Despite facing threats of disqualification, a 12-year-old girl took first place in a speech contest when she eloquently argued for the rights of unborn children – after an offended judge quit.
"What if I told you that right now, someone was choosing if you were going to live or die?" the seventh-grader begins in a video recording of her speech on YouTube. "What if I told you that this choice wasn't based on what you could or couldn't do, what you'd done in the past or what you would do in the future? And what if I told you, you could do nothing about it?"
The girl, a student at a Toronto school identified only as "Lia," continued:
"Fellow students and teachers, thousands of children are right now in that very situation. Someone is choosing without even knowing them whether they are going to live or die.
"That someone is their mother. And that choice is abortion."
But what made the 12-year-old choose to speak about abortion?
"It was really a family thing," her mother explained on the blog Moral Outcry. "I saw Lou [Engle] speak at a conference several years ago. I came back to my family with the Life Bands, and we all wore them, made our covenant, and prayed the prayer for abortion to end. … We were invited to participate in a 'Life Tape Siege.' Once my kids heard of this invitation, they all agreed: 'We have to do that!' Since then, Lia's passion for seeing abortion end has continued."
Despite Lia's enthusiasm for her topic, her teacher "strongly encouraged" her to select a different one for her class presentation or she would be considered ineligible for an upcoming speech contest.
"[S]everal teachers discouraged her from picking the topic of abortion; she was told it was 'too big,' 'too mature' and 'too controversial,'" her mother wrote. "She was also told that if she went ahead with that topic, she would not be allowed to continue on in the speech competition."
Lia's mother continued, "Initially, I tried helping her find other topics to speak on, but, in the end, she was adamant. She just felt she wanted to continue with the topic of abortion. So she forfeited her chance to compete in order to speak on something she was passionate about."
Lia's teacher was so impressed by the speech that she allowed her student to advance as the winner. Lia presented her speech to judges in front of her entire school on Feb. 10.
The school principal and teachers called Lia's presentation the "obvious winner" – but the judges suddenly disqualified her the following day "because of the topic and her position on abortion," her mother said.
Lia's father later revealed that the judges had a "big disagreement." One was offended by the speech and voluntarily stepped down while the others reversed their earlier decision – declaring her the winner.
Now Lia plans to take her message of life to a regional speech competition, and more than 130,000 visitors have viewed her presentation online.
"Why do we think that just because a fetus can't talk or do what we do, it isn't a human being yet?" She asks in the video. "Some babies are born after only five months. Is this baby not human?
"We would never say that. Yet abortions are performed on 5-month-old fetuses all the time. Or do we only call them humans if they're wanted?"
She continues, "No, fetuses are definitely humans – knit together in their mother's womb by their wonderful Creator who knows them all by name."