January 22nd marked the 39th tragic anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision. It’s easy to become discouraged. We’re dealing with the loss of 54 million unborn children and an untold number of women and families suffering as a result of abortion-on-demand. But there is hope.
Young people today are breaking with the ideology of the previous generation, the generation that brought us Roe vs. Wade.
One student group that is setting a model example for the entire country is the Students for Life of Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio.
After President Obama captured the youth vote by landslide margins in 2008, many were quick to assume young people were solidly behind his pro-abortion agenda. Instead, pro-life student groups fought back. Steubenville’s student activists are challenging common misconceptions about both young people and the greater pro-life movement.
For the annual March for Life in Washington, the student group organized buses for over 400 students and estimates that hundreds of others traveled independently to participate in the march. Ahead of the event, the group’s president, Vic Bermudez noted Franciscan University of Steubenville “will be one of the most represented schools in the nation.”
Franciscan students joined half a million other pro-life advocates to march for life in Washington DC, but their activism is not reserved just for this annual event. They are actively engaged in pro-life efforts in their local community in Steubenville, Ohio and in nearby Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The student group has become a valuable asset to local pregnancy resource centers. In September, the group held a fundraising dance, which grossed $650 to benefit a new maternity home starting up in their community. Later that month, Franciscan students participated in the town’s annual Walk for Life, another benefit for mothers-in-need. Just weeks later, the group held another fundraiser on campus to aid the AIM Pregnancy Center in Steubenville. This hardly sounds like the “war on women” that abortion advocates claim that the pro-life movement is waging.
Later in the fall semester, Franciscan Students for Life hosted a pro-life educational conference for fellow pro-life student activists from other universities. Working to further educate fellow young people, students from the group served as speakers for a retreat put on by the Pro-Life Youth Congress.
A real testament of the student’s dedication to the cause of life, over 100 students make a weekly forty-minute journey east to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to pray and sidewalk counsel at abortion facilities. College-age women are one of the abortion industry’s prime targets. Abortion centers go to great lengths to convince pregnant college students that they must decide between their future careers and their unborn children. It’s a powerful statement for fellow college students to be the ones standing outside these centers, offering compassionate solutions that respect both mother and child.
Pro-life students, like those at Franciscan University, are stepping up all around the country. Even at schools openly hostile to the pro-life movement, students are coming together to share the pro-life message on their campuses. Often these students face discrimination from their peers and even their professors and administrations. But the truth about life is not going away. The millennial generation has seen the effects of Roe vs. Wade firsthand and is not going to be silent. Too often we hear that young people are future leaders. In the pro-life movement, we are not the leaders of tomorrow; we are the leaders of today.