‘De-fund Planned Parenthood’ video contest winners revealed
UPDATE: March 17, 9:40 a.m.
Students for Life of America announced Tuesday the winners to its YouTube video contest, which solicited five-minute videos from high school and college-age youth aimed at convincing lawmakers why they should vote for the constitutional amendment to ban all federal funding to Planned Parenthood, originally introduced by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.).
The amendment passed the House on Feb. 18 but has yet to be approved by the Senate.
Of the 24 videos submitted for the contest, which had been extended from March 7 through March 10 (when four additional videos were submitted), three received cash prizes: $1,000 for first place, $500 for second place and $250 for fourth place. The third-place entrant won a free ride to a two-week anti-abortion activist training camp in Los Angeles this summer, sponsored by the Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, which normally costs $425.
Four honorable mentions were given for the following videos:
Students for Life of America communications director Mary Powers said in an e-mail that the winners were chosen by members of SFLA and Live Action based on creativity, content and inspiration. Powers said that checks to the winners will go out within the next two weeks and that winners are free to spend the money as they please. The videos will be sent to SFLA supporters and members in Congress, asking them to de-fund Planned Parenthood, Powers said.
The video that took home the grand prize belongs to Melissa Pereira* from Caldwell College (the conservative online publication LifeNews.com refers to her as a “West Indian woman”), who claims that Planned Parenthood collaborated with her father, whom she refers to as a repeat sex offender, to help her mother abort two babies.
“It all started with a trip to Planned Parenthood,” Pereira says in the video. “With state-funded money, my sibling was aborted and my mother never received counseling. … So much for empowering women.”
In the video, Pereira makes statements such as, “Planned Parenthood believes unwanted children will turn into criminals.”
On her YouTube channel profile, Pereira says she is a 22-year-old Catholic college student majoring in communications. She has aspirations to become a speaker, reporter or video editor.
Powers said that Pereira’s story is true and that SFLA works with her on a regular basis. Powers would not give her full name.
Live Action President Lila Rose said in a press statement: “I am so proud of all of the creative and bold efforts of students from across the country. Together, we stand for the protection of our unborn brothers and sisters, and we will work to expose organizations like Planned Parenthood which destroy innocent human beings and cover up the abuse of our young peers.”
**Correction: Earlier we reported that Students for Life of America would not release the contest winner’s name; rather it was an instance of miscommunication. Her name is Melissa Pereira. *