Pro life, Raiders Defending Life, Abortion

Members of the "Raiders Defending Life" group demonstrate outside of Citizen's Tower. Planned Parenthood's return to Lubbock has sparked a pro-life movement.

In the midst of an on going pro-life debate in Lubbock, are the many students who have come to call the city their home.

Katherine Cochran, of "Raiders Defending Life", has been at the forefront.

She serves on the initiating committee, that brought the "Sanctuary City for the Unborn" ordinance to council.

"I'm not in a place to adopt yet, I'm not in a place to reach out maybe myself in a particular servant way. But I see this ordinance as an opportunity to express my high value on life in and outside of the womb," Cochran said.

The group of undergraduate Tech students has actively advocated against abortions, which are not currently available in Lubbock.

But they are scheduled to be a regular service at a new Planned Parenthood in town.

Besides the ordinance, Cochran says, one of the group's main goals is to support expecting mothers.

Members raise money for their Pregnant and Parenting scholarship, usually offered in the Spring. 

"I don't want anyone to ever hear that us pro-lifers don't see the reality of a crisis. But we are wanting, especially Raiders Defending Life, to help a woman through that crisis," Cochran said. 

On the opposite side of the aisle is "Medical Students for Choice."

The group is led by second year med students Stephanie Kopanski and Chelsea Gerlicki.

"It's about being an advocate for our patients, our future patients," Kopanski said. "You can have the personal decision to keep a fetus, do you get pregnant," she added. "They can't decide that for somebody else."

They support the new Planned Parenthood and are even working to pass state-wide legislation that would make abortion an "essential service", highlighted by the pandemic's early shutdown. 

"Many people, especially here in West Texas, they don't see the big picture. They think abortion is a horrible thing, they're not realizing what happened after these unwanted pregnancies. I mean, you have things like abuse, they are not financially stable," Gerlicki said.

Despite the opposing opinions, the debate has sparked civil discourse among the youngest generation in this college town.

"I've been very encouraged by it as well, young people who are critically thinking about what is right and what is true, but are also respectful about for other people who believe differently," Cochran said. 

The ordinance, struck down by council, will most likely will go to a public vote next May.