By Derrick Jones
Editor’s note. This is our latest installment at the year-long “Roe at 40” series which reprints some of the very best stories that have appeared in National Right to Life News since its beginning in 1973. Mr. Jones, who has worn many hats at NRLC and is now Communications Director, was a college senior when he wrote this article for the August 2001 edition. If you are not a subscriber to NRL News, call us at 202-626-8828.
I love airports. (Yes, I really mean that.) There’s an all-too-familiar sight contained within these massive microcosms of transportation: people bustling around looking for the gates, baggage being carried and dragged hither and yon. Everyone there shares a common goal: get on their plane and get as far away from the airport as possible.
On this blistering summer Sunday in St. Louis, I’m on the same mission. I’m heading back to Washington – – a city that will (hopefully) be “at ease” now that Congress has left for its summer recess.
I’ve been in Topeka, Kansas, this weekend. It’s a great little city tucked away in the heartland of America. A wee touch on the warm side, but nice nonetheless.
Topeka, I’ve discovered, is home to a great group of energetic pro-life teens who, a little over a year ago, got together and formed Topeka Teens for Life. This past weekend, they organized an evening conference entitled “Hearts on Fire for Life.”
I had the honor of being invited to deliver the keynote address for the evening’s festivities. I say festivities because the night had it all: workshops, a Christian rock band, skits, an inflatable bungee run, and velcro walls. (Note: I did take a turn at the bungee run and won. The velcro wall, on the other hand, was a bit beyond my acrobatic skills.)
The evening was, for all purposes, a success and Topeka TFL is well on its way to having an annual event on its hands. These dynamic teens are to be commended for their imagination in creating an evening that was both entertaining and educational.
“Hearts on Fire for Life” was an extremely apropos theme for the event. Who better to be burning with the fire of life and the fire to make a difference than those of us who are members of the abortion generation?
We have lost over 40 million peers because of Roe v. Wade. And if that number weren’t horrific enough, the abortion industry has forever set its marketing sights on our generation. Approximately half of all abortions are performed on teenage girls and college-age women.
If we, who proudly wear the badge of “Survivor” in memory of our 40 million fallen peers, don’t have a fire burning in our hearts to stop this assault on our own generation, who will?
Events like “Hearts on Fire” that are held at the local level help to fan the flame, so to speak, into the hearts of our peers who might not be educated about what abortion does or about fetal development. They serve as a call to action for our generation to stand up and fight back against the massive abortion industry. They give us the opportunity to stand up with a unified voice in defense of life.
It’s not an easy task that we have before us. The abortion industry has a lot of money and a remarkable marketing strategy designed to promote “reproductive health” to our generation.
I’ll be the first to admit that I do, on occasion, tune into MTV, and I do listen to the pop rock station while I’m commuting to the office (I even admit to owning a few Backstreet Boys CDs). As I’m watching or listening, I witness first-hand the marketing ploys used by local abortion clinics and pro-abortion organizations. And because they are well-funded, our generation is constantly inundated by their message as we watch TV, listen to the radio, or even attend concerts or festivals.
Although they have money and big-time advertising strategists on their side, we have the truth on our side. We have the ability to talk one-on-one with our peers and show them pictures of children in utero sucking their thumbs. Through peer-to-peer education, we can combat the abortion industry’s attack on our generation.
All you need do is tap into your imagination and share the facts of life with those around you. Example: I said earlier that I love airports. That’s because I have a chance to talk to people from all over the world, albeit usually for a very short period of time. Inevitably, a conversation with a fellow traveler turns to the subject of work.
I use that opening to mention my pro-life work and hopefully educate them about some aspect of the pro-life movement. It’s a small step, but it’s a step.
With the school year fast approaching (I really don’t want to start class again), we have more opportunities to use our imaginations and educate our peers about fetal development and abortion. Write a paper for an English or biology class and discuss your topic with your classmates.
Have a speech to present for speech class? Take on a topic such as abortion or embryo-destructive stem cell research. Religion and philosophy classes are great because you can discuss theological and philosophical aspects of the sanctity of human life.
By using your imagination and the opportunities before you, you can help bring about change in the hearts and minds of our peers.
I closed my address in Topeka with a quote from my hero, Rep. Henry Hyde (who hails from my home state, the great state of Illinois). It seems like an appropriate message to end with this month. See ya next month!
“When the time comes as it surely will, when we face that terrible moment, the final judgment, I’ve often thought, as Bishop Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a moment of terrible loneliness… . I really think those in the pro-life movement will not be alone. I think there’ll be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard very beautifully and very loudly in the next world and I think they will plead for everyone who has been in the movement. They will say to God, `Spare them, because they loved us.’ And God will look at us and say not, `Did you succeed?’ but `Did you try?’ “