Impact Report, February 2019

As a freshman at the University of New Mexico (UNM), Julia held strong pro-life convictions, bolstered by her faith and her own scientific research. Living in New Mexico, a state some have called “the late-term abortion capital” of the country, she was also aware that many people around her were hurting and severely uninformed about abortion. But Julia didn’t know what she could do to make a difference. Julia knew about the Students For Life club at UNM, but she missed the training seminar that the club had invited JFA to lead for pro-life students that fall. Julia did attend the outreach event JFA held on her campus that week, however, mainly to observe. In this Impact Report, Julia shares how compelling it can be to witness a different kind of conversation about unintended pregnancy and abortion firsthand. It was these conversations that motivated her to share the truth about abortion with her peers and help women facing unintended pregnancies on her campus. Have you ever experienced a JFA outreach event firsthand? If not, join us at any upcoming event and feel free to simply watch and listen. If you can’t make it in person, you can view a complete outreach conversation on our blog, right now! There’s nothing quite like seeing these unique conversations unfold before your eyes.

- Steve Wagner, Executive Director

Julia (far left, with backpack) observes conversations at a 2017 JFA outreach event at UNM during her first semester on campus. The transparent barrel under the yellow sign contains fetal models representing the children killed by abortion in America during the days JFA was on campus.

I first encountered Justice For All during my first semester on campus... It was the second day of outreach and I stopped by the display to listen to the conversations being had. I ended up staying for a couple of hours and witnessed several dialogues about human value, rights, and the reality of abortion. What amazed me was just how effectively and calmly the Justice For All leaders and Students For Life students were able to speak on such a controversial topic.

“I began to dialogue with [the group of pro-choice men] of them began to yell at me for hurting women. It was then that a JFA leader stepped in...‘Look all are so staunchly wanting to stand up for the rights of women, but you’re doing it by yelling at the only woman in this group.’”

Near the end of the day, a group of young men began to speak to each other about why they were pro-choice and were shocked when I, the only woman in the group of about seven men, said I was pro-life. I began to dialogue with them until about ten minutes went by when one of them began to yell at me for hurting women. It was then that a JFA leader stepped in to diffuse the situation and said something that made them all pause: “Look all are so staunchly wanting to stand up for the rights of women, but you’re doing it by yelling at the only woman in this group.” I ended up speaking with a couple of the young men long after JFA had already taken down the display. It was then that I realized that it was this sort of outreach that was so necessary on our campus, and right then I joined Students for Life UNM and became the Pregnant on Campus coordinator which allowed me to offer support and resources to pregnant and parenting students on campus.

Justice For All returned to UNM in fall of 2018 where I got to attend my first actual seminar with them. What inspired me was how they stressed the importance of valuing the life of the person you’re speaking with enough to listen, ask questions, and to be calm, understanding, and kind, all while standing up for the dignity of the unborn. I strongly encourage our group and community members to attend JFA’s trainings because it made me feel like outreach was less about fighting with those who disagree with you in order to prove your point, and more about loving those people enough to take the time to speak to their hearts.

Julia talks with a fellow student during JFA’s outreach event at the University of New Mexico (UNM) in November 2018.

During the outreach days I had the chance to speak with a young man whose girlfriend had two abortions, at least one of them being his child. He at first was very much in support of abortion rights, but as we spoke, and after a couple of hours went by, he revealed just how much hurt and pain he and his girlfriend continue to endure due to the loss of their baby. The conversation began with an unshakable defense of their actions and ended with me giving him abortion healing resources and him thanking us for speaking to him.

Recently everything came full circle, and I was honored to have been named the new President of Students for Life UNM. I still give credit to Justice For All for being that push that changed my personal beliefs about being pro-life to a drive to share this reality with others. I am forever thankful for the work that they do, and we are looking forward to JFA’s next visit to the UNM campus in March!

- Julia
President, UNM Students for Life