Ann Arbor, Mich. — Nearly 50 people, including four Hillsdale College students, attended a pro-life demonstration outside a University of Michigan administration building Saturday afternoon. The University of Michigan’s Students for Life chapter organized the protest in response to discovering the university was buying parts of aborted fetuses for research.
Both students and activists from the area’s pro-life organizations spoke against abortion, including Hillsdale Students for Life Secretary senior Cheyenne Trimels.
“We’re not here because we want to be an impediment to scientific research, we’re not here because we hate women or want them to be enslaved to the antiquated gender norms, we’re here because we respect life,” Trimels said. “These med students who are using these are going to become our doctors. They are going to become the intellectuals that are doing the research that is going to help heal us, to save our life…but this is is not healing.”
Beginning in 2013, Lynn Mills, an outspoken proponent of the pro-life movement, used the Freedom of Information Act to request receipts of the school’s purchase of fetal organs. The request cost her $900.
Mills said she was looking for a connection between the Ann Arbor Planned Parenthood and the university. The school, however, was purchasing the organs through a third party in California, she said.
The demonstrations remained peaceful, though 20 minutes in, an individual walked toward a speaker at the event and began yelling. The speaker asked him if he would like to defend himself, but then some in the crowd started to chant, “oppressor, oppressor.” The counter protester shouted several more times and argued with members of the crowd, before leaving.
“I thought it was really unfortunate how the protester was handled,” said senior Rachel Crawford, University of Michigan Students for Life president. “We’re very pro-dialogue here.”
The University of Michigan chapter of Students for Life has 45 active members. It sent 25 students to March for Life this year, said sophomore Beth Swan, the chapter’s vice president.
The Hillsdale students said they appreciated the opportunity to see the other chapter and pro-life activists from Ann Arbor.
“It was good to get out of the Hillsdale bubble and see families and students and to see there were quite a few people there,” said junior Reuben Blake, president of Hillsdale’s Students for Life. “When I first became president, I didn’t believe in protest; I didn’t believe in March for Life, but I was going to do it anyway, because I was president. Now I believe it is a good outlet to be heard, a way to change individuals before changing policy.”