pro-Life views and ability to articulate cogent arguments can help students defend Life on campus. Through Texas Right to Life, Pro-Life students in the Lone Star State have found resources to found Pro-Life groups, bring together other Pro-Life students, and stand for Life on campus.
Although the halls of higher learning remain poisoned by anti-Life bias, there are many signs of hope that the upcoming generation is fostering Pro-Life leaders. Through the Dr. Joseph Graham Fellowship, Texas Right to Life has educated and encouraged countless such leaders. Whether defending free speech, articulating Pro-Life arguments, or supporting pregnant and parenting students, the witness of those Pro-Life leaders on campuses across Texas will leave a legacy.