ST. MARYS — State representatives, area pastors, educational leaders and community members attended a presentation at St. Marys Area High School Friday, reaching out to youth and encouraging them to be the “pro-life generation.”

The “Students for Life” project, meant to bring people together who want to learn more about the human rights issue of abortion, welcomes people of power, students and everyday pro-life passionate people to join the sub-committee of “Life Matters.”

Mary Meyer of the SFL movement spearheaded the presentation, welcoming visitors who included Shiloh Presbyterian Church Pastor Scott Wiest, who is also the chairman of “Life Matters,” Pennsylvania State Reps. Matt Gabler and Cris Dush, U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, as well as several other Elk and Clearfield county pastors and leaders.

Meyer called the presentation a “grassroots effort,” aiming to reach young people who can be a culture that “embraces life.”

“Our youth can be educated on the human rights issue of abortion, and they can learn to debate the issue in a reasoned and civil manner,” she said. “We are here to help students become voices for the unborn and advocates for mothers in crisis pregnancies.”

Gabler said several pro-life people and groups are still trying to correct the “terrible, terrible wrong” that is abortion.

It’s “frustrating” as a lawmaker, Gabler said, to see people fighting against protecting a life, referencing he himself becoming a father since he was elected.

“You are the people leading the battle to put life back where it belongs, and I just want to thank you for that,” Gabler said. “Pennsylvania has been on the front lines of this battle, and we can be proud of that.”

Gabler spoke of three bills passed in the House this year, including the “Down Syndrome Protection Act” and the “Heartbeat Bill.”

Thompson spoke of Roe v. Wade, and referred to today’s youth as “cultural architects” who have the power of change.

“Nothing happens if there is not life,” he said. “That’s our nation’s founding culture.”

Elk County Catholic High School SFL advisor Laurey Kraus said when it comes to abortion, science is “on our side.” She showed the crowd a difficult-to-watch video of the four ways a fetus may be aborted.

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Meyer presented an overview of some of the pro-choice arguments for abortion, including rape, poverty or Down syndrome, and the adoption resources and support for pregnant women available today. “Rachel’s Vineyard” is also a post-abortion retreat facility that offers compassionate help for women and couples struggling emotionally, she said.

Since Roe v. Wade, 61,500,000 abortions have been performed in the U.S., Meyer said, which constitutes about a fifth of the population of the nation.

Because abortion is legal, there is “pressure to normalize it,” Meyer said, so students are being pulled in many directions. But, SFL groups have to be initiated by students.

Meyer also said a “March for Life” in Harrisburg has been organized for May 18, 2020. Next month, the movie “Unplanned” will be shown at ECCHS.

Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator of Students for Life of America Liana Hollendonner joined the crowd via Skype, explaining how a SFL chapter is initiated and resources available to students.

SFLA, which serves 1,200 student groups, trained 84,000 last year, said Hollendonner. Those seeking to learn more or to contribute can visit www.studentsforlifeofamerica.org.

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