Students form pro-life student organization

photo by Daniel Paulsen
photo by Daniel Paulsen

On Monday, Calvin College Students for Life held its first meeting. The event went smoothly except for one logistical problem: attendance was so good that there weren’t enough seats for everyone.

Calvin College Students for Life is a new student organization on campus dedicated to educating people about alternatives to abortion, serving those affected by abortion and lifting the issue up in prayer.

While many anti-abortion groups are politically focused, Sarah Weiss, the group’s president, hopes to place the emphasis elsewhere.

“We’re purposely trying to take a loving, non-political — as much as possible — approach,” Weiss explained. “We feel like no one needs more people shouting and name-calling over this issue, so we want to do things a little differently than they have been done in some places in the past.”

Through films, discussion panels with faculty members and other conversation opportunities, Calvin College Students for Life hopes to educate students about the dangers of and alternatives to abortion.

“We want to make sure that people on our campus are aware of current medical practices pertaining to abortion,” Weiss said, “and aware of their options and resources on and off-campus should they find themselves or a friend in an unexpected pregnancy situation, and able to speak confidently about why they believe what they believe concerning the value of life at all its stages.”

Tobin Tarantowski, the group’s residence life coordinator, added, “The group is pretty service-oriented. We hope to educate students from a pro-life standpoint. For example, how to talk to a friend who may be experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, what services or counseling Calvin and the local community have available for said student and what effects there can be on both the male and female post-abortion.”

The group also has a number of community partnership opportunities planned, with a special emphasis on prayer.

“We want to provide opportunities for students to serve the community of Grand Rapids through its many organizations that help pregnant women who may be considering abortion,” Weiss said.

For one of its outreach events, the group plans to shuttle students to the Heritage Clinic for Women, an abortion clinic on Fulton Street in Grand Rapids, for a non-confrontational time of prayer.

“This event is a non-protesting, prayer event in which people do not contact the clinic staff or clients,” Weiss said.

When asked about her motivation to start the group, Weiss explained that she sees the abortion debate as a fundamental issue of justice.

“I think that, especially as Christians, if we take seriously a call to care for our fellow man as well as creation, we are moved to support the unborn child as well as the disabled, the poor and those that are different from us,” Weiss said.

While justice for unborn children is a huge issue for Calvin College Students for Life, Weiss was quick to point out that love for the women involved is necessary for any true reconciliation.

“I think people have been putting up ‘Abortion is Murder’ bumper stickers and waving hurtful messages on signs for too long,” said Weiss. “If you value the life of an unborn child, this is not the way to save it. Mothers who have had abortions don’t need anyone to remind them or make them suffer further; what they need is Christ-like love and forgiveness.”

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