By Leah Larson, Guest Writer
With clubs like Students of the Left and PLU Democrats dominating the political spectrum at Pacific Lutheran University, one student decided it was time to balance things out. Sophomore Amber Stokes formed a new club, Students for Life, a pro-life club that seeks to raise awareness and create discussion on campus about the pro-life mindset.
“Our main purpose of the club on PLU campus is to allow for open conversations about a touchy topic which gives students a chance to formulate their own opinions,” said Stokes. “We believe knowing where you stand on the issue is essential, especially for college-aged students where it affects us in many ways.”
Stokes also said she wanted to provide support for people at all stages, “whether they’re in the midst of an unplanned pregnancy or if they’re post abortive … We want to be able to spread the pro-life message through a compassionate and loving way. ”
Last Friday, the Students for Life club hosted their first speaker, Rebekah Barnes, the northwest regional coordinator from Students for Life of America.
Barnes spoke about what is involved in being an advocate for the pro-life mindset, various tactics for discussing abortion with people and focused especially on what being pro-life can mean on a college campus.
“In order to be a pro-life ambassador, it’s required that you have knowledge, wisdom and character,” Barnes said.
Frequently during discussions surrounding abortion, Barnes said, various scenarios will present themselves. She gave examples of rape, incest and poverty as circumstances when a woman might desire an abortion.
Given the rate of rape on college campuses and the likelihood that a rape victim may seek an abortion, Barnes emphasized that during a discussion involving rape, pro-life supporters must be empathetic to that circumstance.
“You are a caring person who cares about another person’s traumatic experiences. This isn’t a debate then,” Barnes said.
Barnes continued to say that the pro-life mindset does not intend to shame women who have sought out or who may seek out abortions in the future.
“Pro-life is a message of hope to the pre-abortive and post-abortive women. It provides them a space for them to grieve,” she said.
Stokes said, “We just think it’s important to open up conversation about the options women have with a pregnancy. It’s a topic that many students don’t talk about in order to avoid conflict, but it’s one of the most important human rights issues of our time.”
She continued, “We do not dislike or look down upon women who have had abortions. We just see it as women who weren’t given enough options. We need to change that. We will even offer resources to direct women to support groups for those who have been through abortions.”
The Students for Life Club will be showing the film “Juno” on Oct. 18th in Ingram 100 at 7pm.