Student Life Editor
On Wednesday, Nov. 4, many of you may have noticed the flood of pink crosses spread across Eisenhower lawn.
Much more than just simple décor, these crosses symbolize the 897 lives taken every day by Planned Parenthood abortions, according to Students for Life of America.
The display, which was accompanied by several neon pink banner signs and an information desk, was a part of Planned Parenthood Project’s national tour.
The tour, which started two years ago, involves Students for Life of America covering 16,000 miles and stopping at over 80 schools for an informal space to provide information and answer questions about Planned Parenthood.
“We really want to educate students about who Planned Parenthood is and how much of a revenue they make from their abortion business, as well as how much of our tax dollars go toward an abortion vendor,” says Michele Hendrickson, the regional coordinator of Students for Life of America. “We hope that if students are aware of what’s really going on, they’re going to choose other centers.”
According to Hendrickson, the Planned Parenthood Project’s main aim is to spread awareness rather than lobbying for direct action. She shared that according to a poll they conducted, over half of college students were entirely unaware that Planned Parenthood conducted abortions. “Part of our display is offering information about other health clinics you can go to for pregnancy help resources that are local. They’ll give you real help, show you a sonogram of your baby and help you embrace the fact that you’re pregnant, rather than point you in the direction of an abortion.” She listed getyourcare.org as a resource to find help centers tailored to each person’s location.
“So many people just don’t know the facts about Planned Parenthood and the volume of abortions it commits each day. Seeing those 897 crosses in some way instantiates the reality of each life lost,” says Emily Hess, Right to Life club president.
Specifically, the tour is focusing on raising awareness for the amount of abortions that Planned Parenthood provides, hence the visual display of the daily life cost. According to the Students for Life website, 79 percent of Planned Parenthoods are located within 5 miles of a college campus, which they believe indicates that the Organization “preys off young girls in crisis.” Moreover, Students for Life of America claims that Planned Parenthood is the “Goliath of the abortion industry,” and that if they were to close, other abortion facilities around the nation would lose their protection and eventually crumble as a result.
The display was well attended, according to Hess, who collaborated with Hendrickson to get the tour to come to Messiah. “We had a lot of students and faculty stop and affirm our mission, but we also had students who did not agree with our stance. Hosting this display allowed our club to engage pro-choice students and dialogue with them in a way we usually don’t get to, because we have a primarily pro-life campus,” says Hess.
While the tour was received respectfully at Messiah, the Planned Parenthood Project has faced opposition at others. “The responses from colleges vary – I’ve had a 25+ person counter-rally with people blocking the display and yelling at us,” she says. “But then, I’ve also had the complete opposite: people who are honest, really look at the information, and openly dialogue with us.”
The topic of Planned Parenthood, and abortion in general, continues to be a heated debate across the nation. Whatever side of the spectrum you may be on, it’s important to create a space for honest and respectful discussion when dealing with these controversial issues. If students have more questions about the pro-life movement or would like to continue this conversation, feel free to email the Right to Life club at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with them on Facebook at Messiah College Right to Life.