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Interview with Barbara McGuigan


M: I have the privilege of speaking to literally thousands of teenagers, Father, young adults and their parents every single year. Human Life International gets all these speaking engagements set up. And I will go in and give a full day in any given high school or 8th grade; I start with the eighth grade. We do God’s Plan for Love and Live Retreats. The first part of the day focuses on God’s plan for life, and why life is sacred…what it means to be made in the image and likeness of God. Then we move into the destruction of human life and we focus mainly on abortion, a little bit on infanticide, and a little bit on euthanasia. We talk about God’s healing love and forgiveness on the aborted mother and the father who is involved in the abortion. And it is really a very full morning. We break for lunch and in the afternoon we focus on God’s Plan for Love. And I talk about what a great gift from God their sexuality is. And of course the big focus is on chastity. I do not even like to use the term abstinence, it is a negative term. I would rather talk about the beautiful, Christian virtue of chastity. So that is kind of it in a nutshell, six hours in a nutshell.

P: How do we present the tragedy of abortion to the young? And what is often asked in religious education circles, how early in their training should we begin to teach them about abortion?

M: I think from the minute that they can walk and talk they need to understand that life is sacred…that all life comes from God and that we belong to God. Now you see I had the great privilege and still do of being the oldest of eleven children. My parents are the most saintly, wonderful parents you could ever meet. And I guess I think back, and my mom and dad had me first, and then I had five brothers after me. We always prayed so many rosaries that I would have a baby sister. Finally the Blessed Mother gave me a baby sister on Christmas Day; it was my first baby sister. So my point is that from the time that I was a very small child, and all of my brothers and sisters thereafter, we saw life as sacred, because every time my mother brought home new baby, my mom said I am bringing home another person to love you. We saw the inseparable connection between love and life…life begetting love, love begetting life. So from the time I was a tiny kid I saw the sanctity of human life.

So as far as presenting abortion, I would say probably junior high, was pretty much the time when my own children were exposed to this horrific crime of abortion. I show a video called "The Harder Truth," that possibly you are familiar with. My retreats start in the 8th grade. And so I show them "Harder Truth." In the eighth grade at the Parent Night, the night before, I get permission from the parents to show it to their students. In high school I generally do not need to get permission from the parents.

P: Do most of them give that permission?

M: I have been speaking for 18 years, I haven’t always shown "The Harder Truth," but other movies like "Silent Scream", "Eclipse of Reason," what was the first one, "Matter of Choice." I have only been refused in the 8th grade, I would say 3 times to show the film. It’s the way in which we present it to the parents. I was in Kansas, a wonderful, holy priest brought me in because the high school would not pay to fly me in. And this holy priest paid for me to come. And that morning I began to speak to all of the grades. They would not permit me to give a retreat unfortunately. But they would permit me to speak for every hour during the day, for two days. So the first whole day I spoke on Life, second day Love. And the first time I showed the film, one of the teachers became very upset, and said this film will not be shown in this high school again. Well I saw the chaplain kind of pacing in the back of the room, and I said please God, you know, give him the courage. Because he and only he would have the authority to override her decision. And I knew that he was pacing and praying, probably for courage. And so he came up to me and said, you know, I hear the confessions in this school, and this film will be shown. And I said, "thank Jesus!" And the teacher, God love her, she came up and apologized to me the next day, and she said I am really sorry, I was really more concerned about what some of the parents might say to me for permitting their students to go to the movie.

P: Thank you Barbara.

M: God Bless you, thank you too.



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