By Laura C., Student Writer
Jeanne Monahan has considerable experience in the public eye for the pro-life cause; however her speech to Oakcrest students on October 26 addressed the role of ordinary, young people in building up the Culture of Life. Formerly the director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, Ms. Monahan steps into Nellie Gray’s shoes as the new President of the March for Life.
To begin, Ms. Monahan gave an overview of abortion in the United States. She pointed out that, after Roe v. Wade, it has been said that abortion is “safe, legal, and rare.” In reality, abortion is not safe, legal, or rare. Monahan asserted that, besides the killing of innocent life, abortion has resulted in hundreds of maternal deaths in the United States alone. Side effects are not only physically painful and dangerous, but psychologically harmful as well. Abortion may be legal, but the United States has more relaxed regulations for abortion clinics than any other country. Lastly, abortion is simply not rare: about 55 million babies have been aborted since 1973.
Ms. Monahan challenged us to contribute to the growing Culture of Life. She related inspirational stories, like the invention of mobile ultrasounds. When stationed outside abortion clinics, it changed the minds of so many women seeking abortion that eventually the clinics shut down. Another story was of two kids in Michigan who fundraised to buy billboards along country highways, and who received calls from women who had changed their minds about abortion from seeing those billboards. With these examples, Ms. Monahan encouraged us to become active pro-life advocates.
Besides increasing our involvement, Ms. Monahan urged us to search for our vocations and to grow in virtue. Whether or not we enter the public square, she assured us that living life according to God’s plan will be the most exciting adventure we could ever dream for. To illustrate this, she presented the moving story of Pope John Paul II’s visit to communist-controlled Poland. Thousands of people responded to his words with thunderous chanting: “We want God!” Thus, one man’s courage sparked the fall of communism. Ms. Monahan told of another modern spiritual giant: Immaculée Ilibagiza. After hiding in a bathroom with seven other women for three months during the Rwanda genocide, Immaculée wrote Left to Tell, and even today she speaks about how she found a way to forgive the people who killed her family. These stories show that even if we face threats from the government or from the culture, we can do great things through courage, forgiveness, and trust in Our Lord.
At the conclusion of Ms. Monahan’s engaging talk, students and faculty asked several important and insightful questions. Ms. Nussio asked Ms. Monahan about her vision for the March for Life going forward, and Ms. Monahan answered saying that a major area she would like to focus on is influencing policy in Washington D.C.
We are so grateful for the valuable lessons and stories Ms. Monahan shared with us. Now it is up to us, we who are called the most pro-life generation, to live our vocations, grow closer to God, and witness openly to the dignity of every human person.