Students in more than 3,000 schools will stick on the familiar red tape over their mouths on Tuesday to stand up for the thousands who are silenced every day by abortion.
The Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity is in its sixth year and is a powerful testament to the widespread pro-life attitude among teens and young adults.
"It's our way of speaking for those who can't," Brittany Shepherd, 15, of Challenger High School in Hickory, N.C., told the Hickory Daily Record. "It's to show our respect to those who didn't get to live."
Adorned with red arm bands and duct tape that say "Life," thousands of students from public schools and homeschools will distribute fliers explaining why they are silent and to educate their peers and others about the more than 50 million babies that have been aborted since the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.
Bryan Kemper, founder and president of Stand True Ministries, which is behind the pro-life day, explained that the students' refusal to speak on Tuesday would "create a huge buzz" and make abortion the most talked about subject on campus.
Applauding the young participants for "taking a stand, denying apathy and being a bold witness for life," he said, "This generation is fed up with the senseless violence of abortion [and] is determined to bring an end the abortion holocaust."
Recent surveys have revealed a slip in support for abortion. A Pew Research Center survey, conducted in August, found that the percentage of Americans who support legalized abortion dropped from 54 percent in previous years to 47 percent this year. Opposition to abortion grew from 40 percent to 44 percent. A May survey conducted by Gallup showed that for the first time since it began polling Americans in 1995 on abortion, the majority of Americans (51 percent) call themselves "pro-life" while 42 say they are "pro-choice."
The Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity began in 2004 when a student from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, La., asked Kemper, "What can I do to work with other students around the country, in solidarity, to help end abortion?"
Since then, the annual event has spread to 25 countries and hundreds of girls have canceled their abortions as a result, according to the organization. Last year, students at more than 4,800 campuses remained silent and helped save at least 56 babies from being aborted.
"Hearts are being changed, babies are being saved, and women are being spared the trauma of post-abortive pain," Kemper says. "People are coming together in unity to promote a culture of life. Personhood is being restored on campuses across the nation."
Participating students have been instructed to be respectful to teachers and other school officials. Those who are prohibited from silently expressing their pro-life stance will have access to attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund for legal help.
"The U.S. Supreme Court ruled nearly 40 years ago that students do not shed their First Amendment right to free speech when they enter the schoolhouse gate," ADF Litigation Counsel Delia van Loenen has said. "That still holds true today."
Stand True Ministries educates, equips and activates young people to be a voice for their generation. The group believes "abortion is the act of killing a human person and it is always wrong without exceptions."
It is more focused on changing hearts than changing laws. Its mission statement reads, "We believe that the only true way to end abortion is to turn hearts to Christ."
On the Web: http://www.silentday.org/