Students for Life hosts pro-life activist Kristan Hawkins; pro-choice students express disapproval


Riley Carroll

Students hold up pro-choice posters as a sign of protest as Kristan Hawkins delivers the speech.

Trigger Warning: Mention of abortion, rape, incest and death.

UTSA’s chapter of Students for Life hosted Kristan Hawkins, pro-life activist and founder of Students for Life of America, in the H-E-B Student Union on April 7. Alongside Hawkins’ supporters, the event was also attended by pro-choice students, who protested with handmade signs. 

During the event, Hawkins touched on several points dealing with abortion to argue for the pro-life movement. Hawkins’ statements were met with applause from pro-life students as well as verbal disagreement from pro-choice students. 

Following Hawkins’ speech, the floor was opened up for questions. Both sides had the opportunity to engage with Hawkins, and several pro-choice students were quick to challenge Hawkins on a number of issues, ranging from when life begins to rape cases.

Kaylar Edwards, one of the several student protestors at the event, explained that the intention of speakers like Hawkins is not to make an argument on behalf of the pro-life movement, but to “intimidate” women.

Students hold up pro-choice posters as a sign of protest as Kristan Hawkins delivers her speech. (Riley Carroll)

“… these people [pro-life campaingers] don’t really come here to try and change anybody’s mind. Their purpose and tactic is to intimidate and try [to] make women uncomfortable and we’ve seen that on so many different occasions, so any chance I have to try and match that energy and just give it back to them, I’m gonna do that,” Edwards said.

Darby Dugger, another pro-choice student who was at the event and challenged Hawkins’ views on abortions in the context of rape, explained that being pro-choice is not synonymous with being pro-abortion.

“I also think being pro-choice, as many of us have stated, does not mean we’re pro-abortion … having a speaker like her come up and completely defame pro-choice as pro-abortion is invalid because it is not the same. Just because I’m pro-choice does not mean I am pro-abortion,” Dugger said.

Another pro-choice student, Emily Tilson, also touched on abortion as it relates to victims of rape. 

“I feel like, at the core of it, people don’t understand all of the nuances of the argument of people who have been raped or people who have been in these situations where they can carry their pregnancy … but it’s just crazy that we’re still having this argument. I want to end it — I want to end the argument,” Tilson said.

On the other hand, anti-abortion student Amir Hooper gave input on the event and its occurrences.

  “I don’t think society will be able to progress unless we have these types of events … it’s inevitable for people to have different opinions. And the thing is, we have to coexist, and we have to live with each other … there’s no way around it,” Hooper said. “I’m against abortion, but some things I don’t even agree with. You know, I mean, like for example, the rape and incest thing. Morally, they should not have to deal with the baby.”

Galaxy Acton, the President of the UTSA Students for Life chapter, explained the process of arranging the event. Acton simply filled out a form on Hawkins’ Instagram page regarding her tour across the southern parts of the U.S. and was later confirmed to host an event at UTSA. 

“I think having her was a great opportunity and it was always a goal of the group. So it was very exciting for them to accept our invitation and for them to come to our college campus and spread this message,” Acton said.

President of Students for Life, Kristan Hawkins, further explained her stance as a pro-life activist by claiming that the back alley abortion is a myth and nobody likes to confront the reality of abortion and its impact.

“I actually talked about the myth of the back alley abortion … showing that the back alley abortion is a myth.” Hawkins emphasized, along with stating in her speech that during her visit to Texas, she saw no abortions performed in back alleys.

However, studies by the World Health Organization offered a different stance, stating that “…when people with unintended pregnancies face barriers to attaining safe, timely, affordable, geographically reachable, respectful and non-discriminatory abortion, they often resort to unsafe abortion.”

Additionally, their statistics showed that “each year, 4.7–13.2% of maternal deaths can be attributed to unsafe abortion. In developed regions, it is estimated that 30 women die for every 100,000 unsafe abortions. In developing regions, that number rises to 220 deaths per 100,000 unsafe abortions.” 

“I think people don’t want to see the reality of abortion. Because when you see the reality of abortion, it’s easy to say euphemisms like ‘my body my choice’ and all these things. But if abortions were conducted in the open, I actually believe nobody would be for abortion. But because that happens behind closed doors because we don’t even like to say the word,” Hawkins continued. “I’m happy to say I’m anti-abortion. But why can’t someone who supports abortion say that they’re pro-abortion? Because instinctively in our gut — our heart — we kind of know there’s something wrong with it, but if we do say there’s something wrong, we may have to reconsider some of the actions we’ve taken in our life or maybe some of the actions we’re [currently] taking.”