Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Pro-Life Journey

I have been pro-life my entire life.  I was raised in a traditional Catholic family and I was home schooled from pre-K through high school.  As the oldest of four children, I always was excited when my mom became pregnant.  Our family also attended Couple-to-Couple League conventions every few years, and my parents became certified Natural Family Planning teachers.

Besides attending the CCL conventions, I don’t remember doing anything as a family to actively fight abortion.  However, our parish priest, the late Fr. Carl Vogel, always had a small pro-life pamphlet sitting in our church’s vestibule.  I believe it was called “What Happened to Junior?”  It was a black and white publication with a yellow front cover, and the inside contained comic book drawings.  The story was about a woman who found out she was pregnant, and she went to the doctor because she didn’t want Junior.  I think there was a drawing of forceps coming to get Junior in the womb, but what really struck me was an actual photograph in the back.  It was a garbage pail filled with dead baby bodies: they were curled up, slightly in the fetal position, on top of each other.  Their bodies were fully formed, and they were obviously human babies. I think the caption underneath it said, “A day’s work at an abortion clinic: babies to be dumped in the trash” or something like that.  I don’t remember any words going through my head at the time, but I know that I couldn’t take my eyes off that picture because it was just like…wow, those are real, innocent babies who were alive but were killed.  It was just so unbelievable I had to keep looking at it.  The picture didn’t traumatize me, even though some people claim that children will be traumatized if they see abortion pictures.  But it has stuck with me, those children in the garbage can.  That is my earliest memory of being confronted by the evil of abortion.

Many years later, I was at college, attending the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.  My second semester roommate was Catholic, and we both became interested in the pro-life cause.  We ordered some free materials from Cincinnati Right to Life, and we both read “Why Can’t We Love Them Both” by Dr. and Mrs. Wilke.  We wanted to have an abortion alternative table at Peabody’s next health fair, which always had representatives from Planned Parenthood.  (As an aside, they did not let us have a table because the topic was too “politically charged” and they only permitted us set out a few pamphlets on the general information table.)  Over the summer, I posted a very passionate post on my blog about conservative and pro-life issues…and I got many negative responses.  It was a little emotionally draining to respond to their charges, but it was also energizing in a positive way.  After that, I posted on the Johns Hopkins pro-life Facebook group that we should have a real, physical pro-life group on campus.  To my delight, I found out that a pro-life group used to exist, but it had become dormant.  The former president contacted me, and he helped me, my former roommate, and another Hopkins student restart the group in my sophomore year.  I was the secretary, and we held monthly meetings and periodic events, such as a diaper drive, Memorial of the Innocents, and a Celebrate Life table.  We also hosted the speaker Stephanie Gray.  My junior year, I was president, and we did some of the same events.  If it hadn’t been for that blog post and all the inflammatory comments it received, I might not have pursued restarting Voice For Life.  In seeing that attack on life and Christian values, I knew that I could not sit idly by and let the pro-aborts continually take over.  If I sat back and did nothing, no progress would be made and I would be held accountable for it.  Inaction was not an option.

As a sophomore, I also attended my first March for Life in Washington, D.C. and Students for Life of America (SFLA) conference.  It was so inspirational to be with and see so many other individuals united for the same cause.  I began blogging and reading more about pro-life issues, and I truly felt that God had called me to fight for the pro-life cause.  In my junior and senior years, I would sometimes join other young Catholics to pray in front of an abortion clinic near the Hopkins campus.  I also participated in a Face the Truth tour sponsored by Defend Life in Baltimore, and I continually had to stand up for the truth at school, since Peabody is very liberal.

Then, I added another element to my personal pro-life fight: I became interested in politics.  I had always been aware of the political element in the pro-life movement, but I never heavily focused on it until 2008.  I began seeing what harm Barack Obama could do to our country, and I did my part to prevent him from becoming president.  Sadly, we all remember that day when he won.  A conservative friend had joined me at my apartment to watch the ballot count on Fox News Channel.  We tried to be lighthearted and kept hoping that the tide would turn in our favor.  But I clearly remember when it flashed across the screen that Barack Obama was our next president.  My friend began crying, feeling that our country would be ruined.  I just stared at the TV in disbelief, and she, my roommate, and her now-husband prayed for Obama and our country, that God would have mercy on us and guide us in the right direction.  From the moment that Obama was elected, even though I was terribly dismayed at the prospect of such a pro-abort as our president, I never felt despair.  Through it all, I knew that God had control.  Even though it was very unfortunate, I knew that God had everything figured out and we conservatives and pro-lifers just had to work with Him.  I received many negative comments from friends about opposing this new president, but I stood my ground.  I was as determined as ever to fight against abortion and take back our country!

Since Inauguration Day 2009, I’ve followed the anti-life and anti-liberty policies and ideas that President Obama has advocated and passed.  And in this past year, I’ve become more informed politically, ready to give a reason for my beliefs.  It has been very exciting to see conservatives take a stand against the horrible things that are happening, and it is my goal to be part of reestablishing our traditional American, Christian values – foremost among them the right to life.  Some of my efforts include using my love and natural talent for writing to spread this message through Pro-Life Unity and The Conservative Comeback.

That is where I stand today.  I am continually learning and I will never tire of that.  The pro-life cause will always be very close to my heart, and I’m very glad that I heard God’s call to this fight.  I will never stop advocating for those who have no voice, because I know that they depend on us, and God expects us to win lives and souls for Him.  So in this endeavor, I want to be His instrument in proclaiming the Truth: “Choose life, that you and your descendants may live.”  ~Deuteronomy 30:19

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