"It's not necessary, it's barbaric!"
With these words, guest speaker Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, silenced a gymnasium full of students at John Carroll High School here.
The bleachers were packed to maximum capacity for the pro-life assembly held Oct. 15.
Father Pavone is an expert on abortion and life issues. He spent nearly an hour educating the students of John Carroll on the facts pertaining to abortion and added many real life stories.
"The definition of abortion is the "termination of life" rather than a termination of pregnancy," Father Pavone said, pointing out that giving birth is a termination of pregnancy.
Every day, 4,400 abortions take place, or one every 20 seconds, he said. The students seemed shocked at this statistic.
"Did you know that abortion is legal up until the moment the head is delivered?" There was silence.
"If we continue to believe that 'freedom of choice' allows us to murder children, then we are no longer following the basic principles on which this country was founded."
After explaining that abortion is legal until the end of the third trimester, Father Pavone remarked that the president of the United States allows partial-birth abortion despite the fact that legions of doctors have rebuked the procedure. "It's not necessary, It's barbaric."
Father Pavone was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of New York in 1988. He formed the Priests for Life organization to educate and encourage priests to become more active in the life issues, including abortion and euthanasia. In1993, he became the organization's director.
During his visit to South Florida, Father Pavone also spoke to students at Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach and Pope John Paul II High School Boca Raton.
Father Pavone discussed the personal trauma that an abortion brings to a mother. He said that he has spoken with women who still have nightmares up to 60 years after the procedure.
He recalled one woman with whom he had spoken, but added, "I'm not going to tell you her nightmare, because it would give you one."
Throughout the assembly, Father Pavone emphasized that help is available to pregnant women.
"Anyone from anywhere who is ever pregnant, and does not want to destroy the child, can get help," Father Pavone said. "Let these people come, the help is available now, we will not abandon them."
He ended the assembly with a question and answer session with the students. Every question was answered completely and clearly. When later asked if he has ever not known an answer to a question, the priest answered flatly, "No." He smiled.
"I take my studies seriously. My main goal is to help people be aware that abortion is the most urgent moral issue of our day— we need to work to end it."
Katrina Bichler its a senior at John Carroll High School in Fort Pierce.