Lauretta Brown is the Register’s Washington-based staff writer.
Young speakers with words of inspiration fired up the crowd at the March for Life Youth Rally on the afternoon before the 47th annual March for Life. The keynote speaker was Vice President Mike Pence’s 26-year-old daughter Charlotte, a New York Times bestselling author and screenwriter. Pence encouraged the young people to place compassion and reasoning at the center of their pro-life values.
Pence began her keynote speech by encouraging those gathered to “remember your reasons for why you’re here.”
“I’m here today to give you some of my reasons that I’m pro-life,” she said adding, “it’s not because my dad is Mike Pence.”
“My reasons developed over a long period of time,” she recounted, remembering going to the March for Life when she was young and going to a Christian school. Pence said she began to meet people with pro-abortion views when she attended public school and college.
“They didn’t all think abortion was a good thing, they just thought it was a necessary thing,” she said. “They thought it wasn’t right for anyone to tell anyone else what they should do.”
Pence said she disagreed with this relativistic reasoning because “if we aren’t allowed to tell people what we think is right and wrong then how can we really make progress in the world, how can we improve our culture?”
She encouraged the crowd of teens to push back on such ideas “with kindness because the pro-choice culture is a culture full of people who are really hurting… a lot of people on the side of the pro-choice argument are actually in pain and we need to reach them so know your reasons so you can reach them.”
As for her reasons, Pence said they are “founded in my faith” but “grounded in the fact that I was taught the value of human life…They’re backed up by science, so do your own research, know the statistics, the ways that science continues to prove that life begins earlier and earlier than previously thought.”
She added that some of her reasons, “were formed on the 2016 campaign trail” as she assisted her dad in preparing for discussing the issue at his vice presidential debate.
“I told him he should speak from the heart,” she shared “so then in the debate he quoted Mother Teresa when she spoke to the National Prayer Breakfast in 1994. She called abortion ‘the greatest destroyer of peace today’ because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child. My dad made the powerful point that a society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable, the aged, the infirm, and the unborn. I believe when he did that, when he spoke that way with kindness and compassion that he did so in a way that can change minds.”
“You have the power to do that too because we won’t be able to reach the other side by yelling at them,” she emphasized.
Among the younger speakers at the rally was Angelica Park, Miss San Antonio’s Outstanding Teen 2018 and a devout Catholic who was named after EWTN foundress Mother Angelica. She will sing the national anthem at the March for Life on Friday. Park, who founded ‘The Happily Ever After Foundation,’ where she raised over $42,000 for pediatric cancer patients in the past year, wants to be a pediatric oncologist and spoke of the importance of science to the pro-life argument.
Park, a senior at Claudia Johnson High School, ran for her senior class presidency and lost after she was targeted for posting a pro-life video to her Instagram.
“I lost because I posted a video of the amazing Dr. Anthony Levatino, who is now a pro-life advocate but was an abortionist,” she explained. “He was describing the performance of an abortion and the brutality of abortion and my Instagram blew up. It blew up in the comments but with negativity. They would tell me ‘oh be quiet no one wants to hear this, shut up this is disgusting, you’re not important, no one asked you to post this.’”
She said that the football team shared a screenshot of her Instagram and encouraged her school to cross out her name on the ballot.
“I don’t care,” Park said, saying she was happy to be able to sing the national anthem before President Trump speaks at the March for Life.
“We speak the truth and there is so much truth to abortion through science that no one talks about,” she emphasized, “through all my experiences and everything that I learned I truly believe that and have learned that life begins at the moment of conception.”
Park is a member of the prestigious Voelker Biomedical Academy.
“At the moment of conception the sperm and egg meet and they create this zygote,” she said. “The zygote is the first cell of life and the zygote holds your DNA and the DNA is your blueprint…what people don’t realize is that it never changes. The only difference between you as a zygote and you now sitting in front of me is time.”
“The only difference between them and you is that they were extinguished but not tomorrow,” she concluded. “Tomorrow we will march in their light and we will not walk in the way of the world because we are the pro-life generation.”
Following her speech, Park told the Register that she draws strength from her Catholic faith and that she truly believes women will be the voices that can end abortion.
“You see all these people afraid to speak out because we’re getting persecuted but God was persecuted,” Park said. “You have to carry your cross and so that’s what really keeps me going and motivated because I know He has my back every step of the way.”
She called her Catholic faith “a huge aspect” of her life, saying “people may think of the Catholic faith ‘they’re going to condemn you, they’re going to be so horrible,’ but our faith is not there to condemn you. We have confession. This is a huge, forgiving faith and it’s really kept me so grounded.”
“This is not a time for women to be silent,” Park said on the abortion issue, “this is a woman’s job now to make revolution.”
“You’ve seen Abby Johnson, you had amazing people like Mother Angelica and Charlotte Pence,” she pointed out, “all these amazing women are leading and we really need to keep going in their light.” Park concluded that she was very excited to sing the anthem before a sea of young faces at the March, concluding, “I know that God’s got me and I have Mother Angelica’s name so I got to have a little fire in me, right?”