Like many conservative speakers, abortion survivor Melissa Ohden has experienced hostility on college campuses.
Ohden travels across the world to share her unique and powerful story about surviving an abortion when she was in her mother’s womb. A former college outreach speaker for Feminists for Life, she recently spoke with The College Fix about her experiences on campuses in the U.S. and Canada.
Some abortion activists have tried to stop her from speaking on campuses, and others have torn down fliers promoting her talks, she recalled. Once, she said a group of pro-abortion feminists tried to interrupt her while she spoke.
Most of the trouble begins before she arrives.
“I know from my experience that when a student group is getting ready to bring me in as a speaker, they try to shut down that student group before I get there in an attempt to prevent me from speaking,” Ohden said. “It’s happened more than once. And I often tell students I think they face a harder time preparing to bring someone like me to campus than I actually face when I’m there to speak.”
She said the most negative situations happened at colleges in Canada, not the U.S.
Ohden told the Fix:
It was probably about 2008. A group of feminists, women from the campus, were busy making themselves known throughout the time that I was speaking. I was not only sharing my story, but talking about feminist history. They were trying to be disruptive and I wouldn’t respond, and then at some point they all kind of got up and did a mass exit together, thinking that was going to disrupt me. And it didn’t.
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I let them go, and it makes a great conversation later because as they were exiting, they started clapping their hands and they said, “Oh, well bravo! What a nice performance. You know this isn’t real, don’t you?”
So it did make some great conversation with the rest of the students to say, “What was that? Was that really about me? Or was that about them?” And thankfully the students had the right response, which was, “That wasn’t about you at all, that was about them and their beliefs, and how they were having a hard time having to listen to you.”
Other pro-life speakers also have faced hostility. In 2014, abortion activists at the University of Georgia tore down posters advertising a talk by Secular Pro-Life President Kelsey Hazzard.
Last fall, Star Parker, a strong pro-life advocate in the black community, also experienced a hostile crowd when she spoke at California State University Los Angeles. Parker’s comparison of abortion to slavery angered psychology professor Dr. Heidi Riggio. During a question and answer period, Riggio publicly berated Parker and then stormed out of the room, according to Campus Reform.
And in May 2016, Georgetown University, a Catholic institution, rejected a request to have a pro-life speaker on stage with already invited speaker Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood abortion business.