My neighbor is abusing his child. But it’s okay, though. Here’s why.

By R.J. McVeigh, Great Lakes Regional Director and SFLA Apologetics Director.

You can imagine my shock. About a month ago, a saw a post on social media from a friend in my neighborhood, Laura, claiming that the father in the house 3 houses down from me, Marcus, is brutally beating his 4 year old son in rage. At first, I didn’t believe it. Laura has always hated Marcus for no good reason and has been out to get him any way she can. But then, she claimed she had an audio recordings proving Marcus is beating his son. Suddenly, all sorts of people on social media started sharing her posts, and the story even made it on local news. It became a local frenzy, and I couldn’t go 5 minutes on Facebook without seeing something about it.

I haven’t actually listened to the recordings. Because I don’t want to dignify the propaganda with my attention, especially if it is from such a biased source. And because I know Marcus – he’s a friend and I trust him. But eventually, Marcus responded to the accusations; and I was shocked again when he admitted the recordings were true! I couldn’t believe it! But then he explained further, and I began to feel a lot better:

He said he isn’t beating his son out of rage – he’s beating his son out of love and care. Because, you see, Marcus is a physical therapist. He helps people heal and rehabilitate when they are injured. When he injures his son, he studies the way his body heals itself back together. He takes notes of the way the blood in his bruises clots. He tests the motion and orientation of the bones as they fuse back together. He does this all so he can be a better physical therapist to his other patients. He explained that he’s even made some huge breakthroughs for physical therapy as a result of his studies.

Marcus’ explanation made me feel a lot better. I was so happy to hear about this great, healing work he was doing. And it turns out that I was right to have been skeptical of the source of these recordings. Marcus explained that the audio recordings of him beating his son had been altered by adjusting the volume at particular points to make it sound worse. He said it doesn’t sound like rage when the volume is lower – and that makes a lot of sense to me.

The Marcus haters kept at it, though. Even though they started producing more and more recordings of Marcus, I started to tune them out. They were just trying to use the recordings as a political stunt to pass stricter laws against child abuse.

The real outrage about the whole situation is Laura’s dishonesty. Secretly recording a physical therapist who just wants to help people is outrageous and deceiving. Nothing can justify that.

Look – I don’t like child abuse. But the truth is, child abuse is going to happen. It has been proven that laws against child abuse do not stop it from happening. Child abuse still happens every day in every country of the world. Since it is going to happen whether we want it to or not, it might as well be done by those like Marcus who can use it for research to help people heal. This research is key to unlocking life-saving methods of rehabilitation that physical therapists around the world can use. Marcus is a hero, and he is there for people in need.

The good of the research outweighs the bad done to Marcus’ son, Emmett. Afterall, he’s just another boy.

That’s why I #StandWithMarcus.

…Except that’s not true. I don’t #StandWithMarcus. Marcus is made-up and doesn’t exist. But if he did, I would think his actions are despicable, and I would do everything in my power to stop him. Would you #StandWithMarcus?

Would it change anything if Marcus is named Planned Parenthood? Would you #StandWithPP?


Following a historic month of rallies and protests against Planned Parenthood stemming from undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress showing Planned Parenthood abortionists haggling over the price of aborted baby parts and skirting abortion laws, Students for Life of America (SFLA) and Pro-Life Future (PLF) will host a #WomenBetrayed rally and press conference in Washington, DC on Thursday, September 10th to urge Congress to defund the abortion giant in this year’s budget.

“Planned Parenthood’s back is up against the wall as they have been struggling to explain how they aren’t profiting off of selling the body parts of the babies they abort every day,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. “Pro-life groups have been trying to defund Planned Parenthood of taxpayer dollars for years. This year, Republican leadership can make sure it happens.”

The #WomenBetrayed rally will feature GOP presidential candidate Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). It will also highlight several women who have gone to Planned Parenthood for healthcare services and had horrible experiences. SFLA and PLF are partnering with former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson and her ministry, And Then There Were None, to expose the abortion giant and their mistreatment of women and the dismembering of their babies.

More speakers will be announced as the date gets closer.Sept 10 1

“Planned Parenthood receives over half a billion a year from taxpayers. Congress must pass a budget that strikes their funding and send the bill to President Obama,” said Brendan O’Morchoe, director of Pro-Life Future. “Planned Parenthood’s entire business model is built on selling out women and their preborn babies for profit. They treat women horribly, and we plan to make sure that Congress hears from these women.”

Following the rally, participants will be lobbying their Members of Congress to pass a budget which does not fund Planned Parenthood.

For more information, see


Back to school already? Here’s what SFLA can offer!

It’s official – the new school year is upon us, meaning that pro-BTS infographiclife groups across the country will be gearing up to bring the message of life to their campuses and communities. At SFLA, we want to remind students that as group leaders and members, you can count on us to provide a host of various resources as you plan events, gather resources, and train fellow students to join the movement. The following are just a few of the resources that SFLA offers to make sure that your group hits the ground running!

Event Planning:

Plan Your Year Guide: Download and print this free month-by-month planner to help keep your group organized and map out when your group events will take place. Setting dates early in the semester is vital to insuring that your group’s schedule will have the least scheduling conflicts with other campus events, holiday breaks, etc. This planner also comes with event suggestions at the bottom of each month, to assist your group’s brainstorming sessions.

Event in a Box: SFLA provides a monthly Event-in-a-Box that are posted in an easy-to-access links to downloadable resources (e.g. flyers, graphics). They include resources like activism ideas, talking points, speaker lists, advertising and marketing materials, and meeting plans. Occasionally the event packs include material resources, which SFLA will ship for free! To sign up for this free resource, click here.

National Prolife Chalk Day: This bi-annual event is a simple yet effective event that can be a great way to get your group member’s feet wet in public prolife activism. Simple slogans such as Human Rights for All: Born & Preborn, and Heartbeat Begins Beating at 21 Days can provoke discussions and raise public awareness of abortion. You can also chalk hashtags that will refer people to online discussions of current prolife news, such as #PPsellsBabyParts, or refer people to the Twitter or Facebook for your group.


Online Training: One of the most important events you can plan for your group is basic training for your new members. SFLA’s Youtube page hosts a number of concise and easy to follow training videos that you can use to help members learn how to efficiently run a group, how to react to opposition on campus, and a number of other useful videos that you can find here.

Group Training: Our Regional Coordinators conduct individual group trainings both online and in-person. Groups can learn everything from apologetics to apologetics to how to form a Pregnant on Campus Initiative. And it’s all free. Email to find out who your individual RC is!

Leadership Summits: Every semester SFLA hosts Leadership Summits which provide a great opportunity for local prolife leaders to connect and receive personalized training for their regional needs. Click here for a list of upcoming dates and locations for the 2015-16 school year!

SFLA National Conferences: The SFLA national conferences can serve as not only a great training and networking opportunity, but provide your group with the ability to participate in a national prolife event with thousands of other likeminded students from across the nation! Click here to access some of the speaking events from past SFLA national conferences, and start strategizing with your group on ways that you can join us next year in DC or San Francisco! Save the dates for January 2016: January 23rd in Washington, DC and January 24th in San Francisco.

Additional Resources:

Pregnant on Campus: We have put together a number of resources for women who want to find ways to choose life for their babies while staying in school at our unique website  In addition to resources for the mothers, we also provide step-by-step methods to insure that your campus provides resources to these women, and how your group itself can be a place of help for these women.

Postcards and Prolife Literature: Check out the numerous materials on our site that you can use to advertise your group by passing out, put on tables or bulletin boards, or provide at group meetings. These resources range from topics like “What about the health of the mother?,” Overpopulation, Planned Parenthood, and much more.

Free Legal Help: Some campus administration are just are not happy to have a prolife group on campus. But it is the right of students to have a prolife group at their school! We will back you up if you encounter any illegal opposition to starting a pro-life group or hosting events on campus. If you think your rights are being violated, you can go here to receive free legal help. To see one case from last semester where a school violated the rights of a high school student by denying her ability to start a group, and how we fought back, click here!


Going to a ProtestPP rally? Here’s what you need to do.

First, thank you for your incredible dedication to standing up for preborn babies and their mothers over the past few weeks. Thank you for taking the time to participate in the #WomenBetrayed National Rally and Speak Out Day. It is because of you that our human rights movement has made huge strides in the last few weeks and really in the past several years in reaching mothers going into Planned Parenthood for an abortion. It’s because of you that images have been blasted all over the world of this generation demanding an end to abortion and focusing care on both the woman and her child.

Second, we must continue this momentum we have worked so hard to generate, especially as we have Planned Parenthood on their heels. They are reeling from what has been shown to the nation – that they sell the body parts of babies they abort and betray women for profit.

We need to reach Planned Parenthood’s would-be clientele with our messages. We need to speak to people on the fence about abortion, the mushy-middle. We need to change hearts and minds – showing women that they have other options and the American people that we don’t need Planned Parenthood.

Through our amazing #WomenBetrayed campaign, we have finally have been able to take that message to millions of people! Our message was heard loud and clear. We were talking to Planned Parenthood’s base. Pro-lifers already know that Planned Parenthood kills babies,  sells their organs and body tissues, and lies to women.

Now is the time that we need to talk to those who truly don’t know.

Tomorrow, at the National Day of Protest outside Planned Parenthood facilities nationally, we have the chance to talk to these women and mushy-middle Americans again. Let’s use it wisely.

This is what you need to do if you are going to one of the protests:

  • Bring or make #WOMENBETRAYED signs and stand prominently behind the speakers so that people see you – and if media are there, your signs will be captured on tape.
  • Bring or make signs that say “I AM THE PRO-LIFE GENERATION” – we need to show America that young people are indeed pro-life.
  • Make signs that say “DEFUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD,” “I REGRET MY ABORTION,” and “There is HOPE & HEALING after Abortion!” No organization that sells out women and their babies for profit deserves taxpayer funding.
  • Print out really cool maps from Alliance Defending Freedom that show there are way more federally funded health clinics than Planned Parenthoods, which provide the same services but not abortion. This is where taxpayer dollars that go to PP should be redirected to. Print out the maps here: 
  • Take pictures of these signs at these rallies and send them to

This is our moment in history to make a huge difference in the fight against abortion. Now is not the time to be complacent. We have to keep the pressure on Planned Parenthood and our elected official in Congress and also recognize that we also must keep talking to Planned Parenthood’s own clients and those outside of our movement.


Dear Emmett

by: Reagan Nielsen, SFLA Midwest Regional Coordinator, originally posted here

It’s 1 a.m. and I can’t sleep – too many thoughts are spiraling through my head after today at the Capitol for one of the Senate Interim Committee’s hearings on Planned Parenthood.  There were way too many unanswered questions that should’ve been answered with clear reaganpolicies, procedures, and documents.  My frustrations are keeping me awake.  I can’t promise a perfectly edited post at this hour, but I’ll give it my best.

I started this post to call out the people who are sitting on the sidelines during this whole scandal while others fight for life and the dignity of every human person.  I am so
frustrated at the number of people who haven’t watched the videos but try to defend them.  I’m so frustrated at the number of pro-lifers who aren’t acting on the opportunity to expose the abortion Goliath in our country.

I wrote a whole page and I just stared at it…tears starting rolling down my face as I realized the people I left out.  I left out the victims; the innocent little babies who have been torn apart with no dignity in front of millions of viewers to see.  Sometimes you get so wrapped up in the frustrations that you need a moment to remember what you are fighting for.  I think it’s time for an apology.

Dear Emmett,

I am so sorry.  The country that prides itself on protecting every single one of its citizens has failed you.   Our health system failed you.  Some of our elected officials failed you.  We should’ve been there for you.

People joked around as they picked through your tiny defenseless body.  You were exploited in the most extreme form. 

You must’ve been so comfortable in your mother’s womb, I wonder if you knew it was coming.  I hope it was quick and the pain didn’t last long.  The first and last sensation from a human you experienced was pain, when it should’ve been comfort and a loving embrace.  I wonder if your mother has seen the video…having no idea that you are her son. 

I’m so sorry that people who think they are more valuable than you, are using your precious little parts for experimentation.  The parts you never got to use to their full potential.  While scientists pick through your little heart, thousands of Americans’ hearts break for yours.  Every single part of you was yours, and you were robbed.

Your barbaric death is something that is going to stick with me forever.  It has made me want to fight even harder than ever.  Through the eyes of Dr. Ginde you meant nothing but “products of conception,” to me you meant motivation and passion to keep fighting.

Forgive the others who are too timid to stand up for you.  The ones that fear a loss in popularity or maybe a loss in friendship.  Forgive those that will use the financial gain they received through your remains to buy a new car or a nice dinner- experiences that you will never get to enjoy.

Your name means powerful.  I couldn’t think of a better way to describe you.  Your beautiful soul is so much larger than the small fragile parts shown in the video.  You have inspired many people to take a stand for the greatest gift of all, life.  It’s ironic how Planned Parenthood and Stem Express felt like you were worthless, nothing but a blob of tissue – so then used you (because your parts weren’t valuable for yourself but were for others).  They had no idea how valuable you truly are.  You are worth more than a Lamborghini.  You will be remembered by many as one of the most powerful instigators of truth.  You proved exactly what happens when there is no respect for human life. 

I am so sorry your life was ended much too early, but know your life served a purpose.  A purpose that many of us will never live up to.  Millions of people have seen you and it stirred something within them. 

I know you have a pretty good view on Jesus’ lap to see what we’re are up to down here.  It may look pretty chaotic but trust me.  We aren’t going anywhere until every single baby just like you are protected.


Call Him Emmett – Leave Your Memorial Message Today

Have you seen today’s video (the 7th one) from the Center for Medical Progress? It  features a former StemExpress employee recounting how she helped dissect a fully-intact baby who was aborted at Planned Parenthood. She softly spoke about the fact that the baby’s heart was still beating and how she was told to use scissors to cut up the middle of his face to reach his brain, in order to speedily ship it off to a research lab.

It’s horrific.

All of the videos have been horrific.

But one image from these videos has stuck with me longer than the rest…

In the 3rd and 4th undercover videos, the cameras went into the “products of conception” CallHimEmmett-1 (00000003)lab of the mega Planned Parenthood in Denver. In these videos, the Planned Parenthood abortionist and staff are showing the Center for Medical Progress buyer a baby who was just aborted at 11 weeks and 6 days. They hold up different parts – arms, legs, organs – to show their potential “buyer” just how much tissue they can get during an abortion and talk about how getting paid per piece is a better deal for them.

At the end of one of the videos, the Planned Parenthood medical staff assistant calls out “another boy!” When I heard that, I had to close my eyes and hold back a lump in throat. That’s something that is said in delivery rooms every day but never should be said in a Planned Parenthoood “products of conception” lab. And never about a baby whose parts are being dissected for sale in a cold pie dish under bright lights.

That baby, that little boy, deserves the human dignity that was ripped away from him by Planned Parenthood. That little boy deserves a name. I want to name him Emmett, after another little boy whose broken body changed the course of history in our nation.

While visiting relatives in Mississippi, a 14-year-old black boy, Emmett Till, was kidnapped, tortured, killed, and thrown into a river for daring to speak to a white woman.

At his funeral, Emmett’s mother left her son’s casket open saying that she wanted the world to know that they had done to her little boy.

While Emmett’s killers were acquitted (even though they later admitted to the crime) the picture of Emmett in his casket was published in magazines across the nation and is considered as one of the biggest inspirations of the 1950s and 1960s Civil Rights movement. When asked why she didn’t move to the back of that Montgomery bus, Rosa Parks said: “I thought of Emmett Till and I just couldn’t go back.”

This baby boy in the Center for Medical Progress video is the Emmett Till of the pro-life movement. 

We cannot let his – and the millions and millions of other babies – death be in vain. May others who see these videos and see the gruesome dissection of baby Emmett’s body stop supporting Planned Parenthood, demand the government stop funding Planned Parenthood, and tell their friends and family about Planned Parenthood’s chopping up of babies and the selling their body parts.

Our team at Students for Life has made a memorial website for baby Emmett – and the thousands of baby Emmetts aborted each day in this nation. We are asking you to leave a memorial message of love. Leave it for Baby Emmett, leave it for his mother, leave it for all of those affected by the horror of abortion.

Go to today and leave your message for others to read. 

Baby Emmett’s broken body should be the turning point for abortion in this nation. Help us remember Baby Emmett and the dignity he had as a member of our human race. Help us show the world that these children that Planned Parenthood is killing and selling for parts have names, have purposes, and have worth.

7th Planned Parenthood Video Released: Evidence of born alive babies killed

Following the release of the seventh Center for Medical Progress undercover Planned Parenthood video, Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America released the following statement:

“Planned Parenthood knew what was going on behind the closed doors of the ‘House of Horrors’ at Kermit Gosnell’s clinic in Philadelphia yet they never reported him – because they were doing the same thing in their facilities. Gosnell’s abortion facility was closed down and he sits in prison today for the murder of babies born after failed abortions, which is exactly where Planned Parenthood needs to be. There is no reason, ever, for babies to be cut up, dismembered, and torn apart, which is precisely what Planned Parenthood is doing to preborn children. And in some cases, just like in Kermit Gosnell’s clinic, they are killed after being born alive.

“There are no words to describe the horror of what is happening at Planned Parenthood facilities across the country. They are doing things just as bad, or worse, than what Gosnell did – and taxpayers are sending over half a million to Planned Parenthood every year.

“Planned Parenthood can claim that they are harvesting the body parts of aborted babies for research that may help save lives someday. But they are dismembering babies with a beating heart to do so. Is that worth it? Hell no. Not only is it morally objectionable but it’s illegal. Planned Parenthood abortionists and executives need to join Kermit Gosnell in his jail cell and every single facility should not only be defunded but shut down. There are thousands of other federally funded health clinics that offer the same care to women without ripping apart babies with a beating heart. Congress must defund Planned Parenthood now and redirect our more than $500 million in taxpayer funds to these federally funded health clinics to serve women and children.

“While Congress is getting to work, I dare President Obama to watch today’s video by the Center for Medical Progress. Since he voted four times in the past to keep live-birth abortions legal, he should watch today’s video and make sure he is still okay with it.”

#WomenBetrayed Speak Out Day!

By Kristan Hawkins, president, Students for Life of America.

As the undercover Planned Parenthood videos keep coming out every week, it deepens my resolve to defund the abortion giant even more. How dare our nation fund this organization every single year with taxpayer dollars totaling over half a billion dollars? How dare our elected officials vote to give our hard-earned money over to Planned Parenthood when there are literally thousands of other federally-funded health centers that do exactly what Planned Parenthood does – except provide abortions?

Last month, Students for Life of America and Pro-Life Future hosted #WomenBetrayed rallies in over 65 cities. The response was incredible and the media took notice – there WB Lansingwere over 520 stories written in 34 states totaling more than $10 million in media coverage and damage to Planned Parenthood – so our message that Planned Parenthood needs to be defunded immediately and that they betray women, their supposed most cherished clientele, was heard loud and clear.

Now it’s time for our elected officials to get the message. Tomorrow (Tuesday, August 18th), we are hosting a national #WomenBetrayed Speak Out Day. It’s time to tell your federal and state officials that they need to vote to defund Planned Parenthood this fall. We are also asking supporters to attend local Townhalls and ask your representatives why they are voting to fund Planned Parenthood with taxpayer dollars.

Find your local Speak Out Day at and get everything you need to lobby your elected officials, including:

  1. A #WomenBetrayed Action Kit, which includes talking points on how to talk to your elected official, sample letter to your representative and sample letters to the editor to send to your local newspapers. You can download it directly here:
  2. A replay of the #WomenBetrayed Webcast, which trains you in how to lobby elected officials and participate in townhalls.
  3. A list of Townhalls across the nation (and sample questions to ask!). Remember, if you go to a Townhall meeting and get video of your question and answer time, send it to us immediately at
  4. A list of Members of Congress who have received donations from Planned Parenthood.

If you don’t see your city listed for a #WomenBetrayed Speak Out Day, you can do it on your own tomorrow. Simply find out where your Senator and U.S. House of Representative Member’s district office is (Go to and to find your Member, click to their webpage, and see their office locations) and pay them a visit or call them!

Got questions? Email Brendan O’Morchoe at

Tomorrow, let’s make sure our voices are heard by our Members of Congress: tell them to vote to defund Planned Parenthood. Now.

Las Vegas Pro-Life Student Sues High School for First Amendment Violation

Remember Angelique Clark, the brave sophomore at a high school in Las Vegas who Students for Life helped to file a demand letter with her school in May when they refused to allow her to start her Students for Life club? Well, the school never replied to her. In fact, they completely ignored her request. Yesterday, she filed – with the great attorneys at the Thomas More Society – a lawsuit against the school because it is her First Amendment right to have a pro-life club.

The lawsuit was filed against West Career and Technical Academy and the Clark County School District on behalf of a student who was denied the right to start a pro-life club.  It  asserts that school administrators violated student Angelique Clark’s free speech rights by denying her application to form a Students for Life group at the Las Vegas high school.

“When I first applied to form a pro-life club, I never imagined I would have to sue my school to be able to exercise my free speech rights,” said Angelique Clark, a junior at the academy. “My fellow pro-life students and I simply want to make our voices heard and to educate other students on a topic that’s important to us – choosing life. We hope for a quick resolution that allows us to get the West Career and Technical Academy Pro-Life Club up and running as soon as possible.”

“We are proud of Angelique for not allowing her school administrators to trample her free speech rights,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. “She is determined to be a voice for the preborn and their mothers, even though she’s been faced with so much resistance,” stated Hawkins, adding, “We are thankful for our attorneys at the Thomas More Society who are standing up for Angelique’s right to form a Students for Life club.”

Clark submitted her application to start a pro-life club in December 2014. In February 2015, after almost three months of no response, she was told that Assistant Principal Allen Yee had denied the application.  Clark met with Yee and was told that the club could not be approved, because:

  • abortion was “controversial”
  • a pro-life club would make pro-choice people feel left out
  • there were others “more qualified” to speak on the issue than a high school student

Clark sought assistance from Students for Life of America, a national organization that provides support to student pro-life clubs.  At the organization’s request, Thomas More Society attorneys sent a demand letter to the West Career and Technical Academy and the Clark County School District in May 2015. The document formally challenged administration denial of the club as a violation of the federal Equal Access Act and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.  The lawyers asked the district to amend its club policies and requested that the school approve the Students for Life club. Three months later, neither Clark, Students for Life, nor the Thomas More Society have received any response to the demand letter and the school and district have taken no action to approve the club.

Thomas More Society associate counsel Jocelyn Floyd explained, “High school administrators should not censor students, but rather they should encourage them to exercise their free speech rights.” She added, “We hope that the court will quickly recognize the illegal and unconstitutional denial of Angelique’s Students for Life club; and require West Career and Technical Academy to respect the rights of all its students under both the First Amendment and Equal Access Act.”

The Thomas More Society, along with Las Vegas area co-counsel Mark Smith, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada.  They have asked for a preliminary injunction, in which the court would require the school to immediately approve the student pro-life club, while the lawsuit goes forward.

Read the Thomas More Society complaint and motion for preliminary injunction here


Have you had a problem starting your Students for Life club at your school? We can help! Contact us at

6 Stories from Creation Icthus

By Tina Whittington, Executive Vice President, Students for Life of America

At Creation Icthus, a music festival in Lexington, Kentucky, I was able to take the stage and challenge both the students and adults in attendance to stand up and take action on the Life issue. After hearing this challenge, many approached me wanting to further discuss theircreation ithuc own experiences. The following are some of their stories:

After coming off stage, a woman in her late 40s, nearly in tears, stopped me.  She shared that she had an abortion in her past and gave me a huge hug. She thanked me for all the work Rock for Life and Students for Life is doing to educate young people and equipping students to be a voice for the preborn on campus. She wished that the work of these organizations had been available when she needed them – someone to step in and speak Life to her and walk beside her so she didn’t have to feel like abortion was her only option.

Later, at the Rock for Life booth, I had another post abortive woman come up to me.  She told me that when she first started hearing the pro-life message I shared she was angry and hurt.  But the Scriptural principle I shared struck a chord: “Proverbs 24:11 instructs us to rescue those being led away to death.  And this is what abortion is – death, not only does it end the life of an innocent human being but it causes deep pain for a mother. And while God is a God of grace and forgiveness – you are called to step in and hold her back from making this decision.” This woman realized that she had experienced God’s grace and forgiveness for her own abortion and that my challenge to hold women back from making this same decision was her calling.  She took some materials about joining our Hope and Future Campaign and some of our postcards about fetal development to share so she could begin to help others choose Life.

Many of the students who come to the summer festivals come with youth groups, and for one youth group, what I had been sharing about abortion from stage became a big topic of conversation at breakfast one morning.  One of the girls said, “Well, isn’t it just a blob of tissue in the beginning?” The youth leaders tried to talk to her about this but she was pretty firm in thinking that at a human’s earliest stage they are just tissue.  I had no knowledge of this prior conversation when this youth group came up to the Rock for Life booth. One of the students pulled out a shirt that says, “Former Embryo” on it and asked what that meant.  The entire group turned to look at me to hear my explanation and for a moment I felt a little on the spot!  I shared that at the moment of conception, a unique human being is formcreationed.  There is nothing that separates the embryo you once were and the adult human being you are today, except time and nutrients to grow.  I explained that the human embryo forms from the inside out with self-directed growth, and that at each stage of growth and development it looks exactly as a human being should at that stage.  One of the students then asked, “But isn’t it just a blob of tissue?”  I told the group that even when people say “it is just a blob of tissue,” that it is the same as saying one of them is just a blob of tissue – they are an ordered blob of human tissue as well. They are the same person they were set in motion to be at the moment of conception – unique, living and whole.  Later one of the youth leaders came back to the booth to thank me.  She told me about the group’s breakfast conversation and how much of an impact what I had shared at the booth had had on their group.  Especially for the girl who once thought that abortion just removed a blob of tissue – and that she now understands that abortion ends the life of a human person.

Some students told me that they were adopted and shared their adoption stories.  Their experiences ranged from international adoption, to domestic, to adoption out of foster care.  These students were proud to have been adopted, felt loved by the families who had chosen them, and wanted to tell everyone around them that they were adopted and loved.  One of the moms at the festival who has four adopted children purchased an “Adoption Saves Lives” shirt for one of her daughters.  She shared with me that her daughter, at eleven, is already an adoption advocate, sharing with everyone the importance of adoption. She loves her birth mom for choosing this family for her, and loves her family for opening up their hearts to adopt her. I made sure to give her some extra “Adoption Saves Lives” stickers to share with her siblings!

One birth mom told me her traumatic story of being raped at sixteen and becoming pregnant as a result. Her family made the decision to hide her pregnancy and this young mother placed her child with an adoptive family.  She lived with the secret of the sexual assault, pregnancy, and her unspoken grief over feeling like she had lost her baby.  When this birth mom’s own mother passed away the secret came out and she finally felt free to share about the loss she felt and begin the search for her child through an adoption registry.  While her story was one of immense grief it also demonstrated redemption since she can now advocate for the value of life regardless of the circumstances of conception and support other birth moms as they adjust to life after the birth of their child.

The last night of the festival, two sisters walked to the booth to get pro-life t-shirts. One of the sisters is a certified doula and works with a pregnancy resource center to assist local college students who are facing crisis pregnancies.  She wears pro-life shirts as much as possible to encourage conversations with people in her community about life, utilizing her knowledge and experience as a doula to change hearts and minds.  I don’t think I have ever met anyone more passionate about sharing the pro-life message and working to live it out in her career and community.  Sometimes people think that they have to work full time in the pro-life movement to make a difference. In reality you can be a light in your workplace and to those around you simply by the message you wear on your shirt, and more importantly the message you live out when you walk in relationship with women in crisis!

I am so blessed that I was able to share about the mission of Rock for Life and Students for Life at the festival and am incredibly blessed to hear from those who are living out the pro-life message in their daily lives!