This year, Students for Life of America offered 250 screenings of pro-life movie Unplanned this year on college campuses. The 40+ showings that have been carried out so far have illicited a lot of pro-choice aggression (complete with all of its usual vulgarity, close-mindedness, and personal attacks).
At the State University of New York at Geneseo, pro-life students faced a barrage of opposition for advertising their showing of Unplanned. The leader of the group shared their story…
‘Unplanned’ Drama at SUNY
We had planned for our screening to be on the evening of Wednesday, October 9th. This is a screenshot of 1 of 4 posters we put up on public use bulletin boards around campus.
I had printed a few extra for all of our members in the event that some might be torn down. We didn’t see much of that until we sent out this invitation school-wide.
This was sent the Monday morning before our Wednesday showing. By the time I woke up (around 7am on Tuesday), I had received a few rather upset emails.
Also, when Students for Life board members got to campus on Tuesday morning, ALL of our posters had been ripped down (that we know of). We had written temporary ads on whiteboards as well, the vast majority of which had also been erased by the following day. This Instagram story was also circulating on social media, picked up and perpetuated by the “Voices of Planned Parenthood” group on our campus.
We responded in the comments section on their permanent post. The comment stayed up for around a day before it was deleted by an admin from Voices of Planned Parenthood.
About 6-8 hours after our comment, they posted this to their Instagram story, but not their permanent feed… possibly so that we couldn’t respond directly to their own audience this time, further silencing us?
By this point, we were less than 2 hours away from the screening. We figured that anyone who was going to come had likely made up their mind. Our audience that night was mostly pro-life, but there was some pro-choice representation as well.
We did announce a “trigger warning” prior to starting the film, that it contained violence and intense scenes.
We also had a police officer, who I requested be there at least for a few minutes at the beginning to check in because I was afraid of the possibility of rowdy protesters. The screening went well and we had a great directed discussion (I served as mediator).
The next day, an opinion piece was published in our school newspaper about our event.
Our board found this article to be quite weak, and furthermore, when we looked into it, we learned that Lara did not even attend our screening. She also misrepresents some information herself. Another member of the Students for Life group noted:
“I find it extremely important that we include that the person who wrote the article presented her research in a misleading way, explaining that a baby at 13 weeks would not fight for its life because they cannot feel pain —- but the research she cites ALSO explains that while that can not feel pain as we can, they sense discomfort, and MOVE AWAY from things that feel unpleasant. However, Lara insists that a fetus would not fight. She did not thoroughly read through her source, providing misleading evidence, to the campus both about a 13 week abortion and the integrity of our group.”
The New York Times cites a journal in regard to fetal pain which was also cited by an article she found on fetal sense of touch. The article on sense of touch states that while a child cannot feel pain, it has already begun to develop facilities which sense and express discomfort.
Regardless, a sense of fear or the ability to feel pain does not give people human rights. Abortion is just as wrong with those aspects aside.
Also worth noting: this article was published with factually incorrect information about what actually happened that night (“in lieu of a factual political discussion”, “accomplishes little more than to spread misinformation”, etc.) We specifically had a discussion after this film… which is another reason we believe the author to not have attended the screening.
The same day, this message was sent out from the Assistant Director of Student Life to the entire campus:
Before the showing, I had scoured the school’s internet resources for posting policies and came up with absolutely nothing about including a movie rating. The timing was a bit suspicious, but for a while, I gave the Department of Student Life the benefit of the doubt.
Then Voices of Planned Parenthood posted this:
We can’t confirm exactly what happened. But to deduce that Voices of Planned Parenthood tattled to the school, desperately looking for any places we slipped up, and succeeded in getting the school to indirectly scold us… seems very much in the realm of possibility.
Here, it is worth noting that we did not deliberately omit the movie’s rating. It wasn’t a policy before the abortion group told on us, nor did it even occur to us to include it in our advertising. Our entire point is that abortion is violence; and even so, this movie is tastefully done. It’s significantly less “gory” than your typical action film or other R-rated flicks. People just want to be for abortion without acknowledging what it is.
Within two hours after this post went up, I received this email:
Notice any common threads here? We did. Literal doctors who used to do abortions have watched this movie and said, “Yep, that’s how it goes.” The woman from the movie herself, Abby Johnson, used to be the director of a Planned Parenthood. Yet all of these pro-choice college students, who don’t like seeing abortion portrayed negatively, came out of the woodwork to virtue signal and claim they were just protecting everyone from a “false, gory” movie.
Facts aren’t less so because you disagree. And it’s not noble to abuse and attempt to silence your opponents. Ripping down flyers, attacking on social media, and telling other students to avoid (at any costs) a viewpoint that challenges theirs is a bottom-of-the-barrel tactic. In their words… “Work on it.”
*Another fact-check, to the Instagram commenter: Students for Life of America doesn’t pay Students for Life campus groups to exist. They’re awesome all on their own.
Author: Brenna Lewis