WASHINGTON – Tens of thousands of students on more than 4,000 campuses around the world are hoping that their silence on Tuesday will lend a voice to the unborn.
Over 200,000 students from Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada, among others, will participate in Pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity to bring attention to what many pro-lifers have referred to as the "abortion holocaust."
A study published in the medical newspaper The Lancet earlier this month reported that one in five pregnancies will end in abortion and 90 percent of women worldwide will have an abortion before the age of 45
In the United States, Bryan Kemper, founder and president of Stand True Ministries, the Christian pro-life group spearheading the Pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity, says the battle against abortion is one that belongs to the youth.
"This is their generation that is being killed off," Kemper told The Christian Post. "This is their fight and their battle."
Students on Tuesday will remain silent throughout the day and pass out educational flyers to anyone who asks why they are silent. They also have the option of wearing red armbands or placing red duct tape with the word “LIFE” over their mouths – a protesting ritual borrowed from Bound for Life, another pro-life group.
Many homeschooled students have also registered to participate and will go to pass out material at local malls.
Kemper said the silent protest usually gets "huge attention."
"It really has been effective," he said. "Everybody wants to know why they are doing it."
The number of campuses participating this year has more than tripled since last year’s protest and has increased by more than ten times since the event was first observed in 2004. An average of 50 students per school lent their silence toward upholding the sanctity of life.
But while the silence is intended to raise abortion awareness, Kemper said students shouldn’t be "legalistic" about their silence since it is through talking that most students considering abortion change their minds.
A number of girls are expected to cancel their abortion appointments after talking to students during the day of protest, as has been the case in past years.
Kemper said already one girl has changed her mind against aborting her pregnancy even though this year’s protest doesn’t take place until Tuesday. According to Kemper, the girl had been listening to the music and reading the information presented on the ministry’s MySpace Website.
"I had tears in my eyes," Kemper said as he recalled the moment last week when he received the girl’s message. "Every time we hear that, it reinforces that everything we do is worth it. There is someone who is going to live now."
While the pro-life leader has dedicated 15 full-time years toward protecting life, he doesn’t take any credit for the lives of the unborn that are saved as a result of his efforts.
"I believe that I have never saved a single baby’s life," said Kemper. "I believe that God does that."
He added, "We’ve been so thankful that God has used us as a tool."
Although there have been victories for those taking part in the protest, there have also been many challenges.
Some students are yelled at or ostracized for standing up for their beliefs.
"We actually get more reports from students who get harassed by school teachers and staff than by students," said Kemper.
He added that Christian legal group Alliance Defense Fund will be available to defend students’ freedom of speech should the need arise.
Other challenges stem from mobilizing the youth to be "Christians on more than just Wednesday and Sunday nights," according to Kemper.
He said he hoped this generation would model after Queen Esther, who – as a very young woman – had risked her life by entering the king’s court in order to speak out for her generation.
And that is what Stand True Ministries strives for, said Kemper. The group’s mission statement says the group "is committed to educate, equip and activate young people to stand up and be a voice for their generation."
"I believe that God is going to use this generation, this young people, to bring an end to the tragedy of 4,000 people dying everyday," said Kemper, referring to the number of abortions that have been induced daily in the United States since 1973 – when the Supreme Court deemed abortion a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution.