On Tuesday, Cobb GRA member Abigail Darnell led a group of 17 pro-life activists in conducting an informal survey of student opinions on the campus of Dalton State College on the subject of abortion and other controversial bio-ethical practices that kill human beings. The activists were predominantly members of Northwest Georgia Right to Life (NWGRTL), the organization that hosted the event.
April Fry, the Director of Education for Georgia Right to Life said, “We are here to talk to the students about the sanctity of human life so that they would value all innocent human life, including those that cannot speak for themselves.”
“What you all are doing here, it is making a difference. It really makes people question how they think,” said Mellissa, one of the students surveyed.
The GRA has a strong pro-life position in its statement of principles in favor of life being protected from conception, and GRA members appointed to a committee for the GA GOP passed a platform for the Georgia Republican Party last summer that included the assertion: “We believe in the right to life from conception, beginning at fertilization, to natural death.”
To create interest in the subject at Dalton State College and help inform the dialogue, the pro-life group on Tuesday set up a large display containing pictures of a developing pre-born child, some thought-provoking stories of experiments on human life in the laboratory that raises bio-ethical concerns, as well as some graphic pictures of abortion victims.
Gavin Swafford is a young local author and conservative Republican political activist enrolled at Dalton State who is looking to re-boot the Northwest Georgia YRs and has been acquainted with several members of the pro-life team. After walking around the display and discussing the challenges facing conservative activists he remarked, “The liberals make emotional arguments all the time… and we need to make an emotional argument too. I think that is where the graphic images help.”
Anthony and a fellow student approached the surveyors and both agreed, “yes, abortion should remain legal” citing personal choice and parental rights as the basis for their position. After a few questions from Abigail Darnell, one of the NWGRTL team members, she demonstrated that they were, in fact, in agreement that personal choice and parental rights don’t justify killing a toddler, because the toddler is a human being. She then explained the Law of Biogenesis and the fact that biologists overwhelmingly agree that the pre-born, from fertilization, is also a human being.
Anthony indicated that made sense to him and she asked, “So, have you changed your position?”
“Yeah, I’ve changed,” he said.
Student Reception & Survey Results
“I observed that most students were willing to engage in thoughtful discussion and they were open to our pro-life message,” said April Fry who went on to describe a conversation with a student who was studying criminal justice and wants to join the fight against human trafficking.
“She thanked us for being on campus at Dalton. She expressed how polarized the views on abortion have become, and she thanked us for the peaceful way we engage students in our outreach efforts.”
Jason Cochran also spoke to a grateful pro-life student. “He thanked us all for being there and asked if he could give me a hug – in Corona season in front of God and everybody! And I said ‘absolutely!’”
However, not all the students had a favorable opinion of the surveyors. Two students claimed the group was unscientific, that the literature they were distributing contained false information and used mere magazines for it’s sources, ignoring the numerous other sources listed on the back such as a British medical journal.
Some students opinions were discounted from the survey because they changed during the course of the conversation.
Brenda originally responded “yes” that she believed abortion should be legal, saying “Every woman should have a choice. She should get to decide. It’s her body.” She went on, “Not that I don’t believe what she’s carrying is… um…” She hesitated. After conversing for a few minutes with the pro-life advocate she softened.
“So, has this changed your perspective at all?” she was asked.
“Yeah,” she said, “I was hardcore ‘yes’ but now I’m kinda in the middle.”
Abigail Darnell said, “I was pleasantly surprised to hear a couple of the students I surveyed confidently say they believed abortion should not remain legal and, when I asked the follow up ‘why?’, they replied, “Because it’s murder.”
“That was refreshing,” she continued, “because it indicated they believe in moral absolutes – an objective standard that transcends what is legal and culturally accepted. This is something we don’t hear very often on college campuses where moral relativism is so prevalent.”
Worldviews in Conflict
The pro-life advocates were openly Christian and it was clear they had a different worldview from many of the students. One student identified herself as a pro-abortion bi-sexual and spoke with NWGRTL board member, Jason Cochran. After politely discussing the value of human life, he expressed concern for her, warning her of the spiritual and health risks of her homosexual lifestyle and she allowed him to pray for her right there on the sidewalk.
Abigail Darnell said, “One of the exciting aspects of pro-life activism of this kind is that you get opportunities to share the gospel too. I spoke with a young man, I’ll call him Michael, who was an agnostic but nevertheless said ‘I believe every life should have a chance.’”
“When I realized he was pro-life, I attempted to show him that, valuing human life is completely inconsistent with his agnostic worldview. If we are nothing but cosmic dust that evolved by chance, then life is meaningless and there is no reason to value the lives of the pre-born or his own life.”
“I asked some personal questions and discovered he had broken three of the Ten Commandments. ‘So, I’m not judging you, Michael, but if God judges you by his law on judgment day will you be innocent or guilty?’ I asked. He agreed he would be guilty and I then shared with him the good news of the Gospel. Through the entire conversation he remained relatively nonchalant and melancholy but I encouraged him to read his Bible and ask God to reveal himself to him.”
“Talking to people is out of my comfort zone. Talking to people about topics that might upset them even more so,” said local chemist and pro-life advocate Stephen Smith. “But getting people who are otherwise disinterested to recognize the ongoing slaughter of innocent children across our nation is worth being uncomfortable for a little while. I’m so thankful that I participated, as I had some great discussions. Some with people in full agreement, and others in disagreement.”
“So, I encourage people who are pro-life to engage in meaningful conversations about this topic with their friends, family, classmates, or coworkers. It may be uncomfortable, but it is the only way to begin meaningful change that will save the lives of the pre-born.”