Gabriella Federico is 19 and attends the University of Evansville, in Indiana where she studies music therapy.
She has been active in leading a campus pro-life group as well as serving as a dedicated sidewalk counselor.
What inspired you to get involved in the pro-life movement?
When I was 13, I prayed outside an abortion clinic for the first time. There were women going in with their heads down, crying, crowded by counselors and escorts. As I observed the scene and prayed the Rosary, something awakened in my heart. I knew at that moment that I would find a way to help those heartbroken women.
What do you do to support life and defend the pre-born?
When I was studying in Virginia, I sidewalk-counseled every Saturday at the Planned Parenthood in Washington, D.C. I was also the vice president of the pro-life club on campus, and I worked to get my fellow students involved. I trained sidewalk counselors, organized conferences and networking events, started a Spiritual Adoption campaign, wrote an article for the school journal, and spent a lot of time trying to build awareness of and involvement in the pro-life cause among my college friends.
In the fall, I will be transferring to a university in Indiana (where a Planned Parenthood is a block away), and one of the first things I intend to do is see if there is a pro-life club on campus.
What is your favorite tool communicate the pro-life stance?
My Facebook page is covered in pro-life graphics and articles, but my favorite tool to use is simply myself! The tattoo on my wrist of a baby’s feet at 10 weeks in the womb is a great conversation-starter.
What are some ways students can be active in their pro-life work during school breaks?
Oh, the opportunities are endless! Share your enthusiasm with your family; get your friends together to go pray at a local abortion clinic. There are so many interning opportunities for students interested in the pro-life movement, especially during the summertime. Network with other pro-lifers. You never know the impact of something you say or do!
Share with us an encouraging event or a success story from your work.
I consider my successes to be every time one of my friends tells me that I inspired him or her to become more involved in the pro-life movement.
Share with us an encounter with pro-abortion opposition and how you faced it.
Perhaps the biggest opposition a sidewalk counselor faces is the pro-abortion escorts. They are there to foil our efforts and discourage us. When I started showing up at Planned Parenthood every Saturday, I noticed there was an escort who came just as consistently as I did: Phil. Having been raised in the South, I am a great believer that a smile and a sweet tea can drive away any opposition. While Phil and I never shared a sweet tea, we certainly have shared smiles together. Over the course of two years, we continued to become better and better friends. When I was fundraising to go on a spring break mission trip, one of the largest monetary contributions came from Phil.
That’s the power of a smile. That’s the power of love.
What keeps you going through the tough times?
There were some Saturdays when I would return from Planned Parenthood feeling spiritually, emotionally, and physically exhausted. I felt hurt by the hostility I had endured that morning at the clinic, heartbroken by the women I had counseled, and misunderstood by my peers who were just waking up and heading to the cafeteria for brunch.
Retreating to the chapel, putting my heart in God’s hands, telling Him what I was thinking and feeling, and then sitting with Him in silence was the only way I had the strength to do anything I did. It’s the only strength I will ever have.
What advice would you give to your peers?
GET INVOLVED. DO SOMETHING. You really can make a difference. It is always more fun to do something with a friend, so network and find people who share your passion for the movement.
Name a hero or role model of yours and explain why he or she inspires you.
I am inspired by the post-abortive women who fight daily for the pro-life movement. Their refusal to be silent in the face of injustice, their humility, courage, and strength, encourage me to be stronger in my pro-life convictions.
What is your favorite pro-life quote?
“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was naked and you clothed me, I was homeless and you took me in.'”
— Mother Teresa
Given a large sum of money and any connections you need, what would you do for the pro-life cause? The sky is the limit!
I would adopt every single baby in danger of abortion and give all of them a beautiful life full of music, color, love, and chocolate.
Do you know a student whose pro-life work should be recognized? Nominate them for a Live Action Student spotlight here.
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