One year after Dobbs, campus hostility to pro-life students continues

Campus Reform interviewed pro-life student chapter leaders all over the nation.

Most of them agreed that they have experienced more harassment since the the Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade.

With the anniversary of the overturn of Roe v. Wade just around the corner, Campus Reform reached out to student leaders of pro-life organizations across the country to see what the campus climate has been like since the landmark Dobbs decision was handed down. 

Three out of five students Campus Reform interviewed stated that they have experienced more vandalism and backlash since Roe was overturned on June 24 of last year.  

Campus Reform Interviewed student leaders from Penn State University, the College of William and Mary in Virginia, Kennesaw State University in Georgia, North Carolina’s Campbell University, and Rider University in New Jersey.

[RELATED: Protesters chant ‘shut up’ at pro-life students, throw Bible on the ground]

Campus Reform first asked interviewees to reflect on what their overall experience has been like this past year with any backlash, vandalism, or related incidents on their campus.

Kale OgunborVice President of Penn State Students for Life and Campus Reform correspondent, replied that her group has “experienced vandalism and backlash quite a few times, especially during the fall semester, after the reversal of Roe.”

“Early in the fall semester our chapter decided to host a ’Cemetery for the Innocents’ exhibit,” Ogunbor related. “Hundreds of blue and pink flags were placed on our campus lawn representing the victims of abortion in the United States …  Students from the [Penn State Planned Parenthood] club mocked and verbally denigrated us, and sat on and in between the flags that each represented 2000 boys and girls that had been aborted every year leading up to the reversal of Roe.”

“It was definitely eye opening and disappointing that even the memory of the victims of abortion could not be honored,” she concluded.

Campus Reform has covered numerous other cases of vandalism against Cemetary of the Innocents displays since Roe was overturned.

Lydia Taylor, President of Campbell Students for Life, explained that “[o]ver the past 2 years at Campbell I have dealt with extreme backlash which was surprising, considering Campbell is supposed to be a Christian school.”

She continued, “Within the 1st semester of my arrival at Campbell, I was stalked, harassed, and sent death threats. People would film me on the way to class because I was known as ‘the pro-life girl’ all over campus. Our club has our displays vandalized multiple times and we find it hard to get any support within the university administration.”

Founder and President of Rider Students for Life, Grace Sandusky, commented that her “most notable experience” was last year “when we were doing one of the Students For Life tours.”

“[W]e had a very large group of about 20 Students Circle around us. They started mocking our display and recording us, and making mild threats. While that was all going on, a girl stole the biggest of our first trimester fetal models. She rips the head off. She put the head in the place where you drop ... used cigarettes and took the body with her.”  

Jonathan Kenney, member of Tribe for Life at William and Mary, had similar experiences.

“The overall experience I had on the campus of the College of William and Mary was nothing short of hostile and oppressive to the pro-life movement,” explained Kenney. “Vandalism was a major issue in particular … anytime there was an in-person meet for the pro-life movement, hostility and harassment ran rampant. No one wished to have discourse and simply talk to us, students wished only to cuss, scream, dox our members, knock down displays, and even in one instance, throw a cup of urine at us.”

Campus Reform covered this urine-throwing incident at the time, and reported on the culprit’s subsequent arrest.

When asked for his observations, Joshua Odutola, President of Students for Life at Kennesaw State University, also a Campus Reform correspondent, said, “When I wrote pro-life messages with chalk on National Pro-Life Chalk Day, pro-choice students left pro-abortion messages and tried removing the pro-life message.”

Campus Reform then asked the pro-life students whether their experience has changed at all since Dobbs was handed down last year, and If so, how.

There was a very notable difference between the responses that we got before the Dobbs decision last year,” replied Sandusky. “Before it happened I think a lot of people looked at us and assumed that we weren’t dangerous because we would never be successful. After Roe v. Wade was reversed, we had so much more attention on our group. There is much more confrontation.”

[RELATED: Texas students join communists, socialists to protest overturn of Roe v. Wade]

By contrast, Ogbur said that she didn’t “really think Dobbs has greatly affected our club’s interaction with everyday students, but the radical pro-choicers definitely seem to be more active and willing to clash with us since the SCOTUS decision.”

Odutola agreed, stating, “[M]y Campus has stayed the same on how hostile they are to pro-lifers.”

Kenney, on the other hand, thought that the Dobbs decision may have had a positive impact for the pro-life movement on his campus by discouraging supporters of abortion.

“Overall, I would say my campus is perhaps slightly less hostile to the pro-life movement after the Dobbs decision. Our voice and resolve has always been strong on campus, especially after the decision was handed down. The decision made the pro-abortion movement falter a bit in my mind.”

Campus Reform reached out to Penn State University, the College of William and Mary, Kennesaw State University, Campbell University, and Rider University for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.

Follow Emily Fowler on Twitter.