Prayer, trust and a willingness to be used by God are among the most important tools in working to defend the dignity of every human life, said Lila Rose, founder of the pro-life organization Live Action.
“When we say 'yes' to His will, it will take us on an adventure that we could have never imagined,” Rose said in the Jan. 17 talk at the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C.
A 24-year-old Catholic convert, Rose was raised in a large, pro-life family. She discovered the truth about abortion at age 9, when she found a book about the procedure in her parents' house.
The experience stuck with her, and as she learned more about the scourge of abortion through the words of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, she “couldn't think of a greater injustice” facing the world.
Feeling called by Christ to care for the “least of these,” especially, “our unborn brothers and sisters,” Rose turned to God, asking Him to “use me somehow to save some lives.”
“We’re not meant to be passive people of faith,” Rose said, explaining that “we’re meant to use our gifts for God.”
A combination of prayer and surrender to the will of God led Rose to start what would become Live Action – a group dedicated to exposing the abuses and lies of the abortion industry – at age 15 with a group of friends in her parents’ living room.
When Rose went to UCLA for her undergraduate degree, she took Live Action with her. Finding few resources for pregnant women on campus, she conducted her first undercover operation, pretending to be pregnant to see whether the university health clinic would be supportive of her having a baby.
The clinic workers pushed strongly for abortion, while telling her that she may not receive any support if she chose to keep her baby. Rose wrote about this experience in “The Advocate,” a publication that she founded, which now has a national collegiate circulation of more than 200,000 readers.
Rose then went undercover at her local Planned Parenthood, posing as a young teenager who was the victim of statutory rape. She secretly filmed the visit, in which clinic employees agreed to help cover up the rape.
The video spread rapidly, receiving 25,000 views on YouTube in less than a week. When Planned Parenthood threatened her with a lawsuit, Rose again found herself driven to her knees, relying on the power of prayer.
“We have to trust our God to attempt to do what we think He wants us to do,” she emphasized.
Soon, pro-bono lawyers came to her defense, and Rose was able to launch Live Action as a national organization. She went on to conduct further undercover investigative journalism, discovering that while Planned Parenthood brands itself as a “pro-woman” organization, it cooperates with sex-selective abortions, racism, human trafficking and other forms of sexual abuse.
Through her experiences, Rose has come to understand the gravity of abortion in the United States.
“We are in the middle of a great holocaust, great genocide,” she said, “and it’s branded as 'choice,' 'freedom,' 'empowerment.'”
Rose stressed that the fight to end abortion is “a spiritual battle as much as it is a physical battle.”
In fighting the culture of death, she said, “what we need to do is re-catechize ourselves” and turn to prayer and the sacraments.
Faith is critical to Rose, who entered the Catholic Church three-and-a-half years ago. She reflected on her love for the Virgin Mary, the ultimate pro-life model who accepted God’s will for her child with complete love and acceptance.
Action is also an essential part of the fight, she said, explaining that this “can mean a lot of things,” including not only the pro-life work of Live Action and other groups, but also “living out a love of neighbor,” and living a life of integrity, particularly “sexual integrity.”
Above all, Rose emphasized, “the most important thing we can do is pray.”
“We all know that we are very, very weak,” she explained, “but with God, who is all powerful and all strong, anything is possible.”