Fourteen-year-old Emilia Klepacka refused to accept a junior school award for modern languages from the guest of honor who is a pro-choice candidate.
She boycotted the awarding ceremony in November 1996 at John Henry Newman School in Stevanage, England. The prize was a 20-pound book token.
Invited guest of honor Barbara Follett, local candidate of the Labour Party, was a found of the Emily’s List, an organization set up to put pro-choice women into Parliament.
Emilia said: “My conscience would not allow me to accept the prize from someone who is anti-life in the things she has done and proposes to do and who discriminates against Catholics who wish to become MPs.”
For the voiceless
The schoolgirl said she was “doing it for the people who have no voice and the babies that are being killed in the death camps of England.”
In an article from The Daily Mail by Sam Harris and Michael Seamark, Emilia said that by letting Ms. Follett into the school, the headmaster has given credibility to her policies and provided a platform for her views.
Emilia said: “It is encouraging the parents to vote for her which is exactly what she wants and she is not the sort of person who should be an MP. The baby has no choice. If Barbara Follett says she is pro-choice, she is pro-abortion. That is what it means.”
Emilia is the third child of the Klepacka family. Kinga, Emilia’s mother, said she has done pregnancy testing and counseling for any years. Her family joins people praying outside abortion clinics. Another daughter Maria founded the movement Youth For Life.
The family has always stood by what they believed in. On November 17, 1996, Kinga wrote the Headmaster at John Henry Newman School: “I hereby confirm that we wish to take advantage of our statutory right to withdraw all our children, i.e. Beata, Emilia and Kamilla from sex-education lessons in any of the subjects which attempt to cover sex education.”
The news story of Emilia refusing to receive the award from Mrs. Follett hit the headlines and columns of newspapers in England. Some journalists threw in their support, others did not. Valerie Grove of The Times wrote that “politicians’ current obsession is with the havoc wreaked on society by dysfunctional families and the effects of poverty on morality. Perhaps they should pause to observe exactly how a functional family produces six intelligent, high achieving children, with little money but an almost terrifying moral certitude.”
Letters of support for Emilia and her family poured in. P. Quail wrote from London an encouraging note to Emily before returning to St. George, Ontario: “Bravo! Congratulations for the stand you gave taken in your school… Do not waiver. Do not give in. We will remember you in our prayers.”
Steve and Gill Shirley and family’s congratulatory note: “There are children yet unborn who will live as a result of your action and they will thank you for your courageous stand.”
A Jesuit Catholic priest offered a Mass for Emilia’s family. He said: “Please congratulate Emilia for me (of course she’s as famous as a pop star now!)”
“What a joy it has been to see Catholic family values displayed in the media. And God has used your family.”
A Mr. And Mrs. E. Grant from Scotland wrote: “How brave a young lady you are. How you thought of becoming an M.P.?”
“ I have complained to your head teacher about his misguided policy on Catholic female opportunities.”
Tamworth Staff wrote to Emilia: “You are a bright light in a wicked world. Love and blessing to you.” Josie Groble congratulated Emilia on her wonderful stand against Emily’s List and added: “I’ve just broken my wrist, but your brave action has cheered me enormously.”
“Your witness is deeply heartening for many people,” says Mrs. S.K. Aldous.
A postcard from Rome from Andrew W. states: “You are a brave and wise young woman. I read the story in the Daily Telegraph while flying to Rome. When I return to England in a few days, I will send you a copy of the letter which I have sent to the Daily Telegraph.”
After reading write-ups on Emilia for two days in The Times, a vicar of a parish in Chafferton wrote to her. “Although I am not a Roman Catholic I am writing to express my admiration and support for you and for the stand you have taken, and I have also written to your head teacher to say so. God bless you and your family and keep you faithful to him.”
Josephine Robinson, chairman, The Association of Catholic Women in Surrey, wrote to The Times: “Mrs. Barbara Follett says she is against abortion but is pro-choice. (28 November) But one of the ‘choices’ she postulates is abortion. So she cannot logically be said to be against abortion.” Robinson added: “It is rather as if someone claimed to be against burglary, but wished to allow burglars to choose whether to burgle or not!”
“The law is opposed to permit ante-natal killing in some circumstances on the advice of two doctors – not solely on the wish of the mother. And as for choice, nobody asks the baby.”
Ruth A. cited in her congratulatory letter to Emilia that “every year, since the 1967 Abortion Act, has brought about unprecedented acts of violence and diabolical times increasing in numbers to such an extent that this era seems, to me to be worse than Sodom and Gomorrah.”
A parish priest from St. Bede’s Church in Clapham Park, London wrote to the headmaster that “this young girl Emilia is modern Daniel who is courageous enough to stand up and defend the ‘least of my brethren’ … In earlier times it took similar prophet like individuals to take uncomfortable positions to combat and compromise. In recent history the slave trade and the Nazi terror had all these ingredients.”
He concluded: “John Henry Newman stated that his whole life had been a battle against liberalism. It is this self-same liberalism which paralyzes modern Catholics from daring to make an unpopular stand in defense of the invisible silent but slaughtered unborn.”