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Saturday, August 8, 2020

Pro-life speaker event will be met with protest

Illustration by Cole Sandhofer

By Mallory Biggar

Students for Life of America, an organization with a chapter at Western, is hosting the speaker event  “Lies Feminists Tell” with Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America. In response, students in Western’s Feminist Direct Action group have organized a protest.

The Lies Feminists Tell Tour will come to Western on May 9 and take place in Communications Facility 105, with the protest being held outside of the building the same day according to the Feminist Direct Action.

Hawkins is speaking at colleges around the United States, discussing the “lies of mainstream feminism,” according to the Students for Life of America website.

Hawkins has expanded Students for Life of America to over 1,000 campus groups since being hired to launch the organization in 2006, according to her website.

Kristi Hamrick, media strategist and spokesperson for Students for Life, said Hawkens has spoken at many universities around the country. including Harvard University, Dartmouth College, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, and Gonzaga University.

“[The tour] is aiming to ensure that students at universities have an opportunity to hear these points of view, because they may not hear a message of female empowerment from a pro-life perspective in their classrooms,” Hamrick said.

Graciela Gomez, a member of Western’s Planned Parenthood Generation club, said while seeing the Students for Life of America event on Facebook made her upset, it is also important for students to listen to opposing opinions

“It’s good to listen, but if they’re telling blatant lies, it’s very hurtful to many people who need services from Planned Parenthood or from any other health clinic,” Gomez said. “Anyone can have their opinion as long as they’re not hurting anyone.”

Gomez said she believes it’s important to make sure  any counter-conversation is as inclusive as possible.

“Something that isn’t talked about is that trans men can have abortions,” Gomez said. “I think just having those dialogues, and making sure that all these counter-protests and counter-conversations are including everyone is really important.”

According to Hamrick, Students for Life of America encourages people with different points of view and all backgrounds to attend the event. For this reason, anyone disagreeing with the speaker will get to ask their question first.

“We’ve had great exchanges at the campuses we’ve gone to throughout the country,” she said.

Hamrick said this tour is not about reaching across the aisle, but to bring people from a variety of religious and political backgrounds together for one common goal: to end abortion.

“Too many feminists parrot the Victorian, misogynist point of view that women can’t multitask and succeed,” Hamrick said. “Old-school feminists say that women can’t succeed in relationships and mothering at home and have a career, so they should stay at work, but women are fully capable of succeeding in all areas of life.”

Last June, Western’s Students for Life of America chapter had their chalkings erased. The messages expressed pro-life views and offered resources to women who have had abortions. The organization posted a video of the students involved on YouTube, which received over two thousand views.

Clark Krusemark, a student involved in erasing the messages, said they were confused by the messages at first, but once they read enough of them, it was clear the messages were attempting to lead people towards certain resources.

“[It’s] a terrible thing to do to people,” they said. “Being pregnant is already such a complicated situation regardless of whether you want to have a baby or not.”

According to Krusemark, the resources were heavily religious and anti-abortion.

“I don’t think that anyone should be given only one half of the story, or coerced or convinced of what they should be doing, but should be given as much information from as many resources as possible,” they said.

In regards to the protest, Krusemark said the best thing Western students can do is to not make a big deal out of the Students for Life of America event.


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