Youth involvement key to developing pro-life movement

Youth have formed a growing proportion of the participants at the Alberta March for Life.

WCR FILE PHOTO

Youth have formed a growing proportion of the participants at the Alberta March for Life.

May16, 2016
EVAN BOUDREAU
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

Today's pro-lifers must mentor the youth to make sure the movement keeps its momentum, says Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition.

"As we get older, those of us who have been around for a while have the job of mentoring the young people so that they stay on the right path," said Hughes.

"Older people have to mentor to them so that they don't make the same mistakes. That is the real challenge here."

Hughes' words come as he and an estimated 20,000 pro-lifers prepare for the 19th annual National March for Life, to be held May 12 in Ottawa. The ninth annual Alberta March for Life will be held in Edmonton the same day.

Hughes can't emphasize enough the importance of getting the youth voice out for the march. "The youth are extremely important," he said.

The march is an opportunity to tap into the youth voice. Recent years have seen an influx of young people joining the march, and many have been inspired to join the pro-life movement.

"(Often) the younger people come out because it is a day away from school, and it is a field trip and all this sort of stuff," Hughes said. "(But) when they start to learn about the issue it is amazing because we get so many calls for speakers to come into the schools to talk to the youth."

Traditionally, the march has focused on fighting abortion. However, with euthanasia now a reality in Canada, Hughes expects to see a greater diversity of groups at this year's march.

"Although we have different tactics and strategies," said Hughes, "we all see the necessity to come together in saying no killing of innocent life before birth or at the end of life."

Alissa Golob, Campaign Life's former youth co-ordinator and co-founder of Right Now, a group focused on getting pro-life politicians elected, said events like the March for Life are critical to continuing the pro-life fight from one generation to the next.

"It's extremely important to pass on the passion through events like the March for Life because these (younger) attendees are future parents, taxpayers and voters," said Golob, 28.

"These are the decision-makers of the future which means each attendee through various networks, connections and family members represent a large portion of the Canadian public."

Golob said attending the March for Life for the first time in 2005 as a Grade 12 student spurred her into greater involvement in the pro-life movement.

Hughes said the most important thing is prayer. "When you have all these forces against you the most important thing is to turn to God in prayer. Heaven only knows what will be next."