When San Francisco’s Walk for Life West Coast began in 2005, organizers dared to hope that someday it would attract pro-lifers from all over the western United States to witness in the most pro-abortion city in the country. Slowly, steadily, that hope is becoming a reality. Each January, pro-lifers—especially young people—make the journey from Washington, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, as well as from the border states of Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona. When asked how she felt about so many coming so far to attend the Walk, Dolores Meehan, co- founder and co-chair of the Walk, replied, “It’s a dream fulfilled!”
One group hoping to attend the January 24, 2015 Walk, and the accompanying Students for Life West Coast Conference on the following day, is the Arizona State University Students for Life group. But, for students, the issue is cost.
We spoke with Ms. Maggie Otlewski, president of the ASU Students for Life.
What’s the history of ASU Students for Life?
ASU SFL started shortly after the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions, though originally founded under another name, and has existed as the pro-life force on campus ever since.
How many are in the group?
We have about 30 active members regularly planning, leading, and attending events, and a few hundred students who are affiliated and supportive of our campus efforts.
Are any faculty involved?
We have one professor who serves as our faculty advisor.
What is the religious background of your group?
Though our club is non-partisan and non-sectarian, most of our members’ pro-life views stem at least in part from religious conviction. Several of our members are not at all religious.
Do the Students for Life get any support from the local churches?
The All Saints Catholic Newman Center is always supportive of our efforts and is so graciously willing to help us promote and advertise our events. Though we have yet to gain support from other on-campus religious groups, it is our hope that they support us in prayer.
What is the response to the Students for Life on the ASU campus?
This semester we have generated a bit of controversy on campus by participating in National Pro-Life Chalk Day, with many students tweeting in responses to the messages we chalked, which included slogans like “Life is beautiful” and also included contact information for our local pregnancy resource center as well as post-abortive information and hotlines. There are two pro-choice student organizations on campus who have become more active this semester in response to the events we’ve hosted and executed.
What are the challenges faced by pro-life groups on college campuses?
The biggest challenge on a college campus as large as ASU is the combination of apathy and relativism. We find that often on our campus, whether students are for or against abortion, they do not take the time to engage with the issue by speaking with us on campus or joining up with the respective movement. The notion of relativism, that everyone can choose for themselves what is right or moral and that no absolutes exist, permeates our campus, which makes discussing abortion as the intrinsic moral evil that it is difficult but absolutely necessary.
Where are you from? How did you get into the pro-life movement?
I am from Phoenix, AZ, and got involved with the pro-life movement through a group at my Catholic high school, Xavier College Preparatory. Though I was always “pro-life” in name, I didn’t understand the urgency of the movement and the logic of pro-life arguments before delving deeper in to
the issue within that organization. [Another of our members] Jackie, from Seattle, was motivated to get involved because of discussions about abortion in her high school ethics class.
Have any of you been to the Walk before? Or to the SFL conferences?
Our group has not been to either the Walk or the March [for Life, in Washington, DC], and have only attended local SFL conferences, but certainly not the national ones. Because we are so active this semester and a lot of young students are showing so much enthusiasm for growing the movement, we are so excited to travel to the Walk as an example of bright, compassionate, and enthusiastic college students prepared to overcome the greatest evil of our time.
The group’s webpage lays out their reasons for making the trip:
- Walk with thousands and show our country we are the pro-life generation.
- Participate in all-day training to become better equipped to serve our campus.
- Inspire and encourage our club members to return to campus with renewed energy and zeal for the movement!
The enthusiasm is there, but to fulfill their dream the students need money. Their goal of $8,000 will get 25 students to the Walk for Life West Coast. As of this writing they had only raised $836. Fundraising will continue through December 10. You can learn about the campaign, and donate, here:
You can learn more about the ASU Students for Life here:
or through their Facebook page:
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