By Laura Meyer
Being pro-life has always been a large part of who I am. I was born on January 22, 2001, a date more commonly recognized as the 28th anniversary of the infamous court case Roe v. Wade. Since then, I have attended the March for Life in Washington, D.C. six times, and will be making the trip again in January for the seventh consecutive year. St. John Paul II wrote: “The new evangelization calls for followers of Christ who are unconditionally pro-life, who will proclaim, celebrate, and serve the gospel of life in every situation.”
The pro-life movement is chiefly focused on the issue of abortion, but there is more to choosing life than defending it in the womb. Being unconditionally pro-life means defending the dignity of human life at all stages. Someone who is unconditionally pro-life doesn’t simply defend life when it is being threatened, but respects every human person and loves each for the beauty that is reflected in his soul—a soul that was forged in the image and likeness of God.
There are people like St. Teresa of Calcutta who are pro-life heroes. She fought to reveal the dignity of human life where no one else could find it. She made an impact on the world by demonstrating pure love for each and every person she encountered. While stories such as hers are ultimately very inspiring, they can also cast a shadow of doubt over the confidence we have in ourselves. Seeing something so great can make a person hesitate to believe in his own strength. However, Mother Teresa herself once said: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Being unconditionally pro-life does not require changing the world as St. Teresa did. It only requires that we do small things with great love and that we never deny or reject the dignity of human life.
Everyone has heard the phrase “Actions speak louder than words.” It’s one of those sayings without a source; no one really knows who said it first, but it continues to be repeated because of its integrity. Anyone can say he believes in something, but it is when our choices align with our voices that people begin to believe what we are professing. So, how can students actively practice their pro-life status? The simplest answer is by showing kindness. By showing kindness to every person you encounter on a daily basis, you will not only participate in an act of respecting life, but spread the pro-life message.
Each person is presented with a different opportunity to serve as an advocate for life. A practicing doctor can refrain from providing services that violate the sanctity of life. Adults can vote strictly pro-life in various elections. Students, however, are not presented with these same opportunities. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t presented with any occasion to defend life at all. As I mentioned earlier, a student can practice his pro-life status by showing kindness. Students can reach out to those who need love in their lives. Whether it’s because they don’t have anybody who loves them, or they have never been taught how to show love, Christ calls all to serve others and to treat them as the beautiful children of God that they are. Standing against people who are disrespecting our brothers and sisters in Christ is a form of defending life. Treating everyone with equal and excessive affection speaks to the dignity of the human soul. Students can resolve to live out of service for those around them, constantly asking what could be done to benefit others and bring joy into their lives. By doing this, not only will students find joy, but they will recognize a closeness with Christ that wasn’t in their life prior to committing themselves to being unconditionally pro-life.
I strive to love every person I meet. I often ask God in prayer to present me with an opportunity to serve Him and to serve others at some point in my day and for the grace to recognize the moment he gives me so that I may take advantage of the chance to spread love to the people around me. When challenged by someone in my life, or irritated with a person, I tell myself that they are infinitely loved by God, and for me to do anything less than attempt to love them equally is a disappointment to Him. I think that children are God’s purest and most innocent vessels. I see beauty in every child I meet. Children can teach us a lot about love and about life. I hope that one day I have children of my own and that I will be able to teach them how to be unconditionally pro-life. In an effort to defend preborn life, I attend the March for Life. On the best years, the march falls on my birthday. Every few years, I get unlucky and the event is bumped by an inauguration or other event, but I’m thankful for the years that doesn’t happen. I couldn’t think of a greater way to spend the day. I thank the Lord for giving me my life, my wonderful parents, my beautiful siblings, and my countless blessings. When I’m done, I spend the day in layers and a stocking cap, praying that the crowd surrounding me will make an impact and save a life.
Being pro-life has always been a large part of who I am, and being pro-life will always be a large part of who I am.
Laura Meyer won an honorable mention in Category 2 of CLSP and IEW's Pro-Life Essay Contest.