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How My College Tried to Silence My Pro-Life Group

October 17, 2017

By: Norvilia Etienne

When I was 16, I found out that my life had been on the line because of the circumstances surrounding my conception. This new revelation shocked me to the core and compelled me to reexamine my life. My anger turned into thanks, first to God for creating me, then to my beloved mother, who chose life in such a difficult situation.

As thankful as I was, I realized that this privilege was not granted to everyone, and the Lord started his work in me.

Through prayer, I felt that God was calling me to start a pro-life club on my campus at Queens College. Though I resisted at first, a spiritual mentor encouraged me to trust in the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

I thought answering that call, despite my initial hesitation, would be the only barrier I would have to cross in order to start a pro-life club on campus. But I was wrong.

The statistics show that women who find themselves in crisis pregnancies, especially during their college years, are likely to opt for an abortion. Despite the pro-abortion rhetoric of “choice,” women who find themselves in this position often feel that abortion is their only option.

Abortion giants like Planned Parenthood know this, and so they plant themselves next to our colleges and impoverished communities, places they know they are likely to lure in their next victims. This fact is exactly the reason Queens College – and all other colleges for that matter – need a pro-life presence on campus.

Young women need alternatives to abortion. They need the moral and material support that is often necessary to choose life. This is where we come in as Christians, to give them the choice of life. To point these women to the beauty and uniqueness of the life budding forth within them. To speak life into their lives and remind them that they are loved and that they are not alone.

With this in mind, I started an exclusively pro-life club at Queens College in collaboration with Students for Life of America (SFLA). A pro-life club that any student at the college could join, regardless of religious affiliation.

Initially, my college’s Student Life Office discouraged us from applying. We pushed forward, however, closely following the Queens College policy to become an official club on campus. After we submitted our application, we had a scheduled meeting to present the purposes of our club to a campus affairs committee, made up of three students and a staff member. 

At that meeting, each of our e-board members spoke of the impact this club could have on our Queens College community. We mentioned our connection to a local pregnancy resource center and our plan to direct our pregnant students to tangible resources. We mentioned our goal to promote the culture of life at our college by educating our peers on the sanctity of human life. We even showed a video that explained the impact a club like ours could have on a student considering abortion and her baby. Unfortunately, the committee cut our presentation short and told us that we would hear back by the end of the day.  

The end of the day came and went. Other clubs received approval, but we heard nothing. After a week of waiting, I took matters into my own hands, and contacted the head of the Student Development Department on the issue. She assured us that she’d investigate.

The following Monday, we were informed that the committee had denied us official club status. When we asked for their reason for our denial, we were met with even more silence. I then reached out to SFLA, who connected me with the attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom.

We filed suit against the college on January 25, 2017. And through God’s incredible sense of humor, Queens College reversed their decision and granted us official club status on January 27 – the same day of the 44th annual March for Life. I call that day “Silent no more.” 

Since then, we’ve hit the ground running, meeting, holding an event on the main quad at Queens College, and engaging our fellow students with a pro-life voice they didn’t hear before. Despite our flyers being ripped off their posts, we’ve managed to change some hearts and minds through peaceful conversation. Our aim is to change many more.

The case isn’t over. We are still denied equal treatment in student activity funding and even our club status could be taken away at any time under the existing policies. So we continue to press on with the help of ADF.

But by God’s grace, the Queens College Students for Life Club is an official club on campus. And I am confident that lives will be saved because of His mercy.

To learn more about this case and others like it, visit the link below. 
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Alliance Defending Freedom

Alliance Defending Freedom

Non-profit organization

Alliance Defending Freedom advocates for your right to freely live out your faith