— Posted by John (August 15, 2014 at 3:54 pm)
With the new school year right around the corner, we’ve recently heard from a number of students across the country who are looking for help in getting pro-life clubs started at their high schools.
We love getting these requests, since helping get new pro-life clubs up and running is one of the main reasons Generations for Life exists.
It’s for this reason that we created our Pro-Life Curriculum, which is designed as a manual for forming and maintaining an effective pro-life club.
Before I worked for GFL, I was a high school teacher, and our pro-life club used one of the first versions of the curriculum when I served as its moderator. Once we started using it, it made things a lot easier, because we no longer felt we had to “re-invent the wheel” every time we had to plan a meeting or a club activity.
If you’re looking to get a pro-life club started in your high school, I would encourage you to check out our Pro-Life Curriculum, beginning with the chapter on Starting a Pro-Life Club [PDF].
If you don’t already have our Pro-Life Curriculum, you can order one here.
And, as always, please feel free to contact us if you ever need any additional advice for starting a club. We’d be happy to help!
— Posted by Christine (July 1, 2014 at 9:06 am)
In high school, I did half of my coursework at home through a Catholic home school program. As a freshman, I wrote an essay on why Catholics should pray a daily Rosary. Looking back, I’m not sure why I chose to defend such a strong position since I did not yet pray a daily Rosary myself, but my family and I have been committed to a daily Rosary ever since.
In the Rosary, Catholics recite a sequence of prayers while meditating on what are called the “mysteries” of the Rosary – pivotal events in the life of Jesus and His mother Mary. This summer, I challenged myself to memorize the “fruits,” or virtues, that correspond with each mystery. In my mind, most of these virtues were clearly connected to the events with which they were paired.
For example, we meditate on the virtue of faith in conjunction with the Resurrection; indeed, Catholics can have true faith only if they believe that Jesus rose from the dead. We meditate on the virtue of poverty along with the birth of Jesus in the stable at Bethlehem, where his bed was nothing more than a feeding trough.
But one pairing of fruits and mysteries always confused me. I would meditate on the virtue of courage in conjunction with the humiliating incident in which Jesus was crowned with thorns while Roman soldiers mocked him and spat on him. Before, I had always associated courage with a bold attitude – the ability to do what is right in the face of opposition and to speak the truth without compromise or apology. [Continue reading this entry »]
— Posted by Christine (June 24, 2014 at 10:48 am)
“To be” means “to be in competition” – thus C.S. Lewis articulates the philosophy of hell in one of my favorite books of all time, The Screwtape Letters. Writing from the perspective of senior devil Screwtape addressing his amateur nephew Wormwood, Lewis explains, “My good is my good and your good is yours. What one gains another loses.”
I don’t mean to belittle the value of a healthy spirit of competition. When I get out on the bike path to ride with some of the other members of Team Dallas, sometimes the competition is the only thing that keeps us going. But C.S. Lewis refers to an unhealthy form of competition that goes so deep as to damage the bonds of charity by which we support and encourage one another. Regardless of whether you believe in the existence of evil spirits who write witty letters and conspire against humanity, there are many ways in which Screwtape’s philosophy infiltrates human society and erodes the culture of life.
Many societal distinctions are based on comparisons among individuals. Identifying one person as rich assumes that others have less. Declaring one athlete to be the fastest assumes that others are slower. Labeling one student as smart assumes that others must be less so. In my own field of education, teachers strive to unlock the unique potential of each child, yet this goal is often obscured by the endless comparisons of standardized tests and percentile rankings.
We often confuse intrinsic value with instrumental value. In the pro-life movement, you may hear people say something like, “What if we already aborted the person who was going to find a cure for cancer?” [Continue reading this entry »]
— Posted by Christine (June 12, 2014 at 8:25 am)
Last month, I was at Chicago’s Navy Pier with the Pro-Life Action League to protest Planned Parenthood’s Generations Gala. With over 50 million children aborted in our country since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 and Planned Parenthood currently performing 40 percent of those abortions, we stood as witness to the violence against women and children that PP promotes in the act of abortion.
Nearing the end of the protest, I was approached by a young woman wearing a homemade sign pinned to her shirt that said, “Proud Teen Mom. Young girls deserve better than Planned Murderhood.” Lilliana explained that she had chosen life for her son Jay after finding out that she was pregnant at the age of 16. A few weeks later, I had the incredible opportunity to meet with Lilliana and hear her story.
Among the many insights I gained from her story, the most poignant was this question, “Why can’t I be happy?” Faced with the myriad of social stigmas associated with teen pregnancy, Lilliana felt that the privilege of being happy was denied to her. She described an instinctive burst of joy upon finding out that she was pregnant, knowing that she was bearing a new life inside of her, but that joy was quickly eclipsed by the harsh reality of her situation.
While pregnant women in stable, respectable situations are entitled to proudly announce the news, plan charming baby showers, and make a fuss over how to decorate the baby’s room, Lilliana wore baggy sweaters and deflected judgmental glances from passers-by on the sidewalks. She felt tremendous pressure to abort her child, and even called Planned Parenthood only to learn that she could pay $300 to lose the child that she already loved. [Continue reading this entry »]
— Posted by Christine (June 2, 2014 at 8:25 am)
In the realm of pro-life work, we often talk about the unborn child as the most vulnerable member of society. Indeed, with 21 percent of pregnancies ending in abortion, a person is more likely to die from abortion than from car accidents, homicide, and cancer combined.
The baby in the womb is not the only vulnerable one, though. The woman who chooses to carry an unexpected pregnancy to term also makes herself vulnerable to the hardships and fears that Mike spoke about in his recent post at Biking for Babies.
We often address suffering by trying to alleviate it. We try to alleviate hunger by volunteering in soup kitchens; we try to alleviate pain by prescribing medication; we try to alleviate sorrow with a smile. All these efforts are worthy and essential, but perhaps one of the most powerful ways to address suffering is to embrace vulnerability, to walk alongside someone and take on their suffering as our own. [Continue reading this entry »]
— Posted by Christine (May 27, 2014 at 10:19 am)
Yes, that small child on the blue trike is me as a toddler, and yes, I did miss the first time I tried to get on. But I tried again, mounted successfully, and continued on my way:
What attitude do we have toward our setbacks? When we fail or miss the mark, do we get back up and try again? Or do we hold ourselves to an unrealistic standard of perfection that results in shame and discouragement?
Perhaps we miss the mark because we are aiming for the wrong place. We subscribe to an artificial standard of perfection imposed by the culture, and we promote that standard when we refuse to accept setbacks and failures in our own lives. Instead, we need to accept those imperfections so that we can live our lives more fully and convey support, encouragement, and optimism to others as they struggle with their own.
My personal attempt to measure up to the culture’s artificial standard of perfection culminated in an eating disorder that lasted for about five years. In my struggle to attain the cultural standard of beauty that I perceived, I had completely missed the mark. As I deprived my body of food, my ability to live up to my full potential was significantly inhibited.
Weak and tired, I would allow myself a handful of pretzels in order to eke out a 2-mile run. When I finally found the courage to reject the culture’s degrading standard of physical perfection, I found a strength that I never knew I had. [Continue reading this entry »]
— Posted by Christine (May 14, 2014 at 10:23 am)
A few months ago, I reflected on the artificial standards of perfection in our culture that influence 92 percent of women who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome to abort their children. This video is a beautiful testimony to the fulfilling lives that people with Down syndrome are living.
From Upworthy.com: A mom-to-be learned the baby she was carrying had Down syndrome. She asked a significant question to a Down syndrome advocacy group, and they answered her with this beautiful video where 15 people shared their wisdom:
[Cross-posted at Biking for Babies]
— Posted by John (May 13, 2014 at 9:00 am)
A few years ago, four brothers—all under age 10—raised hundreds of dollars for our parent organization, the Pro-Life Action League, by pooling all their Halloween candy and giving it away for donations.
Now their big sister, 15-year old Jessica, has come up with her own creative way to support the pro-life cause.
Jessica is throwing a Mother’s Day “Baby Shower” for pregnancy centers in Aurora to coincide with the monthly protest outside Aurora Planned Parenthood this Saturday:
- Event: “Baby Shower” and Planned Parenthood protest
- When: Saturday, May 17th at 9:00 a.m.
- Where: New York St. and Oakhurst Dr. [Map]
The biggest needs are for diapers and gift cards to stores like Target, Jewel, or Babies “R” Us for moms in need.
Other items to bring would include neutral-colored clothes like onesies or sleepers, rattles, bibs, and stuffed animals.
Everything Jessica collects will be donated to Waterleaf Women’s Center and the Pregnancy Information Center, both in Aurora, so they can offer women the help they need to choose life.
Please join Jessica at Planned Parenthood Aurora this Saturday to pray, protest, and raise items for the needy mothers helped by our local pregnancy centers!
— Posted by Christine (May 7, 2014 at 8:05 am)
When I was in grade school, my younger brothers always had less homework than I did. I would look back on the previous year’s homework load and think to myself, “Wow, last year was so easy compared to this year. Why didn’t I appreciate it more then?”
Every time I turn a new page in my life, I encounter the next challenge and I again wonder, “How will I ever get through this?” With a few rare exceptions, like the semester I did my student teaching and the Lent that I decided to take cold showers and forego listening to music in the car, any new challenge that I take on predictably becomes “the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
Training for the Biking for Babies ride has certainly fit that general rule. Last week, I was out on the road with a bicycle club and two guys decided to break off from the rest of the group and get in some extra miles. Considering that I am training to ride 140 miles per day, I thought that sounded like a good idea, so I naively asked if I could join them.
It was only my fourth time on a road bike, but I was feeling pretty good. My longest ride of the year had been 40 miles earlier that week. They were planning to go 50 or 60. Bring it on. [Continue reading this entry »]
— Posted by John (March 21, 2014 at 12:40 pm)
When 16-year old Thrin Short joined Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust for a peaceful campus outreach at the University of California-Santa Barbara earlier this month, she didn’t expect to be assaulted—by a professor—after the professor incited two students to steal one of the group’s signs showing a photo of an abortion victim.
But that’s exactly what happened (language warning):
It didn’t take long before this story became national news.
Last week, Thrin and her older sister Joan appeared on Fox News to talk about the incident, and Thrin knocked it out of the park with this quote:
Iâ€™m sorry if these signs offended her in any way but, after all, she does…show porn to her students so sheâ€™s not really the one to talk about offending images â€¦. The pictures, yes, show violence after it happened, but what is so much worse than the pictures is the violence itself. And if we have to show what is happening out there to stop it then we have to go there and show it.
[Continue reading this entry »]
— Posted by John (February 19, 2014 at 4:19 pm)
Take a look at the four flyers below.
Two of them were displayed by an extracurricular club at Wilson High School in Tacoma, Washington, and the administration had no problem with them.
Another extracurricular club at the same school attempted to display the other two flyers, but the administration said no:
[Continue reading this entry »]
— Posted by Grant (February 19, 2014 at 9:00 am)
Can pro-lifers learn something from vegetarians—perhaps a means of swaying public opinion?
According to the results of a recent NPR Intelligence Squared Debate, the answer seems to be a resounding yes.
In the two-on-two competition, Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, argued for the elimination of meat from global diets, stating, â€œWhen the animals are seen as commodities, and as edibles, they are not treated with respect. That is bad for the animals, and I would also suggest it is bad for us.â€
After beginning with half of the audience against him, Gene and his co-debater managed to sway an additional fifth of the crowd to their side. If wantonly killing animals can change the minds of so many people so quickly, could it have the same impact coming from a pro-life speaker?
Imagine Gene standing in front of a group of American voters, testifying to a similar notion, but with slightly different words: â€œWhen children—born or unborn—are seen as commodities, and as annoyances, they are not treated with respect. That is bad for the children, and I would suggest it is bad for us.â€ [Continue reading this entry »]
— Posted by John (February 5, 2014 at 12:29 pm)
“Fascinating!” “Awesome!” “I loved it!”
These are just some of the comments that sum up the reaction of the dozens of teens and adults who attended our TeenSpeak 2014 conference on February 1 in Rosemont, Illinois. The day began with an eye-opening talk entitled “The Biochemistry of Attachment and Bonding” by Vicki Thorn, the founder of the international post-abortion outreach Project Rachel.
In her talk, Vicki discussed some of the key differences between the thought processes of men and women generally, and of young men and young women in particular. Among many topics—including the dangers of pornography and the very real harms (both physical and psychological) that women suffer as a result of chemical contraception—Vicki also talked about the biology of abortion, explaining how both the mother and father of an aborted child are haunted by the absence of that child, and how even other children born after an abortion can be affected by the loss of one of their siblings. [Continue reading this entry »]
— Posted by John (December 23, 2013 at 3:54 pm)
I was really excited to hear about the first annual Catholic School Life Rally held earlier this month outside the South Wind Women’s Center abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas.
The idea for the rally was conceived by the 10-member senior class at St. John’s Catholic High School in Beloit, Kansas. One of the highlights of the rally was an impressive and heartfelt speech given by one member of the class, 17-year old Katie Greenwood.
Here are some of the highlights of Katie’s speech:
I am the oldest of 13 kids. I love each of my brothers and sisters so much, I couldnâ€™t live without them. But, I do have three siblings that I have to live without. Iâ€™ve actually never met them. My mom has had three miscarriages; the most recent miscarriage was actually confirmed two nights ago. Do you have any idea the heart-wrenching experience I went through the night my parents told our family what happened? I want you to picture 10 kids, ranging in ages from 17 to 2 years old, so excited for a new baby brother or sister. We were so happy. I was going to get to be the godmother to this child, we were already having the sibling wars on whether the baby should be a boy or girl, we already had the names picked out. We could not wait for this baby. Picture that joy. Now can you imagine the sorrow in my family when we were told that our baby brother or sister died before we ever got to meet him or her? That we will never, ever get to see this child grow up? Never get to show him our world? We would have cherished this child, just as we would cherish any other child in the womb of any other person. Children are a blessing. They are precious and sacred. They are loved by God, and we acknowledge the love and value that God places on every, single one of them. [Continue reading this entry »]