For pro-life college students, being targeted by rage over leaked abortion opinion poses major test

Being a pro-life student on most secular campuses was never easy, but it has taken a dramatically more intense turn now that a May 2 draft ruling of the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which suggested that the Supreme Court was poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, has been leaked to the public.

In response, angry students have been shown in videos posted online shouting profanities and insults at their pro-life schoolmates.

Those same, raw emotions were on display May 4 at Harvard University, one of the world’s premiere academic institutions. That afternoon, about three dozen members of the school’s pro-life group, Harvard Right to Life, were subjected to a slew of insults and obscenities when they staged a counter-demonstration in response to a rally of about 70 students protesting the possible overturning of the Roe decision.

One passerby called the group the “Harvard Virgins Club.” In response to another verbal attack, a member of the pro-life group responded, “We love you so much!”

“No you don’t!” the passerby shouted back. “You don’t love me at all! You want me to be a Jesus freak like the rest of you!”

A pro-lifer responded back, “God bless you sir!” An additional pro-lifer said, “We love you guys! We love you!”

Students from Harvard University's pro-life group, Harvard Right to Life, gathered in Harvard Yard May 4, 2022, in order to show the university that there are pro-life voices on campus. Joe Bukuras/CNA
Students from Harvard University’s pro-life group, Harvard Right to Life, gathered in Harvard Yard May 4, 2022, in order to show the university that there are pro-life voices on campus. Joe Bukuras/CNA

Despite the rough treatment, pro-life students told CNA they won’t be intimidated.

Olivia Glunz, a 19-year-old freshman and co-chair of Harvard Right to Life, told CNA that now that the Dobbs’ draft decision has been leaked, she thinks there will be significant pushback directed at pro-life voices on campus.

“But at the same time,” she added, “I think it’s more important to speak out now.”

Glunz said that the leaked decision will give the pro-life movement motivation. Those who may have been too afraid to speak up about their pro-life beliefs may now be more inclined to speak up, she added.

That motivation is exactly what pushed Glunz to lead the Harvard Right to Life’s May 4 demonstration, which she says is the student pro-life group’s first “public facing” event on campus since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Glunz, of Yardley, Pennsylvania, told CNA that she felt uncomfortable being screamed at and insulted, but added that she wasn’t surprised, either.


Glunz said that the visceral reactions from pro-choice students towards their signs and chants “cemented” her pro-life convictions. She added, “I think comparing the anger of the other side to our joy and cheer was really telling.”


The “joy and cheer” that Glunz was referring to consisted of positive chants such as “Love them both,” and the singing of Civil War hymns like “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Ava Swanson, a 20-year-old sophomore and co-president of Harvard Right to Life, told CNA that being pro-life at the Ivy League school entails “tip-toeing around a lot” because many pro-life students are “really worried” about what their friends will think if they discover their pro-life views.

Some students have told Swanson they could never be friends with a pro-lifer, but she noted that in some cases they have been open to discussing the issue once they’ve learned she is opposed to abortion.