AZ Students For Life Honors the Unborn and Informs Campus Youth

-Gayle Plato-Besley

Once again, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade decision (January 22, 1973),   legalizing abortion in the United States, approaches. Many activists for life are trying to honor the day with a rally cry for the unborn, but also to  help people facing very tough decisions.  Yet, there is anger and prejudice against the promotion of dialogue with students. The right to abort becomes a push to deny unplanned pregnancy in general.  That leap from a Right to Choose, becomes a denial of others’ choice of life for their children.

Student activism is shifting the paradigm; young adults are beginning to see a need for balanced services: unbiased counseling, full disclosure of campus services regarding programs for young and unwed parents,  information regarding adoption, and financial aid for students who choose to be parents can help unplanned pregnancies come out of the closet.  The unplanned can be more than burdens targeted for annilation.

 From 1973 through 2005, more than 45 million legal abortions occurred and a disproportionate number of these are performed on women of color, of lower income, and as a result of unintended pregnancy.  See my previous post: (

While rates are dropping worlwide, the loss of life due to abortion is approaching 50 million people; this is the equivalent to the entire population of Canada and Austrailia combined. 


As part of a week-long look at Right to Life — Arizona activism – I am highlighting Arizona Students For Life.  




Christopher White, Executive Director of Arizona Students For Life, took out some time this busy week of rallies and informative programming in the works, to respond to my questions.  Here some highlights of this group.  The website offers thorough background and links to the nationwide student organization.

From the website


Arizona Students for Life is a state-wide office created to expand, support, and sustain the pro-life student movement in Arizona.

Arizona’s nearly 30 public colleges and universities contain over 310,000 students. These students are routinely exposed to pro-abortion bias, as they are inundated with a culture of death. The handful of courageous pro-life leaders at these schools are simply overwhelmed at the tragedy that surrounds them, their friends, and their classmates.

The pro-choice propaganda they are indoctrinated with is very effective – and very deadly: 

  • Half of incoming freshman are pro-life, but;
  • 75% of graduating seniors are pro-abortion;
  • College-age women account for 55% of all abortions. College and university health centers routinely refer students to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading abortion provider. Some campus health centers distribute abortifacients like the morning after pill ON CAMPUS.

    In many Universities and colleges, the pro-abortion bias extends to blatantly unconstitutional discrimination against pro-life student activists. One Arizona pro-life student organization, Arizona State University Students for Life, had to seek legal help from the Alliance Defense Fund, just to be able to set up a pro-life exhibit on campus.

    How many other pro-life students might simply give up in the face of overwhelming administrative opposition?


     INTERVIEW  -January 21, 2009

    Q1.  Chris, as the Executive Director of a campus outreach group, do you find any resistance to your presentations or displays being set up?  What double standard exists as you see it on campus regarding your work?

    A. Abortion is a controversial topic, so I’ve never been surprised that we’ve faced opposition to our events and activities on campus.  By far, the most challenging obstacle we face is the double-standard we encounter when trying to debate this issue – and it is also the most puzzling.

    An university should be a free marketplace of ideas; debate of hard issues should be welcomed.  But when we bring our pro-life message to campus, especially when using graphic images as evidence to show the humanity of the unborn child, or the inhumanity of abortion, one side of the debate seems to shut down entirely.  For example, when we displayed the Justice for All exhibit in March of 2008, a group of pro-choice protesters literaly encircled the display and began shouting pro-choice slogans. (“…2…4…6..8..choice is good; choice is great!” etc…)  This was their response to an invitation to discuss the issue: instead of refuting our arguments, they tried to silence our message by drowning it out with shouting.  Fortunately, hundreds of individuals were open-minded enough to talk with our members, to share their point of view, and to listen to ours – resulting not in more hostility, more animosity, and more polarization; but leading us all closer to the truth, and to a genuine understanding of the opposing side’s concerns.

    Q2. What exactly is the purpose of Arizona Students for Life?

    A.The purpose of Arizona Students for Life is really quite simple: to save lives and transform our culture. We do this by educating students about the humanity of the unborn child – and also being prepared to help students find the support they deserve when facing an unplanned pregnancy.

    Q3. What are the main concerns over the Freedom of Choice Act?  What is it and why the concern right now?

    A. The Freedom of Choice Act is a frightening piece of legislation because it eliminates virtually all restrictions on abortion, and all protections for women, including things that have received support from many pro-choice individuals: parental notification laws and informed consent.  FOCA is also a blatant example of how pro-abortion advocates want to impose their morality on the pro-life community:  Under FOCA, pro-life doctors and pharmacists could be forced to perform abortions and prescribe abortifacients, despite their moral and religious objections.  Catholic hospitals throughout the country could be forced to shut down entirely if they refuse to comply with FOCA and perform abortions.

    Q4. Do you feel you’re pushing a religious agenda?

    A. AZSFL is not a religious organization.  We are specifically and exclusively pro-life and we focus all of our outreach and education efforts to defend innocent human life from conception to natural death

    Q5. I’ve written a bit about how people of color are being aborted at a disproportionate rate in society.  Do you discuss this issue in your outreach, and how well informed are our young people about abortion numbers?

    A. Abortion is a tragedy that strikes at the most vulnerable: both the helpless unborn child, and the frightened young woman seeking an abortion.  This is one reason why abortion disproportionately afflicts youth and minorities.  Students we speak to are often shocked to hear that college age women (18-24) account for half of all abortions annually; and that African American women are 5 times as likely to get an abortion as white women.

    Q6.  What types of counseling services are offered to young women and men regarding unplanned pregnancy and the choice to KEEP the child? Is it a disproportionate service?  Are their programs funded to help young parents continue school once choosing life? 

    A. Arizona Students for Life works extensively with pro-life pregnancy centers to promote and advertise their life-saving services and support.  So much of the pro-life movement is devoted to offering genuine compassion and service to women facing the challenge of unplanned pregnancy; it is unfortunate that so few students seem to know that help is available for them if they choose life.  ASU Students for Life purchased advertising space at a busy part of campus in order to display a 10′ banner promoting the Optionline (1-800-395-HELP) number that refers people to free, confidential help and counseling, 24/7.  Our banner was stolen after only a few weeks, presumably by pro-choice students offend by the implicit message of its offer of help: that the unborn child as well as the mother deserves our concern and compassion.


    Q7.  Do you find any statistical relevance regarding the number of college-age women who feel pressured to abort?  Is there documented proof of biased counseling happening on college campuses today?

    A. Our organization has not conducted any research into counseling bias at universities (so I can’t give you any statistics about that), but we do know that college-age women are the most at-risk age group for seeking an abortion.  Young women (and men) at college are often away from their family and friends, lacking a support group and unsure how to handle a crisis.  It’s easy to see how an unplanned pregnancy in this situation could lead to desperation – and often abortion is seen as the only option; or the easy way out – an option that is often regretted later in life.  How many young people go away to college to brighten their futures, and end up making a decision that casts a shadow over the rest of their lives? This just underscores the importance of promoting the free services and support offered by pro-life pregnancy centers.





    1. Veritas Vincit says

      It is about choice if you think about it.

      Somehow the poor nations and developing nations populations are skyrocketing while at the same time the populations of places like Western Europe and North America populations are gray’ing and flatline.

      Have you looked at the Muslim population figures?

      Choice between a future and no future. What choices will your grand daughters and grand sons face?

      half of incoming freshmen are pro-life
      three quarters of outgoing seniors are pro-abortion

      Where’s the future in that?

    2. Veritas Vincit says

      Oh, and I’m glad to see a nuclear family in the White House too.

      13% of the population are African-Americans
      49% of the abortions performed are African-Americans.

      Where’s that future?

    3. Thanks for this post. ASU Students for Life does great work. They are mature, measured, and determined — and they have been graceful toward all, despite being badgered by opponents and the university.

    4. That’s Informative!

    Leave a Reply