Monday September 27, 2010

College Campuses are Abortion Battleground

Commentary by Kristan Hawkins

September 27, 2010 ( – As students went back to school this month across the country, they entered into the front lines of a most contentious battleground. College campuses today are the abortion battleground. Forty-six percent of all abortions are performed on college age women and on top of this, Planned Parenthood directly targets the youth in order to further its abortion agenda. At the same time that students are being targeted by Planned Parenthood, more and more young people between the ages of 18-29 identify themselves as pro-life.

In fact, young people today are the most pro-life generation yet. With numerous new polls from the Pew Research Institute, Gallup polling and the Knights of Columbus, it is amazing to see that 47 percent of those 18-29 year olds are pro-life. The rising pro-life generation is often overlooked by the pro-life movement, and that is why Students for Life of America (SFLA) has taken the lead in educating, equipping, and activating the next generation of pro-life leaders. Since its founding, SFLA has also striven to connect college pro-lifers through our Students for Life of America National conferences and state training conferences.

Today, we work with more than 541 pro-life campus groups nationwide and, this school year alone, we will be starting an additional 80 student groups. This fall, Students for Life has hired four new field agents to identify and train pro-life students who want to start and lead a pro-life movement on their campus. One of the Field Agents, Mary Kate Cavazos, will be working in New Jersey and New York this upcoming year. She plans to visit more than 30 campuses this fall. She will meet with existing student pro-life leaders to help them cultivate and grow their group, as well as reach out to students on campuses without a pro-life presence to start new pro-life groups.

In addition to assisting students in their mission of saving lives and helping women on campus, Students for Life also connects students to the larger pro-life movement. We have established two national programs to help train students in what it takes to be a full-time pro-life leader, our Missionaries for Life internship program as well as our Wilberforce Leadership Fellowship. In addition, we also hold the largest youth pro-life conference in the world every January in Washington, D.C. Each outreach looks to connect rising pro-life stars with key decision makers like members of Congress, as well as other pro-life organizations like the Susan B. Anthony List and the National Right to Life Committee.

Just four years after launching our full-time operations, Students for Life has witnessed incredible growth and success as the need for our work becomes evident each day. This generation is pro-life and is ready to save lives; it simply needs the direction and training.

This generation has seen the first-hand effects of abortion in our nation. They have had abortions, driven friends to the abortion facility, paid for abortions, and have learned they are missing brothers, sisters, and friends because of this tragedy. They understand the personhood of the preborn child as they have seen the baby kicking in his mother’s womb in real-time 4D Ultrasound technology.

This coming Friday, I will speak at St. Cecilia’s Parish in Rockaway on how to activate the next generation and on how students can make a difference on their campus. It is so critical at this time in our history that we train and activate the youth, and for students to take a stand for life. It is through the next generation and the pro-life campus movement that we will end abortion.

Kristan Hawkins is executive director of Students for Life of America, Arlington, Va.

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