DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pro-life students around the country walked out of school on Wednesday to protest abortion.
On March 14, left-leaning groups organized a nationwide school walkout for students to protest gun violence and show their support for gun control. Pro-life students at many schools are now using the same tactic to pay respect to the millions of unborn lives lost through abortion.
This Wednesday, hundreds of pro-life student groups in high schools and college across the United States walked out of their classrooms at 10 a.m. (in their respective time zones). According to the event's website, walkouts were planned at roughly 200 high schools and about 80 college campuses.
Participants in the pro-life walkout remained outside in protest for 17 minutes. The anti-shooting walkout in March also lasted 17 minutes, to commemorate the 17 lives lost in the Parkland School Shooting in Florida in February.
The original organizer of the pro-life walkout was Brandon Gillespie from Rocklin High School in Sacramento, California. Gillespie announced on Twitter on March 22, "I have officially announced the pro-life walkout that I am organizing. It is going to take place on Wednesday, April 11th at 10 a.m. The walkout will last for 17 minutes. We encourage students across the country to participate in a stand for #life."
Gillespie was originally inspired by a teacher at his school who was punished for raising concerns about the March 14 gun control walkout. That teacher, Julianne Benzel, wanted students to consider if it was appropriate for schools to allow students to "walk out" over one issue and not over others, giving the example of abortion. School administrators put Benzel on paid leave. A school spokesperson claimed, "The teacher was not penalized or placed on leave based on her viewpoints. The actions were taken due to complaints from parents and students."
Instrumental in organizing Wednesday's protest was Students for Life of America (SFLA), an organization which among other things ran the walkout's official website. The SFLA also helped Gillespie with legal advice and leadership training, according to a March 30 news report from Live Action.
A handful of pro-life college students at Pennsylvania State University participated in the walkout. A group of them stood on campus, holding signs that read, "I Am the Pro-Life Generation."
At Gulf Breeze High School in the Floridian city of the same name, meanwhile, about 60 pro-lifers took part in a walkout, apparently gathering in the school cafeteria.
Students at Los Alamitos High School in Los Angeles had a pro-life display ready the morning of the walkout. The display featured 1,700 baby socks, representing the roughly 1,700 unborn children lost every day to abortion in the United States.
The pro-lifers walking out at Moriarty High School in the New Mexico city of the same name encountered a couple of counter-protesters. They held signs saying things like, "Don't call yourself pro-life if you only value certain lives!"
Another counter-protest sign read, "Thou Shalt Not Mess With Women's Reproductive Rights, Fallopians 4:28."
The pro-lifer live-streaming at the Moriarty High walkout engaged in a calm debate with the two counter-protesters. Both the pro-lifers and the counterprotesters featured in the livestream were mostly young women.
In anticipation of Wednesday's walkout, SLFA President Kristan Hawkins said, "I expect we'll get less mainstream media coverage than the pro-gun control student walkout because we don't have them rooting for us."
Hawkins went on, "We won't have MSNBC promoting our walkout. But, to me, this is so refreshing to see a student like Brandon who decided on his own he wanted to stand up and speak out on this issue."