Students for Life strives to create healthy, effective, and well-rounded student groups that are fighting abortion on multiple fronts called the 5 Pillars. There are five areas of engagement that are crucial to abolishing abortion starting on campuses, in which healthy Students for Life groups should be participating. This list is not exhaustive but a snapshot of the life-saving, heart-changing work our Students for Life groups participate in daily on their campuses.
- Each year, hundreds of thousands of students from all across the nation attend the annual Pro-Life March in Washington DC. Many of these students feel some sort of pull or desire to work towards abolishing abortion after attending, so that’s why Students for Life hosts the National Pro-Life Summit immediately following the March to build momentum and give these young people their “marching orders” when they return home. In 2020, the National Pro-Life Summit sold-out with over 3,100 in attendance. SFLA is committed to raising up the Pro-Life Generation to be strong leaders and carry the future of our movement, and we believe the Summit does just that.
- One of the most impactful things that Students for Life of America does is equip our Regional Coordinators with educational tabletop and campus tour displays. These displays cover a wide variety of topics, provoking students on campuses to consider questions such as, “When do Human Rights Begin?” and “Should Abortion Remain Legal Even When a Fetus Can Feel Pain?” Because of their purposeful thought-provoking nature, our campus tabletops and displays are always sure to create deep and meaningful discussion among the student body when our student groups bring them to campus. Another benefit we see from these displays is the way in which they incite confidence in our campus Students for Life leaders as they do outreach to their peers. Every time one of our student groups host a tabletop or campus display, discussion is spurred, confidence is built, and more young people are recruited to our cause.
- Every August, students across the United States, stand outside of abortion facilities in solidarity with the pro-life movement during our National Sidewalk Counseling Day. Outside of abortion facilities, mothers make the final decision about the preborn child in their womb. The decision can be fatal, and can end their child’s life, or the decision can be the beginning of a hopeful future for their child. Through a peaceful and compassionate approach, hearts and minds can begin to realize the tragedy of abortion. Through the distribution of literature regarding fetal development, we witness women think about choosing life. Our efforts are seen and heard as dozens of women turn around, leave the abortion facility, and chose life. We are able to direct these women to pregnancy resource centers where they will find a more comprehensive list of services. This day is always a victory for the Pro-Life Generation.
- Last spring, Western Washington Students for Life hosted SFLA’s Planned Parenthood Project on campus, and it was one of the most impactful events that they hosted all year! It drew so much attention that they were protested, and the local Planned Parenthood director even came out to talk to them. The event ended up being discussed in most of the classes on campus. One of the Students for Life members was in a Women’s Studies class, and they talked about Planned Parenthood the entire class. When she told her professor that she was a part of their group, the professor told her that she could debate her classmates the following day who also happened to interns at the local Planned Parenthood. When she got to her class the next day, the Planned Parenthood interns stood up, and said that they had researched Planned Parenthood all night, but they couldn’t debate the Students for Life because all our information was true! Displays like this are so important because they educate our campuses about Planned Parenthood’s abortion business, and in turn, prevent students from going into Planned Parenthood in the first place.
- In 2017, Students for Life’s #Sockit2PP campaign had a simple goal: to put pressure on our leaders in Congress to finally defund Planned Parenthood of our taxpayer dollars. During our mid-point press conference on Capitol Hill, SFLA dumped a mountain of 196,543 baby socks on Capitol grounds. Pedestrians stopped dead in their tracks to ask what was happening. We explained that each little sock represented just half of the babies Planned Parenthood will abort in one year, and our tax dollars continue to subsidize them with over half a billion dollars annually. After the press conference, we took 100 laundry baskets with 888 socks each to Speaker Paul Ryan’s office to show them the price of Congress’ in-action during the first 100 days of the Trump administration. Soon after, we toured the nation in a pink truck to display more than 320,000 socks we collected putting pressure on our U.S. Senators to finally act.
- Missouri Students for Life groups participated in statewide They Feel Pain campaign in order to urge their state to ban abortions after 20 weeks, when we know preborn child can feel pain. Over fifteen schools participated by hosting SFLA’s Fetal Pain tabletop display and collecting signatures on campus for their state petition. Student leaders also called their state senators and representatives, urging them to vote to protect these preborn children. Some groups spoke at local churches and collected signatures after services. This was a very influential event on campuses across the state, because students were dialoguing with their peers about the inhumane nature of abortion, while also using their outreach to influence their state’s law. Thousands of signatures were collected and were ultimately presented by 50 students to the Missouri Speaker of the House and the President Pro-Tem, when Reagan Barklage, SFLA’s Western Regional Director, spoke at the Pro-Life Lobby Day at the Capitol.
- In the summer of 2013, the pro-life community came together in one of the most memorable mobilizations in the past decade. At the time, Texas pro-life politicians were fighting to advance legislation that would protect pregnant women from the dangerous and predatory abortion vendors in their state. House Bill 2 (HB2) proposed a ban on abortions after 20 weeks (which is the point of fetal pain) and included new health code regulations of abortion facilities to bring them up to the standard of other ambulatory surgical centers. The bill was met with fierce opposition from pro-choice advocates, including TX Democrat Wendy Davis and Planned Parenthood’s CEO Cecile Richards. Thousands of pro-life and pro-choice activists poured into the state capitol to debate and rally. Seeing the need for a student presence, Students for Life of America (SFLA) coordinated a student mobilization and connected with all local TX pro-life groups to determine where our students could best serve. With barely a week of planning, the #Stand4Life Bus Tour headed into the action! We picked up 60+ students along a 30-hour route, and, as soon as we arrived in Austin, our students were rallying, handing out flyers, praying in front of clinics, protesting Cecile Richards, and meeting with pro-life politicians to voice our support. The week-long mobilization brought unity to the pro-life community and emboldened student leaders to become life-long activists.
- In 2016, the Supreme Court heard and ruled on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. This court case is an incredible example of how the Pro-Life Generation is always there. Students for Life of America was on the front lines for the decision of this case. We camped out overnight (in the snow and rain) before the Supreme Court oral hearings to reserve the press conference space for the pro-life movement. In June, we mobilized students again to be at the Supreme Court the night before the decision to join together in prayer, meditation, and community. We packed up our sleeping bags and snacks, knowing that we would be the first people in attendance to stand for the mothers and babies that we care so deeply about. The night consisted of little sleep but a lot of memories. The next morning came around and Planned Parenthood supporters starting filling the sidewalk in front of the Supreme Court, it was not long before we learned that Planned Parenthood had shipped buses of supporters to this event. They had to bribe their supporters to be there! On the other hand, although out numbered, we had a strong group of young people ready to speak life. There were many powerful conversations that happened this day. Although WWH v. Hellerstedt was decided not in our favor, this was motivation for us to push forward. To stand up stronger, taller, and with more compassion. Despite our loss, we received lots of media attention in our favor for being there, including the front page of the Wall Street Journal!
- In January 2017, SFLA’s Rocky Mountain Regional Coordinator, Bethany, received a call from a Colorado community college student. The young woman was the mother of an 11-week-old child, and she had received Bethany’s contact information from the new Students for Life group on campus. She had recently learned that her financial aid would not be renewed for the upcoming semester because she had failed to complete the requirements of her Fall classes (due to pregnancy-related absences). Bethany noticed that something sounded off about this situation, and she immediately contacted SFLA’s Pregnant on Campus Director regarding the situation. Together, the SFLA team was able to determine that this parenting student had not been rightly informed of her Title IX rights and was not appropriately accommodated during her pregnancy. We were able to provide her with points for appeal, and within two weeks, the student had her financial aid reinstated! The Student for Life group continued to support and celebrate her with a baby shower.
- The power and impact of one person speaking up is incalculable, and few stories match the international reaction to Maddi Runkles’ story. Maddi was a pregnant high school senior at a small Christian school in Maryland. Having broken her school’s pledge of abstinence, Maddi honestly approached her administration about her situation, and she humbly accepted her administration’s decision to remove her from her leadership positions and to assume a 2-day period of unofficial suspension. However, things went too far when the school continued to discipline Maddi beyond what was the typical disciplinary actions for students who had broken this same pledge. The administration proposed a school-wide assembly to announce Maddi’s pregnancy, and they also recommended banning Maddi from campus for the remainder of the year and banning her from walking at graduation. Maddi chose to make her pregnancy announcement. She publicly acknowledged her sin, and she asked for forgiveness and support. While she was allowed back in school, she was banned from walking at graduation. With the support of Students for Life groups nationwide, Maddi shared her story publicly to address the Christian communities’ response to unplanned pregnancy and to offer hope to other pregnant students who may be facing discrimination. Maddi’s story spread across the United States and beyond. She is currently engaged and enrolled college, and she hopes to continue to advocate for pregnant and parenting students.