Students for Life of America held a historic pro-life conference this weekend with over 1,800 pro-life in attendance, making it the largest pro-life conference in the world.
LifeNews.com was there to cover the event, which preceded the first National Pro-Life Youth Rally following the annual pro-life March for Life, where the pro-life student group gave away over 5,000 rally bags full of pro-life activism material.
Said Kristan Hawkins, president of the organization: “We are so proud of our Students for Life National Conference and National Pro-Life Youth Rally this weekend. It was amazing to be able to reach out to over 6,800 young people to educate and inspire them to continue to make a difference for Life on their campuses and in their communities. These young people are will be the ones who will end abortion in our lifetime.”
Along with the record attendance at the SFLA National Conference, Students for Life gave out seven awards as well as its 2011 Defender of Life Award to Abby Johnson, former director of Planned Parenthood and author of the best selling book, Unplanned.
For the Community Outreach Award, Students for Life awarded $250 to Truman State University Students for Life (SFL). Truman State University SFL has held multiple fundraising drives and events to benefit their pregnancy center. They put on LifeFest, a concert to which they invited students and the community and raised over $700, which was donated to the pregnancy help center and a maternity home. Through a garage sale, the group raised money for their state’s right to life group. Most impressively, Truman SFL requires every group member to complete at least 2 hours of community service per semester. Every Friday, they hands out free pregnancy tests, and they are currently preparing to throw a baby shower for an 18 year old client of the pregnancy center. This March, they will be painting the outside of a new maternity home.
The 2010 Most Creative Event award was given to James Madison University (JMU). In spring of 2010, this group devised a creative twist on the usual pro-life Cemetery of the Innocents display. They held a candlelight vigil for the 1,635 graduates of the JMU class of 2010 missing because of abortion. Over each candle was a graduation hat. They passed out flyers explaining how abortion has an immediate impact on students and how they calculated the statistic. One student who engaged in conversation with a group member was so impressed by the pro-lifer’s solid arguments, warm demeanor, and willingness to be challenged that she decided to become fully pro-life. The student thanked the SFL group for clarifying her unsettling confusion on abortion.
The Runner Up for the 2010 Group of the Year was the University of Michigan Students for Life (SFL). The University of Michigan SFL grew from 5 members in 2007 to 30 regular members in 2010. They are currently working on a campaign to protest mandatory funding of abortions through international student insurance. Their club brought Dr. Alveda King, participated in 40 Days for Life, hosted Silent No More women to share their post-abortive testimonies, held weekly vigils and an ice cream social for life. Most excitingly, their group was instrumental in saving two children from abortion in 2010.
Carolina Students for Life of UNC Chapel Hill won the and exemplifies all that a pro-life campus group should be. In the 2010 school year, they creatively promoted their club using Life Saver candies and baby Tar Heel footprints with their slogan “Pro-woman, pro-child, pro-life.” Their screening of the award-winning movie Bella also brought in many new members. Their activities during 2010 included the Wash for Life, regular volunteering for at the local Pregnancy Help Center (PHC), bringing pregnancy support services speaker, a holiday gift drive, sidewalk counseling, a baby bottle campaign, a Bake sale, political literature drops, the Life Chain, a Roe v. Wade flags display, and screenings of Maafa 21 and Blood Money with guest speakers. Their Blood Money movie screening boasted the highest turnout for any event in their history.
The award for 2010 Activist of the Year was given to Brendan O’Morchoe, of Fordham University. Brendan has served as president of his university club for the past two years. Under his leadership, the group experienced significant growth in numbers and an increased presence on campus. He has organized and produced over fifteen large events in the past two years. He has creatively included more members by starting committees and subcommittees and adding new leadership positions. He has increased the frequency and diversity of events put on by the group. And most notably, he has implemented a pro-life marketing campaign that encourages dialogue between those who disagree on abortion. One of his group’s fundraisers raised $1000 in metro cards for the Sisters of Life to help pay their daily travel to New York City abortion facilities to pray.
The award for 2010 International Activist of the Year was given to Ruth Lobo. Last October, Carleton University in Ontario, Canada arrested four pro-life students for attempting to erect a pro-life display in the quad on campus. Ruth Lobo was one of those students. As president of Carleton Lifeline, the pro-life group on campus, Ruth refused to tolerate censorship by school administrators because of the content of their display. She boldly and articulately stood up to the school administrators bullying attempt to silence her free speech rights. Ruth was adopted from India at 10 months old by a Canadian family. India is known for their high rate of gender-selective abortions, and Ruth realized her birth mom could’ve easier had her killed.
Before the arrest, Ruth was instrumental in resurrecting the pro-life club on campus. That’s when the problems began. The Student Union attempted to ban the club, saying they were anti-choice, anti-woman and in violation of their anti-discrimination policy. Ruth is majoring in Human Rights, a department which embraces abortion as a basic human right.