Gilman Hall at Johns Hopkins University
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Gilman Hall at Johns Hopkins University

Pro-life equals harassment at Johns Hopkins University


Did you know that opposition to abortion could be considered harassment? That’s what the Student Government Association (SGA) at Johns Hopkins University implied. Did you know that pro-lifers were akin to white supremacists? That’s what an SGA executive member implied.

Voice for Life (VFL), an official pro-life student group from 1995 to 2010, sought re-recognition from the Johns Hopkins SGA. According to the SGA meeting’s minutes, VFL seeks to “inform people about pro-life [options] and help women in Baltimore, [and] also [conduct] sidewalk counseling,” which includes “advocates, signs, literature, etc., outside abortion clinics.” SGA denied the group’s request because it was concerned that sidewalk counseling made people “feel uncomfortable” about killing unborn babies. The SGA said VFL is “anti-abortion,” not pro-life.

I don’t know about you or the pro-life students at Johns Hopkins, but I embrace the anti-abortion label. “Anti” has a negative connotation, but the same connotation exists whether we’re talking about anti-murder or anti-lying or anti-stealing. I’m sure the liberal abortion supporters at the university have no problem calling themselves “anti-racists.” The term pro-life in the context of child killing means anti-abortion. I even accept the “anti-choice” label when it comes to child killing. The choice that matters is the one to have sex, not the one to get rid of the consequences for the sake of convenience. Abortion supporters try to shame pro-lifers with the use of “anti.” Only in a fallen world!

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But I digress. The Johns Hopkins student newspaper, whose reporters no doubt are aware of our constitutional right to a free press, endorsed the SGA’s rejection of the pro-life group. The case isn’t a question of free speech, the paper’s editorial board said. VFL can pray and protest at abortion mills, show photos of aborted babies and rubber fetuses. (They can? How generous. Thank you!) I hear a “but” coming:

“They are not free, however, to engage in such activities under the sponsorship of the University with funding from the Student Activities Commission. … This case revolves instead around the fundamental duty of the University to protect its students from undue harassment.”

These young people believe that advocating for life outside an abortion mill constitutes “undue harassment.” Abortion is a horrible act whose horrors should be well known. Everyone should know that abortion involves the dismemberment of a living human being. Photos of aborted fetus are awful, ghastly. Why? Because abortion is awful and ghastly.

LifeNews.com reported that a Johns Hopkins SGA executive member compared VFL to what he or she considered white supremacists. Students who openly oppose the killing of unborn children are seen as bigoted, narrow-minded, and villainous. How did we get here? Who could have imagined, even a generation ago, that seeking to protect unborn life would be considered a bad thing?

Whenever I exclaim, “Come, Lord Jesus,” which I do more often these days, I recall when Christ prayed to the Father to take away the cup of wrath that was about to be poured out on Him. But He added, “… nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done.” And I must pray the same.

La Shawn Barber
La Shawn Barber

La Shawn writes about culture, faith, and politics. Her work has appeared in the Christian Research Journal, Christianity Today, the Washington Examiner, and other publications


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