By Christopher Gillett
This year, Students for Life of America gained a Youngstown State University branch named Penguins for Life. Students for Life is a national anti-abortion group that is active on college campuses through individual and regional branches. Recently, Penguins for Life held a meeting on apologetics with the regional coordinator of Students for Life and set up a table to convince people of their position.
Senior music performance major Kayla Gilmore is the founder and president of Penguins for Life. She explained the challenges she has faced in organizing the club.
“We’ve faced a lot of pushback. A lot of people disagree with us, which we expected [them] to. We’re continuing to push forward and press on. Organizing a club is not the easiest thing, especially when you’re starting from scratch, but luckily I’ve had a lot of support and a lot of interest, which has been great to see,” she said.
Jordan Mormon is the Ohio-Kentucky regional coordinator of Students for Life. He travels around Ohio and Kentucky working with around 90 anti-abortion campus student groups. He came to YSU from Cincinnati to teach apologetics.
“I teach people how to dialogue civilly with people about the issue of abortion,” he said. “A lot of it, the Students for Life of America provided for me. A lot of it comes from my own formation, just on my own time reading and dialoguing with people. I was involved with Students for Life when I was in college, so I received a lot of the apologetics trainings and things. I’m pretty well educated on the issue and Students for Life does a good job providing me with that information.”
Austin Browne, junior electrical engineering major and club member, explained exactly what apologetics is for him and how he uses it.
“In the case that a disagreement might arise or some sort of conversation around the topic, it’s just so that people are better equipped to defend what they believe in an intelligent way,” he said. “[I use apologetics in] any place that the issue of abortion arises where there’s people obviously that are pro-life and people that are pro-choice. So then me and the rest of the group, being pro-life, we can use whatever we learned during training to maybe better articulate our beliefs to people that believe otherwise.”
Mormon explained what got him to continue with Students for Life after he graduated from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.
“I’ve always been pretty passionately pro-life growing up due to personal reasons. I got involved with Students for Life because I’m from the greater Cincinnati area and they needed an Ohio-Kentucky Regional Coordinator. I was in between jobs, so I went for it,” he said.
The club’s activity was also the week after the organization Created Equal staged an anti-abortion protest on campus. According to Penguins for Life, it was not affiliated with the protest. Mormon was even unfamiliar with the organization, emphasizing that Students for Life does not deploy “graphic imagery” in its activism like that of the protest.
If interested in Penguins for Life, contact it on Instagram @penguinsforlifeysu