Students for Life begins at Gibson Southern with first meeting

The organization creates a safe place where like-minded students can meet in a positive environment.

Luke Appman, Editor-in-Chief

On August 19, more than 80 Gibson Southern students gathered at 7:15 a.m. for the inaugural meeting of the student-led Gibson Southern Students For Life. Students for Life is a national organization dedicated to “Recruit & Equip the Pro-Life Generation to Combat the Abortion Industry & Help Women Choose Life,” as is stated on the Students for Life’s official Instagram account. 

Gibson Southern Students for Life was founded and is currently run by senior Ruthie Mercer, junior Lily Schmitt, junior Aleks Parmer and sophomore Elizabeth Steckler. The club’s idea originated in the second semester of the 2021-2022 school year, when Mercer and other organizers began to think about starting the club. Plans to start a chapter of Students for Life really gained traction during the summer of 2022, when the decision by the Supreme Court to overturn the long-established decision in Roe v. Wade was pushed to the forefront of the nation’s news headlines. The court’s decision sparked nationwide discussion and protests among both anti-abortion and abortion-rights activists. Gibson Southern’s students were no different.

“We felt a need for it in the school,” Mercer said. “There’s a lot of people with a lot of opinions, and it (the Students for Life club) creates a place for people to get together with like-minded thoughts.”

The process to begin Students for Life included obtaining approval from Principal Jon Adams and attaining the licensure from the Students for Life organization. It also required finding a faculty sponsor. The organizers asked Gibson Southern Treasurer Stephanie Hollis, who accepted the position. 

“They asked me to do it, and I said I would,” Hollis said. “It’s something I believe in.” 

The call out meeting began with donuts and prayer, eventually moving into an activity where the organizers would ask the group questions, and students would hold up their answers on whiteboards. 

“Today (the Friday morning meeting) seemed like a good atmosphere,” senior Eliott Church said. 

The student body learned about the club through word of mouth and social media. An Instagram account and post announced the club’s call-out meeting and included the caption, “Take my hand, not my life.” Gibson Southern Students for Choice, another Instagram account, was started around the same time as the Gibson Southern Students for Life call-out meeting post. Despite the volatile arguments abortion can spark across the two different spectrums, the two accounts have not had any online public feuds. Mercer, the head of the Gibson Southern Students for Life Instagram page, wants to keep it that way.

“We don’t want it to be a hateful thing,” she said. “We don’t want to start arguments; we just want it to be informative, really.”

The meeting was eventually capped off with a discussion of future plans, including possibly praying in front of Planned Parenthood, something Mercer has done with her church youth group. They also discussed future get-togethers, and their next meeting will include a representative from the Students for Life organization giving a speech. 

The club plans to do an event and a meeting every month. Their next event will be the Right to Life banquet in Evansville, Indiana, one of the biggest anti-abortion related events in the Midwest. 

Otherwise, the club currently does not have much planned beside creating a place where people of like-minded beliefs can come together to discuss their views. 

“There’s so many people with so many opinions,” Mercer said. “If you have one place where everyone can share those opinions, that are all like-minded in a positive environment, it brings unity to the school. That’s our main goal.”