Pro-life demonstration provokes passionate debate among students regarding abortion rights

Casual debates between SFLA President Kristan Hawkins and students were interrupted by students who were vocal in their disagreements with what the organization stands for. ORACLE PHOTO/JUSTIN SEECHARAN

A pro-life demonstration in front of Cooper Hall on Tuesday sparked debates between students and the Students for Life of America (SFLA) members on whether life begins at conception or at birth.

SFLA President Kristan Hawkins led an open floor discussion for questions from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students lined up to speak with her, but calm conversations were interrupted by students who challenged the organization’s standpoint by raising their voices at Hawkins.

The pro-life movement’s goal is to protect “pre-born lives” by preventing abortions around the U.S., according to Hawkins. She said the basis of the pro-life movement is not religion, but rather that life starts at conception and the embryo has a unique genetic code proving it is worthy of life.

“The moment of conception is unique. It is a whole human being now,” Hawkins said. “Whether or not you believe that a human being has a soul, that is up to you.”

The anti-abortion group was surrounded by a small group of spectators as they held a poster with the slogan “The abortion industry is lying to you – change my mind” written on it.

Protest organizers declined to comment on the event.

Hawkins was challenged by students on her use of the U.S. founding fathers’ ideals, as they argued abortions should be part of the freedom of choice individuals possess. Hawkins disputed this by saying that one’s rights should not interfere with another person’s right to life and freedom.

“When you want to take one’s pursuit of happiness over another human’s liberty, bad, terrible things happen as in slavery,” Hawkins said. “Which was exactly what we saw when the Supreme Court ruled that a slaveholder’s pursuit of happiness or liberty, whatever you call it, trumps another human being’s right to life.”

Bulls4life member Gabriel Marrero mentioned that speaking up against the American abortion industry relates to believing all life is created equal, and bringing the discussion to young people on a college campus is essential for the movement going forward.

“Too many college students are misinformed on what the pro-life movement actually is and what it entails,” Marrero said. “People don’t see the baby in the womb as a valued human life, they see it as a clump of cells.”

Bulls4life member Jordan Osborne said the goal of the anti-abortion group is to speak up for life and change minds on when a human being is considered conscious. According to Osborne, the main goal of having these open forums on college campuses is to inform this generation of students that will be future parents about the dangers of abortions.

“We are trying to inform people on the dangers not only for the expectation of life but for the unborn or newborn baby,” Osborne said, “if we continue down this path, it’s really going to end up in a lot of murder and normalization of something really bad.”

As a pro-choice student brought up the possibility of a pregnant person not being financially or emotionally ready to have a child and opting to have an abortion, Hawkings said that women should be ready to face the natural consequences of having sex.

“I believe women are noble enough and capable enough to have to sacrifice nine months, so another person can do 90 years,” Hawkings said. “If you do not want to carry another human being to term, accept those natural biological realities, and don’t engage in heterosexual relations.”