12 Students Gain Pro-Life Skills at ‘Launch’

Ashley Sadler

Communications Director

Every spring break, pro-life students between the ages of 16–21 participate in Launch, Oregon Right to Life’s annual four-day, three-night youth leadership retreat.

This year, 12 incredible students joined us for this exciting event, gaining the practical guidance and instruction necessary to help them become vital members of the pro-life movement. 

Each Launch participant engaged with an intellectually rigorous apologetics training, learning how to effectively oppose abortion and euthanasia. Pro-life speakers from groups including Equal Rights Institute, Secular Pro-Life, and Physicians for Compassionate Care led the classes, giving our students a well-rounded education in all aspects of pro-life dialogue and advocacy.

But the training didn’t end there. Our students immediately put their instruction into action through dozens of dialogues with pro-choice people.

On Day 3, students helped our facilitators set up a table at the University of Portland, where they engaged in pro-life outreach to share the inherent dignity, value, and rights of the unborn through conversations with people who believe abortion should remain legal.

Our students told us they had felt a bit uneasy about engaging with pro-choice people ahead of the outreach. But they said those fears mostly dissolved when they got onto campus and started having conversations.

One student, Charlotte, shared that she had been “absolutely terrified” to speak with pro-choice people about abortion. However, she said it became an incredible opportunity to listen to them and “explain why I stand for life.”

“Ultimately it was just a very great conversation with them,” she said.

“Before going to this outreach I was really nervous,” another student, Selene, told us. “I felt like I wasn’t going to do great.” She said she had seen online videos of debates about abortion that become “really ugly,” but “was surprised to find that that didn’t happen” at the University of Portland.

“It went really well,” she said.

Jayla emphasized that the outreach effort helped her put into practice what she and the other students had learned in the classroom during the previous days at Launch.

“It’s one thing to learn about it and to receive knowledge on the whole topic, but it’s another to actually exercise it on campus with kids that are firm in pro-choice [beliefs] and to just hear them out,” she said. “It went really well, I learned a lot, and met some new people!”

“It went really well, I learned a lot, and met some new people!”

The success of the campus outreach is a testament to the excellent training provided to our students, who came to Launch in a variety of ways and with differing levels of prior involvement with the pro-life movement. 

Charlotte told us she was encouraged to apply by one of her teachers. Matthew learned about Launch through a sibling who attended previously. Gabriel said this was the first time he’d ever taken part in a pro-life event.

Jayla shared that she first heard about Launch at Oregon Right to Life’s annual pro-life conference, Together We Advocate, which she said she attends every year. At the time she heard about Launch, she was just 15 – too young to participate. As soon as she was old enough, she said she was ready and eager to take part in the program.

“When I was 16, I applied for Launch and got accepted,” she said. “I love all the information and it’s super fun.”

“I love all the information and it’s super fun.”

Our students said that Launch made them feel better prepared to spread the message far and wide about the value of human life.

Gabriel, who said he came to Launch to learn how to defend his pro-life views, feels that the four-day retreat helped him to do just that. 

“This outreach has helped me to speak better to complete strangers, people I’ve never met before… and talk to them about important topics like abortion,” he said.

“I feel way more equipped to go off into the real world with these skill sets I’ve learned in the past few days,” Matthew told us.

“I feel way more equipped to go off into the real world with these skill sets I’ve learned in the past few days.”

“I’ve always been interested in defending the pro-life movement and defending unborn children, but I’ve never felt really confident in my ability to do so,” Charlotte shared. She said Launch helped her to not only strengthen her own belief that the unborn have a right to life, “but also tell other people why I believe it.”

We’re so proud of our Launch students and extend our warmest congratulations to them for successfully completing the program. We also send along our best wishes for their success with any and all future pro-life efforts, groups, and outreaches they may choose to engage with. Past Launch graduates have started pro-life student groups or become volunteers with pregnancy resource centers, and some have even gotten involved in the political side of pro-life advocacy by promoting life-affirming legislation. 

In whatever way they choose to help, Launch graduates are a powerful force to help spread the pro-life message.


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