In third grade, Spencer Anderson first began to think seriously about abortion. Some guest speakers in his homeroom class spoke about the subject, and he still remembers marveling that anyone, for any reason, “wouldn’t want people to live.”
But it wasn’t until he was in his mid-20s that the subject really hit home with him. Twice, against his fervent protests, his girlfriend took abortion pills to kill the child in her womb. The trauma of those tragedies still haunted Anderson after the relationship ended and he moved back to his hometown in Ohio, and enrolled at Columbus State Community College. One day, his father showed him 180, an anti-abortion film, and Spencer began to realize how common abortion is, particularly among promiscuous college-age young people. He wondered what he might do to change that.
Searching out pro-life Facebook pages and websites, he befriended other students on other campuses who were working to preserve life and raise awareness of these issues. From them, he learned about the Center for Bioethical Reform (CBR) and its Genocide Awareness Project (GAP). The presentation – which draws graphic photographic parallels between victims of abortion and those of the Holocaust and American slavery – has prompted intensive discussions on campuses all over America. Spencer decided to bring GAP to the Columbus campus.
It took him months to secure permission for the project from Columbus officials, who then issued strict limits on how much of the GAP could be shown. Meanwhile, he tried to gather support for a pro-life group on campus by handing out business cards featuring pointed statements, designed to make his fellow college students more seriously consider what abortion really means. But here, too, administration restrictions hampered him –severely restricting where he could promote his cause by sidelining him to the least-traveled corners of the school.
Astonished at the infringements on Anderson’s freedom of speech, the CBR representative Spencer worked with on the GAP event urged him to contact Alliance Defending Freedom. With the help of ADF, Spencer filed suit against the university in August, 2013. A month later, administrators settled out of court, agreeing to completely revise the school’s policies.
Columbus now has “one of the best free speech policies in the state,” says Spencer. “I found that my voice does matter. One voice can change many voices – one voice can speak to so many others.”