By Sammie Gallo, Creator of Abundant Life: You Were Made for More
All Saints’ Woodbridge Youth Group participated virtually in the ySUMMIT 2023 and even went a step further to show the teenagers in their youth groups how they can personally get involved in the pro-life movement in their own communities. Being pro-life is not only a soul conviction, but one that should push us to act humbly and peacefully for the sake of justice and mercy.
“Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.”Micah 6:8
To end March for Life weekend, the group toured a local pregnancy center, Life First Center. One of the student’s moms works at the pregnancy center doing ultrasounds – and even better, their youth leader’s wife is expecting! The students were able to visualize a real ultrasound, something that has proven time and time again to be so powerful. Let’s explore why.
It actually makes perfect sense to be pro-science and pro-life – it’s a lie that the two contradict. While I personally oppose abortion on moral and legal grounds, studies of fetal development, improved medical techniques, and other advances anchor the movement’s arguments in scientific fact, making it not just about my opinion but about science. The pro-life message has been, for the last 40-something years, that the fetus … is a life, and it is a human life worthy of all the rights the rest of us have. That’s been more of an abstract concept until the last decade or so. When you’re seeing a baby sucking its thumb at 18 weeks, smiling, clapping, it becomes harder to square the idea that that 20-week-old, that unborn baby or fetus, is discardable.
These advances fundamentally shift the moral intuition around abortion. New technology makes it easier to apprehend the humanity of a growing child and imagine a fetus as a creature with moral status. Over the last several decades, pro-life leaders have increasingly recognized this and rallied the power of scientific evidence to promote their cause. They have built new institutions to produce, track, and distribute scientifically crafted information on abortion. They hungrily follow new research in embryology. They celebrate progress in neonatology as a means to save young lives.
Before ultrasound technology, the womb was a mysterious place. It was dark and unsearchable, and then all of a sudden, it was like a flashlight showed us the reality of what’s resting beyond our line of sight. A scientific advancement proved what God always knew to be true and intended to be.
Heidi Reichert, Communications Coordinator for DOMA, sees the value in the experience as a Christian and as a mom. She says:
“These teens can now say to a friend in crisis ‘I have been to a place that is safe and kind and can help you process all of your options.’ And can take them there. It’s no longer scary.”
“Since teenagers tend to get advice from peers first, it’s incredibly important to equip them with the information and knowledge needed to provide the best advice possible should a pregnancy crisis occur. By touring a local facility that offers free medical care (including an ultrasound) for expectant moms and dads, as well as prayer and emotional support, our youth can now confidently and without hesitation suggest a caring and safe alternative to ending the unexpected pregnancy should one of their friends or schoolmates find themselves in that situation,” she adds.
Jedd Trenum, the youth pastor at All Saints’ Woodbridge says:
“Our visit to the LifeFirst Center was a fun, informative, and profound experience. More than a dozen teens in our church were given the opportunity to learn about the genuine care that pregnant women receive when they feel anxious, nervous, and scared. Additionally, they were able to witness a live ultrasound of my baby girl. It was incredible to see their eyes glued to the screen as they saw clearly defined feet, hands, ribs, and a beating heart. Truly, an experience they will not forget!”
Jedd’s wife, Emily, shared with us some of her thoughts regarding the experience:
“At first, I was a little apprehensive about the idea of a live ultrasound. However, after spending some time praying and reflecting on it, I knew it could be such a meaningful opportunity for the youth group. I remember how impactful it was for me and my husband to see my first ultrasound. There’s no denying the life you’re seeing before your eyes.
Overall, it was a great experience. The nurse who provided the ultrasound created a warm and safe environment. I have no doubt the women who come to the pregnancy center experience that same warmth and care. The entire youth group and their families are so loving towards our two other girls (who are four and a year and a half) so it was fitting to introduce them all to our third!”
If you or someone you know is facing a crisis pregnancy, visit http://OptionLine.org to find a pro-life pregnancy center that will equip and encourage women to embrace their pregnancies and feel empowered even in difficult circumstances. Youth leaders, if you’re looking to share a similar experience with students in your youth group, you can use the OptionLine resource as a way to find a trusted center in your community.
“That was such an eye-opening experience! Having that option and somewhere to go is extremely important.”-Student from All Saints’ Woodbridge Youth Group