BY CATHERINE O'MARA
Photo by Elvert Barnes; some rights reserved.
A frigid rain falls over Washington, D.C. and drenches a young teenager clenching a sign in their trembling hands that reads, "I am the pro-life generation." This is the image of a typical member of Teens for Life, a pro-life group at Lutheran High School of St. Charles County. Students in Teens for Life are used to putting themselves in uncomfortable situations in order to support the cause they all fight for: to preserve the sanctity of life. Teens for Life was formed in the mid-'90s by a woman named Renee Gibbs and a Lutheran High student, and is now presided over by Reverend Jonathan Clausing. With each passing year, the group grows in number and works toward informing their school and community about pro-life issues as well as helping other pro-life organizations. Members frequently volunteer at maternity shelters such as Our Lady's Inn and The Sparrow's Nest Maternity Home. From sorting donations to mowing the lawn, these students do what they can to assist these organizations that support pregnant and parenting women in crisis situations. In order to raise donations for The Sparrow's Nest and ThriVe St. Louis Mobile Medical Center, Teens for Life had to come up with some creative ideas. One such idea was to organize a pro-life dance for seventh- and eighth-graders in the area. Proceeds from ticket sales and other items sold at the dance were donated to a pro-life organization. Members have also sold baked goods and conducted other small events to raise money. Blood drives are held at the school and the money is then given to The Sparrow's Nest Maternity Home.
This group reaches beyond the community, though, to show their pro-life support. Each year, Teens for Life flies to Washington, D.C. to stand up and speak out against abortion in the annual March for Life. This is the highlight of the year. Many of the students come back with a better understanding of what they are fighting for and with more knowledge concerning pro-life issues. Though the March is the product of a tragic decision, many of the teens come back home with a fired-up attitude to continue working towards abolishing abortion. They are heartened to know that they are not alone in this endeavor and that they can make a difference.
Teens for Life is the stone that starts the ripples in a still pond. Members of this group understand that in order to spark a change they need to start in their school and reach out from there. So when one of their fellow students became pregnant, they were not about to abandon her. They were there to offer their support and to encourage her to keep her child and not turn to abortion. In preparation for the child's arrival, the group came together and organized a baby shower for the mother. Within the community, this dedicated group of teens does what it can to ease the burden of mothers in crisis pregnancies. Being pro-life is not just about persuading someone to choose life for their child; it is about caring for the life of the mother as well and preserving all life in general. Once the mother has the baby, her worries are not over. She will still need supplies and emotional support. Teens for Life offers all kinds of support to those individuals in need.
Part of the battle to promote pro-life attitudes in the community is to inform them of pro-life issues and alternatives to abortion, and to break through the growing problem of apathy. At Lutheran High School, Teens for Life members are given many opportunities to share their knowledge with the rest of the school and community. Almost every other week, Teens for Life holds meetings in which students can sit in and listen to a student speaker present on a different pro-life topic. Also, the group as a whole is given a few times a year to present a pro-life message in front of the entire school in which they often discuss, among other topics, abortion, suicide, euthanasia, and what can be done to prevent such things. Teens for Life hosts an event once a year called Teens Talk to Teens in which local eighth-graders are invited to learn about safe sex, abstinence, and preserving life. This evening is led almost entirely by teens involved in Teens for Life, which helps ease a little bit of the unease surrounding these uncomfortable topics. It serves to educate these youth and prepare them for challenges they may face in the future.
The fight to end abortion starts with groups such as Teens for Life. The pro-life message needs to start at home and bleed out into the community and as far as Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. There is no such thing as being too old or too young to stand up for the rights of the unborn. It is important that the younger generation learns to adopt these principles. The right to life is something that everyone of every walk of life and of any faith can embrace. This is not solely a religious issue, or ethnic issue; this is humanity's issue. For much too long has the womb been a warzone. It is time to save the future generation that is being exterminated, bit by bit, with every abortion. Groups like Teens for Life refuse to stay silent in the face of a nation tainted with apathy. Students around the world inspire hope for the future as they fight to save a generation that has been considered untimely or unwanted. If there is one thing the Teens for Life group wants others to know, it is that there is always another option. Abortion and suicide are not the only choices a person can make. Perhaps most importantly, teens in crisis situations need to know they are not alone. There are groups all across the nation dedicated to helping young people in desperate circumstances. Teens for Life is part of the pro-life generation, and together, groups such as this can truly make a difference in society.
Catherine O'Mara is a member of Teens for Life at Lutheran High School of St. Charles County, and loves working for the pro-life cause.