On Friday, Newsweek published an op-ed co-written by Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins and the group’s Minority Outreach and Healthy Relationships Director Toni McFadden unveiling the discrimination pro-lifers face in the political arena.
The two wrote:
By Friday, a federal judge is expected to decide whether pro-life advocates can break that silence.
Although the phrase “Black Lives Matter” is emblazoned in permanent paint on Washington D.C.’s streets by order of the D.C. government itself, the same local government has prohibited pro-life advocates from painting the message “Black Preborn Lives Matter” in temporary paint. The D.C. government even allowed protestors to paint “Defund the Police” right next to its own public speech. Participants in an August free speech event cohosted by Students for Life of America and the Frederick Douglass Foundation were not only prohibited by police to paint; two were arrested for chalking our message on the public sidewalk.
Our organization received a permit this week from the Metropolitan Police Department, which notes that while a few pro-life activists are allowed to meet this Saturday, they are ”not authorized or permitted to paint, chalk, or mark in any manner the street or sidewalk.” The forthcoming ruling will further unpack whether the government in Washington D.C. can engage in viewpoint discrimination, effectively censoring some opinions while giving protections to favored speech.
Hawkins and McFaddin point out the blatant discrimination between the two messages, as the only difference between them is the word “Preborn.”
It seems like a single adjective—preborn—moves a phrase from celebrated to censored. But how can Black children, Black men, Black women and Black elderly people matter fully if their lives don’t matter from the very beginning of their existence? A person’s value should not be determined by location, income or age.
It’s also possible that groups like Planned Parenthood—which, perhaps not coincidentally, are longtime fixtures in heavily minority cities like Washington D.C., New York City and Baltimore—have a vested interest in Black lives not mattering when they can be targeted for profit. Consider that in New York City more Black babies were aborted than born alive. This why Students for Life has been confronting corporate abortion in city after city.
Viewpoint discrimination shuts down the very possibility of conversation. The consequent inability to discuss our ideas eliminates the possibility of finding common ground, leading only to division.
The issue here is constitutional fairness. Actors, artists, politicians and CEOs have the liberty under the First Amendment to voice support for abortion or omit preborn children from their activism. But governmental entities engage in unconstitutional overreach when they seek to bar pro-life citizens from expressing the position that all Black lives matter, that abortion is violence and that the Black preborn child deserves protection.
What are your thoughts on this viewpoint discrimination that Students for Life of America has faced?