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The News Record

Sunday, September 17, 1995
Gillette, Wyoming

The Rev. Frank Pavone instructs local youths on what it means to be "pro-life"

Kids learn pro-life message

By DEB HOLBERT News-Record Writer

April Nicholson and Katie Johnson now know what to say when the topic of abortion comes up. The two were among about 20 youths who received tips Saturday from the Rev. Frank Pavone on how to promote the pro-life movement. Pavone was one of several speakers scheduled during the state Right Life convention in Gillette this weekend.

"I talk with my friends and I get so angry because I can't express myself," Nicholson said. "After a while conversation isn't even about abortion any more. I want to do something, but I don't know how." Johnson said she knows people who have had abortions and in the future would like to be able to talk someone else out of it. "I want to learn how to stand up to abortionists," she said.

Pavone first spoke to a group of about 45 people, giving them tips on how to deal with the opposition. He later narrowed the group down to just the youths for some role playing. He let a few of them lead him through one-on-one conversations where he played the role of someone who was pro-choice, said they didn't care or was somewhere in the middle. Justin Black, 11, said he'd ask, "Isn't the nine months or whatever worth the 19 or 20 years of happiness with that child?"

"That's good," Pavone said. "You could even extend it to the length of their lifespan."

Meagan Black, 14, said pro-life activists must remember to be assertive, but not challenging. "You don't want to break the person down." Black said most of the time she's talking to someone who was raised to believe that abortions are O.K.

"It's their parents who are talking for them or their boyfriend's opinion," she said.

"It's a sensitive topic," Johnson said.

"You get a violent reaction a lot of the time," Nicholson added.

The teens said it's a topic that comes up more frequently the older they get. Although their stand may not always be popular, they are being taught to hold their ground.

"It's like one of those things when you're all sitting around and one of your friends is getting picked on," Meagan Black said. "Somebody has to stand up for the baby."

Justin Black said as a sixth-grader the topic of abortion doesn't come up much among his friends, but he thinks about it.

"I think about it as if it was one of my friends that I know now," he said. "What if they were one of the abortions? I wouldn't have them around now."

Stella Schneider, president of Teens for Life in Cheyenne, said what's important to remember when talking to people about the pro-life stance is "always be kind."

The teen is trying to expand the group and thought the Right to Life convention would be a good way to spread the word.

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