“The youth don't have to be the leaders of tomorrow, they can be the leaders of today.” - Brandi Swindell
This weekend’s International ProLife Youth Conference was our best conference yet! The team and I are still excited and ready to get back on campuses to continue the fight against abortion, knowing that more activists than ever are out on the streets fighting with us around the world.
To say that our incredible line-up of pro-life leaders have inspired a new generation of pro-life activists and leaders is an understatement. This weekend’s presentations and speeches showed pro-life youth both where they came from and what to expect in the battle to save lives.
Our international speakers face terrible persecution for their work to end abortion, but they all emphasized that the work is not about them. They were all ordinary people who were called out of their normal lives to defend the unborn. Brandi Swindell had no car, no job, and no permanent residence when she felt called to start Stanton Healthcare, which now has three international affiliates. Bernadette Smyth was working retail and thought she was living out her faith until she saw what a victim of abortion looked like, and committed her life to saving babies. Jorge Serrano Limon has been jailed, fined, and harassed for helping women choose life in Mexico, but says that it is all worth it to save only one life.
“The fines, the slander, the persecution, for praying outside of an abortion center, I’ve been taken to jail - if it had only prevented one mother from having an abortion, it would be worth it. I would do it all over again.” - Jorge Serrano Limon
One thing that the speakers - and attendees - had in common was that abortion is personal to them. In order to run toward the cries of injustice, we must identify with the victim. Our generation is missing siblings, family, members, and peers because of abortion, which inspires more resolve than ever before to run toward the silent cries of children in the womb.
“The baby in the corner looked like Erick. And suddenly it became personal, they were killing my children.” - Joe Scheidler
The conference attendees were the boldest pro-life youth I’ve ever met. They don’t just talk about ending abortion - they actually plan to end abortion and want to imitate the lives of our conference speakers. Each conference attendee made a commitment to do something to end abortion when they left the IPYC. Read some of their commitments in the slideshow below.
The conference attendees eagerly put their training into action during the final portion of the conference with a million-to-one memorial die-in. Each young person on the ground represented over 1 million children who are killed by abortion worldwide every year, and each young person named one child who was aborted to whom they dedicated their participation. Beachgoers and passers-by gathered and watched with interest as we shared the truth about abortion. A few young people from the crowd even joined our youth on the ground. Never have I seen so many people engaged in one of our demonstrations. The crowd was riveted. The horror of abortion was made real to them by the dozens of young people lying as if dead, as equals and peers of the millions aborted.
See more photos of our IPYC weekend in the gallery below, and please join me as I pray for the youth who went home Sunday inspired to run toward the cries of injustice.
Survivors Campus Outreach Director