Pro-Life Messages Washed Away

Students mock pro-life chalk messages; administrators scrub them away

The revelations about Planned Parenthood harvesting and selling body parts of aborted fetuses are heartbreaking, but unfortunately for many college students, these atrocities are not even on their radar.

Kansas State University College Republicans decided to do something about this on campus, so we started a week of pro-life activism.

We met in Bosco Plaza, the historically designated “free speech zone” on campus in front of the Student Union. With two boxes of chalk, we set out to cover campus with pro-life messages to ignite conversation about the Planned Parenthood controversy and to provide a voice for not just the unborn, but also for the thousands of pro-life students on campus.

We wrote the hashtag #ChooseLife everywhere. In a particularly high-traffic area, we inscribed upon the sidewalk the death tolls of the genocidal regimes of Adolf Hitler (about 10 million), Joseph Stalin (about 20 million), and Mao Zedong (about 45 million), and compared them to the estimated number of abortions that have occurred in the U.S. since the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling (58 million).

After seeing Students for Life of America’s unique and attention-grabbing phrase “Dear Planned Parenthood: Go Fund Yourself,” we decided to write that in chalk as well.

We finished up and made our way back to Bosco Plaza, passing by a number of our messages a mere 20 minutes after we wrote them. We were disappointed to see that several had already been tampered with. In one instance, “babies” had been changed to “rabies.” In another, “Choose life,” had been edited to say “Choose live music.” Perhaps the most discouraging modification was the addition of “#NotEnough” to “There are over 1,000,000 abortions each year.”

1 not enough

The next morning, as more and more College Republicans began to go to class, we started hearing reports and receiving images of a significant number of instances where our messages had been overwritten or erased by students who oppose the right to life. In fact, a vast majority of the messages were altered in one way or another.

2 smeared chalk

Systematically, pro-choice students, who evidently carry around emergency chalk in the event that they see an expression of free speech they disagree with, had attempted to silence pro-life students on campus and make it look like we had said things we never intended to say. Beyond being disrespectful, this demonstrated that pro-abortion advocates are not interested in debate.

They prefer a university environment in which students are coddled, protected from diverse ideas, and patted on the back for regurgitating nonsense spewed from the mouths of their liberal professors as if it were Scripture.

While thousands of students began to discuss the issue of abortion and the Planned Parenthood controversy, in quiet rooms and large lecture halls alike, some took to social media to speak their mind, hiding behind their anonymity:
3 yik yak

College Republicans, meanwhile, had taken to the high-traffic thoroughfares of campus to begin discussing these issues with both pro-life and pro-choice students. No anonymity. No hiding behind profile pictures. Many expressed they were so glad to finally see people on campus speaking up for what they knew was right, but perhaps were too intimidated to speak about themselves.

After a successful day of recruiting, we decided to go back out and chalk that night to fix the messages that had been vandalized. The next morning it wasn’t the students who were censoring our speech, but rather the university officials and administrators.

Someone told me a university employee was washing away our pro-life messages. I ran to the scene to find just that — our administration silencing our pro-life views. When I questioned the university employee, he said he was directed by his supervisor to clean up messages that were deemed offensive.

So what was offensive? Anything pro-life. The university employee even washed away a pro-life message and left the pro-abortion message that was directly adjacent to it.

I’m not sure why a university would want less free speech. Universities are supposed to be places where individuals can express themselves freely, entertain new ideas, construct new paradigms, and develop new worldviews. Universities are not supposed to be places where free speech is even lightly regulated, let alone washed away by tuition and taxpayer-funded staff also paid through tuition.

As long as we live in a society where anything can be deemed offensive, and bias by those in authority is accepted, exposing atrocities like Planned Parenthood will be an uphill battle — an uphill battle I’m ready to fight.

Evan Steckler is a sophomore at Kansas State University. This piece is part of a CampusZette series exploring the culture, oddities, and experiences of students on college campuses through their eyes.