Katrina Fackelmann

The image of a man with sunken cheeks and torn clothing, aged by hunger, flashes across the television screen. Another depiction is shown, this one is of a lone female figure surrounded by a throng throwing insults because of her skin colour. Then the screen flashes to the scene of a child with a gun held between his two small hands. His fingers press against the trigger and shots ring out, spilling blood. Upon seeing this, your heart is wrenched with grief. You are filled with the conviction that these social justice issues must be fixed. However, we must first solve the problem of life issues. We must give the most vulnerable in our society the right to life before we can help people overcome other social justice issues.

This message needs to be spread to young people. The injustices of poverty, bullying, and child soldiers are widely known and advocated against because their message has been promoted. We must do the same for life issues. Today’s teens are greatly influenced by the media, and pro-lifers must use this to their advantage. Commercials, Youtube videos, Internet blogs, Facebook, Twitter – these are all media that are heavily used by teens, and thus, should be used to educate teens. What is the message that we must spread?

We must prove to today’s youth that life issues are, by their very nature, the most horrific. Life issues are discrimination at its worst, because it ends in murder. Serrin Foster bluntly states, “abortion is discrimination based on age, size, location, and sometimes gender, disability, or parentage.” Abortion enables people to go a step further in their discrimination, to discriminate before that human is even born. This is proven with the terrible reality that 90 per cent of babies who are known to have Down’s Syndrome are aborted in Canada. Abortion is also used as a form of sex selection, enabling some to kill their daughters simply because their children are girls. Clearly, this is just plain wrong.

Teens must be informed that euthanasia is also used as a tool for discrimination as well. Euthanasia is based on a person’s quality of life, which is highly subjective. As such, the elderly and disabled are especially vulnerable to being deemed as having no dignity or quality of life, and thus are euthanized. Euthanasia also discriminates against the poor because it is much cheaper to euthanize than to give that patient treatment. As Wesley Smith so eloquently put, “caring, unlike killing can be costly in time, money, and emotional anguish.” Due to abortion and euthanasia, people can, and will, discriminate others to the point of death.

Furthermore, we must proclaim to teens the message that life issues permeate society and affect youth. This should be achieved through educating them on how the multitudes of other social justice issues stem from life ones. By abortion enabling humans to kill their own children, children are now viewed as property – to do with as one would like. Their lives have been devalued. No longer are children viewed as a gift; they are simply seen as an irritant, a problem to be solved. With this attitude towards children, it is no wonder that the amount of child abuse has increased. In fact, the US National Center of Child Abuse and Neglect reported that since 1973 with abortion’s legalization (in the United States), there has been an increase of more than 1000 per cent in child abuse. Even with only this small bit of information, teens can do nothing but deduce that abortion’s lack of respect for the unborn causes a lack of respect for those born. Thus, teens, if they are educated, will quickly come to realize that the injustice in life issues creates a domino effect of more injustices.

The last message that teens must know is that it is necessary for life issues to be solved before humanity has the capability to fix the rest of the world’s injustices. For instance, the discrimination of abortion must first be eradicated before other forms of discrimination can be stopped. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section 15, states that “every individual is equal before and under the law … without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age, or mental or physical disability.” Canadian society has recognized that everyone is equal, and yet, undermines this right by allowing abortion.

Furthermore, in abortion and euthanasia people abandon their children, their brothers and sisters, their parents and grandparents, their spouses, and leave them to die. If human beings cannot even bring themselves to help their relations, how can they possibly have the compassion to help those they do not even know? This must be discussed with teens so they realize that before people are able to help strangers in foreign lands, they must begin to help their own. We must first conquer life issues, so that society recognizes that everyone is special and deserves justice. Only then can we help solve the problems of poverty, bullying, child soldiers, etc.

Pro-lifers are extremely fortunate to have Catholic schools at their disposal.  This venue is a great way to educate multitudes of youth. The three messages previously mentioned can be spread by showing videos on the announcements, holding movie-nights, having presentations and opening up discussions in classes regarding life issues. Once educated, Catholic school students will be the messengers to the rest of their peers. With this, perhaps next time, the television will show an image of an aborted fetus, killed simply because she was a girl. The screen will change to display an elderly man lying alone on a hospital bed. A nurse injects a lethal drug and he dies for the sole reason that he took up valuable hospital space and resources. Youth will be filled with anguish at these injustices. Due to education, today’s youth will mourn, and finally realize that it is only when we respect the life of the most vulnerable that we respect all life.

Katrina Fackelmann attends St. Mary’s C.S.S. in Hamilton, Ont., and finished third in the Fr. Ted Colleton Scholarship.