National organization Students for Life of America (SFL) said that vandalism of crosses and offensive statements are commonplace at recent pro-life rallies, with pro-life students at Indiana University catching such actions on tape.
The pro-choice movement has "lost the upper hand in that argument and this is what they've resorted to," Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, told The Christian Post in an interview on Wednesday. Hawins said that activists engaged in the organization's new "Planned Parenthood Project," a tour across 41 different college campuses, witness vandalism and verbal abuse twice a week.
In the video, an unnamed man proclaims, "You're in conflict with the world that I want, which is a world where all your churches burn." Elisha Frick, SFL's Great Lakes regional coordinator and an eyewitness to the event, emphasized that SFL is not a faith-based organization.
"Students for Life of America is a secular organization, that's why his statement was very extreme," Frick told CP. She added that the unnamed student began to curse at the pro-life activists as soon as he started walking by.
The "Planned Parenthood Project" features a set up with 915 crosses – representing the number of abortions Planned Parenthood performs every day, Frick explained. Before the unnamed man wishing churches would burn arrived, a different man grabbed the crosses from the lawn and threw many of them in the trash across the sidewalk.
"We couldn't get video of him because he ran away so fast," Frick recalled. Nevertheless, she did pick up his statements that "abortion was awesome" and "that's where the crosses belonged – in the trash can."
The local chapter president, Theresa McHugh, told CP via Facebook message that Indiana University Students for Life is working with the university on the issue. She added that, because the SFL group is new, no other incidences have occurred, but she promised, "We will continue to inform others about the nature of abortion and will work with IU if further instances occur."
The university did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
McHugh also praised Indiana University as having been very supportive. "They are inquiring on what happened and want to help us resolve the issue any way they can," she wrote. While she estimated the students are "mostly pro-choice," she told CP that pro-choice groups like Planned Parenthood and Emily's List have not approached their group "as of yet."
SFL's president, Kristan Hawkins, said the only thing remarkable about this particular instance was the protestor's honesty. "It's so interesting because he openly admitted that he thought our churches should burn," Hawkins commented.
The SFL president recalled a protest in Austin, Texas, during the debate following the Wendy Davis filibuster, where pro-choice activists "were yelling at us, spitting at us, screaming at us." Meanwhile, the Students for Life group was praying, singing, or holding signs. The YouTube video below shows the event.
Hawkins referred to the Texas debate as evidence that the pro-choice movement has rejected rational discourse on the issues for emotional attacks. The bill in question "was about preventing future Kermit Gosnells, it was about banning abortions when the baby is scientifically proven to feel pain," the SFL president argued. Meanwhile, the pro-choice side "stuck to these old talking points and just tried to shout out the other side."
Hawkins explained that since Students for Life of America launched in August of 2006, the group has exploded – growing from about 100 active pro-life student groups to over 700. She estimated that they will reach 800 by December.
"Our biggest challenge right now is keeping up with the demand that students are placing on us for speakers," she added.