The first time I ever participated in a pro-life event, I was in third grade. I was helping my mom make signs for her middle school students who were attending the March for Life in Washington D.C. The signs read, “Respect Life.” I followed her directions when decorating the signs, but began to wonder why the saying “Respect Life” was being used.
“Doesn’t everyone already know that we should respect life? This is just silly,” I thought to myself. I asked my mom what the saying meant. She explained to me that not all babies are safe in their mother’s “tummies,” as I used to call them. Horrified at the thought of a child not being born into a loving family and not having a chance at life, I became a little champion for life.
I was sure that simply explaining to mothers there was a child inside of them would be enough. They were obviously just confused. I ran into my first frustration with this effort in my fifth-grade classroom when I got into an all-out fight with another girl in my class who was Pro-Choice. I was baffled at the thought that someone could actually believe that there was not life inside of a pregnant mother. My disappointment continued throughout middle and high school when slogans like “my body, my choice” were preached to me from the front of the classroom.
Discouragement Crept In
My heart hurt that people did not want the lives inside of the womb. I felt as though my efforts were always met with a brick wall that ended all discussion.
I became discouraged in the pro-life movement, thinking that there was no way it could succeed based on how many people I saw buying into the narrative of “choice.” I became discouraged in my efforts to save a life, thinking there was no way that I, as a teenage girl, could help the pro-life movement succeed.
We are the Pro-Life Generation
My disappointment soon turned into indifference. I lacked the excitement and tenacity to fight for the innocent the way I had when I, myself, was innocent. But then I found the inspiration I lacked when information began to be published about the “Pro-Life Generation.” The media started to notice a fascinating trend: my generation loved life. Millennials are said to be the most pro-life generation since their grandparent’s generation. I saw that people my age, both religious and secular, were becoming the face of the pro-life movement. I saw how God used each and every young person to build up his army for life.
The more I thought about it, the more sense it made. “Do not be afraid” is a phrase frequently repeated in Scripture and was St. John Paul II’s famous message to young people. God told us many times not to be afraid, troubled, or discouraged by the challenges we face. The best things in life worth fighting for are hard to fight for, but God has promised to protect us and see us through. All we have to do is trust and have no fear of the future – no fear of failure.
My favorite Bible verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) screams this message to the pro-life youth. God has promised us that all things are possible if we just trust in Him! God loves life. God loves the innocent. Of course, His pro-life message will prevail! We must first never cease to fight for the life He loves. Life will prevail over all else.
What Can We Do?
Once I came to this realization, I began to think about what I could do to help make an impact on the lives of the unborn. I wondered how the Pro-Life Generation could create a solidly pro-life culture. The answer is easy: Pray, Learn, Act.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to, “pray constantly.” We must pray constantly for those that lack what we have. We must pray for those who do not have a guarantee of living. I have found that one of the best ways to remain persistent in prayer is by reciting the Rosary daily. Our Lady made fifteen promises to us if we are devoted to saying a Rosary every day.
Most of the promises ensure protection; however, the eleventh promise is extremely important to the pro-life cause. The eleventh promise states that we shall “…obtain all that [we] ask of [Our Lady] by the recitation of the Rosary.” This promise ensures the success of not only the pro-life movement but also each person within the pro-life movement. The words of the Memorare remind us that Our Mother promised to never leave us without her help. Prayer sets the foundation for the preservation of life.
Learning about the abortion industry and how it approaches people is another key to creating a pro-life culture. A great way to do this is to encounter people that have worked within the industry before, as well as those who have worked to stop the abortion industry. The Ignited By Truth conference this February will give us the opportunity to do just that when Abby Johnson, former Plan Parenthood Director, now a pro-life advocate, will speak at the Raleigh Convention Center. Her story is one of the few that gives us an inside look into the mentality of a clinic director. Abby teaches us how to reach and relate to those that do not think that life is possible in the womb.
We can also learn from those that fight the abortion industry. Four years ago, I went to Ignited By Truth on a whim. At the high school talks, Lila Rose, founder of Live Action, spoke about her undercover work at Plan Parenthood. At the time, Lila Rose was new on the scene. Her great care for the unborn, her persistence within the pro-life movement, and her unfailing spirit to save lives all stood out to me as I watched her presentation.
Learning about her undercover work opened my eyes to some genuinely shocking and disturbing truths. Her presentation gave me the last kick I needed to decide to defend life with gusto. Now, the work of Lila Rose and her partner, David Daleiden, has blown up on the national news networks. They’ve become champions of the pro-life movement.
Finally, we must act. We must reach out to the mothers in need. We must stand in front of abortion clinics in hopes of saving lives. To truly make a difference we have to publicly show our support for life. Marching for life is a great opportunity to do so. The Love My Life Youth Rally is on January 21st. Youth from all over the Raleigh Diocese will congregate in downtown Raleigh to celebrate life and show that the Pro-Life Generation is alive and well! The rally will be followed by the North Carolina Right to Life March. This event and march is a great opportunity to show North Carolina that we love life in all forms.
The following Friday, January 27th, people from all across the nation will gather in Washington D.C. for the March for Life. Parishes from our diocese will make the journey up for the day. This march gives us the opportunity to show the world that we are not just a Pro-Life Generation, but a pro-life nation.
If nothing else, a great way to defend life in the world today is to post about it on social media. Many scared mothers turn to abortion because they are told there is no other option for them. If we simply post a link to abortion alternative services, we could reach a terrified mother who is considering abortion. We need to inform and comfort those who are fearful of the unknown. Let’s echo the message “do not be afraid” with our every being.