I have been inspired by the “We are the Pro-life Generation” signs and t-shirts that I have seen at the March for Life and other pro-life events. To me, these signs, t-shirts and the chants that go with them are symbols of hope for an abortion-free future.
One afternoon last week, however, I had cause to wonder exactly how pro-life is the pro-life generation? I was working at my kitchen table when my fourteen-year old son, who is passionately pro-life on abortion, came in from school and asked me what I was working on. I responded that I was trying to come up with an idea for a printed advertisement for an upcoming event – focusing the ad on either organ donation or physician-assisted suicide.
This led to a discussion on organ donation. I explained that, in order to transplant a human heart, the transplant surgeon must take it from a living person. He responded, “So?” Thinking that he didn’t fully understand what I’d just said, I explained further, “You would have to first kill the donor before you could take the heart.” My son responded, “I don’t know that is a bad thing. Maybe someone younger would need the heart.” Then I made it personal. I asked him if it would have been okay when Grandma was sick to take her heart and give it to someone younger. Recognizing the surgeon would have needed to kill her to make that happen, my son immediately understood what I was saying. He just hadn’t thought about it that way before.
We also discussed physician-assisted suicide. He wasn’t certain he understood how physician-assisted suicide worked. I explained that typically the patient’s doctor would send the patient home with a lethal dose of pills that they would take in their home to end their life. He responded, “Maybe that’s okay if the patient is suffering a lot.” This led us to consider whether it’s okay to play God – for humans, as opposed to God, to choose to end someone’s life. I asked him if it would be okay to send someone who was “suffering a lot” home with a gun or revolver so they could take their own life. He adamantly said “No, that would not be okay.” I asked him why that was different than giving a person drugs to commit suicide. He couldn’t really articulate why.
My point in telling this story is not to embarrass my son (who would surely be embarrassed that I am writing about him) but to illustrate that we need to make sure we are educating our young people on the value of all human beings. If we want everyone to know that every human being’s life is a precious gift, we need to start with our children.
In closing, I couldn’t agree more with Mary Kizior from the American Life League, who says, “We must educate the next generation, not only on the facts of pro-life issues, but on how to live and act in a pro-life manner. Pro-life education is key to transforming hearts and minds. It is education that forms the moral consciences of our young people—the future of the pro-life movement.”