Students at over 3,000 schools in 29 countries are participating in a 24-hour period of silence Tuesday to remember the 50 million unborn children that have been aborted since 1973.
As Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity commences, the Alliance Defense Fund says it is committed to defending U.S. students who may be harassed during the quiet demonstration.
Pro-Life Day founder Bryan Kemper says the day is traditionally about kids expressing their solidarity with the pro-life movement.
"This is their way to participate in the pro-life movement," he said.
Students typically wear arm bands or a strip of red duct tape over their mouths. Pro-life T-shirts and fliers are also passed out and booths are set up at schools during the annual day.
"We encourage kids to be creative," said Kemper.
However, retaliation has also become a part of the tradition. Students bearing taped mouths have sometimes had to endure ridicule, torment and insults from fellow students. Kemper says some students can expect to be censored by teachers and school administrators.
"Yes, a lot of public schools will try to take away students rights," he said, noting that he has heard of students being remanded detention or even sent home.
"Many students have been told to turn their pro-life shirts inside out," he added.
ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman says he has heard of similar infringements.
"In several cases, students were prohibited from passing out pro-life fliers, from wearing arm bands, from wearing the pro-life shirts," he said.
The Christian legal firm has an intake system to take students' calls and has published a letter online reminding students of their rights.
"It's important that students know that the [U.S.] Supreme Court ruled 40 years ago that their freedom of speech accompanies them to school," said Cortman.
The possibility of legal trouble has not dampened the spirit of the day. Kemper's event page has over 40,000 members. Several have commented on the page's wall with their plans for the day.
One person writes, "This is my first year wearing the tape on my mouth. I just hope that I won't get into too much trouble with my middle school teachers."
Another wrote, "I am wearing the red tape on my mouth while attending my two university lectures at an 80 percent pro-choice populated school. Wish me luck!"
Kempt says the silent holiday is making an impact on those considering an abortion.
"Last year we had, that we know of, 80 women who canceled abortions," said Kempt. "Two of those, one was a student and the other one was a teacher."
Pro-Life Day began in 2004 and is sponsored by Stand True Ministries. Over 3,320 home school, grade school and colleges have registered to participate from the U.S., Germany, Canada, Australia, Ecuador, France, the U.K. and Turkey. Several individuals, businesses and ministries have also registered to participate.
On the Web: http://www.silentday.org/