"Today's youth no longer have ideals: they do not believe in anything. They no longer have the strength, the enthusiasm, the desire to change the world." I often hear this complaint.
I don’t even know if among you readers there are those who also think this way. In such case, today I will try to make you change your mind.
It is true that many kids are disheartened and aren’t able to fight or are left to go numb by frivolous fun and empty plans.
And yet, there are still some youth who loves, fights, and hopes. I had the honor of meeting some. In fact, I had the honor of meeting an entire slew of youth who, united, defend what they believe in for free.
I'm talking about the University students for life, a group of students who, each according to their field of study, tries to promote respect for life, beginning in the womb.
We at Family and Media met them to talk about what they do. Responding to us, we have Chiara, the president, and Fabio, a collaborator.
"University students for life," one name, one mission. Who are you and what do you do?
We define ourselves as a group of friends who share the same ideal: to defend life from conception to natural death. We think it is necessary to make culture and promote information in universities. We write articles to defend life from all points of view (scientific, philosophical, legal...), depending on the scope of each of our own expertise. We organize training courses with experts, and we set up events and cultural initiatives (concerts, conferences). We provide informational brochures for the students we meet and show them the characteristics of a fetus at 12 weeks. We are working on the preparation of detailed brochures on abortion and euthanasia, and we would like to take action in the faculty councils to ensure that pregnant students have more amenities, so that maternity is protected in the university.
When and why was your movement started?
The University Students for Life was born two years ago, quite spontaneously. “After having participated in the March for Life in Rome,” says the founder of the movement, Chiara, “I was amazed by the number of associations present. However, there was not a group of pro-life students. Hence the idea of the University Students for Life, the first group of young people in Italy who spread the culture for life in the places of study and education: school and university . The first initiative was a handing out leaflets to the Faculty of Law at Roma Tre University. I still remember that day well: a friend of mine was supposed to support me in the activity, but because of an unexpected event, at the last moment, he couldn’t come. I decided to start anyway, alone, even though I was a bit in difficulty, of course. Not even ten minutes later a friend of mine approached me, whom I had not seen for quite some time and began to give me a hand. She called her other friends. In a few minutes we had grown. I took it as a sign: the important thing is to begin. Then everything else comes on its own. Today the movement has already reached many Italian cities."
On what basis is your message founded?
As an association we are non-denominational: the "life issue" is not just about faith, but about common sense and the reason that every human being is endowed with. We believe that there is a natural law inscribed in the heart of man: "do not kill the innocent," and we think that the right to life is justifiable rationally, without necessarily bringing religion into the argument.
In our group you may find agnostic and atheistic people and they are certainly not the only ones: some time ago we reported an article that talks about an atheist pro-life woman, an American lawyer, named Kelsey Hazzard.
As for the formation, our book guide is the one written by Mario Palmaro (teacher and bioethicist, who died a few years ago): Abortion & 194, phenomenology of an unjust law, (Editor: SugarCo, 2008) characterized by its clarity and simplicity.
How many times have we heard from the supporters of the pro-life world the phrase: "Personally, I am against abortion but in favor of the law 194 (which has legalized abortion in Italy)."
Logic would demand that, if you are against abortion, you cannot be in favor of a law that allows it. In this book, this standpoint is promoted quite well.
You also have your own Facebook page , where you usually publish concise, clear, and incisive phrases...
On our Facebook page we prefer celebrity quotes, memes, or photos because they are very direct and make people reflect without the "effort" of having to read heavy texts, which by their nature can be challenging. We live in a time when it is crucial that synthesis and content are combined so that the message reaches as many people as possible. On our web site, however, we also report, naturally, on news articles (at national and international levels) and present reflections on various issues.
Surely, you will be considered "extremists" by many, because abortion is increasingly seen as a right...
Yes, many consider us extremists, because we question the validity of that presumed right. In our opinion, before talking about "the right to choose", we must ask ourselves what this right derives from. We urge everyone to ask himself or herself the question: What kind of nature lies in the womb after conception? Because if the child conceived is a mere object then anyone can exercise all the powers that belong to the owner of an object. If it is instead - as it is! - a human being, living, with his individuality, his very personal DNA, completely different and distinct from the maternal organism that hosts him, then it comes by itself that he has an inalienable right to life that far exceeds a possible "right of choice."
An on-going debate, and yet if we are pro-life we must be silent. Recently, we at Family and Media published an article in which we highlighted the difficulties in terms of freedom of expression that confronts those who defend life from conception. Do you also feel the weight of censorship? Can you give some examples?
Unfortunately we know well what you are talking about. We too have had the opportunity to come in contact with certain "tolerant," "peaceful," and "democratic" feminist groups that fight against those who are pro-life. There was no lack of heavy insults, death threats, and morbid jokes (as well as jokes of poor taste), especially on social media. We do not report examples of these rants only out of respect for our readers. However, the climax of this violence was manifested, last October 9 at the Department of Humanities and Philosophy of La Sapienza University in Rome, where extremist groups literally attacked us, ripping away all our leaflets and squandering the food we had brought to share with the students (the facts were reported by some national newspapers). In the days previous, these same groups took to the streets to fight violence against women. Yes, after having "raised their hands" towards girls who had an idea different from theirs. Yes, it is like saying "you are free to think as you want…as long as you think like me."
What to say to those who want to join you?
First of all, I would thank them because finding young people willing to fight for these ideals is not easy. Then I would say to them the famous phrase of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.: "Our lives begin to end the day when we become silent about things that matter."
I would invite them not to be discouraged if everything seems to go against them and that if the truth is on their side, even though it is supported only by a small group of people, they will eventually overcome.
A message you want to send to those who read about you...
We pray especially to you young people: do not let yourself be anesthetized by this culture of death (disguised as alleged compassion and freedom), which, however dominant, is inhumane, dehumanizing and unjust! Have the courage to go against the tide, to think with your head. Find again within yourself the desire to live and the passion that can make you excellent and effective fighters in a society that needs it so much! Be the voice of the voiceless and defend what good and beautiful is left in the world , without ever compromising, which will do nothing but harm you. For those who are already fighting for life: do not give up! You are not alone! What you fight for is a noble cause, and you must be proud of it! Wherever you are, join us because together we are stronger and we can get to the heart of more people, although sometimes the good seems buried and dormant by a dense blanket of ideology, comfort, or indifference.