Eric Scheidler speaks at the Students for Life Summit at the University of Illinois Oct. 16 [Photo by John Telthorst]
Of all audiences, I most appreciate speaking to college students. I’m sure this is in part because of my nine years as a college English instructor—the classroom is familiar ground. But I also value the unique opportunity college life offers for reaching out to a population especially vulnerable to abortion industry propaganda. Empowering college students to share the pro-life message is a priority.
Last week I spoke to two groups of college students on some of the thornier issues that come up in the course of dialoging on the pro-life message. The first was a talk on contraception—a topic of controversy even within the pro-life movement—at Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois, at the invitation of English professor Therese Jones on October 13.
The Deception of Contraception
My talk at Lewis was entitled “The Deception of Contraception” and addressed the legal, social, psychological and behavioral links between contraception and abortion (outlined here in the Questions and Answers section of this site). I also briefly presented the Catholic Church’s teaching on contraception, noting that it is both the most rejected and least understood of all Catholic teachings.
A significant part of my audience of 70 students were there for class credit, and I could sense that my message was unwelcome to some of them. So at the conclusion of my talk I spoke from my own personal experience about the negative impact of contraception and the peace that flowed into my marriage when my wife April and I—agnostics at the time—embraced natural family planning.
I was grateful for the opportunity to speak to students about a topic they might never otherwise encounter, and I hope my message will have an impact on some of them. It was also great to meet members of Lewis’ great Students for Life group. I gave free copies of the League’s Sharing the Pro-Life Message to all in attendance.
Answering Common Pro-Choice Arguments
On Saturday, October 16 I spoke to a great group of pro-life students from across Illinois at the Students for Life of Illinois Summit at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, my undergraduate alma mater. The auditorium-style classroom I spoke in was the same in which I had taken a “Physics for Non-Science Majors” class as a freshman.
My talk at the summit was entitled, “Sharing the Pro-Life Message,” and was designed to go along with the League’s handbook of the same name, copies of which I passed out to all the students. First I presented my “Ten Guidelines for Sharing the Pro-Life Message” effectively and convincingly.
I went on to run through the “Top Ten Pro-Choice Arguments”—issues such as rape and incest, the humanity of the unborn child and the alleged “violence” of pro-lifers—and then focused on the issue of overpopulation, a special concern of the Students for Life leadership.
Focus on the Overpopulation Myth
I began by pointing out that the overpopulation doomsayers have been proven wrong again and again, starting with the discredited predictions of Thomas Malthus in 1822 that population would soon outstrip food supply. Then I addressed the growing problem of underpopulation in much of the world—especially Europe, where the birth rate has dropped below replacement level in many countries.
The world has neither too little space or too few resources to provide for not only our current population but the U.N.’s projected peak of 8 billion in 2040. Our problem isn’t too many mouths to feed, but too little justice in the provision of natural resources.
My talk at U of I was well received, and I was honored to have been a part of such a great summit. Kudos to Students for Life of Illinois director John-Paul Deddens for putting on such a fantastic event.