In light of the recent on-campus demonstrations by the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR) — an anti-abortion activist group — the Lee Students for Life (LSFL) met to discuss the impact of the demonstrations on their club as well as their upcoming volunteer opportunities.
In a statement issued by LSFL shortly after the demonstrations began, the pro-life club clarified their stance on the graphic tactics used by CBR, stating that they were in no way affiliated with the organization.
Senior pastoral ministries major and LSFL Vice President Ethan Coombe wrote that, while the club does not agree with the graphic images and theology used by CBR, they do agree with their goal to end abortion.
“The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform is not affiliated with Lee Students for Life, nor do we in the club condone their actions,” Coombe said. “We disagree with their tactics, but we are both in the same fight against abortion.”
Coombe said he felt the need to clarify the club’s stance on the issue due to the confusion surrounding the event.
“If students thought that we were using those tactics, they would begin to look at us in a negative light,” Coombe said. “We are a group of pro-life individuals who are passionate about ending abortion and caring for those who have been victimized by abortion. ... That includes the mothers, babies and fathers. We love life in all forms.”
Coombe said that Lee Students for Life holds the core belief that all life is sacred and should be protected.
Senior human development major and President of LSFL Julianna McBee said that the conversation concerning abortion should be brought about without condemning women who chose to have an abortion.
“I believe that you do not dehumanize the other,” McBee said. “Pro-life is so much more than just hating abortion.”
Junior cinema major and LSFL public relations coordinator Tiffany Simms said she believes in approaching women who have made the decision to have an abortion with a restorative mindset.
“I wholeheartedly believe in showing love to people and letting them know that we are here for supporting them — not condemning them,” Simms said.
Freshman nursing major and secretary and treasurer of LSFL Sierra Stephens said that the demonstrations allowed students and faculty to engage in an open dialogue concerning abortion.
“The images they use are traumatizing and are a rude awakening to a lot of people on campus,” Stephens said. “Even if we do not agree with how it happened, … I think it opened a lot of good doors for conversations.”
“We do not just stand for life in the concept of the abortion issue,” Stephens said. “It’s important that we defend life in all stages and all forms.”
Junior pastoral ministries major Douglas Croucher was one of the students who had no prior knowledge of a student-led, pro-life group at Lee.
“I was glad to see that we were finally talking about this on campus,” Croucher said. “I hadn’t seen any pro-life group yet on campus, but I saw the statement [LSFL] put out and wanted to get involved.”
LSFL works to end abortion and offers a restorative message of hope to anyone who has been victimized by abortion.
Providing care and a voice to others who cannot advocate for themselves is another core value of LSFL.
“Our whole purpose is to stand up for those who do not have a voice for themselves,” Stephens said.
LSFL also partners with New Hope Pregnancy Center. Together, they offer resources to women in the Cleveland and Bradley County area who are facing unplanned pregnancies.
McBee said that volunteering with New Hope allows students to receive service hours while supporting women who previously believed there were no alternatives to having an abortion.
“I realized how important the work was several months into volunteering with New Hope,” McBee said. “New Hope offers a variety of free services before and after the mothers have their babies."
LSFL is eager to move forward in the abortion conversation and hopes students and faculty will be motivated to engage in the discussion.
For more updates about the LSFL, follow their Instagram at @leeu_sfl.