By Ann Schneible
ROME, DEC. 7, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Spreading the culture of life worldwide is a task for the youth, says Lila Rose, president and founder of Live Action.
Rose, 24, was just 15 when she founded Live Action, a non-profit pro life organization dedicated to building a culture of life and ending abortion. Geared specifically towards the youth, Live Action uses investigative journalism, new media, and independent reporting to expose abuses in the abortion industry and promote the pro life message. It has become known in particular for its undercover investigative reporting, with an emphasis on exposing cover-ups and illegal activity by Planned Parenthood employees: examples include undercover videos which show Planned Parenthood employees aiding and abetting sex trafficking of minors, and counseling young victims of statutory rape to lie about the age of their abuser when coming in for an abortion.
ZENIT recently caught up with Rose while she was in Rome to promote Live Action. She spoke to us about why the pro life movement is relevant for young people, as well as about the importance of bringing the Live Action initiative into the international forum.
ZENIT: Could you speak about why it is important to bring young people into pro life ministry?
Rose: Young people are targeted. They were targeted before they were even born by the abortion industry, and we're missing over a fourth of our generation in the United States who were killed by abortion. And in other countries – for example, Russia – that number is half. We weren't protected for part of our live, the most vulnerable beginnings of our life.
But beyond that, we are targeted today. Young women are targeted every day by the abortion industry to tell us that we should be sexually available, and that contraception will somehow protect us. Then, when the contraception fails – which it inevitably does for many women – they turn to abortion because they are told that they shouldn't be pregnant, and that the pregnancy will somehow ruin their lives. They are pressured sometimes by boyfriends or parents, or by society, and they turn up at an abortion clinic, where they are put in this extremely vulnerable position where they are offering up their bodies to an abortionist to kill the child that's inside of them. That whole concept is anti woman. It goes against our very nature as women which is that we want to give. We want to love.
Simultaneously, it is attacking our young men by giving them this cop-out [of contraception and abortion. They are taught] to be sexually promiscuous, and not [taught about] sexual responsibility, restraint, or respect. They give life to these wonderful, tiny children, and then turning their backs on them because, again, society tells them they can do it, pressuring their girlfriends or wives into having abortions. They are still fathers, it is just that their child has been killed.
That whole phenomena of the interaction for young people between the pressures to be sexually available, to sexually experiment, which leads to heartache, sexual disease, all kinds of dysfunction and psychological problems. It then often leads to pregnancy and the resulting abortion that's encouraged. It sets up our young people for total failure, and ruins lives.
On that aspect this is a youth movement because we are under attack.
It is also a youth movement because young people have so much to give and to offer. It's amazing what one young person can do when you give them something to be passionate about, because we want to stand up for more than ourselves. Young people have a special power to speak out, and the that energy and willingness to stand up to injustice is a beautiful thing.
Historically we see it in the United States. A lot of the civil rights movement was fueled by young people who were passionate about equality, and about making sure all people were protected and respected under the law. I think today's movement in the United States, and what we're seeing internationally, is a young movement, where people are saying that human rights are essential, and human dignity is something to fight for.
ZENIT: You're looking to bring this movement to the international forum. What motivated you to make this decision?
Rose: Live Action's emphasis is the United States, and we're going to continue that fight. We're building our operations in the United States every day, and have doubled our numbers every year for the last few years, and we'll continue to do that.
We want to build a culture of life worldwide. It starts where we're based, in the United States, but we need to extend beyond that.
The American abortion industry and lobby does not happen in a vacuum. It's extending the terrible consequences of its "abortion-first" mentality to other nations. It's an imperialistic abortion mentality, which says that African and Latin American nations are having too many children: that children are a threat, that women should be sterilized, that a woman's fertility is somehow threatening the success of other nations. There's this terrible attack that we're exporting to other countries. The Mexico City policy [a US policy prohibiting federally funded non-governmental agencies from performing or promoting abortions in other countries], which was reversed by president Obama when he first came into office as one of his first actions as president, was an exact example of this abortion imperialism. And then there are our actions with the United Nations promoting abortion and protecting abortion – even forced abortions sometimes, in countries like China – it's all such an injustice. Our work is international whether we like it or not because abortion, and the powers of the abortion industry here in the United States is international.
One of our most extensive projects has been the sexual trafficking of young girls, and exposing the link between abortion and sexual trafficking – because sexual traffickers use abortion as a way to continue their business. They rely on the sick code of confidentiality at abortion clinics and so-called reproductive health providers to get the "services" they need for their sex slaves. Human trafficking is an international phenomenon. There is human trafficking that happens between countries. In the United States there are over 300,000 girls who are sexually trafficked every year in just one estimate from the Department of Justice. It's a huge problem in the United States and beyond, as these girls are exported in. We've documented Planned Parenthood's willingness to cover up child sex trafficking, and even aid and abet it, through a series of videos that shows even their managers counseling two people (who he thinks are a pimp and a prostitute enslaving young girls) about how to get them cheaper services, and government discounted abortions.
Internationally it's a problem, and it needs an international response.