The University of Chicago’s Students for Life chapter had planned on hosting an event entitled “Black and Beautiful: The Social Injustice of Abortion.” The talk was to feature Ryan Bomberger, “a media designer, writer, activist, and the founder of the Radiance Foundation,” who planned on giving a talk about how “abortion isn’t simply an obsession of the religious right,” and that “it’s the defining social justice issue of our time.”

Correspondingly, members of Students for Life had written in chalk around the campus to advertise for their event. As time wore on, many of their chalkings that originally read “Abortion=Social Injustice” were changed to read “Abortion=Social Justice.” Additionally, students had written “#AbortMikePence” around campus. These literal facts on the ground, combined with the belief that the event would be heavily protested, led Students for Life to decide that it would be easier to cancel their event than to proceed as planned.

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Scenes from campus.
Scenes from campus.

Students for Life wrote on their Facebook event that:

With considerable regret, SFL is canceling this event. Our full statement is below:

UChicago Students for Life had planned to host pro-life speaker and activist Ryan Bomberger on campus this Thursday. SFL invited Bomberger to campus both because of his compelling personal story—his mother was raped but chose to carry her pregnancy through, saving his life—and because of his important claim, with which we agree unreservedly, that the horrifyingly high abortion rate in the black community represents a profound social and racial injustice. To advertise Bomberger’s visit, we chalked the quad with the message that abortion is social injustice. We stand by that claim, as we stand by the claims that human life begins at conception and that abortion should be prohibited under all circumstances.

But given the present political climate and the prospect of organized protest focusing on issues that had little or nothing to do with the core message of Bomberger’s talk, we have decided to cancel the event. It became clear to us that this event was not going to be about abortion in the black community. And we are not interested in fighting skirmishes in the culture wars, involving ourselves in presidential politics, or joining the ongoing battle over free speech on college campuses.

We are not issuing this statement in search of mainstream acceptance in this community. Our group exists to defend unborn children from abortion, prisoners from the death penalty, and the elderly and the sick from euthanasia and assisted suicide. We acknowledge that many and perhaps most of you, our fellow students and our professors, regard some or all of those core beliefs as abhorrent, and we do not pretend to be anything other than what we are. But we are, among other things, a secular, non-partisan organization, and we insist on remaining tightly focused on pro-life issues. To do otherwise would be to misrepresent the ideological diversity of the pro-life movement, which includes religious people and secularists, Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives.

There is as of yet no word as to whether Students for Life will be rescheduling their event for later this academic year.

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