Pop Culture

‘Spy Kids’ actress Alexa PenaVega: Churches should embrace, not shun, unmarried pregnant women

During an interview with Christine Yeargin, host of Students for Life’s “Speak Out” podcast, “Spy Kids” and Hallmark actress Alexa PenaVega shared her passion for the pro-life cause and spoke specifically about how the pro-life movement and the Church can help women who face unplanned pregnancies — whether they choose life or abortion.

Pregnancy outside of marriage

PenaVega acknowledged that becoming pregnant when you are young or unmarried is “terrifying.” There’s a “manipulative” pro-abortion narrative coming from the abortion industry that tells pregnant teens and young women that they won’t be able to find success in a career if they have a baby. That was true for actress Jamie Lynn Spears, who was pressured to abort her daughter when she was 16 years old.

“I remember when Jamie Lynn Spears got pregnant, people were bagging on her … And I remember, at the time, instead of my mom being like, ‘Can you believe it!?’ she was like, ‘Good for her. She’s keeping the baby and she went public about it,'” recalled PenaVega. “Instead of like ‘Oh my gosh, at 15 she was sleeping around’ or whatever — ‘Like do you know what it takes to be in the limelight at 15 years old and come out and make the decision that I’m keeping my baby? And yeah, I got pregnant and I made an uh oh, but this uh oh will now be my miracle.'”



PenaVega feels that “a major mistake” in some churches is that they reject girls like Spears, who become pregnant out of wedlock and likely feel scared and alone.

“Within the Church, and not all churches, but within the Church when girls get kicked out for getting pregnant, obviously for having sex before marriage — are you kidding me? That doesn’t make any sense to me. If anything, that’s the time that you bring that girl in and you love on her and you just go, you know, ‘Thank you for choosing life instead of covering this up and hiding it. Thank you for bringing this blessing into the world.’ … ‘Let’s figure out how we can get the dad involved if the dad is still around. Let’s figure out how we can build you guys up and teach you how to be a family unit instead of outcasting you.'”

She went on to share a personal story of such a situation in which a teen girl in her own church community became pregnant. Instead of shaming her, the congregation loved her. When the girl’s public high school refused to let her walk at graduation because she was pregnant, the church had her wear her cap and gown to church on Sunday morning and held a graduation just for her.

“So I guess my question is,” said PenaVega, “would they have allowed her to walk that graduation if she aborted her pregnancy because that no longer meant she was pregnant?” She added, “[Jesus] didn’t like the things that were happening, but He loved the people and He loved them enough to tell them the truth but without casting them out.”

Post-abortive women

When it comes to women who do choose to have an abortion, PenaVega urges pro-lifers not to turn away from them, either.

“I think most people think we’re going to automatically cut [post-abortive women] off or make them feel like bad people, but… they’re going to need even more love and care. And… for anybody listening right now who has felt maybe defeated because they’ve tried to help somebody and they ended up going through with [the abortion], please still show up for them because they’re going to need so much love and guidance, and they’re probably scared. They might not admit it, but they’re still going to need to know that, regardless of the decision that they made, even if you don’t like it, you have to try to show up for them because if we care about life, we care about all life.”

PenaVega said she has both friends and family members who have gone through abortions. She said she tells them, “Look, I love you. I love you. I disagree with you wholeheartedly and it hurts me that you’ve gone through with these things, but it doesn’t change the fact that I love you and I’m gonna try to be here for you … whether it’s to pick you up or be your friend or talk you through it…”

In dealing with abortion, she says we are dealing with the enemy. Abortion has become akin to throwing away a piece of paper, she said, and some abortion advocates are now advocating for killing babies after birth as well.

“So we’re clearly on another level and I think that’s where we get into a lot of demonic crazy territory crap. I mean, the fact that the satanic church pays for so many people to have abortions — they call them ‘ritual abortions’ — it just shows you. Well if these are ritual abortions that are considered sacrifices, you have to be alive to have a sacrifice. So it is human life because they’re sacrificing human life in these abortion rituals.”

Pro-life in Hollywood

It isn’t easy to be pro-life in general, but a career in film, television, or music can be destroyed in a flash if a person comes out as pro-life. Despite the risk, PenaVega has never backed down from her pro-life stance and has been able to continue to find success in the industry. She said she feels that she is exactly where God wants her to be and she will continue to speak out against abortion.

“I’m not gonna waver,” she said. “A couple mean tweets or mean people online aren’t going to change my mind on where I stand and I think it’s just knowing that and standing confidently in that, there’s a power that I just can’t explain. It’s like you feel untouchable at that point because it doesn’t matter what people do. They can cancel you. They can hurt you. They can say mean things, but you know you’re making the right choice and you’re standing in the right place.”

Women’s empowerment

PenaVega also wants women to know that pregnancy and motherhood are a blessing and that being pregnant and having a baby are empowering to women. “I’ve given birth three times now. It’s a very special thing that my husband cannot do and it’s a blessing that I’ve gotten to experience again and again and again,” she said. “And it is unique. It is powerful. It changes you. It molds you. With every new pregnancy, I learn something new. I became stronger. I grew through every pregnancy and I think we’re trying to almost… we’re saying we’re empowering women [with abortion], but we’re taking away something that makes them so powerful.”

She continued, “We [women] grow a whole world in our body. Is that not the most ridiculous thing? That’s not something a man can do. It is the most powerful thing in this world… I think, in all of this, we’re losing sight because it’s being manipulated into thinking we’re helping these women by eliminating their problems. … I want to grow the resources for women to know that they don’t have to give up that thing that empowers them, that beautiful blessing that they can experience because it could be seen as an inconvenience.”

For pro-lifers who have been scared to speak out, PenaVega wants them to find the courage to boldly stand for life because lives are on the line. “What do you have to lose that’s greater than life?” she said. “Life is all we have and if you have an opportunity to save a life, it will change your life, so speak up.”

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