Jon Russell, Students for Life of America


Some great news and some sobering news – an encounter in Florida

Jon Russell, Students for Life of America

I have great news, and sobering news — one from medical students, and another from a blonde-haired room-cleaner named Maria.

For the GREAT NEWS, I recently traveled to Tallahasee, Florida to meet with a group of medical students from Florida State University College of Medicine. We discussed strategies for creating FSU’s first pro-life medical group, which will be committed to the betterment of patient care for mothers and their preborn children. With the support of Florida Right to Life, we are excited to see their group officially begin this January after winter break.

For the SOBERING NEWS, I would like to tell you about a woman named Maria.* I met Maria in New Orleans smoking a cigarette on the steps of a community abortion facility. After driving 388 miles back from Tallahassee, my eyes were still awake enough to find her flustered, trapped, and scanning the street.

I approached her and said, “Good morning. Can I offer you some free information [about abortion]?”

She glared at me for a moment, but saw my smile.

“No, I’m just here for a friend … She’s going in for the abortion.”

Then we talked. After talking with her, I learned that she and her friend cleaned rooms for a cruise ship, 7 days a week for 6 months with a brief 8 weeks off. She was half a world away from her family, clinging to a cigarette on some unknown stretch of concrete when I met her.

We talked about her relationship with her family and how she joked with her mom about the Caribbean beaches she saw while her family is buried under winter snow.

“This is not permanent,” she told me about her current job, she wants to move on. But for now, she is bound to the ship. And so is her friend. Her friend felt that because of her work schedule and her contract, she had no other option. Her friend was there to have her child broken apart and discarded by having an abortion.

As future medical professionals, we hear lecture after lecture about bringing healthcare to the undeserved. We talk about access to quality care and advocating for every patient. Yet Maria and her friend have none, and neither does her preborn child.

This is why we are beginning Florida State University Medical Students for Life. This is why we are beginning medical groups around the nation. It’s more than healthcare, it’s justice. 

*Name has been changed for confidentiality.

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