FRONT ROYAL, Virginia, March 11, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – When Anna Mcshurley, 22, was approached a few months ago by LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) about starring in a short pro-life film, she was hesitant.
“I liked the idea of the story, but I was at first a little scared to be that person,” she said to LSN in an interview from her home in Front Royal, Virginia.
The full-production, 4-minute film The Gift of Life tells a story — inspired by true events — of a young girl facing an unexpected pregnancy. Finding no support from her boyfriend and parents, the girl feels like she has no choice but to abort. In the midst of pursuing her choice, a network of pro-life people, inspired by the good work of other pro-lifers around the country, reach out to the pregnant woman, offering her the support she needs to give her child the gift of life.
Anna, a Christendom College graduate who now teaches grade one at a small private Christian school, said that the lack of support that the pregnant woman in the story experiences is a problem today that many young women unfortunately face.
“It’s something that definitely happens a lot, especially with young girls who are in a bad family situation and they think their only way out is abortion. They feel like they don’t have a choice,” she said.
“I think that it’s a neat story because it’s showing that there is that other choice of choosing the life. It’s hopeful too.”
It took a community of dedicated pro-lifers to make the film a success. More than 25 individuals from the pro-life community in Front Royal, Virginia volunteered to act in the film. None were professional actors. They simply wanted to make a pro-life difference in whatever way they could.
For Anna, the film was an opportunity to put her pro-life convictions into action: “I do feel very strongly about the issue of abortion,” she said. “I was happy to put that film out there, and to be part of it because I think that it’s a message that is extremely important.”
Anna said that as a woman, she knows just how much abortion is pushed on women as a quick and easy solution to an unexpected pregnancy. But she said that no amount of rhetoric from the pro-abortion lobby can cover over the devastating consequences of that choice.
“Not only is abortion taking the life of the child, but it scars the woman. It destroys this beautiful life within her, which is really one hope that could have brought goodness to her life. I think a lot of people don’t see that choosing life could be a way out of this bad situation,” she said.
Anna said her favorite moment of acting in the film was when she timidly entered the pregnancy care center on her way to the abortion clinic and found welcoming warmth, a smiling face, and friendship.
“That was a neat part because it was the first time in the film that I was kind of allowed to smile. I liked that because it shows that there’s hope, there’s joy, and that everything for this girl is not all dark.”
Anna said that her worst moment was imagining what it would be like to be in the situation of being pregnant while lacking anyone to offer you support.
She said that it shooting the scene where she was sitting in the bathroom, holding the positive results of the pregnancy test, that helped her to treasure the way she had been raised. Being raised in a God-fearing Catholic home, Anna’s parents had taught her to safeguard her purity, to be modest in the way she dressed, to save sex until marriage, and to respect life in all its stages.
“At that moment, I realized that this is why I’ve held to everything, all my values, so dearly,” she said. “It made me so thankful for what I have been given. It made me see the dark hole that one could enter into who did not have these values.”
Anna said that she would one day “love to be a mother” and experience the joy children bring. She said that her most important goal in life at the moment is to “find the way I’m supposed to give my gift, and share what I’ve been given”.
After acting in the film, Anna said that she now has a new perspective on women struggling with an unexpected pregnancy.
“There is always hope, even though they are going through something difficult. They have a chance to love and be loved by this child. There’s a joy in that. They have a chance in loving to give themselves to this child and to be that most amazing mother for this child.”
With almost 46,000 views, The Gift of Life is LifeSiteNews.com’s most popular video. The director of development and marketing for LifeSiteNews said that short films are a “powerful tool for effectively reaching out to large numbers of people to motivate them to make a difference.”
“The Gift of Life is the most popular film we have released because not only does it tell a gripping story, but it shows the impact that people can make when they band together for a common cause,” he said.
The film has touched more than a few hearts.
Jill Stanek called the film a “great video (with a surprising twist), [that] demonstrat[es] the value of LSN.com’s work.” One commenter called the film a “very powerful video”. Another said it was an important part of “helping to encourage activism, save lives and change the culture.” Another said that it would “inspire hearts to change. Another said that it “really went through my heart.”
For the director, seeing people inspired to change the culture to one that honors and respects all human life, is worth the colossal effort behind making each video project: “That’s what the work at LifeSiteNews is all about, reporting stories that will activate people to get up and make a difference,” he said.
LifeSiteNews would like to thank the following people/organizations for their involvement in making this video a success:
Anna, Roxanne and family, Nancy, Albert, Colin and family, Bridget, Joemy, Eleanor, Kathleen and children, Valerie and children, Nate, Tonya, Jim, Julia and family, Marie and family, Rebecca, Christendom College and students, Front Royal Pregnancy Center, Sole Solutions, Human Life International, and Mirandum Pictures.