Young Pro-Life Voices Inspire Hope for the Future

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By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

Just when we all needed a glimmer of hope and a boost in optimism, they delivered. They are the students who entered our annual pro-life essay and oratory contests and they are an impressive lot.

As a former English teacher, I think I have some pretty high standards. These kids met them! With eloquence and conviction, they took on tough topics, articulated strong arguments for life, and exposed the lies of the culture of death.

Lydia, for example, doesn’t buy into faux feminism that offers abortion as a tool of empowerment. She beautifully proclaims, “Pregnancy isn’t a hindrance to equality, it is something that makes women special.  The ability to conceive is a wonderful gift that women should use to honor and glorify God.”

Alyssa says nature supports this miraculous gift of life, explaining how the release of the “love hormone” oxytocin bonds mother and father with child. This beautiful, natural bond is horribly violated by the act of infanticide. “Protecting the lives of the innocent from infanticide…should be one of our most prioritized goals today.”

“Even animals realize that a baby, and an unborn one at that, is part of the family. They understand that the baby isn’t some impediment, or something they can get rid of…If animals can understand that, then why can’t we?” penned Helena, a passionate and wise eighth grader.

Gwen urges us to heed the silent crying of the babies. “It is our job to protect them, to speak for their rights.”

Camryn, in just seventh grade, wrote about the high percentage of abortion centers in minority neighborhoods. “No matter what the crisis is, abortion is never the answer…Society needs to stop this tragedy and help mothers, especially minority mothers.”

Clare spoke up for those whose abilities may be different but not less. “Unborn babies with disabilities can also live good lives. But we must give them a chance at life so they can show the world that they are not a hardship; they are a gift.”

LJ warned that, “Giving a person less value because they are in the beginning stages of life is the ultimate exploitation of our youth,” while Elise urged being pro-information to help others “appreciate the greatest art: the creation of a human being.”

Abigail points out the travesty of babies created in laboratories to be destroyed for research. “In short, lives are created with the complete understanding that the majority of those lives will be taken soon thereafter,” treating life not as a gift, but as disposable property.

Emily recognizes this destruction of life to be in conflict with our civil rights, citing the “guarantee of life” under the 14th amendment. She writes, “The legalization of abortion not only violates the unborn child’s right to life but also strips them of their ‘due process of law’.”

Alluding to the current crisis, Nathalia says, “If there is one thing this pandemic has taught us, it is to honor the value of life.”

In a time of great turmoil, Thomas reminds us of who we are and what we must do. “The United States is called the land of the free and the home of the brave. Yet, we allow abortion, an attack on the helpless…Let us turn the minds and hearts of this country back to those great principles of truth, protection of the innocent and freedom for all.”

May the passion and wisdom of these young people inspire in all of us a renewed commitment to defend and protect all human life.


The Pro-Life Movement is a Youth Movement


By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director

I was once again reminded recently that the pro-life movement is indeed a youth movement.

A college student approached me about an internship with the National Right to Life affiliate for which I work, the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation. She was thrilled at the prospect of learning how to spread the pro-life message both in her local community and across the Commonwealth.

I also heard from a young woman who was eager to accompany me to pro-life events. She said she greatly admired the work we do at the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and she wanted to be a part of it.

It should be no surprise why the i-Generation–named for the ubiquitous nature of the iPhone–is so passionate about the pro-life cause. They are the survivor generation, because they have survived the tragic U.S. Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade. As a result of Roe, nearly a million precious preborn babies lose their lives each year. These young people have lost brothers, sisters, cousins, and potential friends because of legal abortion. Their hearts grieve for the lost members of their generation.

We will see the youth sector of the pro-life movement on full display at the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., on January 18th. High school and college students from across the country will converge on the nation’s capital to show their solidarity with pregnant women and their babies. It is incredibly inspiring to see so many young people fired up for life.

The i-Generation may have a reputation for being so obsessed with their cell phones they don’t care about the world around them. Don’t believe it. They are not just the future of the pro-life movement–they are its energetic present. May they be the generation that will finally toss Roe to the ash heap of history!

What Millennials Mean for the Pro-Life Movement

Young pro-lifers are changing the face of our movement.

Millennial adults, those ages 18 to 29, are coming to the pro-life movement from all walks of life. A 2013 Public NRLA2013HannahVictorReligion Research Institute study found that young pro-lifers are even more ethnically and religiously diverse than older pro-lifers. About 30 percent of young pro-lifers identify as black or Hispanic, and 15 percent say they are not religiously affiliated.

Evidence indicates that young adults also are enthusiastic and active in the cause. Many Millennials are calling themselves the Pro-Life Generation.

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, wrote in the fall 2014 issue of Human Life Review: “(We) currently work with 838 active student pro-life groups across the country. At the time of publication, the nation’s two most notable pro-choice activist groups combined report fewer than half the number of active groups as Students for Life.”

What do these things mean for the pro-life movement?

First, we should find renewed strength in the fact that our cause unites people from all backgrounds. Pro-lifers may disagree on politics and religion and we may come from different cultures, but we are putting aside our differences and working together to end the slaughter of innocent preborn babies. Our unity is further evidence that our cause is true and just.

Second, we need to be welcoming. Sometimes, pro-lifers are guilty of stereotyping ourselves, assuming that other pro-lifers are white, conservative and Christian. We must be careful not to assume. When we gather outside of an abortion center or march in Washington, D.C., we need to be aware that not all pro-lifers pray the way we do – or pray at all. It doesn’t mean that we should water down our message or stop praying, but we should be considering new ways to work together as an increasingly diverse movement.

Third, we need to encourage more young people to get involved. When young adults realize the truth about abortion, they become a powerful force for life. Whether through pro-life clubs in schools, at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., or in the voting booth, Millennials are taking action to end the massive tragedy of abortion.

Yet, many young people are not well-informed about the right to life issues. We can inspire young people by inviting them to join us at a pro-life event, encouraging them to volunteer (Millennials are very service oriented), sharing a pro-life article with them on social media, or visiting our website for more ideas.

And remember, no matter what your age, you can be a voice for life!

Cartoons, Cupcakes and Chalk: Six Pro-Life Ideas for Youth

October is Respect Life Month. What better time to get your youth group, Sunday school class, or children/grandchildren involved in speaking out for the right to life?

Here are six pro-life activities for young people this fall:

National Pro-Life Chalk Day on Thursday, October 2 – Grab a bucket of chalk, chalk2gather a group of friends, and head to a sidewalk near you. Use big letters and bold colors to write pro-life messages such as “Choose Life!” or “Heartbeat begins at just 21 days.” Click here for ideas and tips.

Wear your support for babies in the wombOrganize a group of people to wear pro-life themed T-shirt on a specific day or week, and encourage them to start conversations with their friends about why there’s always a reason to choose life.

Pro-Life Cupcake Day on Thursday, October 9 – Bake and decorate a big batch of cupcakes, and share them with people at work or school. The idea is to start conversatiCupcakeons with people about how every baby deserves a right to life – and a birthday!

Use your voice for life – Encourage students to enter our Pro-Life Oratory Contest. We have exciting changes this year. We’ve started a Novice Division for 9th and 10th grade students in addition to the Oratory Contest for 11th and 12th graders. And now, all students will be asked to record their speeches and submit the videos to us for judging. Students have the chance to win cash or a trip to New Orleans. Click here for details.

Use the power of the pen – Share our Pro-Life Essay Contest with junior and senior high school students. Winners will receive cash prizes, and the top two essays will be published in our state-wide newspaper, LifeLines. Click here for details.

Get to know Umbert the Unborn – Introduce younger children to the pro-life comic strip, Umbert the Unborn. Umbert is a preborn baby boy who goes on adventures in the womb. Visit creator Gary Cangemi’s website to find games, coloring pages, and other activities.

At Creation Festival, Young People Learn the Truth about Abortion

“Did you know that when you were this small, you could already suck your thumb?” I said, holding out one of our tiny 12-week fetal models.

P1060004I watched as their eyes grew wide in surprise, and their hands reached out to hold the little model themselves. They smiled and aww’d at the tiny little baby model in their hands.

Then I picked up our 20-week model and handed it to them. “Did you know that abortion is legal even past this stage in Pennsylvania?”

And I watched as the shock and disbelief came over their faces and the reality of what our society calls “a woman’s choice” set in.

I had hundreds of similar conversations a few weeks ago at our booth during the nation’s largest Christian music festival, Creation. Though I go every year, it always strikes me how critically important it is that we’re sharing the truth about abortion.

Where else do young people see that a preborn baby at eight weeks already looks like a tiny infant? Where else to they learn that abortion is legal through all nine months in some states? Where else do they hear that there is support for moms who choose life?

Public schools and colleges aren’t telling them. The mainstream media isn’t telling them. Our society isn’t telling them.

It’s up to us to educate the next generation about the precious value of every single human life.

To find our volunteers at other fairs and festivals this summer, click here.

Teaching Young People the Truth about Abortion

“How many abortions do you think have happened in the past 40 years? Just take a guess.”

I watched a pro-lifer pose this question to a young man recently. The well-educated 20-something hesitated and then shrugged.

“Just a rough estimate?” the pro-lifer prompted.

“OK,” he said. “Maybe about 100,000.”

The pro-lifer replied, “Actually, it’s more than 54 million.”

The young man looked shocked.

This simple experience made me wonder how many Americans don’t know the sheer number of abortions that occur every year. How many 20-somethings – the age group having the most abortions – have no concept of how prevalent these tragic deaths are in America.

We believe it is so important that we reach youth with the culture of life, and tell them the devastating effects of abortion.

The video here CE1Dz1ufbOo shows me, a 20-something, speaking to the people at our 2012 Celebrate Life Banquet about this critical effort. Please watch it and think about ways you can help us promote a culture of life in the younger generations.

Maybe by asking a question, as my fellow pro-lifer did above.

Maybe by encouraging a young person in your family to get involved in our essay and oratory contests.

Maybe by promoting alternatives to abortion, pregnancy resource centers, and crisis pregnancy hotlines at your church or community group.

Maybe by giving a donation to the Federation.

Maybe by praying.

You can help make a difference by partnering with us in this outreach to youth.

What youth don’t know about life issues, resources

The pro-life movement has put a lot of stock on its young people to carry on the fight for life. Young faces dominate the crowds at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., every January. They form pro-life school clubs. They support crisis pregnancy centers and pray outside abortion centers.

But with many of today’s youth, there is a disconnect.

A recent poll by Students for Life found that a large number of youth do not know much about abortion issues and alternatives. Read more here.

Some of the results were startling. Kristian Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life of America, wrote:

“What they don’t know is literally killing this generation as 58 percent admitted that they didn’t know where resources were in their community or campus to support a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy who didn’t want to undergo an abortion.”

What’s more, 66 percent said they had a “favorable” view of Planned Parenthood, and 48 percent said they did not know whether Planned Parenthood offered abortions. Three in five students also believe the controversial “morning-after” pill should be available via vending machines.

Hawkins concluded that we need to do a better job educating young people about the right to life. Resources are out there. It’s just a matter of reaching out and sharing them.

In Pennsylvania, one of the best resources for youth is Real Alternatives. The alternatives to abortion program is made up of support networks throughout the Commonwealth that help women facing unplanned pregnancies. Through Real Alternatives, women are offered the assistance they need to give birth to and raise a child.

The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation also offers numerous educational resources on topics such as abortion, life before birth, Planned Parenthood and more. Real Alternatives and local crisis pregnancy centers typically offer their own posters and brochures, too. Find out more here.

Start by sharing these things with the people around you – friends, church congregation, children, grandchildren. Then, ask to speak to your church youth group, or hang up posters on community bulletin boards. Post the Real Alternatives website and hotline on Facebook or Twitter. Get involved in your local pro-life chapter.

The resources are there, and our youth need them. So, please don’t assume they know. Take a minute and share!