By Ken Newton
Special to the Catholic Key
ST. JOSEPH — Sarah Aberer began attending the Washington March for Life in eighth grade and has gone every year since. Now a senior at Bishop LeBlond High School, she plans to continue the annual trip to the nation’s capital until it no longer proves necessary.
That will be a great day, she told a Life Day 2015 gathering, when Roe vs. Wade gets overturned.
“I want to be able to be there at that very, very last March for Life and say, ‘I was here when this happened,’” the teenager said.
Sarah went to the podium along with others to help kick off Respect Life Month in St. Joseph. About 230 people came to Bishop LeBlond’s Eagle Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 4, and many arrived as part of a Walk for Life that passed through a high-traffic commercial area to further spread the message.
Others participated in a Life Chain on a street adjoining the high school.
Pat Baker helped organize the third annual event and said the presence of Sarah and other young speakers, including Liz Baker of Benedictine College and Cassandra Jimenez of Bishop LeBlond, reinforced a trend of getting a fresh demographic involved in the pro-life movement.
“We need young people on board,” she said. “Planned Parenthood is getting worried because the faces are changing. We are getting younger faces.”
Brandy Meeks, executive director of the Pregnancy Resource Center in St. Joseph, said strides have been made in educating the public but much work remains to be done.
Younger students took part in the release of 269 balloons, one for each child lost to abortion in Northwest Missouri and Northeast Kansas during the last year.
The Pregnancy Resource Center has programs to support women in crisis pregnancies, offering a range of services from prenatal testing to parenting classes. Its primary aim, the center director said, is to save babies from abortion.
“It’s really important that (women) understand that there are life-affirming options that are available to them,” Meeks said.
Life Day speakers offered their own versions of the affirmation. Sabrina Banks, born in 1977, spoke about being adopted into an “open, honest and extremely loving family,” something that would not have been possible if her mother had made a different decision.
“I am thankful that my biological mom, who was only 19 at the time, was strong enough and loving enough and had enough support in her life to make that decision to not abort her baby and carry me for nine months and give me life,” she said.
In recent years, Banks has made connection with her biological parents, fulfilling a wish she had to thank them for making the selfless decision not to choose abortion.
At the end of her speech, Banks introduced the mother who adopted her and her biological mother, seated next to one another in the stadium.
“I’m very appreciative of every day I’m alive,” the speaker said.