By Ana Ruiz Brictson | Staff Writer
The Bears for Life club at Baylor emphasizes to women that they don’t have to drop out of college or abort if they are pregnant or parenting while earning their degree.
Aside from encouraging women to not quit school due to pregnancy or parenting, Bears for Life also works to support all innocent human life from conception.
According to David Folks, Rockwall junior and president of Bears for Life, the club was chartered in 1998 by John Pisciotta, who was an economics professor at Baylor and the founder of Pro-Life Waco.
In the club, members are given the opportunity to listen to guest speakers who take on pro-life topics from their perspectives. Through these speakers, they are also given advice as to how they can help their community and get involved.
Some of the speakers the club has hosted are Paul Brown, a speaker from Lovelife, Deborah McGregor, the president and CEO of Care Net Pregnancy Center of Central Texas; and an adoption trio of a birth mom, adoptive mom and child.
The club has also invited Destiny Herndon, a pro-life feminist who founded New Wave Feminists, to provide insight from another point of view.
Another activity members can participate in is the 40 Days for Life movement, which involves a series of peaceful protests outside of facilities like Planned Parenthood twice a year, with each series lasting 40 days. This fall, the movement took place in 612 different locations to advocate an end to abortion through prayer.
“We are unapologetically Christian, and we’re pro-life,” Folks said. “If somebody is willing to stand up for those principles, then we don’t really care what your political ideology is.”
Members have also set up a table on 5th Street during Dr Pepper Hour. They distributed business cards that read, “You can be pregnant on campus” and included a QR code people could scan to find a 46-page research document they made to show available resources.
“Part of our mission statement is to create the culture of life on Baylor’s campus through having meaningful conversations,” Folks said. “So absolutely we want to meet people like that and deal with their actual objections.”
Folks also spoke about how the club interacts with pregnant and post-abortive women. He said the sidewalk ministry they promote organizes “blessing bags” for pregnant women, which carry resources and stuffed teddy bears; these are handed out to those who are considering walking into Planned Parenthood in order to inform them about alternative options. He said the sidewalk ministry also organizes “blessing bags” for post-abortive women, which contain information on where to get free abortion pill reversals and counseling resources.
“It’s not just women before they get an abortion that we’re trying to address,” Joy Moore, Maumelle, Ark., sophomore and director of operations of Bears for Life, said. “It’s also once they walk out of that facility. That hasn’t changed how much God loves them or anything along those lines, but it’s just another way for us to reach out to them.”
Currently, Bears for Life is offering a scholarship to students who are pregnant or parenting. Those who are interested in applying for the scholarship can click here to find more information.
Folks also said they don’t look down on anyone because of something they did and would never condemn anyone because they made the decision to abort. He also said a lot of the women who are involved in the leadership of the national pro-life movement are post-abortive women who had a change of heart after their decision.
Moore said her beliefs were mainly influenced by how the pro-life movement addresses pregnant and parenting women.
“We take it and say, ‘However that child was conceived doesn’t matter,'” Moore said. “I don’t care if she made a mistake or didn’t make a mistake or if she wanted a child or if she didn’t. If she’s a pregnant parenting student here at Baylor, just because she’s pregnant doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be able to attain her education.”
Moore said pregnant women’s options should not be limited to either ending the life of their pre-born child or having to drop out of college.
Moore also said the club has not received hate because people have a hard time being angry at activism that promotes women’s lives and education and that helps those who are in a pregnancy or parenting crisis.
“Once people know what we do and … why we’re doing it, I think we get a lot less anger and frustration,” Moore said. “Sometimes, we even get someone pro-choice shaking your hand because they’re grateful that their friends have these options.”
Moore said Bears for Life’s mission is to “equip students to creat a culture of life on campus and in the community through activism, educational events, guest speakers and volunteering.”
The club has meetings every other Thursday at 7 p.m. in Tidwell 101. The club also does tabling on 5th St. in front of the Bill Daniel Student Life Center for students to share their perspectives every other Tuesday.
There are currently around 200 members in Bears for Life, and there are no required dues. Folks and Moore encouraged students who are interested to reach out through Connect.