Dialogue Story: Nicole at the University of Michigan

We just got this great outreach story from Nicole at Students for Life at the University of Michigan!

—————-

A young man came up to our Students for Life table where we were asking people where they stood on abortion from “Illegal in All Cases” to “Legal in All Cases” He was going to put the sticker where it said abortion should be “legal in all cases.” My friend Elise and I started asking him what that meant to him. We later specified and asked about sex-selective abortions, abortions based on handicaps, and other such situations. He seemed to be surprised, as if no one had ever brought these up to him before. He then put down his sticker. I asked more clarification questions to understand his viewpoint. We discussed a variety of concerns, such as his right to speak being a man, and a woman’s right to her own choices. I used the tool of “Trotting Out a Toddler” several times and he was very interested in the questions I was asking.

I then brought out the Equal Rights Argument, which was my first time using it since taking the online ERI course. I was probably a little confusing for a bit, but we discovered his personhood argument, which depended on the organism’s ability to think. I then explained the difference between capacity/potential and its actualization, which he seemed to enjoy (I hope I’m using the right terms, I’m not a philosophy major!). He kept going back to women having choices, and so we discussed what that entailed and what should be legal and what should not be. It was a great, fruitful conversation. He was very kind and open-minded. It ended with him writing down the name of our club, and hopefully he contacts us. If you see this, it was great talking to you, and I’d love to again!

I would also like to add one thing I learned today while doing dialogue. Whenever someone came up to us and put their sticker on “legal in all cases,” I would get scared. They couldn’t tell, but I was sweating! I knew that most of the time they didn’t actually mean all cases, but I usually get nervous before conversations (although I hide it very well, I must say). And once I started talking to this man, I was so impressed with his open-mindedness and kindness, and realized that I had had a stereotype for what a pro-choicer was. It was a nice thing to be reminded not to stereotype the people who come up and assume who they will be and what they will be like.  

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have discussions and impressed with how many people want to talk with us. I’m also glad to feel more equipped thanks to ERI and my club.

Stop Calling People Animals

Almost two years ago I read about twenty-one Coptic Christians whom ISIS beheaded. One of my Facebook friends shared the list of the martyrs’ names, and, as I read through them, I noticed that one of them, Samuel Alham Wilson, happened to have the same first and last name as one of my closest friends. Somehow that coincidence strangely humanized these brave Christians for me. I wrote on my own Facebook wall, “I work full-time trying to help people humanize the unborn, and yet until I read their names, I didn’t exactly think of them as human. They were mere statistics.”

ISIS

Screenshot from CNN story.

Unfortunately, there’s an ugly side to this story that I didn’t even realize until recently. I was so appalled at the evil of the people who killed the twenty-one Coptic Christians, I referred to them multiple times as “animals” and “monsters.” I consciously humanized the Christians, and then turned around and subconsciously dehumanized their murderers.

I’ve seen many others make the same mistake. We have to stop doing this.

VIDEO: Dialogue Tips Speech and Mock Dialogue at Students for Life Conference

I asked Rebecca Haschke from Justice For All to join me for a practical dialogue tips session at the 2017 Students for Life of America conference in D.C. so that we could spend the last part of the session doing a mock dialogue!

Outline:

  • Josh Brahm – Tip 1: Ask Lots of Clarification Questions – 00:00
  • Josh Brahm – Tip 2: Don’t Make Arguments with Question Marks  – 05:25
  • Rebecca Haschke – Tip 3: Listen to Understand – 08:03
  • Rebecca Haschke – Tip 4: Find Genuine Common Ground When Possible – 22:51
  • Josh Brahm and Rebecca Haschke – Mock Dialogue – 28:05

Josh Brahm will be speaking at Clark College this spring, helping students understand and respond to the argument, “My Body, My Choice.”

Date:April 10, 2017
Time:04:00 p.m. - 06:00 p.m.
Event:Clark College Speech by Josh Brahm
Topic:"My Body, My Choice"
Sponsor: Clark College Students for Life
Venue: Clark College
Location:Vancouver, WA
Public:Public

Want us to speak to your group? Click here to check our availability!

Would You Take This One-Minute Survey for Us?

We’re thinking about creating a free ERI video/audio podcast that would be different from our Equipped for Life Course podcast (where we record our roundtable discussions and interviews).

We created this quick survey to gauge interest in this before we invest too much time into producing it. We’d really appreciate it if you could take a minute and fill it out.