On January 18, while anti-aborts across the state prepared to head to Washington for their yearly March for Life, local teens held their own annual noon “Youth Rally for Life.” at the Ohio Statehouse. Sponsored by Columbus Right to Life, about 130 people, mostly Catholic teens, protested “the culture of death.” But there was a slight demographic problem. Most of the kids this year weren’t from Columbus but from Fostoria and Marion. Gone were the St. Charles and Watterson busloads, protest mainstays at the three previous January rallies I’ve attended. Many of those Columbus kids seemed more interested in skipping school for a couple of hours anyway, rather than “standing the gap,” as Protestants like to say. Fostoria’s St. Wendelin Junior and Senior High School Teens 4 Life is a different story.
Maybe it’s the purple sweatshirts:
Planned Parenthood: Hitler Would Love It
Life Begins at Conception and Ends at Planned Parenthood
Terrorists Have Killed 3000 Americans Since 1990
Abortionists Have Killed 4000 Americans Since Yesterday
Or the wooden crosses many of the prayer warriors carried on to the Statehouse lawn, a violation of Statehouse no-sticks-allowed demo rules. After a short talk between the Highway Patrol and Teens 4 Life handlers, the crosses were piled haphazardly on the sidewalk in front of the McKinley statue
According to an article published in the newsletter of Teachers Saving Children, a national anti-abortion teacher organization headquartered in Damascus, Ohio, Teens 4 Life is well organized. They research and distribute information on “pro-life” issues, hold prayer pickets at clinics, and lobby legislators. The organization has about 90 active student members. I counted close to 70 marching on to the Statehouse grounds right at the crack of noon, infusing a bit of energy into the pocket-sized gathering of Marion Catholic kids and mostly adult Knights of Columbus folks (provenance unknown) lined up holding “Defend Life” signs.
Peppy keynoter Nina Fuller nationally recognized anti-abortion activist/special needs advocate/Bible teacher/spiritual counselor/author/ circular thinker, and self-proclaimed control freak from Newburgh, Indiana discussed her life-endangering pregnancy, the birth of her Down Syndrome daughter and the adoption of another daughter also with Down Syndrome. She told the crowd, “I’m pro- life because God is. God, the creator of the universe is real. And how do I know it? Because we are real and we have come from him. We have not come from some germ, some amoeba from the depth of the sea at one time. We are made in the image of God.” Theology aside, Fuller’s message was about more than just abortion. It was about mandatory motherhood. “You get your education,” she urged young women, “but then you become a mom.”