Last night we received word that Voice for Life (VFL) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) has officially been granted recognized group status!
This unanimous decision by the Student Government Association’s (SGA) Judiciary Committee overturns the SGA Senate’s rejection of VFL. When we first broke the story with VFL, they had been denied official status because the SGA had deemed sidewalk counseling “harassment” under JHU rules and because of a link on VFL’s website to an organization that posts graphic images of aborted preborn babies. Internal SGA emails had also revealed a bias among members against pro-lifers, even comparing them to white supremacists and saying they engage in hate speech.
A second update was made when the JHU administration agreed with us and gave an opinion that sidewalk counseling was protected free speech – as the Supreme Court has ruled – and did not violate any university rules or codes.
Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America, said, “We are so proud of our students in Voice for Life for courageously standing up to the pro-abortion forces in their student government and on their campus that sought to silence them for their beliefs. In this case, the private personal character attacks on pro-lifers as racists and misogynists that we know go on all the time were exposed for the world to see. The national outcry these revelations provoked forced the JHU student government reconsider its anti-free speech stance, but this is the kind of discrimination pro-life students face across the country every day. Students for Life will always fight for students who are attacked and have their rights violated as they peacefully spread the positive Culture of Life on their campuses.
“We stand with Andrew, Monica, and other Voice for Life students as they fight to abolish abortion despite the harassment and hateful allegations hurled their way. They are the leaders of this pro-life generation and we look forward to helping VFL continue to change hearts and minds at Johns Hopkins.”
Andrew Guernsey, President of JHU VFL: “We commend the SGA Judiciary for honoring Johns Hopkins’ institutional commitment to free speech by overturning Voice for Life’s rejection by the SGA Senate. Today is a victory not only for pro-life students here at Johns Hopkins, but for pro-life students around the country. We hope that our story of rising above discriminatory opposition can inspire pro-life students around the country to courageously take a stand for life at their own college campuses. On behalf of JHU Voice for Life, I wish to thank all our supporters in the Hopkins-Baltimore community and around the country. I especially want to express my gratitude to Students for Life, FIRE, and the Thomas More Law Center for their support in helping us win approval from the SGA. It is important that pro-life students like us who face unjust discrimination on their college campuses know that they are not alone, and that there are powerful resources to help them win the battle for free speech in order to win the war of defending the dignity of every human life.”
Monica Rex, Vice President of JHU VFL: “Now that the SGA Judiciary Committee has approved us, we are ready to begin the real work of saving lives! While the road was difficult, we have learned just how much this fight for life means to us, and how important it is that students at Johns Hopkins have the opportunity to hear our pro-life message. Johns Hopkins has always stood for the very best in higher education, and we look forward to bringing our pro-life message to future leaders in the medical industry here at Hopkins.”
Media: Contact SFLA Director of External Relations Alexa Coombs at Alexa@studentsforlife.org or 571-295-7352