Respect Life Conference: Ryan Bomberger urges youth, adults to be ‘factivists’

Speaking to the junior high and high school students during the schools session of the Respect Life Conference on Sept. 13, Ryan Bomberger engaged them in quizzes as he did some myth busting about what organizations that promote abortion are saying. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

The first thing Ryan Bomberger did in his session with students from around the Diocese of Peoria on Sept. 13 was to have them stand, look at one another, and say, “I’m glad you’re alive.”

Those words are very important for the man who was conceived in rape, but carried to term and placed for adoption by a woman he has never met, but pays tribute to at every presentation. One of his main messages now is to bust the myth that unplanned means unwanted means unloved, which he called the DNA of Planned Parenthood.

“People talk about unwanted, unwanted, unwanted. Having been adopted, I’m now also an adoptive father. I know how untrue the unwanted label is,” said Bomberger, co-founder of the Radiance Foundation. He is an international speaker on issues such as respect for life and adoption, and was one the main presenters at March for Life Chicago in January.

Peoria Notre Dame senior Erin Earl asks Ryan Bomberger to expand on a point he made at the schools session of the first-ever Diocese of Peoria Respect Life Conference Sept. 13. More than 400 junior high and high school students from around the diocese attended. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

At the Radiance Foundation, “we believe that every single human life has purpose,” he told 400 students, who gathered at the Spalding Pastoral Center for his talk on “Abortion 101” as the Respect Life Conference began. That message also was the foundation for his session with college students and young adults that evening and at the Respect Life Conference on Sept. 14.

To all three audiences he talked about the importance of “factivism” and the need to move from unawareness to awareness, and finally to action.

“Anyone can be an activist,” Bomberger said. “But you have to know the truth to be a factivist.”

People aren’t getting the truth from Planned Parenthood, he said. They’re getting euphemisms that disguise what abortion is, such as “terminating a pregnancy,” “a woman’s choice” and “health care.”

“People will say abortion is a small percentage of what they do — it’s just 3 percent. It actually brings in 80 percent of their health services revenue,” Bomberger told the students.

In addition, nearly every medical service Planned Parenthood offers to women has dropped over the last 10 years. Breast cancer screenings, for example, are down by 65 percent and that’s only a manual screening since the organization’s clinics do not have mammogram machines.

Only one service has increased and that’s abortion, Bomberger said.

He urged the students, young adults and conference participants to fight back with love as well as the truth.

“Courage doesn’t need a crowd — it just needs a conscience,” Bomberger said.

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