Dozens of Harvard Law students walked out of a panel discussion last week because of the speakers’ pro-life stance.
The Harvard Crimson reports that around 75 students walked out of the discussion, which was being hosted by Harvard Law Students for Life to discuss the future of abortion in a post-Roe America. Speaking at the event were civil procedure professor Stephen E. Sachs ’02 and legal scholar Erika Bachiochi, who are both pro-life. As soon as Sachs started speaking, the students stood up and walked out of the room.
“I was baffled!” Sachs wrote in a statement to The Crimson. “I wondered if I had unintentionally said something offensive! But I quickly realized that it must have been pre-planned.”
URGENT: We need 10 new monthly donors today to reach millions with content proven to change minds and save lives. Your monthly gift will save babies from abortion 365 days a year. Donate today.
“I’m not surprised there was disagreement,” Sachs added. “But I’m disappointed it took the form of a walk-out while a speaker was talking. I’d rather the students had stayed, listened, and asked pointed questions — or that they had left before the talk began rather than interrupting, however briefly,” he added.
Bachiochi explained what happened on her Twitter page.
Dozens of Harvard Law students staged a walk out protest of a post-Dobbs panel I spoke on (with Prof. Stephen Sachs) today. The HLS administrator (whose name I've forgotten) handled it beautifully, stating that 'freedom of speech… is a bedrock principle' of legal education…
— Erika Bachiochi (@erikabachiochi) September 29, 2022
She also noted that she understood, as she once had pro-choice views, but she wished that those who didn’t agree with her would have stayed to engage in dialogue.
“For my part, I told the students when I approached the podium that as a pro-choice student at Middlebury College in the 90s, I likely would have walked out too. Those were my people. Glad some of ‘my people’ stayed & asked excellent Qs. I am better for it. Hoping they are too,” she tweeted.
The Crimson interviewed several of the students involved in the walkout. “We are experiencing this sort of collective rage, and we wanted these people who were smug with glee over the overturning of Roe and the loss of reproductive freedom for so many people to just have to confront that,” student Tala A. Alfoqaha told The Crimson. Alfoqaha organized the walk-out along with Lisa Fanning, Corinne M. Shanahan, and Allie R. Ryave.
Ryave went so far as to say that her decision to walk out was a necessity due to the importance of abortion. “It’s important that this event showed this is not just a theoretical debate to be had in the classroom,” she said. “These are people’s lives.”
Abortion does indeed impact people’s lives, both by killing preborn human beings and by causing injury to many women and men. As Live Action’s Can’t Stay Silent campaign demonstrates, abortion can cause trauma and regret in both women and men that can last a lifetime. And it has ended the lives of more than 63 million preborn children since Roe v. Wade.
When people learn the truth about abortion, their minds are changed, but as this walk-out demonstrates, many are unwilling to even listen to the truth.