Students spend fall break campaigning for the unborn


A group of Franciscan University students spent their Fall Break canvassing the greater Cincinnati area as part of the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List’s efforts to elect pro-life politicians.

The trip, a cooperative effort between SBA’s partner Women Speak Out PAC and Franciscan’s Young Americans for Freedom club, took place from Oct. 28 to Nov. 1 in areas surrounding Cincinnati.  It was the seventh trip of its kind this semester.  Organization of the trip on the campus end was led by seniors Sarah Hull and Tommy Valentine, president of the YAF club on campus.

According to Laurie Lee, Ohio state director for Women Speak Out, the objective of the campaign is to give voters information about the abortion issue so that they can make informed decisions at the polls.

“Very few voters have the information they need to make informed decisions on the issues that are of real importance at the polls,” said Lee. “That is why a campaign like ours is so impactful because we can cut through all the white noise and rhetoric and take it to them face to face.”

Each day, students would go door to door in different communities presenting residents with a survey asking for their views on abortion. Students then proceeded to inform residents of the extreme positions that Hillary Clinton and Senate Candidate Ted Strickland hold on the issue of abortion. Residents had the option to take the survey or refuse.

These encounters led to several interactions between the students and residents.  While there were many people who refused to take the survey, most residents were more than willing to spend a couple minutes talking to the students about their feelings on this contentious issue.

Junior Micheal Cosby, on his seventh campaigning trip, said that while these interactions can be very fruitful, they can also be emotionally draining. “We hear all the time about people who support abortion, even late term and partial-birth abortion and think that ‘Oh, there’s just those kind of people out there,’” said Cosby, “But it is something else entirely when you’re meeting these people in person and hear them defend late-term and partial-birth abortion.”

But students reported that there were many more fruitful interactions than harmful ones. Among these students was junior Nicole Narvaez, who had the opportunity to speak with a woman in her seventies who had no real idea or opinion on abortion.

“She was an incredibly nice woman who just had no real idea about the actual concept of abortion,” said Narvaez.  “I took the time to help explain the issue and our position on it, and it felt really good to be able to give someone the right information on abortion and hope that it spreads elsewhere.”

Several students on the trip were repeats from previous trips.  Lee says that Women Speak Out continues to work with YAF and students from Franciscan because “these students are convicted on the issue of life and therefore transcend to the voters at the door, which is vital in our estimation.”

She added, “To have so many students engage in the campaign is very encouraging to someone like me who has been doing this type of work for nearly two decades.”

Several students encountered residents who considered themselves pro-choice but were not aware of Hillary Clinton’s and Ted Strickland’s positions; some reported that upon learning more about these positions, the residents decided that they would not support the Democratic nominee because of their stance.

“People that go on these trips have no idea what impressions they will have on others and how they can impact the lives and views of the people they meet,” remarked Cosby.