In medicine today, there is hardly a belief more unpopular than being Pro-Life. As I began my tenure as co-President of McGovern Medical School’s Physicians for Life student organization, I was acutely aware of this sentiment. Thus, club leadership attempted to diversify our events and lectures to attract a broader audience. We wanted to see students in the crowd who agreed and students who disagreed with our views. We wanted to be challenged and to be given the opportunity to share our perspective.
When choosing our lecturers, we aimed to select representatives of a variety of topics related to Pro-Life activism. We hosted Wesley J. Smith, who lectured about medical ethics and the Texas Advance Directives Act, as part of a lecture series Texas Right to Life sponsored. Additionally, we hosted talks during which Jenny Hamann, RN, addressed locked-in syndrome and euthanasia, and Dr. Eugene Troy, McGovern Medical School professor about being a Pro-Life OB/GYN. The lecture regarding locked-in syndrome was especially timely because the second-year medical students were just completing a case study on the topic in the unit Nervous System and Behavior. This lecture was one of our best attended, and I thoroughly recommend striving to align talks with the school’s curriculum. Relevance (in conjunction with providing good food) can attract students you otherwise never would have seen attend your meetings.
We kicked-off the academic year by hosting a happy hour event with our school’s Christian Medical and Dental Association chapter. Our goal was to introduce first-year students to like-minded upperclassmen, creating a community over drinks and appetizers. Our second-semester social event was a screening of the film Juno, which we hosted with the student groups Monthly Movie Night and Medical Students for Choice. Attendees from both sides of the issue enjoyed the film because although Juno ultimately chooses Life, the family dynamics which influenced her decision and the ways in which the medical system failed her character provided much to discuss.
We closed the year with three more lectures: “Pro-Life 101” by Rachel Bush from Texas Right to Life, a talk from New Wave Feminists’ Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, and “Why We Don’t Need Planned Parenthood” by Sarah Zarr of Students for Life. We would host these three lecturers again in a heartbeat! Our students responded exceptionally well to these topics because the speakers presented fact-based, often secular approaches to a movement that does not always appeal to the intellectual.
During the 2017-2018 academic year, McGovern Medical School’s Physicians for Life organization experienced steady growth in attendance from our Pro-Life peers. Noting the substantial interest from non-Pro-Life and non-religious students, I consider this to have been a wildly successful year for our club and the furtherance of the Pro-Life cause at McGovern Medical School.
Allison Limmer, McGovern Medical School student