Educating Students and Equipping Pro-Life Leaders

Dana Cody, President of Life Legal Defense Foundation, was privileged to be part of the National Law Tour sponsored by Students for Life of America. The tour, entitled 40 Years of a Deadly Legal Anomaly and the Downfall of Planned Parenthood, included presentations by an impressive array of attorneys and others active in the pro-life legal arena. Michael Acquilano, the National Coordinator of Law Students for Life, worked with pro-life students at five universities to bring the message of life to their campuses. (Michael is an Ave Maria School of Law student, who graduated with his Juris Doctor in May of this year. Michael did his undergraduate studies at Bentley University, and has developed impressive skills as an event planner, managing the tour admirably.)

Students from Ave Maria School of Law, Columbus School of Law, Northeastern University School of Law, Dartmouth College and Bentley University heard the message of life during the tour.

“The opportunity to present the pro-life viewpoint on college campuses known to be notoriously pro-abortion (with the exception of Ave Maria, of course) was epic,” Dana Cody commented after the tour. “The presentations had a measurable impact on students’ understanding of the law relating to abortion.”

A show of hands at each location demonstrated that for many students, this was the first time they had been informed that because of Roe v. Wade and its companion case, Doe v. Bolton, abortion is legal for any reason, or no reason at all, the entire nine months of pregnancy. Most were under the impression that abortion was allowed only in the first trimester, a myth commonly propagated on the college campus and in the media. But in learning that Doe defines health as “physical or mental, in light of all factors, including physical, emotional, familial, psychological and the woman’s age,” even the cleverest of abortion advocates could not come up with a circumstance that would not fall under the Court’s definition.

Pro-life students were emboldened after having their viewpoint supported by the legal experts that presented at each university. The result was renewed commitment to share the message of life and to establish Law Students for Life chapters on the students’ respective campuses.

Pro-abortion students, as well as those not used to hearing the pro-life viewpoint, also learned that Roe was a legal anomaly based on half-truths and outright lies. “The reaction to reasoned legal analysis and documentation proving Roe was litigated with one half-truth and lie upon another would have been comical if the issue wasn’t a matter of the lives of over 55 million unborn children,” stated Dana Cody.

After hearing at least a dozen quotes from pro-abortion legal scholars and political analysts who condemned the legal reasoning of Roe, the only logical conclusion to be drawn was that Roe, Doe, and their progeny are bad law. Justice Scalia said it best years later in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, where he dissented from the majority opinion which upheld the “central ruling of Roe.” He stated:

The issue is whether it [abortion] is a liberty interest protected by the Constitution of the United States. I am sure it is not. I reach that conclusion, not because of anything so exalted as my views concerning the “concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” [Quoting the rhetoric in the majority opinion.] Rather, I reach it for the same reason I reach the conclusion that bigamy is not constitutionally protected—because of two simple facts: 1) the Constitution says absolutely nothing about it, and 2) the longstanding traditions of American society have permitted it to be legally proscribed.

Cody’s presentation concluded with evidence exposing Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, as a proponent of eugenics, a celebrated Klu Klux Klan speaker and one of the architects of the now infamous 1939 Negro Project, the goal of which was to reduce the birth rate of Black Americans. Planned Parenthood naturally denies that its policies remain the same as those of their founder. However, additional documentation was presented showing that 79% of Planned Parenthood’s clinics are “conveniently” located in minority communities.

The presentation ended with this question: If abortion is a legal anomaly based on half-truths and lies, why does Planned Parenthood support abortion rights? Answer: Follow the money. Students learned that Planned Parenthood has provided one million abortions in 3 years, that it is a “nonprofit” with $1.2 billion assets, and that it receives a half-billion in tax dollars annually.

The pro-life students who attended the presentations were encouraged by the tour, if their positive comments are any indication. In addition when presented with the facts about abortion, several students who support abortion rights stated they are reconsidering their position.

“The immediate results made the tour worth all the time and effort, and while the long-term results are yet to be seen, encouraging the next generation of pro-life advocates and leaders is vital to LLDF’s mission of protecting the innocent and defenseless,” Cody stated. “Perhaps this generation will be the generation responsible for seeing Roe overturned. Any part LLDF may have played in that is of immeasurable value.”

[As a result of the Law Tour 7 Law Students for Life Chapters have been started—Ed.]