On August 19, 2023, Teodora Diana Paul, president of the Students for Life Association Bucharest, gave one of the five talks at the event. The moderator was Anastasia Chirvasă, secretary of the Students for Life Association – Iasi branch. The theme of the conference was „All the people we do not see” and it had two parts: in the first half Teodora gave a speech and in the second half participants had the opportunity to ask questions. The text of the speech is published below:


The Meeting of Orthodox Youth in Moldova,

August 19, 2023, Iasi

All the people we do not see

Teodora Diana Paul,


Students for Life,



Hi, I’m Teodora Paul and in the next hour I invite you to talk about the people we don’t see – but whose lives depend on us, so … it would be good to see them!

More than 100 years ago, in the village of Vlădeni, in the Brasov area, the teacher Lucretia Rosu was trying hard to convince uncle Irimie to send his fifth child – who was also his youngest – to school in Brasov. The child had finished primary school in the village, and he thought that the school he had done was enough and, from now on, he wanted to work in the fields and in the household. In addition, the custom was that the youngest boy stayed in his parents’ house and looked after them in old age.

But the teacher insists that this child is very bright and must continue school. That meant money for clothes, money for books, money for a host, money for food, and uncle Irimie had none.

Teacher Lucretia found an ally – the wife of uncle Irimie, Rebeca. She understood that the child’s job was to develop the mind God had given him.

In the end, the teacher Lucretia and her wife Rebeca defeated uncle Irimie. The child went to school.

Who is that child?
The one whose name the Orthodox theological faculty of this city bears. Father Dumitru Stăniloae, the most important dogmatist of the 20th century.

Let me ask you, what would have happened if his teacher had not insisted that his parents keep him in school?

That child did not, at his age, have a say in his future. He was too young to say anything. But he had someone who saw him, cherished him and fought for him.

She is an example of a person who sees the unseen and helps them to fulfil their potential. And in doing so she does a huge good to many people.

Well, if we understand that there are people who cannot be seen, but who, with help, can bring a lot of good into the world, let us think how it would be possible to get to know them in time.


Today we’re going to talk about two categories of people who are the most unseen people in the world.

The first category of unseen people are unborn children who lose their lives before birth because those who have the power to decide for them choose to do so.

All of these children will not be able to fulfil their potential because someone has chosen to ignore their lives and their potential.

Even if there is a teacher like Lucretia Rosu in their village or town, they won’t have the chance to meet her.

You know, it’s not only those who make the decision to abort who choose not to see them, but we choose not to worry too much about who are the tens of thousands of children who lose their lives every year through abortion in our country, and the fact that it happens in every county, in every town, in every village, as well as in every place in the diaspora where there are Romanians – so it happens all around us, and some of these children are the children of parents we know.

Why don’t we see them? Why don’t we see them, and why don’t we ache for the loss of their lives, as we ache when we hear about other losses of innocent lives around us?

There are many general causes, and from person to person there are also specific causes. But now I would like to focus on one that we can easily identify with:
namely the valorisation of what is powerful from the point of view of this world, at the expense of the seeing of the human soul.

When we value powerful people, whether they use their power for good or evil, we ignore that they are something deeper than those characteristics that we admire in them.
They are, first and foremost, people created in the image of God.

If we ignore this most important characteristic in the case of the powerful, it is all the easier to ignore it in the case of those at the opposite pole, i.e. the powerless, the vulnerable.

Among them are unborn children – without any physical strength, without any social or legal status, without financial power, without a beauty to attract, without a voice.

But they too have something – they have a characteristic, which infinitely surpasses all others – they have the image of God in them. If we see this characteristic, they become not only visible to us, but they become a focus of our concern: to guard God in them so He can do His work with them. If we ignore this characteristic, then we come to see them as things we can dispense with if they seem to be getting in the way of our plans, our lives, our futures.
So the first category are the unborn children, whose lives are overlooked and lost.

The second category of people we don’t see are the women in crisis pregnancy. Although those around them see them with their physical eyes, most of the time we do not see their inner tension, the terrible turmoil when they are pressured by people or various life factors to have an abortion.

But is this inner turmoil of theirs apriori unseen or do we choose not to see it?

The answer is simple: we choose not to see it, because we fear the responsibilities that would arise if we took on the responsibility of supporting the birth of the child.

And this choice (to ignore the terrible soul turmoil) continues even if the abortion has taken place. Then ignoring leads women (- and men, but generally to a lesser extent -) to experience „forbidden pain”.

A pain that is not recognized, that is not validated and that is actually more acute than other pains that are accepted and recognized in society.

The mechanism is easy to understand:
If abortion has become normative, even praised, how can post-abortion pain be a consolation?
If abortion is such a good thing, then you should rejoice, not grieve!
This is why empathy for these women is very low and the pain of abortion is not openly discussed. After all, society tells them they made a choice that solved a problem, so why cry about it?

Among the testimonies I have read about women who regret their abortions, I have come across three examples in which the very feeling of ignoring the pain they carry in their hearts is made explicit.

I’ll read the authors’ exact words:
1. „Sometimes I start to think that I would have enjoyed him and the one aborted at 19 //she talks about two aborted children// as I enjoy Alex and Ilinca //the two children she gave birth to// and I feel sick to my stomach. No one knows what I’m going through, society tells you to get over it, that there are other important issues.”

The second testimony, about the state after the abortion:
2. „I sat in the car and cried for two hours before I could even think about driving home. I shouldn’t have even gotten behind the wheel. From society’s perspective, the problem was solved. I should have felt relieved and ready to resume my life, but I didn’t feel that way at all.”

And the third:
3. „There is little support in society for women who find abortion a stressful experience. There is no validation for their pain and anger.
Pro-abortion activists tell her, «It’s your body and it was your decision. It was just a piece of tissue and you have no reason to feel bad.»”

These words are not written by me, but are exactly the words of women whose anguish has not been seen and whose pain is ignored.

I will now turn to the conclusion of this first part of our meeting.
Abortion is, first of all, a problem of a spiritual nature: it is a failure to see the image of God in the unborn child and a failure to love our neighbour, a failure to be close to the woman in crisis pregnancy.

Can we stop this huge string of failures? – It’s huge because there have been more than 1 billion abortions in the last 100 years in the world.

Are we willing to see the unseen pain of these women who are struggling through crisis pregnancies or left deeply wounded after abortion?

How we can see the unborn child and the soul of women in crisis pregnancy? How?
By wanting to see!
And God will show us.

As in this true story of a man who didn’t see unborn children as human, being responsible for 75,000 abortions, but then wanted to see and did.
Bernard Nathanson is one of the doctors who advocated for the legalisation of abortion on demand in the United States in the 1970s. He ran the world’s largest abortion clinic in New York for two years at the time. He personally performed 15,000 abortions, and during his time as clinic director, 60,000 abortions were performed there. That’s why he said he felt responsible for 75,000 abortions.

Then he had an experience that changed his heart.
He wanted to see what happens to the baby during an abortion, so he videotaped what he saw on the ultrasound throughout an abortion performed by another doctor.
The baby was 12 weeks old. When the doctor inserted the instruments into the uterus, the ultrasound showed how the baby was trying to avoid them, and at one point, when caught, it opened its mouth in a silent scream.

That was the moment she stopped having abortions. Based on the video, he made the documentary film „The Silent Scream” and dedicated his life to telling the public the truth about abortion.
His example is relevant: if we want, we can see all those unseen children and all those unseen pains in the souls of women in crisis pregnancy.

They need someone like teacher Lucretia Rosu to help them continue on the road to fulfilling their potential. It is wonderful to do work that will help the unseen not to stay that way, but to have the chance to fulfil their potential.

The final aspect of the presentation: how far does the potential of unborn children go, including those denied the chance to be born?
A family once came to Saint Porphyrios the Kafsokalyvite, and he, knowing nothing about the family, but by inner proclamation, said to them, „You had two abortions; one of the children would become a saint if you gave birth to him.” Saint Porphyry saw not only the image of God in the unborn child, but also where the potential put into him and his effort would lead.

Yes, we don’t have the gift of seeing such things as St. Porphyrios, but no one can say today that they cannot understand what an unborn child is.

We can all see the unseen children with our physical eyes, technology now allows us to, so it is our choice whether we see them or refuse to see them as people created by God who need us to live and fulfil their potential and calling for which they were created.

We honour the saints when they have reached God, but let us not ignore the saints when they are still unseen and let us help their mothers!

Thank you!