Across the street from a Planned Parenthood facility in Durango, CO, sits a small building, home to a ministry called LifeGuard. Founded in 2006, LifeGuard seeks to promote a culture of life and pro-life awareness in the Four Corners area. The ministry and its director, a man by the name of Daniel Anguis, are also the driving force behind the Southwest Catholic Youth Conference, which will have its second annual event in September of this year and which was also profiled in an earlier story by the Voice.
We interviewed Dan about his mission and ministry, and are pleased to bring you the full set of questions and answers below.
VoSW: Many people may be unfamiliar with LifeGuard. Could you explain where you’re located, when you were founded, and what your mission is?
Dan: LifeGuard was founded in 2006. We are located in Durango Co. and our mission is to create a “culture of life” in the Four Corners region. We pray the rosary in front of Planned Parenthood, help women facing crisis pregnancies, impact and educate the culture on the sanctity of human life through radio, television, and print ads, participate in petitioning the Government on the State level to recognize the personhood of the preborn child, offer free ultrasounds, promote natural family planning, and most recently we have organized a massive youth outreach initiative teaching teens the value, and virtue of chastity through the Southwest Catholic Youth Conference (SWCYC).
VoSW: What inspired the beginning of this organization?
Dan: The Four Corners region will NEVER have a “culture of life” as long as Planned Parenthood exists here. Durango’s Planned Parenthood is the only surgical abortion facility in a 150 mile radius. They are the antithesis of all the Church’s teachings on sexuality, and human dignity. We promote life. They promote death. It’s as simple as that.
In 2006 some amazing Catholics decided to do something to combat their lies in this region, and that was how LifeGuard came about.
VoSW: Do you have long-term goals for, say, the next 5-10 years?
Dan: Our goal is to continue to impact the Four Corners region with the pro-life message and to change the culture. Ultimately we would love to see Planned Parenthood closed down.
In the early 90’s there were over 2,000 abortion clinics in the U.S.; today there are just 660. We know for a fact that prayer and hard work can close clinics. Over the years we have seen the number of abortions go down steadily here in Durango. When LifeGuard first started there were on average 12 – 16 abortions a week, today we only see about 4 – 7 a week, many times even less than that.
We also have high hopes for the SWCYC. The more teens we expose to the message of chastity, the fewer there will be walking into a Planned Parenthood in the future. Our first year we had almost 800 people attend, this year we are hoping for 1,000. All of us are praying that it continues to grow, and that more and more lives are changed as a result of it.
VoSW: What is the most rewarding thing about working for LifeGuard?
Dan: The most rewarding thing about my job is knowing that I have helped save lives. There are children alive today that would not be here were it not for our ministry. There is no greater feeling on Earth than that.
VoSW: How many people work for LifeGuard, and do any of them have unique tasks they are pursuing?
Dan: I am the only full time employee. We do have a Nurse, and a Dr. in charge of coordinating our free ultrasound ministry, but that’s about it.
VoSW: Do you have any inspirational stories that have come about as the fruit of your work?
Dan: A young girl arrived with her Mom at Planned Parenthood and was going to have an abortion. They parked close enough to the fence (there is a large fence around Planned Parenthood to discourage us from talking to the girls) for us to talk to them. We offered them a free ultrasound and they decided to come over to our office (our office is located directly across from Planned Parenthood). When they decided to come over, one of Planned Parenthood’s employees was LITERALLY trying to pull them away from us (by the arm) and into the clinic (contrary to popular belief – Planned Parenthood is not a big believer in letting people have a “choice”). Eventually they were able to get away and come over for an ultrasound. When the baby appeared on the screen we could hear the mom, and the daughter say in Spanish “that baby is so big! We can’t abort now.”
Through talking to them, we discovered that they were under the impression (most likely by Planned Parenthood) that at 3 months the baby was still just “blood” or “tissue” so they were literally in shock when they saw a small BABY on the screen during the ultrasound. They got to hear the heartbeat, and see the baby move, and they chose life that day.
The baby’s name is Fernando, and he is now 3 years old.
What makes LifeGuard different is that we don’t wait for girls to come through our door. We go to the clinic the DAY they are scheduled to abort. We offer help while praying the Rosary outside the facility. Sometimes we save lives, MANY times we don’t. But we are THERE. These babies won’t get funerals. They won’t be remembered by society at all. But on this day – we want them to know that they were at LEAST loved by us.
Here at LifeGuard we have a quote that we meditate on quite a bit, and it is:
“Each time we stand outside an abortion facility, we’re at the scene of the cross. St. John, St. Mary Magdalene, and the Blessed Mother all stood at the foot of the cross affirming Christ’s dignity as He silently suffered and died. Even though they could not remove Our Lord from the cross nor relieve His temporal suffering, they remained steadfast, offering Him the dignity that others had tried to strip from Him. Witnessing at an abortion facility serves the same purpose. Babies are being led to their deaths. We try to save them; but if that fails, our presence witnesses to the dignity that others try to strip from them.”
VoSW: What particular challenges do you face, and how do you hope to overcome them?
Dan: With so many churches, and so many “Christians” in the world today you’d think that abortion would have been eradicated years ago right? But when you really look at this issue, and get down to the root of it, sadly, our biggest enemy is contraception. A hero of mine is a guy named Michael Voris, and I believe he said it best, “There is a serpent coiled under the table of the pro-life movement, and that serpent’s name is contraception… you cannot fight lies with half truths.” In essence he is saying that the reason we keep losing this war is because its very root is still alive, well, and accepted in our culture.
When we say abortion is wrong, the majority of Christians would agree. When we say that the use of artificial contraception is wrong, suddenly it’s not so black and white – even among Catholics sadly.
Virtually all the reasons one would give to justify aborting a baby are the same reasons people give as to why they feel the need to disrupt God’s natural gift of fertility. Contraception has created a culture that no longer respects the gift of life. It divorces the procreative aspect of the marital embrace and makes sex solely about pleasure. The consequences of this have been devastating to our country, as well as the world.
To combat this lie, LifeGuard proudly promotes chastity (prior to marriage), and Natural Family Planning (during marriage). We do all we can to help couples learn the Creighton Model FertilityCare Natural Family Planning system. It teaches people how to work WITH God’s gift of fertility – not against it. We feel this is a huge aspect of our ministry, and really lays the necessary groundwork of the hope of one day living in a “culture of life”.
Editor’s Note: Thanks so much to Dan for taking the time to answer our questions, and to the whole team at LifeGuard for promoting and furthering the pro-life cause in our area of the southwest. If you can, take the time to visit their website, follow them on Facebook, or (if you’re in the area) attend one of their gatherings.