Students at Grapevine convention look for tips to fight back against abortion
By CLAIRE WISEMAN
Published: 28 June 2013 10:40 PM
Updated: 29 June 2013 12:08 AM
GRAPEVINE — Disappointed that a state anti-abortion bill faltered, Texas A&M junior Laura Campos says she collected tips aplenty at the National Right to Life Convention to fight back.
Campos, 20, filled her notebook with quotes as Gov. Rick Perry told conventioneers Thursday to match their opponents’ fervor “with grace, civility and the dignity that our cause deserves.”
She also tweeted messages of encouragement as the bill’s backers try to revive the measure in the special legislative session starting Monday.
“The people changing the laws are going to be the people voting legislators into office,” she said.
At the Hyatt Regency DFW, Campos and other young conventioneers could pick from many workshops. They included one by Texas Right to Life official Melissa Pici on motivating students.
Her tips were simple: Know the issues, emphasize small conversations, and be patient and positive.
“What happened on Tuesday really proves that we do need to be on campuses,” Pici said of the Senate debate in which Democrats blocked the GOP-backed abortion bill.
“The students’ work is so important because it’s a matter of changing hearts and changing minds.”
Abortion rights supporters hailed the defeat, crediting activists who rallied at the Capitol against the measure. Many of the groups involved have run similar workshops to block abortion restrictions.
At the convention, Derrick Jones, the National Right to Life communications director, said abortion foes need to keep up the pressure.
They should tweet to backers and write elected officials. Buy a radio or newspaper ad — they’re relatively cheap, he said. If assigned a class paper, Jones suggested students pick an abortion-related topic.
Young people are a crucial part of the abortion opposition movement, said the convention’s national leaders.
University of Dallas student Lauren Bergeron, 19, an intern with Texas Right to Life, said she’s learned to create events and fundraisers aimed at peers.
“I’m able to teach them if they’re willing to listen, of course. And that’s really a powerful tool,” she said.