Students for Life Classified as Terrorist Group

( – A taxpayer-funded research project has come under fire after it designated a pro-life student group as a terrorist organization. The database, run by the University of Maryland, is closely linked to the Department for Homeland Security. Now, counterterrorism experts fear it’s developed a left-wing bias.

On April 1, “The College Fix,” an online news outlet set up to encourage student journalists, reported that the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) had included Students for Life of America (SFLA) in one of its terrorism databases.

SFLA is an anti-abortion organization that runs more than 2,000 groups on college and high school campuses across the US. It works through legal activism; counterterrorism specialists are questioning why two of its members have been added to the Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States” (PIRUS) database –- and why SFLA itself is designated as a “terrorist group.”

The reason SFLA is in the database goes back to an August 2020 protest outside a Washington, DC, Planned Parenthood center. Two SFLA members, who had a permit to lawfully protest, had told cops they planned to paint pro-life slogans on the street outside the clinic.

Police asked them to use non-permanent tempera paints, which the students complied with. However, when they tried to paint their messages, they were arrested. Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter protesters were being allowed to cover the city in graffiti using permanent paint without facing any consequences.

In response to the report, former DHS official Elizabeth Neumann — a liberal who resigned from the Trump administration in 2020 — said START had “made an error” by adding SFLA and the students to the database and “should correct it.” She added that DHS isn’t interested in student protests.

Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo also blasted the decision, saying college researchers should “use something like the US government’s definition” of terrorism if they want to be taken seriously. As he pointed out, chalking messages on a sidewalk doesn’t meet that definition.

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