One Girl's Courage
- Sunday, September 29, 2002
Christian parents spend years teaching their children godly values, hoping that in the face of opposition their children will stand strong. Gary and Ana Luisa Seromik of Ann Arbor, Mich., got the chance to see their daughter, Ani, do that during her senior year at Pioneer High School. At the beginning of the 2000 academic year, students in Ani's health, sciences and technology class received an assignment to prepare an oral report on a medical procedure of the student's choosing. Ani chose the topic of abortion. But Ani's teacher nixed the idea, saying Ani needed approval from the school's Health Education committee.
That was fine with Ani. Whom should she talk to to get on the committee's agenda? Not expecting Ani's resolve, the teacher tried other ways to dissuade her, suggesting she report about teen pregnancy and simply mention abortion as an option. Ani wouldn't budge.
"I wanted to do it because I knew people didn't know anything about abortion," Ani said. And, Ani sensed, there had to be a reason why the teacher was so strongly opposed. Perhaps she could use her report to educate the teacher, too.
Ani spoke to the school's principal, who ruled that abortion was an acceptable topic. Still not giving up, the teacher suggested Ani get her research materials from Planned Parenthood. Instead Ani researched the topic through materials from pro-life groups and borrowed models of fetal development.
When Gary and Ana Luisa came for a parent-teacher conference, the teacher told them Ani wanted to report on abortion and asked for Gary and Ana Luisa's support in dissuading their daughter. But the Seromiks said, "We've taught her to speak her mind and be proud of who she is. We don't want her to back down on something she believes so strongly in."
Still Ani's teacher did not give up. For about a week, the teacher would call Ani to the storage closet at the back of the room and engage Ani in discussions, trying to discourage Ani from her report. Among the teacher's reasons: Abortion is not really a medical procedure and, besides, talking about it could be damaging to girls in class who may have had abortions.
Ani prayed about it and talked to her parents. The Seromiks were beginning to worry about the difficulties Ani kept encountering. "We had no qualms about the topic," Gary said, "but because of the stress it was putting on her, we told Ani she didn't need to do it."
Ani decided to go forward. Shortly before her presentation, she gave a copy of her report to the teacher. The teacher made some minor changes, crossing out words like baby and womb and changing them to fetus and uterus so that the report would be as medical and technical as possible.
Ani spoke for 15 minutes about abortion topics such as the abortion pill, RU-486, and partial-birth abortion. With each explanation, Ani also described the stage of life the fetus had achieved and which organs and senses had developed. She also talked about statistics such as the emotional damage abortion has on women and men.
Afterward, the school nurse, who was there to fill in any gaps in the presentation, told Ani, "Good job. You covered it very well." Several classmates thanked Ani for her report, explaining that they had no idea what abortion was all about.
"After that I realized that it's a lot worse than I thought. People really don't have a clue what [abortion] is like," Ani said.
She received an A+ on her report.
Ani is a freshman at the University of Michigan, where she is studying molecular biology and considering a career in the medical field.
This article appeared in the January, 2002, issue of Focus on the Family magazine.
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