According to their mission statement, the purpose of Seattle Pacific Students for Life club is to educate students about the issues surrounding abortion and connect them to resources.
The Students for Life club invited different Seattle organizations to participate in a panel responding to crisis pregnancy on Thursday, May 19, in Demaray 150.
Students were spread thin throughout the large lecture hall as the panel competed with other happenings on campus. However, the low attendance did not phase the participants.
Club President sophomore Elizabeth Knodel organized the event by reaching out to local resources for women.
“We connected with a lot of these organizations,” Knodel said of the club. The representatives contributed to a discussion revolving around an important yet often uncomfortable topic in the Christian university setting.
“I wanted to be a part of providing resources for women especially on campus,” Knodel said.
Knodel said that she has come to realize the lack of conversation surrounding what happens to women who become pregnant on campus. For example, if their scholarships or housing could be in danger, or other negative consequences from the circumstance.
She explained that after attending meetings with the club last year, she stepped into this leadership position to address the complexities surrounding pregnancy and help women on campus find resources to help them in the case of unexpected pregnancy.
The club has focused this year on research and connections to make information more available to students.
This panel was a step in that direction, although the club hopes to connect with health services and counseling services on campus.
From providing medical care to counseling and housing for pregnant women to adoption services, Women’s Accessible Medical Services, Empowering Hope, Antioch Adoptions and Special Delivery were the organizations represented along with their various roles in these situations.
Their positions ranged from a sonographer to a social worker to a physician and counselor.
Core member junior Daniel Fenlason hosted the event, taking the participants through a list of questions that the panelists responded to in light of the resources they offer.
The questions prompted an hour long discussion over this issue.
Sue Rutherford, a physician who has helped establish WAMS, a medical service that provides important medical attention to women, spoke of the importance of her work.
“The women who are coming to us are trusting us with their personal stories,” she said. “That is a precious thing.”
Rutherford went on to explain that the goal of WAMS is mostly to educate and come alongside women during a difficult time and provide education.
Because Students for Life is SPU’s pro-life club, all of the panelists were from Christian organizations who are also pro-life. However, each panelist explained that the services provided did not exclude or shame women who choose to have an abortion.
“We seek to give women good information so that they are making informed decisions,” Rutherford spoke for WAMS. This, she explained means that they also provide services for women who have chosen to have an abortion.
In fact, the final question during the panel addressed how students should respond to a friend who finds out they’re pregnant.
Alyssa Allen who works for Antioch Adoptions responded with the value of listening.
“It’s important to listen in a non-judgmental way,” Allen said. “Also not being afraid of a relationship that might look a little different, but continuing to be there long-term.”
Rutherford chimed in at the end of Allen’s note.
“My father used to say ‘Who you are speaks so loud that I can’t hear what you’re saying,’” Rutherford explained that pregnancy does not change who that person is, though their life has changed.
She encourages students to walk alongside friends.
“Hold space for them.”