Did pro-lifers misunderstand InterVarsity #BlackLivesMatter activist’s remarks?

“Pro-lifers don’t care about kids once they’re born.”

Hearing this accusation from the non-Christian, pro-choice camp is unsurprising. Hearing it from those who claim to be Christians is unsettling. Because it’s simply untrue.

This was the in-a-nutshell claim of #BlackLivesMatter activist Michelle Higgins at December’s InterVarsity Urbana Conference. But while evangelical pro-lifers reacted by saying Higgins’ comments were less than constructive, InterVarsity seemed more disturbed by pro-lifers’ reaction to Higgins’ statements than by Higgins’ statements themselves. They came to her defense just a couple days ago, saying…

Some concerns stem from an invited speaker at Urbana 15, who issued a prophetic call for sacrificial lifestyle change that dignifies all people. As an illustration, she challenged those who work to end federal funding of Planned Parenthood to take the next step with their justice activism and adopt orphans currently in foster care.  Some heard her words as a dismissal of pro-life activism. That was not her intention, and she has since clarified on her blog that she cares about both the born and the unborn.

First, it is difficult not to “hear [Higgins’] words as a dismissal of pro-life activism” when she stated at the conference:

We can wipe out the adoption crisis tomorrow. We could wipe it out this week, but we’re too busy arguing to have abortion banned, we’re too busy arguing to defund Planned Parenthood.

We are too busy withholding mercy from the living, so that we might display a big spectacle of how much we want mercy to be shown to the unborn. Where is your mercy? …

What is your goal in only doing activism that makes you comfortable?

Second, InterVarsity claims that Higgins’ blog contains clarifications about her remarks, but one post on her Twitter account makes clear that she is a defender of the nation’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood.

On November 28th of last year – just a month before the Urbana conference – Higgins posted the following:

Perhaps Higgins is completely unaware of the scandal in which high-ranking Planned Parenthood officials were caught on video haggling over prices of body parts, then claimed they didn’t parcel out the body parts of aborted children for money – until they announced that they would no longer take “reimbursement” for… uh… parceling out the body parts of aborted children.

Even if Higgins is unaware of this, surely, excusing Planned Parenthood for the fact that it does more than a third of the nation’s abortions every year isn’t something a person who holds all life in high regard would do. In fact, Higgins’ tweet about Planned Parenthood’s “help” for girls she knows could actually turn more young women toward this organization, resulting in a greater loss of lives.

Higgins’ claim that Planned Parenthood doesn’t do abortions “every day” is, at best, disingenuous. Planned Parenthood’s 2015 annual report states that the organization aborted 323,999 preborn children last year – that’s approximately 888 per day on average.  Let’s not pretend that because Planned Parenthood only kills children two days per week, the “good” they do on the other five is what really counts.

Higgins’ Twitter friend (pictured in the tweet above) at first tried to speak truth to Higgins about the abortion giant. But it appears that he gave up when faced with an anecdote about two women Higgins personally knows.


When others tweeted the truth about Planned Parenthood’s enthusiastic participation in abortion, Higgins’ friend, David Gill, defended Higgins by claiming that her statement about Planned Parenthood not performing abortions every day wasn’t “a lie.” “Each location doesn’t do that,” he said.

Mr. Gill may be unaware that Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, to which Higgins is referring in her tweet, is the only remaining abortion facility in the state of Missouri (at least until the Columbia Planned Parenthood finds a new abortionist). Therefore, the St. Louis Planned Parenthood location most definitely does “do that.”  However, because Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri consolidates its surgical services, abortion services, and permanent birth control services statistics, it is difficult to say how much of “that” is happening at the St. Louis Planned Parenthood. The group’s 2011-12 consolidated report states that they performed 6,089 surgical services/abortions/permanent birth control procedures that year. The 2012-13 consolidated report shows 7,192 for the same combined category – an average of nearly 20 per day (a little less than the average-sized elementary school classroom).

Attempting to save those children, as well as aid their mothers, is merely a “big spectacle” to Higgins. According to her, saving them isn’t “mercy.” If they were classrooms full of elementary school children, perhaps Higgins would think differently.

Planned Parenthood of St. Louis is also known for sending women to the hospital. A lot. Unfortunately, we don’t know as many details as we should, because the St. Louis Fire Department has chosen to conceal the 911 records from the public. Operation Rescue reports:

Operation Rescue had been provided 57 records, hinting that there were many more emergencies at Planned Parenthood that have so far been documented. However, the records, consisting of supposed Computer Aided Dispatch printout, were so heavily redacted that even the dates of the incidents had been erased.

Is Ms. Higgins aware of this? Is the concealment of life-threatening incidents involving women undergoing abortions really serving women or the public interest?

The St. Louis Planned Parenthood touted by Ms. Higgins also has a history of health code violations. Operation Rescue notes:

An inspection done on the facility in January, 2013, revealed filthy conditions including rusty surgical tables, suction abortion machines, IV stands, and other equipment and “copious amounts of dust” everywhere. Other violations included poor or non-existent infection control protocols and expired, improperly handed drugs.

Why wouldn’t pro-lifers want to spare young women from going to a facility that will not only kill their preborn children but potentially put their own health at risk?

Ms. Higgins’ seems to have great concern for orphans and for children in foster care. But adoption and pro-life work go hand in hand – they’re not opposites, and Higgins shouldn’t present them as such. Higgins also made a grave mistake in juxtaposing the terms “living” and “unborn” in her speech at the Urbana conference, possibly tipping her hand. Perhaps she doesn’t see preborn children as children at all – which would put her in opposition to InterVarsity’s stated views.

Contrary to Higgins’ assertions, it is not “comfortable” to stand on the sidewalks outside abortion facilities in inclement weather, offering tangible, life-affirming help to women entering those facilities, while facing the hostilities of their accompanying partners as well as pro-abortion “escorts.” It is not “comfortable” for post-abortive women to tell their stories of abortion regret in the hopes that some might be saved. It is not “comfortable” to sit across from a terrified young woman who is considering abortion, praying for the right words to say and knowing that you may have just this one moment, this one chance, to save her baby’s life and prevent her from a lifetime of regret.

It is anything but “comfortable.” Pro-lifers fight for the most basic human right of all – the right to exist.  Without that right, no other rights can be accorded.

For this, pro-life activists deserve respect, not derision.

What is Live Action News?

Live Action News is pro-life news and commentary from a pro-life perspective. Learn More

Contact editor@liveaction.org for questions, corrections, or if you are seeking permission to reprint any Live Action News content.

GUEST ARTICLES: To submit a guest article to Live Action News, email editor@liveaction.org with an attached Word document of 800-1000 words. Please also attach any photos relevant to your submission if applicable. If your submission is accepted for publication, you will be notified within three weeks. Guest articles are not compensated. (See here for Open License Agreement.) Thank you for your interest in Live Action News!

To Top