The Power of Pro-Life Groups: Elise Vile’s Story
By Angelique Claire Clark
Being a pro-life activist brings new challenges every day- especially when you’re in high school-from torn down posters to lawsuits, it’s not always smooth sailing standing up for the preborn. While this is true of many pro-life student activists, Elise Viles’ story is a more positive one; one of success and inspiration. Elise was born into a pro-life family, is going into her junior year as a homeschooled high school student, and is currently the Students for Life Virginia State Captain. Having been pro-life her entire life, Elise knew she needed to take action on the greatest human rights violation of our time- and the action she chose to take was to join the pro-life group at her church. The group, St. Gianna’s Life Defenders, became the place that she found her passion in the pro-life movement, and she soon became vice president of the club. Currently, Elise is the president of a pro-life group that her friend started in 2014 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church. In February, with the help of other advocates for life, she assisted in forming another group at All Saints Catholic Church.
She’s always looking ahead though, and already hasher sights set on three more parishes to launch groups at. For her, it’s all about bringing people together for a common goal. She says, “I love the community these groups provide, and seeinghow impactful they’ve been in the community inspires me to continue building more.”Understanding the importance of a team and the value of unity is a major component of Elise’ssuccess in her path to starting new groups. She believes strongly in the power of a group, adding, “Pro-life groups are super important forthe advancement of our movement because they make a large task, such as reversing Roe, seemas easy as praying with a group of friends or hanging up posters. In such a large movement it iseasy to feel alone, but having a group provides a community of like minded people you can relyon. Teamwork makes the dream work, and as a group, there is a lot we can do to influence key individuals.”
But with great power comes great responsibility, and Elise is no stranger to knowing the work involved with launching a group. She says, “[starting a pro-life group] is no easy task, there’s alot to it. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the little things. Where will my group meet? Whyaren’t people showing up to our events? Should I provide snacks!? Etc, etc… But the big pictureis what keeps me going. With patience and perseverance, anyone can put together a successful group.” Some seriously solid advice- the kind that any Students for Life club president can put to work in their own group.
Finally, Elise feels that the “why” in “why are you pro-life?” is incredibly important to an activist’s momentum and their overall success in reaching hearts and minds. She asks, “Why does the word “abortion” make your stomach turn? The answer to this type of question is what you are going to fall back on when the going gets tough.” Elise makes it clear that being pro-life isn’t popular in today’s culture, but that fact alone means that we need to work even harder to share the truth about abortion to the world. We aren’t called to be comfortable- we are called to be a witness to and be a voice for the truth, no matter the persecution. Elise’s story and her dedication to bringing the pro-life movement to local Virginia churches can be an inspiration to us all to stand up for truth, in the easiest places and the toughest places.