April 3, 2015

Mother/daughter duo impress crowd with pro-life message at 40 Days for Life midpoint rally in Indianapolis

(En Espanol)

Maria Hernandez and her daughter, Sara Cabrera, smile before addressing the 40 Days for Life midpoint rally crowd on March 14. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Maria Hernandez and her daughter, Sara Cabrera, smile before addressing the 40 Days for Life midpoint rally crowd on March 14. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Natalie Hoefer

Pro-life activist Maria Hernandez has come a long way in eight years, when she was “far from my home and my family [in Guadalajara, Mexico], lonely, in a relationship I knew was going nowhere, and pregnant.”

She spoke her pro-life message to about 75 people at the 40 Days for Life midpoint rally in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion center in Indianapolis on March 14.

When she finished, Hernandez passed the microphone to 7-year-old Sara Cabrera, who recited a letter she wrote to President Barack Obama asking him to be a pro-life president.

As the young girl spoke, Hernandez couldn’t help but beam. Sara is, after all, the “happy result” of Hernandez’s unwanted pregnancy.

The mother and daughter are members of St. Ann Parish in Indianapolis, along with Maria’s husband of five years, Daniel Hernandez, and their three children. Maria is an intervention counselor for the Gabriel Project, a pro-life blogger and a photographer.

Both mother and daughter have posted videos on the Internet proclaiming their pro-life message—Hernandez in telling the story of her unwanted pregnancy as well as promoting 40 Days for Life, and Sara in reading a letter that she hopes will reach President Obama, encouraging him to protect life.

It all started from a conversation that Maria and Sara had a few months ago.

“We were talking about the first lady [Michelle Obama], and I told Sara that she was pro-abortion,” Maria recalled. “Sara was upset. Then she asked if the president was pro-abortion, and I told her sadly, he was. Then she was really upset!”

As the topic came up again and again, Maria developed an idea.

“I listened to the different things [Sara] was saying for a while, and then I helped her put her ideas down on paper,” she said.

Rather than mail the letter and “run the risk of it getting lost or him never reading it,” she said, Maria and Daniel recorded Sara reading her letter to the president in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion center in Indianapolis. They posted the video on YouTube in hopes that word of the video would spread and the president would see it. (To view the video, visit the link listed at end of this story).

But the Hernandezes weren’t done recording.

Maria shared with the 40 Days for Life crowd how, in mid-February, Daniel encouraged his wife to record a video about the 40 Days for Life campaign, a twice-a-year vigil of prayer before abortion centers throughout the world.

“I thought maybe the 50 contacts on my Facebook page will be curious about what I have to say in a video, and they will watch a two-minute video about 40 Days for Life,” Maria said. “Before I knew, my video had been seen 500 times. I thought, ‘What a surprise! This video thing on social media really works.’ ”

Maria created a second video. Within a week, both videos had been seen about 25,000 times.

“I was getting friend requests from all over the world, from people wanting information on how to participate in 40 Days for Life,” Maria said.

Then she had a thought—what would happen if she made a video telling the story of her unwanted pregnancy?

The video went up on Feb. 16. As of March 14, when Maria spoke at the 40 Days for Life midpoint rally, the video had been viewed 290,000 times.

As result of the video, Maria said she has heard from people all over the world—from pro-life advocates, from those who also chose life when faced with an unplanned pregnancy, and from those who did not and regret their decision.

But one message she received stands out in her mind.

“I got this text at 6 a.m.,” she recalled. “It said, ‘I was going to make a mistake, but I saw your video and I changed my mind. Even though all my plans just went down the drain, I have decided to keep my baby. I am not sure how I am going to do it, but I am keeping my baby. Thank you for making me change my mind.’ 

“I was overwhelmed and overjoyed,” Maria continued. “God has given me the privilege to be his tool to save babies, especially Hispanic babies, whose mothers need to hear words of hope in Spanish. But saving a baby from far away by sharing my story—that was absolutely beautiful and unexpected!”

Maria encouraged the young people in the crowd to remain chaste.

“The only way to break this cycle of death is by spreading the message of chastity, which is the only way to authentic love and a culture of life,” she said.

To help break the “cycle of death” in Indianapolis, about 250 people participated in the 40 Days for Life spring campaign, according to co-coordinator Tony Shriner. The campaign began on Feb. 18 and ended on March 29.

Monica Seifker, Bloomington’s 40 Days for Life coordinator and a member of St. John the Apostle Parish in Bloomington, is grateful for the 70 participants in the south-central Indiana city’s campaign.

“We are also getting very much information into the hands of the ‘patrons’ of this Planned Parenthood [in Bloomington], information about the harmful effects of abortion, contraception, and of living a promiscuous lifestyle,” Seifker said. “We are very hopeful in this regard, as so many of the women and even men truly seem interested in what we have to say and offer.”

Back at the 40 Days for Life midpoint rally in Indianapolis, dozens of cars and trucks honked their horns in support as they drove by.

They underlined the message Maria shared with the participants:

“If you still feel discouraged when being here in the cold and the rain, without anybody caring about us or even noticing us, let me tell you this—with our presence here, we are witnesses of the truth and the sanctity of life.”
 

(For more information on 40 Days for Life, log on to 40daysforlife.com. To see Maria Hernandez’s video, “My Unplanned Pregnancy,” in English, log on to bit.ly/1xrNtJQ. To see it in Spanish, log on to on.fb.me/1BInuc9. To listen to Sara Cabrera read her letter to the president, log on to bit.ly/1CQNoS5.)

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