I expected 5-10 bored young people. Instead, I walked into the meeting room last week to see over 30 youth and even a few parents!
Thanks to a youth coordinator at St. Junipero Serra Catholic Church in Phelan, I was given the opportunity to speak about abortion and the work of Stanton to these teenagers who had likely never heard such a presentation.
As I spoke bluntly about the crisis of teen pregnancy and the evil of abortion, I watched these kids and young adults (ages 14 to 19) allow the full weight of my words to sink in.
"Over 55 million abortions - 55 million babies killed since 1973."
"For every 3 people in this room, there should be another person. 1, 2, 3... a person is missing. 1, 2, 3... the missing kid could have been your friend."
"What would you do if someone told you they were pregnant? Do you know where they can go for help? Would you be able to tell them why abortion is wrong?"
I showed a medical illustration of a first trimester abortion procedure, and prayed for the full impact of the picture to reach their hearts. Our society has become desensitized to violence in so many ways, and I wondered if these kids born into the 21st century would even care that this drawing showed a tiny human about to be killed by a vacuum tube.
Apparently, my prayer was answered for more than one student. A number of the youth were incredibly receptive and eager to learn more, and several stayed after the talk to discuss abortion further.
This all took place on Thursday of last week. On Sunday, I was humbled by how many of Thursday's audience members came eagerly to view the Mobile as it was parked in the St. Serra parking lot after Mass. I spent a wonderful morning watching Stanton's nurses perform live ultrasounds inside the Mobile, speaking with many parishioners about our desire to serve in the community, and talking with a half dozen bright young people about life inside the womb.
The kids at St. Serra encouraged and inspired me; I listened to them talk through the ultrasound images with Nurse Jan and watched them reverently touch 10-week preborn baby models. One of the young men marveled at the softness and sweetness of the knit baby hats and blankets.
As we packed up the Mobile and the young people drifted off to their cars, I asked if they would like to help share Stanton's message with their peers. "Yes!" was the enthusiastic response.
-- Danielle Versluys