The story of Pam Stenzel: From conceived in rape to pro-life voice helping others


pan-stenzel2“Almost fifty years ago, a young 15-year-old girl became pregnant and had a lot of difficult choices to make, maybe more so than some teen girls, because this young girl was raped.”

Veteran pro-life speaker Pam Stenzel paused, letting her words sink into the hearts and minds of her teenage audience.  “But this young girl decided to give her child life and then decided to place that child with an adoptive family. And that child was me.”

Whether you’ve worked on the fringes of the pro-life movement or dedicated your life to it, chances are that you’ve heard the name Pam Stenzel. For the past 20 years, Pam has traveled the United States and the world speaking to close to half a million teenagers each year about the consequences of sex outside of marriage and the importance of sexual purity.

Although Pam’s talks focus on sexual choices and the risks of having sex outside of marriage, they also reveal a deeper side of Pam’s life experience, the part of her life that drives her devotion to the pro-life movement and to teens around the world. The oldest of 8 children, Pam often shares with audiences the story of her adoptive family with seven adopted siblings who hail from different backgrounds and ethnicities, saying  “I have every color of the rainbow in my family; we are the United Nations all by ourselves.”

Pam credits her birth mother for her wonderful family and blessed life, and she recognizes it as an amazing gift from a very scared and traumatized 15-year-old girl. Although she’s never met her birth-mother, Pam hopes that one day they will be reunited, so she can wrap her arms around the woman who gave her life and thank her for such an incredible gift.

During her travels spreading the truth about life and chastity , Pam has learned a lot from  the students she speaks to each year, and she has a strong message for the pro-life movement.

“We must be educating these teens before a crisis occurs,” she said. “I want a girl to think hard about the choices she will be left with if she finds herself in a crisis pregnancy.  Obviously, her best choice is before sex; after that, every choice will come with a price.”

pan-stenzelPam believes that having a plan in place before a crisis pregnancy occurs helps young women evaluate the true consequences of sexual activity and take responsibility for those choices. So many young girls who come to pregnancy centers for counseling will say that they want to have an abortion and when asked to think about the possibility of adoption, say “I could never do that!”  So in their mind, taking the life of their child is preferable to making a decision to place the child with a loving family.  This has to change!

“We want teen girls to think logically about adoption as an option in a school assembly or classroom, perhaps if they consider this before we are talking about them personally, and they see adoption as a loving act, they won’t be so quick to throw it out as an option if they face a crisis pregnancy themselves in the future.” Pam said.

Currently, of the young women experiencing a crisis pregnancy who carry their children to term, 97% will  choose to parent their child. Only 3% will make an adoption decision.

“Why are more people not promoting adoption?” she asked. ” We have girls choosing abortion at an alarming rate over adoption and I can’t understand why more people are not talking about the gift of adoption.

“The pro-life movement seems to be focused on the decisions after the girl is pregnant,”  she said. “We have to educate these teens before they have sex. It starts with prevention! Educating students so that they make the best choice when it comes to sex,  but also giving them information on what help is available to them if they, or someone they care about should find themselves in a crisis pregnancy.”

“Planned Parenthood knows who their clients are,” she said. “They are masters at marketing. That’s why they are in our schools, next to our college campuses. They know their consumers!”

To stem the advancing tide of abortion, Pam advocates a pro-life outreach movement aimed at the most vulnerable in our society: teens and young adults.

“The pro-life movement must have a strong voice with  the 15-25 year-old students and needs to communicate the message effectively,” she said, “If we don’t reach them, Planned Parenthood will!”

Spurred on by her pro-life convictions, Pam decided that she has to do more. She along with pro-life speaker Monica Kelsey have partnered together to build a new organization called Living Exceptions.  The goal of the organization is to educate and empower individuals by strengthening their pro-life beliefs and their ability to articulate their convictions. Living Exceptions is launching its new “Pro-Life with Hard Cases 101” workshop, which is designed to help strengthen and empower organizations and individuals who want to impact their community for LIFE.

One thing that’s clear about Pam is her commitment and dedication to pro-life values. Her mission isn’t just about talk, but about action. She is walking the walk every day with this generation by encouraging and educating them before a crisis pregnancy occurs.

“Every day I walk alongside these girls, I walk alongside my birth mother, a woman I have not met, but will always be in my heart,” Pam said. “My passion comes from her.”

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