By Sade Patterson, SFLA Correspondent
Most college students would spend their Saturday morning sleeping in or catching a movie, but members of Students for Life at The University of New Mexico (UNM) chose to meet on campus to chalk instead.
It all began last Thursday night during the group’s bi-weekly meeting when 11 members decided to chalk pro-life messages on their campus.
“We mainly chalked near the Student Union Building on the north side, in the plaza area, and the area between the duck pond, Mitchell Hall, and Zimmerman library” explained the president of SFL at UNM, Jessica Roseman.
The group spent the evening chalking various messages like, “Heart starts beating at 16 days”, “Abortion is legal to the day of birth in NM”, “Choose life”, “Women are stronger than abortion”, “Adoption is always an option”, and “Equal rights for the preborn.”
During all the chalking, members at UNM were able to have several conversations with other students who would stroll by, interested in what they were writing.
“We had two sign-ups for our group” said Roseman. “One man who said he was glad we were out there doing it, and another student had a conversation with one of our members about when life begins.”
The biggest thing the group recognized was that all of the people they spoke to were men. They even met a post-abortive man who came and spoke to them that evening.
The group returned to campus the next morning to find all of their messages vandalized. In the past, members of Students for Life at UNM have found their chalk washed away with water, but what they saw Friday morning intrigued them.
“A friend from the Newman Center told us that she saw a man with a bag of chalk writing ‘women’s choice’ on our messages. They did a combination of making our previous messages darker, erased some comments, and responded to others,” said Roseman.
On one message that read, “There are 1.1 million US abortions each year”, they added, “And? There may be a great reason for them.” They crossed out “life” in “pro-life” and added “women’s personal decision” and “What welfare do you propose for single mothers then?” Added to “The heart beat starts at 16 days” was the question, “We respect women’s decisions. Why don’t you?” On the same pro-life message some distance away they wrote, “Let women decide.”
After noticing the vandalism, the group decided to meet on Saturday morning and add messages to the pro-choice additions; they decided to have a chalking-dialogue.
David Rodriguez, Sidewalk Advocates Coordinator for SFL at UNM described one of the messages they added that morning. “The pro-choicer wrote, “Let women decide,” so we responded by adding “…life for herself & her child” right after, so the final message was “[The heartbeat starts at 16 days #prolife. Let women decide … life for herself & her child.”
The group also added messages like, “Keep calm and choose life” and “Moms are heroes.” “We hope that this may be a small way to communicate our love to all moms in an educational institution that is rotting from supporting the Culture of Death,” said Rodriguez.
When asked if Students for Life at UNM would report the vandalism, Roseman commented, “We don’t plan to report it. That individual has the right to respond. What we are doing is causing others to break out of their indifference to the subject of abortion and remind them that this is a vital social issue we are facing.”
So what’s next for Students for Life at UNM? Will they continue to chalk after seeing their work vandalized? Roseman and her group said this experience only excited them to do it again.