Ben Johnson


YMCA denies pro-life students in Texas use of its showers, defends decision

Ben Johnson

AUSTIN, TX, July 10, 2013 ( – A local YMCA branch is offering no apologies for forcing a group of pro-life students out of its facilities following complaints from pro-abortion activists.

Students for Life of America said they had originally reached an agreement with the associate branch director of the Town Lake Branch of the Austin YMCA to use their showers during its week-long “Students #Stand4Life Bus Tour.”

Members are staying at Austin-area churches, which lack showers, and YMCA was accommodating – at least, at first.

"We had absolutely no problems on Monday night when we used their facilities," said Brendan O'Morchoe, SFLA director of field operations. But the pro-abortion activists who helped shout down legislators objected strongly – and YMCA officials kicked the pro-lifers out.

“Some angry pro-abortion activists were being very aggressive with YMCA staff members and the staff said they felt threatened,” O'Morchoe said. “The YMCA rescinded their offer to help because of the complaints of a few people on one side of the abortion issue and we were discriminated against based on our political position."

In a new statement, the YMCA has shown no sign of remorse for its actions, pinning the blame squarely on the pro-life students.

“We strive to create an atmosphere that is welcoming to all, where people of all backgrounds are comfortable,” it states. “If any person or group enters our facilities and creates an atmosphere that is disruptive, we have an obligation to our members and program participants to ask that person or group to leave or to refuse them access.

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“There are appropriate places in which to conduct a political debate, and that place is down the street at the State Capitol, not at our YMCA,” the group says.

“We are working directly with Students for Life to find a solution that is acceptable to all parties,” it concludes.

The voluble clashes between the two opposing sides have spilled over beyond political venues in Austin.

Students for Life took a caravan of college-aged students from across the country to the capital of Texas to show support for a state bill that would ban abortions after the 20th week post-fertilization.

The Texas House of Representatives passed the bill today. The Senate is expected to vote in favor of the measure, possibly as early as Friday.

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