Last week, anti-Lifers vandalized a Pro-Life display at the University of North Texas. Pro-Life students at the University of North Texas, led by the Young Conservatives of Texas group on campus, placed 1,000 flags as a memorial to preborn babies killed in abortion. Each flag represented some of the more than 61 million preborn babies killed since Roe v. Wade legalized elective abortion in all 50 states.
In response to the memorial, anti-Lifers vandalized the display and stole flags. A statement from the Young Conservatives of Texas notes that 350 flags were stolen. After campus police apprehended an individual who was then cited for theft, 180 of the missing flags were recovered. According to reports, anti-Life students began taking the flags as soon as the Pro-Life students finished setting up the memorial.
Kelly Neidert, Chapter Chairwoman for the Young Conservatives of Texas, said, “I was shocked and horrified as I watched my fellow University of North Texas students tear flags out of the ground, scream profanities and steal our signs. Their disdain for innocent human life was unconscionable.”
The Pro-Life students had received prior permission from the school administration to place the 1,000 small pink flags along with Pro-Life signs with statements including, “Abortion is murder” and “Overturn Roe v. Wade.”
Neidert told the Spectator, “The memorial was intended to give a visual representation of lives lost from abortion in a meaningful way. The [pro-abortion] students had planned this beforehand and had ‘capture the flag’ teams ready to take the flags down. We called campus police but by the time they showed up, everything had been taken or damaged. Overall it was a horrible thing to see.”
Video footage captured by members of the Young Conservatives of Texas shows anti-Life students casually collecting flags while walking through the display. When confronted by Pro-Life students about the theft, many vandals refused to respond or simply walked away.
Social media posts reveal that several anti-Life groups organized the “capture the flag” game, which involved collecting as many flags from the memorial as possible. Whichever team collected the most would be designated the winner.
In addition to the vandalism and theft that took place in person, anti-Lifers engaged in relentless personal attacks online. Neidert received shocking insults and threats through social media. Anti-Life students called Neidert and the Young Conservatives of Texas “racist, homophobic f***s,” “trash humans,” “pathetic and appalling,” and “disgusting.” One social media user told Neidert to “kill urself.”
Such instances of vandalism harassment against Pro-Lifers on college campuses are not uncommon. Some Pro-Life students in Texas have begun all-night vigils at memorials for the preborn in order to guard against vandalism and theft. Even with constant surveillance, memorials continue to be attacked. On other campuses, students have to fight against censorship to receive faculty approval for Pro-Life events and displays on campus. Even if the administration is not overtly biased against Pro-Life activism, the predictable outrage from anti-Lifers can intimidate school administration.
The environment of violence and censorship that Pro-Life students face means that they need a strong network of support in order to succeed. Programs like Texas Right to Life’s Dr. Joseph Graham Fellowship for College Pro-Life Leaders ensure that Pro-Life students can connect with like-minded peers and share successful outreach efforts. When campuses are monopolized by anti-Life views, having well-educated, articulate Pro-Life students on campus is crucial.
The Pro-Life student group at the University of North Texas, Eagles for Life, was founded by a Fellow in Texas Right to Life’s program for college students.
“It’s unfortunate that some of our student body doesn’t seem to respect the right to free speech of our fellow students. But it is even worse that a defense of the most vulnerable members of the human family inspires such vitriol. Our culture is deeply broken. I hope YCT continues to stand for life on campus! It is a much needed message.”Quote from Amanda Kallas about YCT incident.