Meet Lia. She’s twelve. She lives in Toronto. And her powerful video, has become a YouTube sensation in just two weeks. More than 330,000 viewers have watched this seventh-grader make the case for life in a speech that almost didn’t happen. As her mother Kimberly explains, “Several teachers discouraged her from picking the topic of abortion; she was told it was ‘too big,’ ‘too mature’ and ‘too controversial.'”
That’s not all Lia was told. Her mother adds, “She was also told that if she went ahead with that topic, she would not be allowed to continue on in the speech competition.” But faced with taking on such a Goliath-sized issue, and in spite of the warnings from her teachers that she might be disqualified from the contest, Lia’s pro-life convictions prevailed. In the video, Lia starts by asking, “What if I told you that right now someone was choosing if you were going to live or die? What if I told you that this choice wasn’t based on what you could or couldn’t do, what you had done in the past, or what you would do in the future? And what if I told you that you could do nothing about it? Fellow students and teachers, thousands of children are right now in that very situation.”
Lia’s pro-choice teacher was impressed by her speech and, having had a change of heart, permitted Lia to participate in the competition. An amazing drama unfolded when Lia competed in front of the entire student body. Evidently, according to one report, rather than sit through and listen to Lia’s presentation, one of the judges stepped down before she began. Undistracted by the dissension at the judges table, Lia proceeded with her well-rehearsed speech.
According to her father, both the school principal and the teachers who witnessed her speech believed Lia was the clear winner. Even so, the remaining judges disqualified Lia citing the controversial nature of her topic as well as her position on the subject. That’s when yet another twist occurred. For reasons that are not clear, the judges reversed their decision and declared Lia the winner. She, in turn, moved on to compete and represent her school in a regional debate.
While she didn’t win in the next round, Lia wasn’t discouraged. Her mother explained why in this emailed update after the event: “Lia wasn’t really that upset though, especially when she considered that the only difference between winning the competition and not winning was having a couple extra pictures taken and being given a small trophy.”
Kimberly added that there was plenty of reason for her daughter to rejoice: “Lia has a much bigger trophy somebody commented to us on our YouTube account that her aunt watched the video and decided to NOT have an abortion because of it. Yay God! Others have commented that they either never thought of the issue before or were pro-choice but now they have changed their opinions. So, having a life saved is the best trophy ever!”
I couldn’t agree more. The boldness and passion of this Canadian preteen is infectious. Pray that Lia’s inspiring call to celebrate all life will continue to have an international impact in the days ahead.