During her senior year of high school, Ellen Wittman stood up on stage with Dr. Ben Carson at a Dayton Right to Life event. It was there that she spoke these words:
“It only takes a few brave souls to defend life, and hundreds, even thousands, will follow suit.”
She probably didn’t realize then how much these words would be exemplified in her own life, just a few years later as a student at Miami University of Ohio – Hamilton.
Last year, Ellen was continuing her pro-life advocacy as the president of the Students for Life group on campus. One of the displays that Students for Life had done for several years on campus was the Cemetery of Innocents – a display of a few hundred white crosses that signify the number of lives lost to abortion each day, along with a sign explaining the memorial.
When Students for Life requested permission for the display, however, they were told by university administrators that they also had to include trigger warnings around campus – signs warning students about the content of the display. University officials even went so far as to say that the display might cause “emotional trauma” to those who might see it.
But university officials had not demanded trigger warnings for transgender displays, domestic violence displays, and “reproductive justice” displays in the past. It was clear they were singling out Students for Life for unfair treatment.
Ellen knew that she and her group needed to stand up for their rights – so she contacted Alliance Defending Freedom. And we filed a lawsuit on behalf of Students for Life.
Ellen has seen the Cemetery of Innocents display make a difference in the lives of her fellow students on campus. Students for Life has even received emails in the past from students facing an unplanned pregnancy who saw the display and chose life.
“If we can save one life through the display,” said Ellen, “it’s worth it.”
Thankfully, in response to the ADF lawsuit, Miami University of Ohio did the right thing. It changed its policies so that it does not unfairly discriminate against the viewpoints it doesn’t like.
Thanks to Ellen and her brave stand, more lives will be saved. And pro-life students will have more freedom to express their viewpoints on campus – making a way for hundreds and thousands of future students to follow suit.