Before the rain washed the chalk away, Iowa State students may have seen a debated topic strewn about the sidewalks on campus.
The Students for Life Club started the demonstration to engage students and voice their opinion with the intention to invite people on all sides of the issue to consider their own beliefs and what shapes them.
“We know that an unborn baby is human and is alive," said Audrey Nelson, Students For Life social media influencer and senior in public relations. "It is a tragedy that they be killed because of poverty, disability or for any reason. Their lives are valuable and deserve our protection. We are trying to change the culture to respect all life."
Among the things written in chalk were "The heart starts beating at only 21 days," "25 percent of our generation is missing," "love them both," "pro-woman pro-life," "equal rights for all women, no matter how old" and "the choice of one ends where the life on another begins."
These particular statements attracted attention from counter-protesters who responded by washing them out or altering the statements to phrases including "your body your choice," "pro-love," and statements about Planned Parenthood resources, including their phone number.
One individual who participated in altering the original chalk statements was Iowa State student Trinity Dearborn, a senior in women's and gender studies.
What shaped their decision to get involved was their belief that all people should have control over their own bodily decisions. Dearborn said the misinformation and use of religion to shame led to the counter-protests.
Dearborn said one piece of misinformation the chalkings spread was a false claim that at 21 days of conception the heart begins beating, when fetuses also have gills and no face at that time. They also said Bible quotes were used in some chalkings that may have guilted people about getting abortions.
“Pro-life is about trying to force a choice upon people when it comes to pregnancy,” Dearborn said. “Pro-choice is about letting people choose what they want to do when it comes to pregnancy”.
Nelson said she sees things much differently but still hopes the best for everyone and recommends anyone experiencing pregnancy to contact Obria Medical Clinics in Ames because they aid women regardless of their ability to pay.
“To be pro-life is to believe that a live human being in the womb has value and should be protected," Nelson said. "People are valuable from the moment of conception, and we should be helping mothers in crisis pregnancies, not using violence to end the life of their children. We want to change hearts and minds, not hostilely fight people. We believe in the dignity of all people: unborn little boys and girls, pregnant mothers, post-abortive women, fathers and pro-choice voters. We're not going to change many people's minds with hate. We do it with love."
Both parties said they had the intention in mind to help and provide information to aid those in need, but in different ways.