As many of you probably know by now, I am from the great state of Georgia, the heart of Coca-Cola country. If you go into certain restaurants near me and order a soda, your receipt will simply say “Coke.” Imagine, then, my difficulty upon coming to Steubenville, Ohio, and being surrounded by Pepsi. Needless to say, it was not an easy transition.
Over these past four years, my aversion to Pepsi has not lessened. As a matter of a fact, it has increased. Though my distaste started from just that — a distaste for the flavor of Pepsi, I actually have a pretty good reason now to not drink Pepsi.
Simply this: Pepsi donates to Planned Parenthood.
Over the summer, I came across a list compiled by 2ndVote, a conservative group that researches companies and rates them based on the types of groups they support. The report I was reading had two lists that were updated in 2018: a list of companies that directly donate to Planned Parenthood and a list of companies that indirectly donate to them through third party groups like United Way.
Pepsi was on the first list.
So, when we buy Pepsi products, some of our money is donated to Planned Parenthood. Some of our money is used for abortions. I continued reading in depth about Pepsi’s donations, and the list was not referring only to matching gifts. According to 2ndVote, they are also direct donors.
If this wasn’t bad enough, the list of direct donors was longer than just Pepsi, and it included big names such as Frito-Lay, Energizer, Nike, Converse, Verizon, Wells Fargo and Starbucks, as well as many others. You can find the full list with a simple Google search.
So here’s my question: why do we have Pepsi products all over our pro-life campus? Why do we sometimes serve Frito-Lays in the caf, and why do we still have students who drink Starbucks coffee when they’re out and about?
Okay, perhaps not everyone on this campus is pro-life, but I’d wager that the majority is, especially considering the eight buses and many caravans of cars that pilgrimaged to D.C. last Friday to march for life.
It is great that so many of us had that opportunity to show our support for the dignity of every human life through the intense, approximately 24-hour ordeal, but it is time we stop compartmentalizing. Just going to the march is not enough. Just saying we are pro-life is not enough. We have to show it through our lives, through our every decision.
Now, does this mean I am asking you to stop drinking Pepsi? Actually, yes.
If you are still reading this, maybe you are trying to rationalize that if you stop drinking Pepsi it won’t really have any effect. Or that such a small portion of your money probably even makes it to Planned Parenthood, and maybe it is used for helping women with breast cancer instead of providing them with abortions.
Are you really willing to base this decision on a “maybe”? Also, imagine now if an entire campus of passionately pro-life students, faculty and staff gave up Pepsi for the sake of life. We can stop drinking it here and we can stop drinking it at home. That’s a huge impact! What if we all stopped buying Lays chips, Nike clothing, Energizer batteries, Starbuck coffee and the like? Our voices will be heard if we speak in unison.
I will be the first to admit that this is no easy sacrifice (though neither was Jesus’…). Though I don’t like Pepsi, I do like Frito-Lays and other products on the first list. And there are many products on the list that will be harder to give up, so it is legitimate to ask: how do we go about this?
I don’t have all the answers, so I can only tell you what I intend to do. I intend to stop using products on 2ndVote’s list of Planned Parenthood direct donors unless there is no viable alternative. I intend to use up any gift cards to these places so I don’t let them have free money, but I will not buy any new ones. I intend to sacrifice even the items I really do like, such as Fritos, and support their alternatives, even if they are a bit more expensive or a bit less tasty.
As far as the second list goes, I think we have to fight that battle when we get there. So many companies donate to third parties like United Way that it will be very difficult to avoid everything on that list; so for now, I’m focusing on the first list.
These are just some practical tips on how to be pro-life every day. And people do change. Someday, these companies will stop donating to Planned Parenthood. But that day will only come if good people make it clear to them that they will not support companies that support abortion.
That is why I don’t drink Pepsi.