Just as the midday sun began heating up on the Academic Mall yesterday, students from Celts for Life – a pro-life student organization at the University of St. Thomas in Houston – hammered 3,288 small wooden crosses into the grass in front of the Chapel of St. Basil.
The sign nearby read: “Each cross honors one life lost to abortion. 3,288 babies are aborted each day in the U.S.A. 50 red crosses represent the number of abortions each day in Harris County, Texas.”
Celts for Life President Alyssa White said she hopes people see the visual impact of the “Cemetery of the Innocents” and how many people are lost through abortion. “I think about the friends I’ve never met,” she said, wondering how many might have come to UST and played on the soccer team or sat in her classes.
Alyssa said pro-life student clubs around the country do similar projects to help people understand the gravity of abortion and how many people we’re losing.
“A third of our generation is gone,” she said. “It’s a really good thing to remember all the children we’ve lost, but also the women and fathers who’ve been affected. If this is one cross for every child, there’s a lot of families who are missing somebody.”
Billy Gibula, a volunteer with Texas Right to Life, serves as a mentor to the students, having once held a pro-life scholarship some of the club leaders hold. With still hundreds more crosses to be put in the ground, he acknowledged how much work it was to install the display.
“The point is to make people realize how big a number it is, and when you’re putting them in, you really realize how big the number is,” he said.
In addition pro-life activities on campus, Alyssa and the other officers go four times a week to Planned Parenthood to peacefully pray, taking shifts in between classes. They hope that as women seeking an abortion see other young people there, they’ll be inspired to seek help at the Blue Bus—a mobile pregnancy resource center with free resources, pregnancy tests, ultrasounds and counselors.
Sophomore Mary Alice Waddel, the club’s outreach officer, is a trained sidewalk counselor. She’s seen their efforts work.
“Last semester, I took a girl and her mother into the Blue Bus, and I’m pretty sure they didn’t go back into Planned Parenthood,” Mary Alice said.
The students say they want women facing an unplanned pregnancy to know that even though it’s a stressful, emotional time, it’s not the end of the world, and there are other options. They work to approach women and their parents with compassion.
With an issue that has become so politicized, the Celts for Life students want their fellow students to know that there are people passionate about working to end abortion, and who want to help. They’re raising awareness for the program Pregnant on Campus, with resources for pregnant and parenting college students.
Looking at the rows of crosses in the ground, Alyssa calls it a “lack of love” in our society.
“We need to bring love and compassion back,” she said, “starting here on campus, then spreading out in the Houston area and hopefully globally.”
By Brenda Cooper