“We need to make abortion not only illegal, but unthinkable,” said Deacon Georgette Forney, President of Anglicans for Life. This was the mantra repeatedly expressed by her and others during the ySummit 2022, a youth-centered event held Thursday evening, January 20, at The Falls Church Anglican in, Virginia.
The gathering of Anglican youth from around the United States was an effort to help youth fully understand the worth of all human life, including their own.
“I hadn’t thought about trying to make it unthinkable. How do we make abortion unthinkable?” said high schooler, Anna Kate Jones, from St. Helena’s Anglican in Beaufort, South Carolina. “It’s a good question and I think we should show love as a first response, but then be there for support at all stages.”
The event hosted various speakers to help young people better understand the history and issues at this moment in the United States. Many attended the March for Life the next day in Washington, D.C.
Melissa Ohden, Director of The Abortion Survivors Network, shared the dramatic story of her survival after being born premature due to an abortion procedure at 31 weeks. Melissa’s organization has connected with at least 325 survivors of abortion–she knows there are many more. “It’s crazy,” said high school junior Ashton Stacks from St. Helena’s Anglican, “how God took someone whose life should have ended from that abortion and is now having such an impact, speaking before Congress, and helping other survivors.”
Groups like the one from St. Helena’s Anglican circled up after the presenters spoke to discuss what they had learned and to ask questions.
Associate Pastor and youth worker from St. Helena’s, Zach Miller, commented, “Our society says that we are only useful if we do something as opposed to just being. But in God’s kingdom, regardless of the value in what you can do, God has deemed you worthy to bear his image and so everyone is of supreme value. This affects how we view all lives from the unborn to the elderly.” AC Gaillard from Beaufort, S.C. grew up in a family that fostered children and believes that fostering and adopting children and helping single mothers who decide not to abort is a way the church can be a strong witness in showing the value of all lives.
Yoseline Guttierez, from Los Angeles, California came with a group from The Windrose Project and questioned how young people should respond in states like California where state leadership actively promotes abortions. The speakers shared practical tips about how the church can be present and available to mothers before they make a fateful decision, but also how to turn the tide by cultivating a culture of life.
“I am ashamed to say,” said Georgette, “that when we first started hosting ySummit, I had erroneously assumed that young people would not want to attend. But I see the young people wanting to engage on these real issues. They want to be people who change the world. We sell them short when we lower our sense in what they can handle. There is a welcome exuberance as they join in the passion and somberness of this cause.”