Members of Stand True Pro-Life Outreach spent the summer traveling across the country dropping information like a gang of Johnny Appleseeds. They swung through Buffalo in mid-August to pray, protest and participate in a pro-life weekend.
Bryan Kemper, speaker and activist, founded Stand True in Troy, Ohio, with the goal of educating, activating and equipping this generation to be the voice that finally ends abortion in America.
Education comes through informing young adults on the issue of abortion and training them in sidewalk counseling. Their skills are activated when they hit the streets. They attend conferences, protests and music festivals to deliver their message.
"We pick different events that will have different types of audiences," said Kemper. "It's interesting to see, because when we're in the office and we're doing the practice debates, they get flustered, but the minute they get out on the streets, it starts to come naturally for them."
They even go to Planned Parenthood events and greet the attendees with the message that life is sacred at all stages.
"When Planned Parenthood took a photo of (House Minority Leader) Nancy Pelosi and put it on their Facebook, all of us were in the background with images of the aborted child. It said, 'Abortion is Murder' in the Planned Parenthood photo. It was great," said Kemper.
Australian native Joshua Clubb, 23, one of the Stand True interns, joined after hearing Kemper speak at Melbourne's March for Babies last October. He has Skyped with activist/filmmaker Jason Jones and David Bereit of 40 Days for Life, and had face-to-face meetings with activists Alveda King, Janet Moranda and Kevin Burke from Rachel's Vineyard.
Clubb runs a pro-life youth group called Youth for Life. He is planning a march in October to protest Marie Stopes International, the Planned Parenthood of the United Kingdom.
"The main thing is getting the message out. Abortion isn't talked about in Australia. Most people don't know that in the state of Victoria it is legal for all nine months. We need to get people aware of that and go on from there," he said.
Kemper raised awareness to abortion Down Under last year, when he made headlines for getting beat up during a protest, which he said "backfired on the pro-abortion movement there."
"It was the first time the pro-life movement got such media coverage throughout the whole country. It kind of lit a fire under the pro-lifers. Due to the hard work of some of the MPs there, the police were investigated and have had to issue an assurance that they will give full protection to pro-lifers this year. Last year, the police stood by and watched us get beat up," Kemper said.
"They were told not to get involved," added Clubb. "From that, abortion laws got out and even pro-choicers were saying, 'Well, this isn't good.'"
Katelyn Prain, 20, from Oxford, Mich., had volunteered at a problem pregnancy center in her hometown. She did odd jobs like helping with auction and cleaning baby bottles. She wanted more involvement.
"When I heard Bryan talk in Michigan, I was really inspired to do something more, and step outside of my comfort zone. For a while I really wrestled with my will and God's will. I didn't really want to give up my summer." Once she applied for the internship, she felt at peace. "This is where I need to be."
The internship drew to a close by the end of summer, and the volunteers headed home to continue the work they started.
"The main point of it is just to get young people an overview of the pro-life movement, so they can find out where they can do the most good," said Clubb.
Kemper spoke at the St. Gianna Molla Pregnancy Outreach banquet and diocesan Youth Convention last February. He asked Cheryl Calire, director of Pro-Life Activities for the diocese, if he and his crew of five interns could make Buffalo one of his stops on their tour.
They arrived the night of Sunday, Aug. 10, and left the next day. During their brief stay they prayed in front of the Women's Services Clinic on Main Street, toured the Catholic Center, attended Mass at St. Louis Church, and visited St. Gianna's to "see the fruits of the prayers and the work that they do," said Calire.
They closed out their visit at Our Lady of Victory Basilica. Calire praises OLV founder, Venerable Nelson H. Baker for his example to the Pro-Life Movement.
"(He was) one of the first clergy in our diocese that was actively pro-life by literally putting a bassinet outside the rectory door, so that women could leave their children there if they decided they didn't want to parent them," Calire said. "He would see to it that they would get adopted into a home."