Issues

Professor threatened pro-life student with bad grade because “you are wrong”

Rebecca Gonsalves, Students for Life, prolife, student, professor, college

Rebecca Gonsalves was in 8th grade when she saw the iconic “Silent Scream” film on YouTube, made by former abortionist, Dr. Bernard Nathanson.

I remember instantly sobbing and thinking, “What if that was my nephew?” Around this time, I found out that my older brother was going to have a totally unplanned baby. My brother chose life for my nephew even though he was unplanned, and that is why he and my nephew are one of my biggest inspirations for this movement. My nephew is the greatest gift our family ever could have received. I honestly can’t imagine my life without him, so I think he inspires me to be pro-life so other families can experience this gift of life. Even though unplanned pregnancies are hard and scary, the outcome of a child is the most beautiful gift in the world.

Rebecca is now a college student, and she recently had to take a courageous stand when her professor ordered her not to turn in a pro-life art project.

A Regional Director for Students for Life of America posted Rebecca’s story:

Rebecca tells her story in the post:

“My story line to go with the project: I AM more than what you see….I AM the prolife generation. I AM a prolife feminist. And I WILL NOT be silenced.

I’m in a film photography class and our final is a creative self expression portrait. So before we do our portrait we have to get the idea approved by my professor so I went to him and told him I was having trouble coming up with an idea and he told me to do something I’m passionate about and I told him I was passionate about abolishing abortion and that I’m very prolife and he told me not to do that as my final and I asked why and he said ‘because I I don’t agree with your opinion and you are wrong’ and I said ‘well the basis of our project is to do it on something you are passionate about it and this is what I am passionate about’ and he said ‘well I don’t care. I won’t give you a good grade if you do it on that’ and I told him that’s discrimination and he said ‘call it what you want but I’m warning you’ soooo naturally I based my entire project and story line around my photos on being prolife. I went to the department head and told him about this and he apologized and reassured me that there will be extreme repercussions and to do the project on what I believe and he will make sure I don’t get discriminated against. I will never compromise my beliefs for a grade. This fight is bigger than that.”

Rebecca shared what gave her the strength to stand firm in her art project choice, despite her professor’s threat:

The project was a creative self expression project, and my professor told us to do the project on something that defines you. Being pro-life defines me because I want to spend my life and career in the pro-life movement, so naturally I wanted to do the project on that.

When he didn’t approve of the idea because he didn’t have the same beliefs as me, I was shocked. I had never been in a situation where I was discriminated against because of my pro-life values. At first I thought about changing my project, but then I felt very uneasy about the situation. This movement is bigger than any grade imaginable. I will never compromise my beliefs for a grade. My beliefs are my beliefs and my teacher can’t make me change that about myself. Instead, I went along with the original project idea to show myself and my professor that I won’t back down from this fight. Not for him, not for a grade, not for anyone. I think anyone would do the same as me.

While not everyone is as brave as Rebecca, we all should be. This young college student illustrates exactly how we change the culture to value every life: by not backing down, and by presenting the truth with love and with a courageous passion that refuses to let up.

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Mother Teresa is one of Rebecca’s “biggest inspirations” because of how she presented the pro-life message to the world:

She fought for the movement in such a kind, loving, and strong way, which is how I would like to fight in this movement. One of my favorite quotes from her is, “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that we may live as we want.” This inspires me because children are the most beautiful gifts life has to offer. I think many people would choose life for their baby if they could see into the future and see how much happiness would come as a result of their child.

One of my other favorite quotes is from Martin Luther King Jr., “The time is always right to do what is right.” This quote especially inspired me to go forth with my project because fighting for the unborn is always right. No matter the circumstances, fighting for babies rights is always the right thing to do.

Rebecca shared some advice for other students of any age who are finding opposition as they stand up for human rights:

I would tell all students to never hide or be ashamed of your beliefs. Being pro-life is one of the most honorable and necessary battles of our generation. Without the right to life, what other rights can be enjoyed?

If a teacher or staff member discourages you, stay strong and seek help if you need to. I went to the department head to get help with my situation and I think the best thing you can do is be smart about the situation. Don’t be aggressive or threatening towards your teacher, be respectful and stay strong with your beliefs. No matter what, just always remember that your belief to be pro-life is your belief. No one can take that away from you.

Rebecca will change the world because she is not content to ‘personally’ believe in the beauty and gift of life. She has proven her willingness to stand up – alone or with others – against the human rights violation of abortion. Whether it’s talking to her fellow students on campus about abortion and spreading the truth about Planned Parenthood, or whether it’s insisting on spreading pro-life values regardless of her professor’s views, Rebecca is being molded into a brave and beautiful warrior for life.

She is one of the many who are actively showing that “children are the most beautiful gifts life has to offer.”

Editor’s Note: You can find out more about Students for Life of America here, and one of their projects, Pregnant on Campus, here.

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