Sometimes it is tough to be a pro-life college student. Most challenges students face are found on campus during a tabling event or with the administration, but sometimes they are inside the classroom. Far too often when pro-life students dare to speak up in defense of the unborn, professors attempt to humiliate and silence them. [Tweet that!]
I experienced this first hand in a biology class during my freshman year. The class focused on technological advances in the field of biology and the ethical concerns which accompanied the advancements.
My professor, “Dr. Nation,” covered each topic with a series of lectures, and then allowed a discussion day with groups of students representing the pro and con side of the issue for the class, followed by a Q&A portion. After the presentation on embryonic stem cell research, I excitedly got in line to ask my question for the pro-embryonic stem cell research team. They had made a case for the research on the basis that we should take advantage of the embryos instead of just letting them go to waste. This was one of the first times I had the opportunity in college to speak up for the pro-life perspective. I had just returned from my first March for Life and was nervous to challenge the students in front of the class.
Each student in front of me stepped up to ask a clarification question about something from either presentation, and a few challenged the con side. I was the first person to make any sort of case for the pro-life side in the entire semester. My turn came, and I began to ask the students if they would use the same argument to advocate for the intentional destruction of human life in other cases if it would mean biological research could progress. I was about to give a thought experiment example when Dr. Nation cut me off. He had not done this a single time with any of the students that day or in any other discussion days in the entire semester.
I want to share one more dialogue story from our outreach last month at Aquinas College. Two fantastic students from the Students for Life club at University of Michigan, Rachel Crawford and Chloe Alberta, spoke to several pro-choice girls. This is what happened.
Rachel (left) and Chloe (right) talking to students at Aquinas College.
Chloe begins the story this way:
Towards the end of our day of outreach, Rachel and I had a conversation with two girls, who I’ll call Amber and Linda. Initially they were very hesitant to participate in the poll, because, as Amber informed us, they didn’t really like to think about the issue of abortion and didn’t really have an opinion on it.
Grabbing my handy fetal development chart from the ERI outreach brochure, I asked: “Would you mind if I tell you why it is extremely important to me that people think about abortion?”I showed them the fetal development chart and told them that I believe that human life begins at the moment of fertilization, and that that human life deserves to be protected.
I asked them in the name of having ALL the information possible, in order to make the MOST informed decision, would they be willing to look at a picture that shows what an abortion looks like? They declined because, “It’s probably really disturbing.” “You’re right,” I said. “It’s extremely disturbing and I really have trouble looking at them too.” I explained to them that I see that horrible image of the death of an unborn child, and I see one of the biggest human rights violations of our time. And I cannot be silent about that, and I think that is why it is so important to have an opinion about abortion and not let those human lives be looked over.
This is the story of one of the dialogues I had during our outreach at the University of Michigan.
I talked to a student I’ll call “Mark” at the University of Michigan who was pro-choice. He thought personhood began in the 2nd trimester, but he wasn’t sure why. I told him my concern was that I wanted an explanation of personhood that would make sense of the idea that all human adults should have an equal right to life. I’ve never seen someone understand where that logic leads so fast. He immediately said, “Oh, if we’re trying to give everyone an equal right to life than personhood would start here” and he pointed to the fertilization picture.
Watch my speech at Fresno Pacific University’s Evidence 2014 conference. I explain the Equal Rights Argument and the three different ways you can make a positive case for fetal personhood: Imago Dei, the Rational Nature Argument, and Don Marquis’ Future of Value Argument. This includes content I’ve never taught publicly before!
I was asked to give an apologetics speech at the Students for Life of America 2014 West Coast National Conference. I was given a title, “I’m Pro-Life, But…” that I was allowed to do anything I wanted with, so I chose to respond to these four common statements and questions:
“I’m pro-life, but people tell me I come across like a jerk. What can I do about that?”
“I’m pro-life, but I don’t know how to convince people that abortion is wrong.”