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Youth Rally at the 2017 March for Life. LifeSiteNews
Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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Pro-life leaders equip teens to defend life at March for Life Youth Rally

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 30, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Thursday's March for Life Youth Rally brought pro-life young people to a fever pitch, beginning with the pulsating Electronic Dance Music of TransformDJs and ending with impassioned pleas for action.

M.C.'d by Bryan Kemper of Stand True Ministries and Priests for Life Youth, rally attendees heard pro-life leaders offer direction, encouragement, and motivation to act for life.

The Radiance Foundation's Ryan Bomberger, Callie Jett of Talk About Adoption, March for Life president Jeanne Mancini, Jess Barfield of Stand for Life, Live Action's Lauren Merz, Students for Life of America's Megan Barkley, and many other leaders spoke to the crowd, sharing stories and facts to equip the young envoys to take the message of life to their friends and peers.

Mancini encouraged the youth to get on social media at #WhyWeMarch and share photos of "the positive things, the joyful things, the life-affirming things you see" at the March for Life.

"Saint John Paul II said that youth are the best ambassadors for life," Mancini elaborated to LifeSiteNews. "They are. They're the best messengers. They're not cynical, they're still joyful. Their message is love. So I think that's the heart of it.  It's like they're the most convincing. They are just so incredible. They are the pro-life generation."

Mancini also challenged them to commit themselves to prayerfully seeking God to find "'What can I do?' 'Where do I fit in, in the pro-life movement?'" and to commit themselves to taking an active part.

"The youth at the March for Life is why NARAL's president Nancy Keenan quit," Mancini added. "When she saw all the young pro-life demonstrators, she decided that NARAL was terrible at appealing to young people."

"Nancy thought it was a marketing problem on their part, but we know it's a product problem!"

Kemper shared a moving story of how he was challenged as an adult to become an activist for life through the influence of a pro-life song by the Christian group Crucifix. He told how he worked side jobs to make ends meet and used those jobs to create opportunities to share the pro-life message.  

One job was a Uber driver. He would get into a casual conversation with a passenger and mention that Uber driving was not his main job. Naturally, the passenger would inquire as to what his main job was. Kemper would reply, "I travel all around the world, speaking against injustice."

Sure as shootin', the passenger would ask, "What injustice?" and Kemper would feign hesitation. "Well, it's very controversial," he would say, by which time the passenger was more than eager to hear about this job standing against injustice.

Having whet his passenger's appetite, Kemper would finally lay his cards on the table. "Every day, over three thousand human beings are being slaughtered in surgical abortion," he would state. And the conversation was on.

Kemper shared how one such passenger, a University of Dayton student, kept asking questions way past the time when Kemper arrived at the student's destination.

Finally, the student concluded, "OK, I'm pro-life. I wasn't before I came into this cab, but I am now."

Kemper also shared a grim, true story that illustrated Planned Parenthood's rabid commitment to unlimited abortion, regardless of the safety of women.

Not long ago, he walked into a Planned Parenthood with a 14-year-old virgin girl, asking about an abortion.  

"What is the first thing anybody should have done when a 30-year-old man and a 14-year-old girl ask for an abortion?" he asked the rally participants. Shouts of "Call the cops!" came in reply.

Instead, Kemper said, Planned Parenthood staffers examined the girl, declared her pregnant (when she wasn't), and told him, "For 250 dollars, we will terminate her pregnancy, and we won't tell anyone."

"That's the abortion industry," Kemper concluded.

Finally, he encouraged the youth to go live on Facebook during the March. "This is life and death," he said. "This is a holocaust that's killing my generation."

"I really do believe that this is the generation that will end abortion forever," Kemper said.

Bomberger addressed the youth directly, appealing to them for all-or-nothing dedication. He illustrated how mere "activists" spout spin without regard for truth and told his audience that each one of them needed to become "factivisits," answering false charges with truth.

"What we have is a culture that is pulling these kids into all kinds of activism, without all the facts," Bomberger explained. "This is why I'm an avid supporter of Factivism. As pro-lifers, we need to be not just activists, but factivists. Emotions don't persuade; truth does."

"This is a human rights issue, one that touches every single human being: red, yellow, black or white, old, young or in between," Bomberger told LifeSiteNews, saying the issue is universal. "Abortion is an issue of love."

Other presenters, including Barkley, informed the crowd about how to use social media to the best advantage of the movement. Barkley said mere facts might persuade minds, but "if you share your story, you can impact lives."

"We are the ones most affected by abortion," she told LifeSiteNews. "We've seen abortion hurt men, women, and children — traumatizing the generation before us."

"A quarter of us are gone because of abortion — that could have been our best friend, our cousin, brother, sister, who knows," Barkley added.  

Husband and wife writing/producing team Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer emotionally shared details about their book, "Gosnell: The untold story from America's most prolific serial killer."  

After a long struggle, the couple finished both the book and the movie, but McElhinney vividly explained how Hollywood distributors refused to touch it.

"They called it too controversial," she said, noting that the same distributors handled two pro-abortion films.

"But we will get this movie out, no matter what," she declared, to the cheers of the crowd.

The rally ended as it began, with the crowd jumping and waving and grinning ear  to ear to the EDM of TransformDJs.

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