Medical Students for Human Life (MSHL) has existed at the University of Minnesota (UMN) for several years. Begun by Jonathon Scrafford, MD, who is now an OB/GYN resident at the University, its purpose is to advocate in a general sense for the high value of life at all stages. “We are not solely concerned with abortion, although that is the issue that garners most of our attention,” said Caleb Murphy, current President of MSHL. “Being at a medical school, the strategies we use to advance our mission often involve scientific or medical principles.”
The primary activity of MSHL is planning lunch lectures for the medical school student body with an invited speaker presenting on a pro-life topic. Various service projects and attendance at outside events have also been a part of the group’s activity, according to Caleb. MSHL has been assisted by and identifies closely with Medical Students for Life of America which is part of Students for Life of America.
Asked to describe the general culture regarding the life issues—abortion, euthanasia, infanticide, embryonic research –
at medical schools, Caleb responded, “If I were to list those four items from most approved by the student body to least approved, the list would go: embryonic stem cell (ESC) research, abortion, euthanasia, then infanticide. A vast majority of medical students support fewer legal restrictions on both ESC research and abortion. Also, through the next de-cade or two, there will probably be in-creasing support from the medical community for legalized euthanasia in certain situations. Students and residents are not required to assist with abortions, although such a stance can, and does, impact the chances
a student will be accepted into an OB/GYN residency program.”
As for opposition to his pro-life group from other medical students, Caleb said, “Thankfully, there isn’t very much emotional, angry, insulting opposition. Most of us medical students are quite friendly with each other. We are an ideologically diverse bunch. There are appropriate times for us to debate and be passionate, but those times usually come outside the confines of the school day. What MSHL does experience a good deal of is subtle disapproval. I get some weird looks from people when they find out I’m pro-life.”
Caleb encourages pro-lifers to develop their medical knowledge as much as possible. “For much of the general populace, support of a particular issue depends heavily, if not wholly, on the presence of logical, scientific reasons behind the issue,” he said. “It might be scary to try to learn medical terms and concepts, especially if your education and life experiences are in an arena entirely separate from the natural sciences. But if you can talk with some degree of medical competence, you might be able to sway someone who would have otherwise been unreachable.”
For more information about MSHL, go to: https://sites.google.com/site/medicalstudentsforhumanlife/. Caleb’s e-mail address is: email@example.com.
Editor’s note—Pro-Life Action Ministries is available to assist pro-life students with resources, speakers, and help in organizing prayer and witness outside abortion centers (especially if a permit is needed for large groups). If you are a student and want to get connected with others your age in the pro-life cause, contact us.