The MUW Students for Life chapter hosted its first Celebration of Life Summit on April 21 in the Cochran Hall Assembly Room.
The event featured speakers from 11 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. The speakers addressed different aspects of pregnancy, abortion, adoption and the conception of life. Several of the speakers shared their personal stories and explained the laws surrounding abortion in Mississippi.
Students for Life members said they organized the event to let people know there are numerous resources available to young mothers. They hoped to encourage people to consider some of the possible effects of abortion.
“Abortion can cause so much harm to their body and soul,” said Joanna Frye, president and founder of the Students for Life chapter at The W. “Shouldn’t society be saying, ‘No, you can still have your child. You can still have your dreams and hopes and still do all of that with having a child’?”
Speakers talked about their unplanned pregnancies and how they dealt with them. Most stressed that there are many options available now for women who are pregnant and scared.
Linda Brown, the day’s first speaker, said that no one at the abortion clinic told her there were other options.
Brown is now the client service director of Life Choices Pregnancy Center in Columbus. She said that when she found herself pregnant, she was told to “get rid of it and never think about it again.” Brown said it was the biggest lie she had ever heard, and she found it very difficult to get past the fear and shame she felt after having an abortion. She talked about the emotional pain that she felt.
"No one told me about the lives that could change others,” said Brown. “There is a better way, and you don’t have to live with what-if.”
Tricia Robbins, director of Birthmother Outreach in Tupelo, said that she got pregnant during a time of rebellion in high school. At that time, she had a full college scholarship and her parents, who didn’t know she was pregnant, insisted that she begin college. When she finally came to grips with the reality of her pregnancy, she didn’t know what to do.
Robbins credited God with helping her find a pregnancy center that was able to place her baby in an adoptive family. That was 20 years ago. Recently, Robbins’ biological daughter reached out and made contact with her.
“Life does matter, and there are so many more resources now than when I was in college,” said Robbins. “When I went to the pregnancy center, I didn’t feel ashamed. It was a refreshing environment with a peace and joy that helped me to see my future.”
Other speakers discussed the rights of pregnant women. Joseph Parker, a pastor and director of Intercessory Prayer for Urban Family Communications, pointed out that the U.S. Supreme Court holds that a pregnant minor has the rights of motherhood and cannot be forced or pressured into abortion without legal consequences for the person applying the demands.
Frye said this was an outreach for the community, and that the group hopes it helped bring clarity to questions people might have had.