With the election of the most pro-abortion president in American history, Generations for Life Director Annie Casselman and Co-Director John Jansen recognize a more urgent need than ever to communicate the pro-life message. In recent months, Annie and John have visited schools and churches throughout northern Illinois and beyond to give pro-life and chastity talks, as well as share the pro-life message through other media.
An essay by John in response to the question, “Will contraception make parents more responsible?” appeared in the December issue of Baby, a parenting magazine published in the Philippines. John wrote that a contracepting couple will “increasingly fail to appreciate the seriousness of their obligation to give of themselves completely to their children.”
Broadcasting the Pro-Life Message
John Jansen presents GFL’s “Making the Case for Life” talk at Concordia
University in River Forest, IL, Feb. 5
On November 19, John appeared on A Fork in the Road, a suburban Chicago cable access show, to explore the spiritual underpinnings of the pro-life movement and explain the rationale behind showing graphic abortion pictures in public, as in the Pro-Life Action League’s Face the Truth Tours.
On November 20, Annie was a guest on Missy Smith’s National Pro-Life Radio show, Chastity: The New Sexual Revolution. She talked about how open today’s teens really are to the chastity message. Two weeks later, John was a guest on the show, discussing why so-called “comprehensive” sex education programs are so damaging to kids.
Annie gave a presentation titled “How to Get Active for Life” to the Teens for Life club in Rockford on December 5. It was so well received that audience members asked for copies of Annie’s PowerPoint slides.
On January 16, John gave GFL’s “Pro-Life 101” presentation at a home in Lombard at the first meeting of a new pro-life club under the direction of Mrs. Cathy Severance—with 40 teens in attendance. Before the meeting concluded with refreshments, Fr. Jim Isaacson of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius led the Rosary and gave his solemn blessing.
On both January 18 and 25, John gave chastity talks and GFL’s “Pro-Life 101” presentations to the high school CCD students at Santa Maria Addolorata Parish in Chicago. Both talks were well received. Meanwhile, on January 23 John was interviewed by CBS 2 News Chicago for a story on embryonic stem cell research.
Eager to Learn the Pro-Life Message
Annie gave a chastity talk at Notre Dame Parish in Clarendon Hills on February 2 which was praised by both teens and their parents. Then on February 5, John gave his “Making the Case for Life” presentation to the Values and Virtues class at Concordia University in River Forest, where students were keenly interested in learning more about how to articulate the case against abortion compassionately and cogently.
On February 7, John spoke to a group of young men at the Sauganash Center on Chicago’s Northwest Side at the invitation of his former colleague, Tom Herman, an English teacher at Northridge Prep School in Niles. On February 10, John opened the eyes of junior high and high school students at St. Edward’s Parish in Rockford on the truth about abortion with GFL’s “Pro-Life 101” talk. Then on February 23, John offered that presentation to the Human Development classes at Proviso West High School in Hillside—for the fifth consecutive year.
The next day, John spoke to the newly formed Joliet Diocesan Pro-Life Youth Group, comprising students in Catholic and public schools, as well as homeschooled students. He spoke about the importance of being part of a pro-life club, and encouraged the group members to consider starting clubs at their own schools or parishes as well.
Pro-Life 101 Talk Makes a Convert
John gave the “Pro-Life 101” talk to the youth group at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Joliet on March 10. One young woman in the audience approached John after the talk and told him his presentation had converted her to the pro-life side.
On March 19, for the second consecutive year, John gave a chastity talk to eighth graders and their parents at Huron Valley Catholic School in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Earlier in the day, he gave the “Making the Case for Life” talk to the Homeschoolers 4 Life club in Lansing and met with officers from the newly established Pro-Life Club at Garden City High School.
On May 6 and 7, John gave his “Pro-Life 101” talk to religion teacher Leslie Fischer’s six classes at Benet Academy in Lisle, IL. On the evaluation form passed out after the talk, one student remarked that John’s talk “really helped me find the reasons for my pro-life stance,” and another wrote, “It was fantastic. We need this.”
On May 20, Annie spoke to the newly formed pro-life club at St. Charles North High School, a public high school in St. Charles, IL. Annie was so impressed with the 35 students who attended that she promised to send each of them a copy of the League’s new Sharing the Pro-Life Message handbook.
Annie and John are grateful for all these opportunities to raise up a new pro-life generation. The powerful forces opposing the pro-life message in government and the media will be no match for these young “Disciples for Life.”
by Annie Casselman
Teens work on pro-life signs for a contest during TeenSpeak [Photo by Matt Yonke]
On January 31, John Jansen and I, along with our Pro-Life Action League co-workers Eric Scheidler and Matt Yonke, hosted TeenSpeak 2009, the teen segment of SpeakOut Illinois. Over 120 teens and adults participated in a day filled with eye-opening and informative talks, testimonies, workshops, activities and videos.
The day began with a moving testimony from Dr. Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, on her own abortion experience. Next, John Jansen introduced the teens to the Pro-Life Action League’s new handbook, Sharing the Pro-Life Message.
After lunch, Bryan Kemper from Stand True Ministries told the story of how he got into the pro-life movement after witnessing an abortion. In his talk, provocatively titled “Social Justice Begins in the Womb—But It Doesn’t End with a T-Shirt,” Bryan exhorted the teens not to just say “I’m pro-life” and let it end there, but to get active. The afternoon ended with a hands-on seminar on making pro-life signs by Eric Scheidler, including a contest to see which group of teens could make the best sign.
Teens in attendance were also invited to submit an essay on the topic: “How would you convince a pro-life friend to become more actively involved in the fight against abortion?” Ava Voissem won a $1000 scholarship and Theresa Simeo won a $500 scholarship for their excellent essays, a difficult choice among the 25 exceptionally good entries.
The reviews submitted by the teens at the conclusion of the conference were overwhelmingly positive:
- After coming here, I want to get even more involved in the pro-life movement.
- It was awesome and a very good education for me to help with my daily life.
- I learned a lot about how to share the pro-life message.
- This was my first pro-life conference and I loved it!
- The speakers were excellent and balanced each other out well.
- I thought it was very fun and I will start protesting for pro-life because this conference inspired me a lot.
- I can’t wait to come back next year.
These enthusiastic comments have us looking forward to TeenSpeak 2010!