By Kathleen Gilbert
TORONTO, February 11, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - 12-year-old "Lia" of Toronto has become a star at her school and on Youtube with her five-minute pro-life speech, crafted for a school competition. Despite discouragement and outright opposition, Lia’s presentation was so well done that she reportedly won the contest she was told she would be disqualified from, due to the "controversial" message of her speech.
The speech is available in its entirety on Youtube, where it has been viewed over 100,000 times and sparked a heated discussion. (See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOR1wUqvJS4&feature=channel_page)
"What if I told you that right now, someone was choosing if you were gonna live or die?" begins the charismatic seventh-grader in a practice recording of the speech posted on Youtube. "What if I told you that this choice wasn’t based on what you could or couldn’t do, what you’d done in the past, or what you would do in the future? And what if I told you, you could do nothing about it?
"Fellow students and teachers, thousands of children are right now in that very situation. Someone is choosing without even knowing them whether they are going to live or die. That someone is their mother. And that choice is abortion."
Lia, speaking easily and with sunny enthusiasm, fires off answers to several common objections in the brief speech.
"Why do we think that just because a fetus can’t talk or do what we do, it isn’t a human being yet?" She asks. "Some babies are born after only five months. Is this baby not human?
"We would never say that. Yet abortions are performed on 5-month-old fetuses all the time. Or do we only call them humans if they’re wanted?
"Think about the child’s rights, that were never given to it. No matter what rights the mother has, it doesn’t mean we can deny the rights of the fetus," she said. "We must remember that with our rights and our choices come responsibilities, and we can’t take someone else’s rights away to avoid our responsibilities."
Lia’s mother says that the topic was of her own choosing, and that she was determined not to back down, even after teachers told her it was "too mature" and "too controversial."
"She was also told that if she went ahead with that topic, she would not be allowed to continue on in the speech competition," Lia’s mother wrote in the email to the Moral Outcry blog. "Initially, I tried helping her find other topics to speak on, but, in the end, she was adamant. She just felt she wanted to continue with the topic of abortion. So she forfeited her chance to compete in order to speak on something she was passionate about."
The mother told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) that the girl’s homeroom teacher was supportive of Lia’s speech even though she was pro-choice. "After helping Lia do the speech she said, ‘It really got me thinking,’" the mom noted.
At the schoolwide competition, the mom said one pro-choice teacher on the judge’s panel "didn’t even want to hear" the speech, and stepped down from the panel before Lia began. After the speech, which Lia’s family said was well-received by both students and teachers, the judges initially told Lia she had indeed been disqualified. But controversy among the judges eventually led to a reversal, and Lia’s family learned the next day that the panel agreed the girl deserved to win the competition.
"There was a big stink about it, and we volunteered to step down ... but her teacher said ‘No, she won fair and square, so she’ll keep going on," said her mom. Lia is expected to present her speech at a regional competition tomorrow night, representing her school.
When asked what inspired Lia to pursue the topic so adamantly, her mother said it was "a little mystery."
While the family espouses pro-life Christian values, "it’s not like we’re out every weekend picketing," she said. "It was just something really deep in her heart, and she just felt really passionate about it." She added: "I kind of snicker when I see people on the Youtube video [comment box] saying ‘Oh, her mother forced her to do this’ - I’m like, ‘No, I’m on the other end, trying to make her pick another topic!’
"But she was just really passionate about it, and she has her research on it," said the mother. "I really believe it’s just something that God put in her heart."