Only the Beginning: Students for Life, Building New Leaders in 2023 (Transcript)

Dr. James Dobson: Welcome everyone to Family Talk. It's a ministry of the James Dobson Family Institute supported by listeners just like you. I'm Dr. James Dobson, and I'm thrilled that you've joined us.

Roger Marsh: Welcome to Family Talk. I'm Roger Marsh. Thank you for joining us for today's powerful program, which was recorded during the 50th annual March for Life in Washington, DC this past January. As you know, Roe versus Wade may have already been overturned, but the fight for life is far from over. The pro-life movement is still marching strong, especially on high school and college campuses nationwide. Our guest today here on the program is a dear friend of our ministry. Her name is Kristan Hawkins. Kristan serves as president of Students for Life of America and Students for Life Action, which is dedicated to abolishing abortion through training and education.

The Students for Life Action Group puts on the National Pro-Life Summit the day after the March for Life each year in DC. Kristan is also a political activist, an author and a speaker. She served on the Republican National Committee and as a presidential appointee in the Department of Health and Human Services during the George W. Bush administration. Later on, while Donald Trump was running for office, Kristan served on his pro-life advocacy council.

Kristan Hawkins has dedicated her life to protecting the pre-born. She is married to Jonathan, and together they have four kids, Gunnar, Bear, Maverick, and Gracie. On today's program, Kristan will share with us about where we are in the fight for life after the overturning of Roe versus Wade. She'll also share some of the battles we still need to fight as well. Let's join our own Dr. Tim Clinton right now, along with Kristan Hawkins right here on Family Talk.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Kristan, Dr. Dobson, his wife Shirley, have such regard for you and the Students for Life movement that's taking place. Just wanted to say thank you for what you're doing.

Kristan Hawkins: That means a lot. I certainly hold Dr. Dobson, Shirley in such high esteem. Every time I get a chance to see them, I don't know if they recognize me, but I'm the one attacking them, asking for hugs and pictures, so that means a lot to me. Thank you.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Yeah. Kristan, we are in Washington, DC. It's the National March for Life, 50th anniversary of the march. We're now in a post-Roe era. Today's a special day, I think, really meaningful to you.

Kristan Hawkins: I think God was smiling with us today. He gave us this gorgeous day and sunshine. I always, I've been coming to the march for 20 years.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Freeze to death.

Kristan Hawkins: I always say it's God's punishment. It's windy, rainy, snowy, sleeting. One year it rained, sleeted, and snowed all in the course of five hours. My poor staff all got pneumonia after passing out 15,000 plus signs. Today, it was sunny, 50. It was unbelievable. There's a women's march the actual day of the Roe anniversary, which is Sunday, and it's going to be rainy, and I hope it's treacherous for them out there. We really deserve to have a nice, sunny, beautiful day. I think that only added to the joy that was out there, the feeling on the ground. I was able to go behind the stage, and then I actually went in front of the stage and it was unbelievable the amount of young people, 95% was young people.

Dr. Tim Clinton: I was going to say, I saw "I am the pro-life generation" signs like I've never seen before.

Kristan Hawkins: Oh, yeah. They bring them back.

Dr. Tim Clinton: The Mall was crazy. It was just wild. That generation, they call themselves the pro-life generation. Kristan, at Students for Life, tell us what's happening with this group.

Kristan Hawkins: I think the responsibility, we're so excited to be here, but now the responsibility really is on our shoulders. It's a responsibility that I'm taking very seriously. It's why the National Pro-Life Summit is just so important, because this is the generation that now we've become that first post-Roe generation, and the question is, what do we do now? Phase one, objective one, check. Roe thrown into the ashes.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Everybody marched to overturn Roe, 50 years.

Kristan Hawkins: Yep. Now we march because we want to demand legislation, protection at conception. We were out there today. Our team was changing the chants because hey, hey, hey, Roe v. Wade's got to go, no longer applies. I was panicked last night. What was the chant going to be? It was 1, 2, 3, 4, something is over. Then 5, 6, 7, 8, now it's time to legislate. We came up with some rhyme like Roe v. Wade has gone away 5, 6, 7, 8 it's time to legislate. They have some cool rhyme. I was like, get out there because that's why the March route changed this year. It's going up constitution. Then it did across the Mall, up independence, and basically it was ending near the Supreme Court, but the idea was to end and right-

Dr. Tim Clinton: In between?

Kristan Hawkins: Yeah. Facing the capitol. Telling these legislators, these elected officials who for so many years have checked that box saying they're pro-life, now is the time to step up. In this post-Roe era, it's not enough to just say you're pro-life. It's, what are you actually going to do about, what is the vote you're going to force? How are you going to vote? What bills are you going to co-sponsor? That's not just in Capitol Hill. That's also now the states because with the Dobbs decision, we now know and the Supreme Court now says states can weigh in to protect these pre-born citizens in their states as well. It's the job of everybody, federal and state legislators. No one's getting a pass now anymore.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Kristan, June 24th, the day that will go down in history. Where were you and what were you thinking?

Kristan Hawkins: I was at the Supreme Court and I was the person who announced to the world the decision for all the TV cameras.

Dr. Tim Clinton: That is extraordinary.

Kristan Hawkins: It was unplanned. We had been at the Supreme Court every decision day since the end of March, waiting for the decision. I told our team, under no circumstances will this decision come down and the pro-life generation isn't out there cheering it. We have been out there for three months. We camped out the night before because by the time we got to June 24th, we were like, all right, this is really happening. There's like two more days left in the Supreme Court session. We were there. We had a massive rally of student leaders. The decision came down, our executive vice president, Tina Whittington, handed me the phone. I'm in front of the podium cheering, getting everyone ginned up, and I start reading the decision. The Supreme Court does not confer. There is no right to abortion in the Constitution. I immediately got swarmed by every TV camera in America, and it was an incredible feeling.

Dr. Tim Clinton: That gives me chills.

Kristan Hawkins: It gives me chills because there was no pre-planning like, okay, when the decision comes down... The funny thing is, I'm a planner. I'm always planning things like if this happens. I don't know, we were just so ginned up, trying to keep the pro-abortion people from hurting our staff. We had all of these security guards surrounding us, so there was no planning. I would like to think we had pre-planned that, but it was a God moment.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Maybe God had something to do with a little bit of that.

Kristan Hawkins: He did, and I told God, I was like, I don't know. How do you top that, God? I'm only 37 here. I don't know how to top that now.

Dr. Tim Clinton: How exciting. We this week had Jeanne Mancini, head of March for Life on the broadcast. We had Penny Nance come in from Concerned Women of America. We had a lot of opportunity to interact with a number of the leaders up around here. I don't think I've seen the energy like I'm seeing right now. That mindset shift that you're talking about of, this is a post-Roe era of, "Let's not just make abortion illegal. Let's make it unthinkable. Let's get to that place." That's where this thing's going. Again, I want to come back to what you are doing in particular, because this Students for Life effort is really encouraging. Tell us what's happening on campuses across the country. There's a battleground right there, and you guys are right in the epicenter of it all.

Kristan Hawkins: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, no one has more conversations every day with those directly targeted by the abortion industry than our team and our 1400 Students for Life chapters in high school and college campuses. We have presences now in all 50 states. Tomorrow at the National Pro-Life Summit, I will lay out a massive five-year campaign to launch a Students for Life presence on every four year campus across the country.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Wow. Amen.

Kristan Hawkins: It's 2700 campuses, public and private, which will be the challenges. These students, they have faced increased discrimination, threats, cyber bullying, since Roe versus Wade has been reversed. Our general counsel, we've had to bring in additional legal help. I now have to travel with bodyguards to campuses. We have full-time security at our headquarters of Student for... Most of our staff is never at our headquarters. Our staff's out on campuses every day, and so our students' safety is a huge concern for us now. Things that we've never really had to worry about now in this post-Roe era, with the extremism of the abortion lobby, the death threat we received just recently from Jane's Revenge at a training we did in Nebraska.

Dr. Tim Clinton: I was going to say, all these attacks on pregnancy centers and more have really heightened the awareness I think in the conservative and Christian community about how bad this is. That we're talking, this is going to a whole different place.

Kristan Hawkins: I mean, these are people who fundamentally believe that you should be able to kill a precious baby. You should be able to literally dismember a child or induce cardiac arrest because they have less value than others. The strong able to kill the weak. This is following through, sadly, on their ideology, and this is where a pro-abortion ideology leads.

We saw it today. There were 20 pro-abortion protestors up at the Supreme Court. I went and said hello to them. They said hello back, very strongly, and people can go to Instagram and watch them scream and shout at me in the background. It's sad, because the dehumanization of the pre-born carries off so far in our society, and that's what our Students for Life groups are facing on their campuses. The good news is, even with all the fear mongering, the misinformation we saw spread on social media, I mean, instantly the mainstream media was complicit in some of these things. Changing definitions of long-standing words, for example. Even with all of that, we had a record number of conversations on campuses this year. We're still changing 10% of the minds of pro-choice young people we talk to. We're changing 20% of the minds of those we reach online.

Dr. Tim Clinton: You're not talking about people who are pregnant wrestling with having a baby. You're talking about kids on campus who are pro-choice-

Kristan Hawkins: The everyday kid.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Just out there trying to figure out whether they're pro-life or pro-abortion.

Kristan Hawkins: That's right. Yeah. We will have a million conversations this year with Gen Z and we will be changing 10% to 20% of those minds. We release a poll just yesterday with YouGov through our Institute for Pro-Life Advancement, and the numbers I think are stunning for so many out there, how good the numbers are. I mean, this is the Gen Z, this poll was Gen Z voters. Gen Z voters, Gen Y voters are the largest demographic voting bloc in our country, least churched, the most liberal. Yet when you ask them, you tell them what Roe versus Wade is, and then you ask them if they support codifying Roe, which all the Democrats and the House representatives voted for twice in 2022. They're against it almost 60%, and this is the most liberal least churched voting bloc. It's not all bad news as what most people-

Dr. Tim Clinton: Pro-life movement's winning.

Kristan Hawkins: Yeah, absolutely.

Dr. Tim Clinton: It's been a long time coming, but they're winning.

Kristan Hawkins: Absolutely. Because I mean, on the human heart, it's written to acknowledge that human beings have value and that babies are precious. Pro-choice people aren't born, they're made.

Dr. Tim Clinton: You know what's scary, Kristan? I was having this conversation with my wife Julie. Julie headed up the Liberty Godparent home at Liberty and Thomas Road Church for a number of years early in our marriage. Julie and I were just going back and forth about how, yes, since Roe's been overturned, it's gone back to the states now. That's where the battleground is now, and some states are going rogue and insanity talking about abortion up to the birth of a child, and it's just like unconscionable to even think that way, but it's there.

Kristan Hawkins: Yep.

Dr. Tim Clinton: What's sad is that it's just ripping the soul out of America in so many ways.

Kristan Hawkins: That's right. Yeah. I mean, the thing that I don't think anyone's really fully thought about, thought this through yet, the Biden Administration's weaponized FDA, which came out two weeks ago and said that chemical abortion pills now may be sold at local pharmacies, CVS and Walgreens.

Dr. Tim Clinton: I saw that. CVS.

Kristan Hawkins: We need to be very clear. There is a lot of confusion amongst Christians about what chemical abortion, RU486, is. It is not birth control. It is not plan B. The intention of these drugs are to end pre-born human life, beating hearts of children.

Dr. Tim Clinton: It's an abortion pill.

Kristan Hawkins: This is an abortion pill that Planned Parenthood prescribes to 11 to 12 weeks into pregnancy, through the first trimester. These pills are dangerous. They have four times a complication rate of surgical abortion, 10 times the death rates of surgical abortions. 15% of the times they actually fail and leave parts of the child still within the mother. These pills are deadly, not only for a child, but they lead the injury, infertility, and death of women, and they are the drug of choice-

Dr. Tim Clinton: Those are the stories that they're not talking about that.

Kristan Hawkins: Oh, no.

Dr. Tim Clinton: All they're talking about is availability. Hey, you can conveniently go to a drug store and pick this up.

Kristan Hawkins: You want to talk about changing the culture, the sick feeling I get in my gut every time I go and pray in front of an abortion facility. That sickening feeling that it just sits there the entire time I'm out there is now the sick feeling I'm going to get every time I walk into a CVS and Walgreens. You know that they're not going to stop with you may distribute, the next step will be forcing all pharmacies to distribute, forcing all pharmacists to give abortion drugs. Then they'll go to over the counter sales. Their job is going to be to normalize abortion, to make America how Europe is. The majority of abortions are in the first trimester in Europe, and they're largely un-protested there. The majority of those abortions are done through pills and they're not through these standalone abortion facilities.

That's where the pro-life movement must be focusing all of our time. To be honest, that's where I'm focusing all of our time, redirecting our education efforts on campuses to this early abortion model. Because according to the CDC, 91.3% of all abortions take place up until the 12 weeks in pregnancy. If we're talking about passing legislation, advocating for efforts in the pro-life movement here on Capitol Hill that don't stop abortions in the first trimester, we're not doing much.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Our special guest today is Kristan Hawkins. She's the president of Students for Life of America. She's an author, speaker, podcast host, human rights advocate, one of the strongest voices out there in this pro-life effort. Again, we salute you and thank you again for all you're doing. Kristan, before you go, a lot of moms and dads tuned in. They are so encouraged. I'm encouraged by what's going on. I come out of Liberty University. I spent nearly 35 years there in administration and faculty, and there were 11 buses with 500 students that made their way up to Washington today.

Kristan Hawkins: That's right.

Dr. Tim Clinton: They're standing strong. How do moms and dads get in touch with and maybe encourage their son or daughter to get involved with Students for Life?

Kristan Hawkins: Absolutely. Go to That is a simple website of for pro-life activists of all ages. There's 12 activities you can get involved with. You can start a Students for Life group. You can help promote non-violent pregnancy centers in your community. That's a great way, if you know a young person who needs to get involved, maybe they just want to become a social media advocate for the pro-life movement, we can teach them how to do that. You can go to, or go to

I really encourage all of the listeners, no matter your age, to go to and get educated yourself about the dangers of chemical abortion, what it is and how we can stop it. Because we cannot be fooled into thinking that the abortion industry, this $2 billion industry every year, is just going to roll over since Roe versus Wade was reversed. They've been preparing for this day just like how I've been preparing for this day.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Yeah, they sure have. God be with us. Say, before you go, Kristan, you've been on the broadcast before. We've talked often about your children, Gunner and Gracie. Can you give us a quick update on your family, how things are going, how maybe we can continue to pray for and with you?

Kristan Hawkins: Yeah. Continue to pray for my family when I'm traveling. My husband's homeschooling our four children, two of which have cystic fibrosis. I have another son, Maverick, who has a neurological disorder that was diagnosed last year that affects his ability to walk, but they're all doing good. They're all doing very well. We feel so blessed to live in a nation that has the best healthcare system in our world, and they have access to drugs and devices that children across our world simply may never have access to. We feel blessed. We feel honored.

We actually travel the country now full-time together as a family, so I can reduce my plane trips away from them. Often they come with me and they're staying at the campground nearby. It's really become a family mission, and I'm very hopeful that that life of mission inspires them as they grow up and the trials that they will face to always keep moving forward to be this unstoppable force.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Amen. Well, we will pray that God will continue to just embolden you, strengthen you, encourage you, put his arms around your family. Kristan, before you go here, I want to wrap this way. I want to come back to this is the greatest issue and challenge of our day. If we don't engage, if we are silent, if we are complicit in that, we don't step up and have a voice. God forbid, when you think of, 64 million babies now are gone, that's serious. That's the message that God burned in your heart, and I want to close out with that heart and share it with our listeners and challenge us to go with you on this journey.

Kristan Hawkins: If we fail to step up, if we fail to use this momentum that we have now that phase one has been completed, we will never end abortion in our country, and we have to end abortion our country. I think I don't have to get into all the other issues that our nation faces today, the challenges that our young people have. That we now have a generation of young people who don't even know what their bodies were made for and who they were designed by. We have a lot of confusion. I mean, this is the generation that hasn't been told what a woman is, what a man is. It is scary some of the conversations that we have on campus.

The conversation I had today up on Capitol Hill. Folks completely denying that there's objective morality, that there's a right and there's a wrong, completely rejecting that. Our society, our nation will not succeed with that. We can't. It's impossible. That starts though, moving forward by abolishing abortion. By saying, "No, there's objective right and there's objective wrong, and this is always an objective wrong." We must treat these vulnerable people, these smaller, weaker than, just like how we would treat our neighbor. Because until we do that, we're not going to stop the division within our country.

I mean, there's so many issues that you look at the dehumanization of just, oh, well, you're a Democrat or you're a Republican, you're a leftist, you're a conservative. All the dehumanization that goes on with social media, just the nastiness that we see, it all comes back to, we can't even agree that a baby in the womb is special and valuable. We have to. I mean, for the sake of our nation, we have to save these children. We have to abolish abortion.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Well, down on the Mall, I'll tell you what, it was buzzing. There were tens of thousands of students. I think of leaders like Tony Dungy who hit the stage, Franklin Graham praying over the march and marching with his daughter, Cissi and others all together. These organizations like Students for Life getting it done, and we celebrate that good work and pray that God would continue to raise up a generation to stand boldly for life. Kristan, on behalf of Dr. Dobson, his wife Shirley, their family and the entire Family Talk team, we salute you and pray that God will continue to strengthen and encourage your heart. Stay out there on that front line, bold and courageous for such a time as this. Thank you for joining us.

Kristan Hawkins: Thank you.

Roger Marsh: While there is so much more that needs to be done to protect the pre-born, if you want to learn more about Kristan Hawkins or Students for Life of America, head over to our website at Once again, that's While you're there, you can go back and listen to any part of today's program that you might have missed. You can also share that link with someone else who would really be inspired by today's message as well. Again, you'll find that information at

We have heard a lot about protecting life today, and eternal life, of course, is a gift from God. As Christians, we are called to share that message, especially now. If you have a neighbor whom you'd like to bless this upcoming Easter season, consider giving them a Life Basket. Now, a Life Basket is a way to present a neighbor with a wonderful basket of treats and goodies, and also introduce them to Jesus Christ, and then invite them to enjoy the loving Christian community at your local church this Easter. If you have any questions or if you'd like more information about Life Baskets, just call us here at Family Talk at 877-732-6825, or online visit That's

Well, as spring is almost upon us, things are already starting to heat up for next year's presidential election season, if you can believe it. A great way to become more informed about current political issues and topics that could affect your family is by listening to the new podcast from the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute's Public Policy Center. It's called "The Defending Faith, Family and Freedom Podcast with Gary Bauer." Gary Bauer is a familiar name to many of our listeners. He's the senior vice president of public policy here at the JDFI. He shares his unique perspective on current public policies through the lens of the U.S. Constitution and an unapologetic biblical worldview. Now, to start listening, just visit our main homepage and select the Defending Faith, Family and Freedom Podcast. Once you do that, you'll be directed to the podcast page, and from there, you can choose your favorite listening platform such as Google, Apple, Spotify, or Stitcher. Again, you'll click on the Defending Faith, Family and Freedom Podcast when you go to

I'm Roger Marsh, and from all of us here at the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute, thanks so much for joining us today. May God's richest blessings continue to be bestowed upon you and your family as you grow in relationship with him. Be sure to join us again next time for another edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.

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