What’s it like being a pro-life college activist? Not all hope is lost
Even with a strong pro-choice presence on campus, there is evidence of progress toward pro-life awareness and advocacy.
Many college campuses have become a hub for pro-life and pro-choice activists to speak out, table, and protest. My school, the University of Florida (UF) is no exception. Since the start of the fall semester, many groups have joined the cause, making their presence known and attempting to draw other students in.
My friend, Katie Yarborough, president of Students for Life at UF, explains her thoughts about where the increase in activism has come from.
“I really think the increase has come from the reversal of Roe v. Wade … It makes me sad to see our generation fight against life because I can’t help but think they don’t realize how valuable and worthy their own lives are,” she said. “If they don’t see that, they won’t see it for a preborn child.”
As I walk the streets of campus, there are many organizations that passionately stand on the pro-choice side, including the UF College Democrats, Young Democratic Socialists of America, and Planned Parenthood Generation Action. They also currently work with the UF Change Party (a student government organization) to implement programs within the student body.
One act, called the SHREAM Act, will allow student government funds to purchase and allocate “internal and external condoms, emergency contraceptives, and pregnancy tests.” It’s actions like these that normalize a pro-choice mindset and encourage students to evade the possible natural consequences of their actions.
In late September, Students for Life UF, with the help of Students for Life Florida regional coordinator Andy Secola, organized a tabling event called the “What is a Person Tour.” Andy has traveled to different campuses such as the University of South Florida and Florida State University to spread awareness of what a human person is and encourage discussion about similar topics.
We encountered people on both sides of the spectrum, ranging from an outspoken pro-choice activist to those that were more open-minded.
While we did encounter outspoken pro-choice activists, we sometimes got to engage in civil discussions with others. A woman in the Planned Parenthood shirt, originally from Kenya, talked with us for about 30 minutes. Although she left us still supporting Planned Parenthood, we believe we made her more aware of the truth behind what abortion really is, often disguised as “women’s rights” and “the right to choose.”
So, what’s it like being outnumbered philosophically on such an overwhelming campus? Tough, but not hopeless. With opportunities such as Andy’s tabling event, unknowing students on campus can’t avoid being presented with the truth that abortion is the killing of a child, and often a gruesome one.
Pope Benedict XVI once said, “The world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.” Having the courage to know what’s right and act upon it is something that doesn’t come easily, but I believe it is a way that we achieve Pope Benedict’s definition of greatness and defend life.