Students for Life Leader, Unborn Baby Die in Tragic Accident

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 9, 2011   |   4:41PM   |   Washington, DC

Students for Life of America, the national organization for pro-life college and university students, has suffered a terrible loss, as one of its staffers and her unborn baby perish and another staffer was injured in a fatal automobile accident Saturday night.

Around 8:00 p.m. local time, SFLA field director Kortney Blythe Gordon was driving back from the Students for Life of America Georgia conference when her vehicle was struck by another head on in a massive collision. The driver of the other vehicle was reportedly speeding and passing cars on a two-lane road. Gordon and her unborn child, Sophy, were immediately killed upon impact and another SFLA staff member, Jon Scharfenberger, is in critical condition following the accident.

In addition, two local students, whose names were not released to LifeNews, were injured in the accident as well, and were in the vehicle with the two Students for Life staffers when they were struck by the oncoming car. They are injured but the injuries are not life-threatening.

“The entire team at Students for Life of America is heartbroken by the loss of our dear friend, Field Director, and tireless abortion abolitionist, Kortney Blythe Gordon, and her pre-born daughter, Sophy,” a grief-stricken Kristan Hawkins, SFLA president, said in a statement this afternoon. “There are no words to describe what a loss we suffer alongside her husband Benjamin and their entire family, but we are comforted knowing that Kortney and her daughter are in the arms of our Lord and Savior.”

“Please pray for the families of Kortney and Benjamin, for the family of our other gravely injured staffer and his recovery, and for healing for all who were touched by Kortney’s infectious spirit and tireless efforts to stop the injustice of abortion in our nation,” Hawkins said.

UPDATE: Jon Scharfenberger, the SFLA Coordinator of our Pregnant on Campus Initiative, in the car during the accident and Hawkins tells LifeNews he “is not doing well.” She said Monday morning, “Currently, he is in critical condition in a hospital in Georgia, where the accident happened. I flew down to be with him and his family yesterday and will be in Georgia indefinitely to offer prayers for him and support to his family.  (end update)

Hawkins said Kortney lived by one of her favorite sayings: “To live is Christ, to die is gain.”

“She passed doing what she loved, and we are beyond blessed for the countless gifts that she bestowed to our staff, our students and pro-life leaders across the country,’ the SFLA leader said.

Students for Life of America, on behalf of the Blythe and Gordon families, is taking up a collection to help pay for Kortney and her daughter Sophy’s burial costs. All proceeds are tax deductible and 100% of gifts received through this pledge will be donated to the Blythe and Gordon families. To donate, please visit

“Please keep the mission of Students for Life of America as we mourn the loss of our beautiful and dear friend and a true leader within the pro-life movement,” Hawkins said. “All of our love and prayers to Kortney, Sophy, and the Blythe and Gordon families.”

Gordon joined Students for Life of America as Field Director in June 2010 where she manages the SFLA Field Agents and travels across the nation to mobilize, activate, and train new and existing student pro-life groups. As a child, Kortney was introduced to the pro-life movement through her uncle, a full-time sidewalk counselor, who, in the past 25 years, has saved over 3,000 children from abortion through his clinic presence.

Her pastor and apologist father encouraged her passion for the preborn, and in 2005, she graduated magna cum laude from Montreat College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a focus on Communication. Directly out of college, she took a position as residential supervisor for an unwed mother’s home in Charlotte, NC. Then, in summer 2006, she joined Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust as the Director of Campus Life Tours in southern California. During her time with Survivors, she led a team of 6-10 young adults, traveling to 600 high school and college campuses setting up pro-life displays and distributing over 200,000 pieces of educational literature.

Kortney mentored dozens of rising pro-life youth at Survivors’ annual Pro-life Leadership Training Camps, where she provided hands-on instruction on activist tactics, free speech rights and defending the pro-life position. She brought her experience and knowledge to Australia in spring 2009 with a whirlwind tour of the country that included street activism, training and an appearance on a local Catholic television program.

She has participated in countless pro-life demonstrations, counter-protests and prayer vigils. As a result, her frequent stands against first amendment violations have successfully struck down dozens of unconstitutional ordinances and school policies.

In 2009, she moved back to the East coast to work with Rock for Life as the Chapter and Street Team Coordinator. Her activities included starting nearly twenty new chapters, frequent blogging on trending pro-life topics and recording a weekly podcast, broadcast on National Pro-life Radio.

Friends of Gordon’s who wish to send her family their prayers and thoughts can do so by sending it via Kortney’s email.

UPDATE: SFLA is hosting a webcast at 5:00 p.m. ET tonight, Hawkisn says, for those who want to pray and offer their words of support for Kortney’s family and of encouragement for Jon. David Bereit of 40 Days for Life, Reverend Pat Mahoney of Christian Defense Coalition, and Claude Allen of Gerard Health Foundation will be on the call to lead us in prayer and discussion to honor the lives of Kortney and her daughter Sophy, and to offer words of encouragement for Jon and his family. We encourage you to join our webcast by clicking here: