Creating conflict to focus public attention; media coverage at the U of Alabama


BSFL Vice-President Claire Chretien speaks to the media. Successful social reformers use modulated conflict to focus attention on injustice.

Creating and Exploiting Modulated Conflict

Historically, social reformers have not feared conflict.  They embraced conflict, even created it, to focus public attention on injustice.  They did it knowing their actions would invite persecution from a culture that was complicit or complacent about injustice.

The Bama Students for Life (BSFL) are masters at creating modulated conflict and using that conflict to focus public attention on abortion.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said

… I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.”  I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.
… so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies [i.e., annoyances or irritants] to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism …  The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.

At the U of Alabama, BSFL and CBR annoyed and irritated people who were complicit or complacent about abortion, people who desperately wanted us to leave them alone.  But we didn’t leave them alone.  We focused their attention on injustice, knowing that they would dislike us for having done so.  Based on the media coverage and the huge crowds of angry people, we certainly succeeded!

Media Coverage for GAP at U of Alabama

Television Coverage

  1. Controversial abortion display stirs controversy on UA campus
  2. Pro-life display on Univ. of Alabama campus stirs strong emotions
  3. Controversial display ignites abortion debate (video report)


  1. Student group displays graphic abortion photos on UA campus (poll) (positive poll results!)

Crimson White (student newspaper)

  1. Anti-abortion group sponsors ‘extremely graphic’ display on Quad (news article)
  2. Anti-abortion groups should back up opinions with facts (op-ed)
  3. Our View: Bama Students for Life should examine the language they use (op-ed)
  4. Students sound off about abortion displays (news article)
  5. BSL’s belief in their own infallibility has cost them credibility in this debate (op-ed)
  6. Anti-abortion proponents only restrict freedom of choice for American women (op-ed)
  7. BSL, Speer both fail in effectively messaging their case on abortion rights (op-ed)
  8. How the pro-life movement can make win-win situations out of abortion debates (op-ed)
  9. Consider the issue, not the language (pro-life op-ed)
  10. BSFL’s images necessary to change culture (pro-life op-ed)
  11. University’s public assembly laws must be re-examined (op-ed)
  12. Changing from ‘pro-choice’ to ‘pro-abortion’ (the only coherent pro-abortion op-ed we saw, followed by a flood of name-calling and ad hominem attacks, with lots of comments from FAB)
  13. Insulting the public not conducive to campus abortion debate (op-ed)
  14. Counter-protesters were told to stop handing out fliers, student says (news article) (Note: CBR opposes restricting the First Amendment rights of people who lawfully protest against our display; the First Amendment is good for everyone.)
  15. In response to ‘Examine Language’ (pro-life op-ed)


  1. GAP Press Release
  2. Highlights of Life Week

Can you name one other pro-life project that creates 15 items in the campus paper?

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