Students for Life Wins Free Speech Case with Settlement in California

Fresno State Professor Ordered to Make Restitution and Undergo First Amendment Training

“College campuses should be a place of vigorous and respectful debate, but instead we often find people like Professor Greg Thatcher who abuse authority to block pro-life speech,” said SFLA’s Kristan Hawkins.

Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins called the settlement announced today in Fresno State Students for Life v. William Gregory Thatcher “a victory for all students who have the same Constitutional rights as professors. As our interactive map illustrates, nationwide we are seeing incredible opposition to pro-life speech as our student leaders and volunteers speak for the defenseless, reach out to pregnant women, and educate on the violence of abortion. But as this case illustrates, we are not going to be silent, even if it takes going to court. I want to thank Alliance Defending Freedom for fighting to protect the rights of our students who bravely speak up for preborn children every day. Right now, Students for Life is engaged in an Abortion = Violence campaign that is going to more than 90 college campuses, so let this case put college administrations on notice that we expect students’ rights to be respected and that the free market place of ideas include college campuses.”

In May, Bernadette Tasy, the president of Fresno State Students for Life, received permission to chalk pro-life messages near the school library. The messages expressed support for pregnant and parenting students and presented information about the development of an unborn child. Tasy observed and recorded students destroying the messages, telling her that they were instructed to by Dr. Thatcher, a public health professor.

Thatcher then proceeded to give Tasy a lecture on free speech that misstated both the law and university policy, claiming that the group could only speak in a speech zone the university eliminated two years ago. Eventually he said, “You had permission to put [the chalkings] down … I have permission to get rid of it,” as he used his sneaker to scrub over what was written. Thatcher also said, “College campuses are not free speech areas.”

In the settlement, Thatcher will pay $1,000 to Tasy and $1,000 to another student, Jesus Herrera, along with some attorneys’ fees. The professor is also required to undergo some First Amendment training to be provided by ADF.

When the lawsuit was filed, ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom observed: “Today’s college students will be tomorrow’s legislators, judges, educators, and voters. That’s why it’s so important that university professors model the First Amendment values they are supposed to be teaching to students, and why it should disturb everyone that this Fresno State professor, like so many other university officials across the country, is communicating to a generation that the Constitution doesn’t matter.”

As Hawkins’ recent column “Shouldn’t Pro-Life Students Have the Same Free Speech Rights as Millionaire Athletes?” illustrates, SFLA has been engaged in protecting students’ rights nationwide. For interviews, e-mail


News of continued violations of High School and College Students’ First Amendment Free Speech rights doesn’t completely capture the pattern of abuse that Students for Life of America is observing. So we created a visual to illustrate the oppositions students are facing when they try to speak to their peers about the violence of abortion to women and their unborn children and offer both encouragement and information about options other than abortion.

To create the visual, SFLA compiled a map of vandalizations against pro-life speech that have occurred since 2012. The map covers over 40 incidents and counting, including destroyed chalkings, stolen pro-life signs, and vandalized crosses. Some schools, such as Northern Kentucky University, have been repeatedly vandalized.

SFLA President Kristan Hawkins observed: “Not only does this map show the kind of opposition our students face daily as they speak up for the humanity of a preborn baby and the life-affirming options that women have, it is a testament to the courage and commitment of the pro-life generation. They will not let the radical abortion lobby prevent them from doing the right thing and encouraging their peers to choose life for their children. That’s why we have programs like ‘Pregnant on Campus.’ And we promise you that even when abortion activists destroy our peaceful message, we will be back, more determined to let women know that we are here to help them and their children, born and preborn.”

Some of the recent instances include:

Northern Kentucky University: Vandals tore up a “Cemetery of the Innocents” display on campus in 2017, and other years prior. The display commemorates lives lost to abortion, and includes a number of crosses. Even though this has been happening since at least 2006, the school has yet to come up with a clear solution for ending these heinous acts.

St. Louis University: At a similar display, students at the Catholic university tore up crosses, commemorating victims of violence, such as abortion and homicide. Worse, this happened twice in two weeks. While the university has photos of what happened, there has been little progress. The university should find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

Baldwin Wallace University: Students in the group wrote down pro-life messages on the ground. The messages affirmed the love for both woman and child, and offered messages of hope for people dealing with the effects of an abortion. Pro-abortion students bragged about destroying the chalkings on social media, and used the occasion to fundraise for abortion. The pro-life students, however, raised money for pregnancy resource centers.

Other incidences of violence against our group include: Administrators destroying chalkings at Kutztown University, vandals throwing paint on a display at Portland State University, and a display of graduation cords (to highlight ‘missing students’ who were killed by abortion) at University of Miami.

Students for Life of America will continue to update the map and make known every vandalization against pro-life displays on campus. College campuses should be places where free speech and debate can flourish.

Please contact Kristi Hamrick at for interviews.

Know Your “Rights”

By Carly Elizabeth Stauffer, Pacific Lutheran University Students for Life

I recently partook in a tabling event in the University Center with PLU Students for Life Club. The goal of our display was to educate the campus community about the violence of abortion towards not only the unborn, but also towards women. Our club is no stranger to controversy, and we know to expect everything from dirty looks to protests. The opportunity to have challenging, thoughtful, and perspective-shifting conversations is worth the potential discomfort.

There is one response to displays such as these, however, that saddens me most of all – it is the refusal to take the risk of having your opinion changed. Not long after we began to table did social media posts warn to steer clear of the UC lest our table be encountered. I think this is a most un-PLU thing to do. What happened to challenging your perspective and engaging in thoughtful inquiry, Lutes? And where does abortion fit into care for others, the community, and the earth?

The desire to avoid encountering information as disturbing as the reality of abortion is reasonable. But how do you develop a valid opinion of abortion if you refuse to investigate what it actually is? If you make a conscious effort to steer clear of any information that will challenge your viewpoint, how can you possibly be confident you are on the right side of history? I understand the temptation to don your female genitalia-inspired hat and shout “My body, my choice!” – it’s catchy, and everybody’s doing it. But I beg you to investigate what it is you are actually shouting for. I find it outrageous that a generation that likes to call itself progressive stands with Planned Parenthood and marches for abortion, not knowing the utter barbarism with which it is associating itself.

Our display included an attention-grabbing banner proclaiming “Abortion is Violent.” While many unfortunately rushed to the conclusion that the banner was intended to shame women who have had or have considered an abortion, those who took the time to converse with us found that Students for Life Club is of the opinion that there are two victims in an abortion – the mother and the child. We do not advocate shame of the mother – but we are vocal about our disgust of the deplorable actions of the king of the abortion industry, Planned Parenthood. We are outraged that this abortion mogul has lied to countless women, assuring them that abortion is the answer to their problems – and making a buck off of it.

Women are driven to seek abortion by heart-breaking situations, and, as has been voiced to me many times, the unavailability of “safe,” legal abortion has led women to do terribly tragic things. I do not claim that the question of what to do in these scenarios has a black and white answer – but I do claim that if more people were aware of the reality of abortion, it would be a tragedy vastly less commonplace. I also refuse to condone the propagation of the message that in such difficult circumstances, the ending of a life is the best solution; women (and the unborn) deserve better.

The procedure by which a baby is aborted is the stuff of horror films. Depending on when the abortion occurs with regard to the baby’s development, the procedure may involve a syringe to the (beating) heart to induce a heart attack, the tearing apart of the body, limb from limb, or the breaking of the neck. It is noteworthy that the tools used to accomplish these procedures must be inserted into the woman, and inherently pose the risk of causing her great harm. Even the least invasive procedure, the “abortion pill,” has the potential of causing a woman severe emotional trauma, and has led to the death of the mother due to excessive bleeding. Abortion is undoubtedly violent – for both humans involved.

I expect that this article has caused some discomfort – and it should. We should not be comfortable with the current abortion situation in our country. But perhaps you are angry with me, too. While this was not my goal, I will admit that, with all due respect, I was not seeking your approval or applause. This is for those who cannot yet speak for themselves – but who will someday. This is for the babies.

High School Students for Life Group Collects 40,000 Diapers for Children in Need

Bethany Janzen, SFLA’s Rocky Mountain Regional Coordinator

On Thursday, November 3rd, Regis Jesuit High School Students for Life broke records by collecting 40,313 diapers for local families in need.

After an intense month of lobbying their friends and classmates to contribute, thirteen club members loaded the packs of diapers into a small semi-truck for them to make their way to Alternatives Pregnancy Center and Catholic Charities which provide free support to struggling families in the Denver area.

Last year, the club broke previous records by collecting 24,000 diapers. But this year, they nearly doubled that record. The secrete to their success lay partly in their competition.

Since Regis Jesuit has separate girls and boys divisions, the club pitted the boys against the girls for a competition. Then, RJ Students for Life club plastered the campus with flyers and teachers offered extra credit or parties if 80 percent of the students brought in diapers. One theology teacher offered extra credit for his classes; the sophomore class won with 4,962 diapers.

The result? The boys were victorious collecting a whopping 24,000 diapers; the girls brought in 16,000.

“It was amazing to see the whole Regis community come together to help families in need. Everyone contributed which is what made it such a huge success!” said Abby Kassel, RJ Students for Life Girl’s Division President.

RJ certainly came together. And they came together for something so much greater than just a competition. “I am grateful to have been a part of [changing] the lives of many children and women,” Max Ronyak remarked, RJ Students for Life Boy’s Division President.

Meghan Dudzic, Public Relations Coordinator of RJ Girl’s Division Students for Life, summed up the event beautifully:

“I am humbled to be a part of an experience so much bigger than me. Seeing how my school came together to help these women and their babies showed me how love can move us to do anything God sets us to. I hope to help continue this tradition at Regis and cannot wait to see what the babies of these mothers grow up to become!”

Find out how your pro-life student group can help pregnant and parenting students at!

Join us: Students for Life of America Calls Planned Parenthood and Politicians to Account as #Sockit2PP Tour Reaches the West Coast

“Outside the Beltway, the Pro-Life Generation is organizing now because we expect results from politicians who keep promising to get taxpayers out of the business of supporting abortion,” said SFLA’s Kristan Hawkins.

In advance of some strategic votes related to abortion, Students for Life of America’s National #Sockit2PP tour heads west, stopping in 10 locations from abortion mega centers to U.S. Senate district offices, joining with political and cultural leaders to send a message back to Washington D.C. that Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry must no longer be left unchecked to hurt women and pre-born children while draining scarce taxpayer resources. “Politicians have said for years that they could protect women and pre-born children from the greedy, unregulated and predatory abortion business in America if only they had majorities to work with,” said SFLA President Kristan Hawkins.

“We are holding them to account. Now is the time to defund Planned Parenthood, get taxpayer-supported abortion out of healthcare and pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. We will finish the #Sockit2 PP tour educating, energizing and mobilizing Generation Z and Millennials who value pre-born life and know that abortion IS violence. And with all the issues left unaddressed in this legislative session, our timing is perfect for drawing attention to the work that is undone.”

Along with educational tools about how abortion harms women, students are also being equipped to call on their office holders, asking them to do three things: Defund Planned Parenthood, Support Life-Affirming Healthcare, and Pass the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. “Planned Parenthood tells the media that they are the voice of the next generation of leaders, but with more than 1,100 college and student groups nationwide, Students for Life of America is positioned to mobilize the conscience of this country on behalf of human beings who need someone to speak for them,” said Hawkins. “And if the current political leadership is not up to task of defunding Planned Parenthood, we will look to primaries to see who else can take up that challenge.”

Over the last few months, Students for Life of America has been engaged in a tour of more than 90 college campuses, educating on the violence of abortion experienced by women as well as pre-born children. And while some who oppose the life-affirming messages havetried to block the free speech rights of students or vandalized the peaceful displays as illustrated in this interactive map, courageous student leaders continue to speak for the pre-born and their mothers.

On the tour, SFLA travels with the powerful visual of a truck filled with 328,348 baby socks, each sock representing a child aborted by Planned Parenthood this year.

“We will stand outside Planned Parenthood facilities mourning the fact that no one will fill the little socks left empty by their dirty business, and we are horrified that after videos illustrated clearly that Planned Parenthood also has sold the body parts of aborted infants, nothing has yet been done,” said Hawkins. “But as we will tell politicians and the media next week, we are not going away. We have not given up on life. And we will not forget at election time.”

You can learn more about #Sockit2PP here.

Local pro-life leaders and politicians will join SFLA as the tour continues on:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 7 in Illinois where recently Governor Bruce Rauner has come under fire for violating a campaign promise and choosing to fund abortion in his state with tax dollars. SBA List’s Jill Stanek will be among the speakers.

Event will take place at noon to 1 p.m. Central time at Planned Parenthood’s location at 3051 East New York Street, Aurora, IL.

  • Wednesday, Nov. 8 in Minnesota.

Event will take place from noon to 1 p.m. Central time at Planned Parenthood’s location at Vandalia Center, 671 Vandalia Street, St. Paul, MN.

  • Thursday, Nov. 9 in Missouri.

Event will take place from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Central time at Planned Parenthood’s location at 4251 Forest Park Ave., St. Louis, MO, a city in which recently 67 women in white recently joined SFLA and national and state leaders at an abortion clinic where ambulance calls have been placed 67 times for women in distress since 2009.

  • Saturday, Nov. 11 in Colorado.

Event will take place from 11 a.m. to noon Mountain time near Planned Parenthood’s location at 1284 South Abilene Street, Aurora, CO. EVENT ADDRESS: 1500 South Abilene Street, Aurora, CO.

  • Monday, November 13 in Arizona

Planned Parenthood – Glendale Health Center: 5771 W Eugie Ave, Glendale, AZ 85304

  • Tuesday, Nov. 14 in California at the office of Sen. Kamala Harris.

Event will take place from noon to 1 p.m. Pacific time at Sen. Harris’ district office, at 629 A Street, San Diego, CA.

  • Wednesday, Nov. 15 in California.

Event will take place from noon to 1 p.m. Pacific time at Planned Parenthood’s location at 7655 Greenleaf Avenue, Whittier, CA.

  • Thursday, Nov. 16 in California.

Event will take place from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Pacific time at Planned Parenthood’s B Street Health Center, 201 29th St., Sacramento, CA.

  • And also Thursday, Nov. 16 in Nevada.

Event will take place near Sen. Dean Heller’s District office from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Pacific time, in the Bruce Thompson Federal Building, 400 S. Virginia Street, Suite 738, Reno, Nevada. EVENT ADDRESS at 488 S. Center Street.

  • Friday, Nov. 17 in California at the site of a planned, Planned Parenthood Center.

Event will take place from noon to 1 p.m. Pacific time at a location in which Planned Parenthood wants to build another mega center, at 1522 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA.

To learn more about the speakers at the events or for interviews, e-mail Kristi at

Reaction to GOP Tax bill

The recently released tax bill has some positive developments for the pro-life movement, as well as some setbacks. In a win for pro-lifers, the child tax credit is being increased. Additionally, the preborn will now be recognized under the tax law for college savings plans (529 plans). Under the legislation, parents can begin saving for their children before they are born, which would recognize that life begins at conception.

Students for Life of America Kristan Hawkins called this “an exciting development. Pro-life policies must include helping parents prepare for their children’s future, which makes the announced changes in tax policy an important sign that the Trump Administration is working to protect and support mothers, fathers and children, born and preborn.”

Still, it wasn’t all good news in the bill.

The GOP proposal did not continue a deduction of up to $13,460 to offset adoption costs for families making under $242,000.

“It’s disappointing that the adoption tax credit isn’t in the current proposal, given the high cost of adoption and the needs of children for a family,” Hawkins said. “We urge lawmakers to do everything they can to support parents who are doing the heroic and costly work of raising the next generation.”

Students for Life of America will continue to monitor the tax legislation to ensure it promotes life at all stage, including promotion of adoption.

Autumn Lindsey responds to burning clinic question

Intention matters. These are the two words that come to mind when I read the tweets by Patrick S. Tomlinson. He is quite proud of himself for posing a hypothetical question to the pro-life community that has supposedly stumped people for years.

Here it is. You’re in a fertility clinic. Why isn’t important. The fire alarm goes off. You run for the exit. As you run down this hallway, you hear a child screaming from behind a door. You throw open the door and find a five-year-old child crying for help.

They’re in one corner of the room. In the other corner, you spot a frozen container labeled “1000 Viable Human Embryos.” The smoke is rising. You start to choke. You know you can grab one or the other, but not both before you succumb to smoke inhalation and die, saving no one

Do you A) save the child, or B) save the thousand embryos? There is no “C.” “C” means you all die.

He says he has never been able to get a straight answer to his question. He feels that pro-life supporters are finally cornered and have no answer to this pretend scenario he constructed.

He goes on to say,

No one, anywhere, actually believes an embryo is equivalent to a child. That person does not exist. They are lying to you.

They are lying to you to try and evoke an emotional response, a paternal response, using false-equivalency.

No one believes life begins at conception. No one believes embryos are babies, or children. Those who claim to are trying to manipulate you so they can control women.

Let’s go back to my first thought.

Intention matters.

If I were in a burning building, and I heard a small child crying, I would grab that child and run. If I knew embryos were within reach, I would grab as many as possible on my way. I would fill my pockets and the child’s pockets as I ran for safety. He says I can’t choose that, but I get to decide what I do when I am in a fictional burning building. My point is, my intentions are good. I mean, even firemen in actual burning buildings have to do their best when deciding who to save and who to leave. The point is, it is tragic for any person to die in a fire.

My second thought is this.

If someone chooses to save the five-year old, that doesn’t in any way mean that the embryo’s  lives have no value.

It means a decision had to be made, and sometimes in emergency chaotic situations, we go on our instincts and try our best. Saving the child doesn’t erase the fact that all of the embryos lost in the fire would be an incredible and tragic loss. The child has value, the embryos have value, and I have value.

I would like to ask Patrick my own question:

What if two of those embryos in this burning building were your twins? What if you and your wife struggled with fertility for years, and after using every cent you have, you now have a hope for a family. Your tiny babies are sitting there in danger of being destroyed. That changes things, doesn’t it? The bottom line is that no matter who dies, it is a loss.

Patrick said, “No one believes life begins at conception.”  He says if you believe this, you are only trying to control women.

I think Patrick is a little behind the times, because science has established that life begins at conception. For instance, Landrum B. Shettles, M.D., P.h.D. said, “The zygote is human life….there is one fact that no one can deny; Human beings begin at conception.” Sally B Olds Quoted in Eric Pastuszek. Is the Fetus Human? “The term conception refers to the union of the male and female pronuclear elements of procreation from which a new living being develops. It is synonymous with the terms fecundation, impregnation, and fertilization … The zygote thus formed represents the beginning of a new life.” I suppose if Patrick doesn’t know this, his hypothetic question makes a little more sense.

The problem is, some people do know life begins at conception, and still don’t care. So asking leading hypothetical questions is not going to help you prove an illogical conclusion. All lives are important, born and preborn. End of story.


Abortion harms women: what pro-abortion groups never told me

Ally Bowlin, SFLA’s National Programs Coordinator

A decision that is supposed to empower you, shouldn’t leave you with a lifetime of pain and regret. A choice that is meant to “enhance your quality of life” shouldn’t leave you with depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts. Abortion is not empowering. It does not enhance your life. I know, because I had an abortion.

Within the current, mainstream feminist movement of the abortion industry, women are left to feel like abortion is the ultimate problem solver with no after-effects, and are given no education or counseling on other choices beyond abortion. Even more troubling, the attempt to “destigmatize” the abortion movement is basically telling women that we are

wrong for feeling regret, feeling remorse, or feeling grief after our abortion. Organizations like 1 in 3 and Shout Your Abortion are trying to tell women that abortion is normal and there’s no basis for the regret or grief we feel.

There’s a fad sweeping across college campuses as well, and it is devastating. I found out one went on just down the road from me at The University of North Texas. During the month of April, ten college campuses in five states hosted “URGE” (Unite for Reproductive Gender Equity) for an #AbortionPositive Tour. At UNT, an art show was held to demonstrate what being “abortion positive” means. Essentially, they were force-feeding students the lie that abortion is women’s health care with slogans like “I got 99 problems, but pregnancy ain’t one!”

“I think not seeing abortion as something negative and seeing abortion as something positive and as a right that we have access to,” is how an URGE Chairman describes the strategy. This subversion of right and wrong – of life and death – is what is brainwashing the feminist movement. THIS is not empowering! Since when is ‘a life for a life’ an empowering worldview?

As women, our brains are wired to nurture. “Mothering” is inherent to us. (I fell in love the second I found out I was pregnant.) As hormones change during pregnancy, the body is preparing for motherhood physically, mentally, and emotionally (ask me about the early emotional signs… I’ll tell you funny stories about crying watching commercials). When a woman starts considering abortion or becomes abortion-determined, she then has to defy what the body is naturally doing. This is when denial begins. Denial of the child’s life, that he or she truly is an innocent and dependent human being. This denial continues after an abortion is completed. Denial of grief because she doesn’t want to admit to herself there was actually a life lost. She will bury those thoughts with whatever she can. Data on post-abortive women demonstrate that substance abuse, depression, suicide, and a host of other problems often follow an abortion.

An abortion has been shown to short-circuit these changes in the body as quickly as they started. Especially when a woman feels manipulated and coerced into her decision. That short-circuited feeling sends most abortive women into a tailspin of regret, that they don’t even realize is happening. These are all too common in post-abortive women, but we are silenced when these emotions arise and are told there’s no need to feel regret, and this sickens and angers me to my core.

Let me be the perfect example of what the pain and regret of abortion can cause. Abortion-syndrome, abortion PTSD, it’s real a thing.

“My body, my choice”. “It was the best decision at the time”. I even recall the nurses reassuring me with phrases like “it’s only a 10 minute procedure”, “this will not affect your ability to have children later.” “Now I can be successful.” “Now I can finish college.” “Now I won’t have the burden of another life to look after”. I remember these thoughts creeping in as my boyfriend and I drove away from the abortion clinic that October morning in 2011.

A few months later because the grief was too much to handle, I started attending counseling. This was not post-abortive care (which I sought many years later). This counselor took me way back to my childhood, examined my relationship with my parents- which was never terrible. I had an attitude problem growing up (probably still do), but what teenage girl doesn’t? Looking back on that treatment now, I realize she wanted to contribute my pre and post abortive behavior on my “rebellious spirit” and me wanting to deviate from my parent’s rules. When in reality, I was hurting, I was grieving, and I was using anything I could to suppress all of it. But we never once dove into my abortion being the cause of my anxiety, anger, or depression.

VIVID flashbacks of that day replayed for years, at any given moment. Even still to this day, six years later, I can tell you the color of the hideous wallpaper in the clinic, the color of the chairs, even the color of the nurse’s scrubs. And I would immediately stop myself from crying anytime memories of that day would creep in, telling myself it’s not something to cry over, I’m better off. Those were the lies that I kept hearing. My fuse was short and I was quick to anger and that anger went so quick to rage. I actually remember having a couple panic attacks one weekend because I couldn’t find any friends to go out to the Dallas nightlife and drink with me. I couldn’t handle being alone, it left room for me to think, to feel, to remember.

I stayed quiet for so long because of the stigma of abortive women being called “murderers”. Do you have any idea what that does to someone already struggling and suppressing grief? It makes it impossible to seek healing and counseling. It makes us want to stay silent even more. Post-abortive healing was probably the hardest 12 weeks I’ve had to endure in my short 27 years. But, compared to a lifetime of grief and heartache, I would go through it many many more times.

The post-abortive woman needs just as much love and compassion as the woman that chose life.

Why is it acceptable to grieve a miscarriage but women are told to numb the feelings of depression and grief after an abortion? If abortion has no effect psychologically, why does the suicide rate increase for women after they’ve had an abortion?

Stop saying that abortion will solve your problems. Stop telling women that our successes, our degree, our paychecks are worth a life lost. Let’s get real, ladies.

Dig deep, and listen to your heart, not the media. Feeling the pain is NORMAL, feeling regret is NORMAL. And there is hope past that regret. There is love on the other side of that pain. Even after going through post-abortive recovery over a year ago, I still fight the demons of guilt and regret DAILY. I eat, breath, live it daily, working in the pro-life atmosphere, I’m faced with it every day. I guess you could say I’m #livingmybestlife now. Finding that peace through recovery changed me. It changed me for the better, it gave me peace, it gave me pure joy.

There are people out there to listen to your story. There are people out there to hear about your grief, let them in.

Keeping Up With Abortion

By Camille Rodriguez, SFLA’s Southern California Regional Coordinator

There was a time when I didn’t miss an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. The DVR was always set to record and even when I was caught up I would still find myself watching the occasional E! marathon to reminisce on the times we shared.  Trips to Greece, France and Thailand were all a step out of my own reality and a step into a luxurious life I could only dream of living; never mind the idea of beautiful homes, chic stylists and daily hangouts with hilarious sisters. I will shamelessly admit that my love of Cuban coffee stemmed from an episode where Khloé is desperately running around Miami in search of cortaditos. You can’t make that stuff up! I had to try one for myself! Through the ups and downs, babies, boyfriends and breakups, my Sunday nights (or Monday evenings) were reserved to see what was going to happen next!

Since life gets busy and time goes on, I had to friendzone the relationship I once held so dear and keep up through Instagram, Snapchat, and yes, the occasional in-flight E! marathon. Regardless, I felt like I knew these girls as much as one could from my position and most especially appreciated when Kourtney chose life for her first baby after finding out she was pregnant in unideal circumstances. This woman is strong! You can imagine my surprise then, when I scrolled through Instagram this past May only to find that they went on a field trip to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, and left using the hashtag “#istandwithpp.” Wait, what?! I was admittedly stunned.

Fast forward to Sunday evening when the episode aired. I had to know what Planned Parenthood presented to these sisters. Family is what they are made of. How could they support an organization who continually destroys the family unit without apology?  “There is nothing worse than wanting to support people, but not knowing,” said Kim, when talking to Kourtney about the public push for the government to defund Planned Parenthood. Fair enough. They then called Khloé who stated, “I think it’s a really big misconception…I think people think Planned Parenthood is, like, an abortion center.” Well, here’s the breakdown from Planned Parenthood’s own annual report. In the 2015-2016 fiscal year, Planned Parenthood committed 328,348 abortions. Let that sink in for a minute. Three hundred twenty-eight thousand, three hundred forty-eight abortions. Resist the temptation to jump to any other number and just sit on that for another moment. 328,348. Abortion, noun: the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy. Planned Parenthood committed 328,348 abortions in ONE year.

Naturally, I’m going to give Khloé the benefit of the doubt, she’s my old friend after all and I would have my beloved Cuban coffee without her. They’re not experts. The whole purpose of their field trip was to learn more. So, I kept watching.

As they walked through the doors of the Los Angeles Planned Parenthood, the sisters were greeted by smiling faces and were welcomed with open arms. Yeah, I would be that desperate too, Planned Parenthood, try not to forget your talking points. “We primarily provide life-saving cancer screenings, STD treatment, birth control…90% of what we do is preventive care.” Nope, didn’t forget them. Sorry to burst your bubble, Sue, but abortion isn’t preventive care and it makes up over 90% of your pregnancy services. Way to not mention abortion at all, by the way. Moving on.

“How many clinics are in California?” asked Khloé as they’re walking through the hallway. “There are many, many clinics. California sees about 1.5 million patient visits each year,” replied Sue. Hearing that I couldn’t help but wonder how many of those visits are actually reported to the Center for Disease Control considering abortion rates haven’t been reported to the CDC from California since 1997. States are not required to report abortion data to the CDC, so we’re working with skewed numbers from the beginning. How many more abortions are happening that we don’t even know about? And you still want our tax dollars and the repeal of Hyde. Nah, I’m good.

The sisters were then introduced to two young women who work with high school students and teachers who stated they focus on preventing STDs, birth control, abstinence and healthy relationships.  “What is the weirdest question you guys have got,” asked Kim. The teacher’s reply, “Can you use a snickers wrapper as a condom.” You’re teaching abstinence, yet a high schooler is asking if you can use a candy wrapper as a condom. Yeah, okay. Another talking point to save face? What in your abstinence talk evoked such a question? And no, please refrain yourself from the candy wrapper.

Addressing healthy relationships, Planned Parenthood has a booklet called “Healthy, Happy and Hot” which says:

“Young people living with HIV have the right to decide if, when, and how to disclose their HIV status…Sharing your HIV status is called disclosure. Your decision about whether to disclose may change with different people and situations. You have the right to decide if, when, and how to disclose your HIV status…Some countries have laws that say people living with HIV must tell their sexual partner(s) their status before having sex…these laws violate the rights of people living with HIV by forcing them to disclose or face the possibility of criminal charges.”

Real healthy. Am I being sarcastic? Hard yes.

Continuing through the episode, the sisters meet three female patients of Planned Parenthood. These women share their stories and gratitude. One woman opened up and shared that in her abortion appointment, the doctor sensed her hesitation and refused to go forward with the appointment until the woman went home and thought about her decision. She then decided to parent her child. This is awesome and I’m not here to discredit her story, so I’ll share two of my own.

The first is of a friend who supported Planned Parenthood…until she got pregnant. Knowing she wanted to keep her baby, she walked into the local PP and asked for pregnancy verification, which is required to obtain insurance. Because she did NOT want an abortion, this Planned Parenthood turned her away stating it was illegal for them to touch her if she wasn’t terminating her pregnancy. They sent her away unless she wanted an abortion. Nice. The second is of an encounter with a woman I met outside of the Planned Parenthood in downtown Los Angeles while sidewalk counseling. She walked out of the doors in tears. I asked if she was okay and she continued walking. After a moment had passed, I looked down the sidewalk and saw her still there. She was sitting on the curb crying. I walked over to see if she needed help, which she politely refused. Before walking away because I wanted to respect her space, I asked if she wanted prayer. She looked up at me with tears streaming down her face and nodded, “yes.” We shared that moment and after introducing ourselves, she walked away.

“The perception of Planned Parenthood is that it’s this abortion clinic and that’s nothing of what it’s like,” said Kim. Sometimes I think we only see what we wish to see and the fear of taking off our rose-colored glasses allows the perpetration of violence to continue. “People need to be more educated before they form opinions,” stated Khole. I wholeheartedly agree. Maybe the Kardashian sisters can join us on the sidewalk in Los Angeles one day to gain a new perspective. I hope they would also open their minds to hear the thousands of stories of women who were deceived by Planned Parenthood and wish they could turn back time. Women are strong, capable and deserve to be empowered! Heck, the Kardashian empire is made of women! Let’s use that influence to hear both sides and really educate a nation that deserves the truth.

With over 10,500 FQHCs serving over 25 million patients a year, outnumbering Planned Parenthood 16:1, I’d say the truth is We Don’t Need Planned Parenthood.


Wilberforce Fellows Story: Running For Pregnancy Resource Centers

I’m Esther Edwards and this year I have been given the incredible opportunity of being a part of the Wilberforce Leadership Fellowship. I am also a junior in college and the president of Toccoa Falls for Life. As I considered what to do for my project, the number three thousand just kept repeating in my head. Three thousand abortions happen each day in America alone. Three thousand. How can I do something that will not only be educational, but also fun, and encouraging? After seeing a few races, it suddenly hit me. A 3k! Many colleges host a 5k during their homecomings, but what if the Pro Life clubs started hosting 3k races? It would be a shorter distance, which would encourage more people to run and would hold significant meaning.

I immediately started designing t-shirts and contacted my friend, Ian, who is the President of the Pro-Life club at LeTourneau University in Texas to see what he thought of the idea. Also excited by the idea, Ian decided that he would also host a 3k at his college. He was even given the opportunity to advertise on the local news station! Thanks to the amazing homecoming committee at my college, we were able to offer t-shirts, bananas, granola bars, water, and medals for the runners. They also helped with advertising to the community and on campus. All the proceeds from the event will be used to help Toccoa Life Pregnancy Resource Center.

Having a 3k race to raise funds and awareness turned out to be a success. Thirty students, community members, and alumni came out 8 a.m. on a brisk October morning and learned that America provides three thousand abortions each day. We took time to pray and then the runners were off. I encouraged them to think about the tragedy that is occurring and that each meter they ran represented the life of a child that would never take a breath outside his or her mother’s womb.

The t-shirts that were given to the runners said “3k for Life – 3k Today” and not only does it represent the race they ran, but is also a great conversation piece. Abortion education doesn’t have to be harsh and cold, it can be enjoyable and encouraging as people participate in a fun-run while learning and supporting a great cause. Our local PRC offers support to so many women through their “Mommy Store” that uses the baby bucks that the moms earn through the curriculums on parenting, finances, and pregnancy.

For a first time event, it was definitely a success and I hope to see it continue to grow as it gains popularity. It would amazing if it became an event held across the nation and inspired participants to make a difference so that we can host a 2k, then a 1k, then a 100 meter sprint. Eventually Pro-Life clubs will look back on the day we hosted 3k runs and celebrate how far we have come and find new ways to support PRCs and continue to make a difference in the lives of parents and children.