As the oldest of the six homeschooled Murphy children of St. Pius X Parish in Granger, Bonita Pratt has always been a committed Catholic and passionately pro-life. Now, she has used her communications degree, her counseling experience and her in-depth research to create a year-long course for other homeschooled upperclassmen who want to be better prepared to defend their convictions when they enter college.
While she was a student at St. Mary’s College in South Bend, Pratt noticed how loud the pro-choice voices are today; they easily push around those who are nominally pro-life, she determined. She became more and more interested in helping those who are pro-life answer the tough arguments and articulate what they believed.
After graduating in December 2019, Pratt did some counseling at the South Bend Women’s Care Center. This fall, her full-time work has become offering a Pro-Life Apologetics course she developed for homeschooled high school juniors and seniors.
The objectives of the course, Pratt stated, are to “become confident in your ability to answer the pro-choice side’s hardest questions; learn how to use charitable words, tones and body gestures to reduce the tension and stereotypical negativity of debates; and understand how the Catholic Church’s teaching of the sanctity of all human life is complementary to the scientific facts regarding the unborn.”
Classes are taught virtually an hour a week from the end of August through the end of May. Course texts range from the papal encyclical “Humanae Vitae” to the decision and arguments surrounding Roe v. Wade. Topics include logic, winsome conversation, moral relativism, biblical roots, the history of abortion, contraception and consideration of the hard cases often used to justify abortion.
Besides class attendance and reading, students write essays, take exams, create PowerPoint presentations and participate in prayerful pro-life activities. Each student writes a compassionate letter to an imaginary pregnant friend.
Two weeks into the course, local student Lexie Kloska said, “Issues like abortion that show a blatant disregard for the sanctity of human life are so prevalent right now; I’m looking forward to learning how to do my part in confronting them. After only a couple weeks of class I have already learned so much, and I can’t wait to watch my confidence grow as I continue to learn more.”
Currently a parishioner at St. Monica, Mishawaka, Pratt has been married for a year. Her husband, a mechanical engineer, is proudly pro-life and very supportive of her work.
Pratt’s biography includes the fact that she has over 100 first cousins. At SMC she ran the pro-life club, which advocated for pregnant students, did fundraising and hosted Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades for a talk.
Pratt has always enjoyed teaching and working with youth, she said. She loves seeing her students’ reactions when something “clicks” in a new way for them.
Besides developing and teaching this course, Pratt is available to give talks at high schools, colleges, churches and youth groups. Her new business’ mission statement says, “Pro-life Apologetics is dedicated to providing young adults with the necessary knowledge, tactics, and confidence to best share the beauty of the pro-life movement with those whom they encounter.”
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