Across the country, Pro-Life students maintain an active presence on nearly 1,000 campuses. High school and college Pro-Life groups meet a crucial need among their peers by reaching out to the most abortion-vulnerable populations and galvanizing rising generations of Pro-Life leaders who are committed to seeing Roe v. Wade overturned in their lifetimes.
Pro-Life outreach on college campuses is wholly dependent on the guarantee that the right to free speech is guaranteed by school officials and fellow students. Sadly, Pro-Life students are frequently singled out and targeted with anti-free speech discrimination. For example, school staff have denied the formation of some Pro-Life clubs on the grounds that the group is “controversial” – even while allowing other, equally controversial groups to form. Other Pro-Life groups face opposition from fellow students who vandalize displays (all the time) and attack Pro-Life students simply because they do not like the Pro-Life message. Pro-Lifers have even been twerked on by anti-Life activists.
The attacks and discrimination are often downright illegal, and students must fight a time-consuming legal battle simply to maintain their right to defend Life publicly and in peace. A number of organizations assist these campus clubs when their rights are attacked. Alliance Defending Freedom is one of these legal groups. The organization has aggregated several stories of Pro-Life students who were forced to seek counsel in order to exercise their rights. Following are a few experiences.
Andrea Bezaire favored abortion when she began college at Wayne State University. But after meeting the Students for Life group on her campus, she was convinced that her stance was wrong, and became actively involved in the Pro-Life group. Administrators discriminated against the Pro-Life students by denying them the same funding and facility access to which other campus clubs had access. After seeking legal aid, however, Bezaire and her fellow students gained ground. “Though this case isn’t completely closed yet,” said Bezaire, “the University has backed down, and I know I will soon see the day when SFL can proclaim its message on campus freely.”
Angela Little was a founding member of the Students for Life group at Eastern Michigan University. Her group’s free speech rights were abrogated when school officials refused their request to bring a Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) display, featuring graphic abortion images, onto campus to raise awareness of the inhumanity of abortion. The group was told the request was biased and controversial. Students brought a lawsuit against the school, which yielded tangible changes that ensure equity for groups with which EMU officials may not agree. “Sometimes, administrators need to be confronted,” said Angela. “Somebody needs to stand up.”
Christian Andzel was adopted from Columbia. His gratitude for the gift of Life and the ability to pursue the American dream, he says, are what galvanize Christian’s Pro-Life beliefs. A leader of the University of Buffalo’s Pro-Life group, Christian faced blatant discrimination and pushback from school officials when he and his peers engaged in Pro-Life activism. Christian shares his story in the video below.
To support or become involved in Pro-Life campus outreach right here in Texas, and to learn more about the Dr. Joseph Graham Fellowship for College Pro-Life Leaders, visit our Student Central page.