I want to share one more dialogue story from our outreach last month at Aquinas College. Two fantastic students from the Students for Life club at University of Michigan, Rachel Crawford and Chloe Alberta, spoke to several pro-choice girls. This is what happened.
Rachel (left) and Chloe (right) talking to students at Aquinas College.
Chloe begins the story this way:
Towards the end of our day of outreach, Rachel and I had a conversation with two girls, who I’ll call Amber and Linda. Initially they were very hesitant to participate in the poll, because, as Amber informed us, they didn’t really like to think about the issue of abortion and didn’t really have an opinion on it.
Grabbing my handy fetal development chart from the ERI outreach brochure, I asked: “Would you mind if I tell you why it is extremely important to me that people think about abortion?”I showed them the fetal development chart and told them that I believe that human life begins at the moment of fertilization, and that that human life deserves to be protected.
I asked them in the name of having ALL the information possible, in order to make the MOST informed decision, would they be willing to look at a picture that shows what an abortion looks like? They declined because, “It’s probably really disturbing.” “You’re right,” I said. “It’s extremely disturbing and I really have trouble looking at them too.” I explained to them that I see that horrible image of the death of an unborn child, and I see one of the biggest human rights violations of our time. And I cannot be silent about that, and I think that is why it is so important to have an opinion about abortion and not let those human lives be looked over.
This article is an expanded version of a piece I wrote for Life Matters Journal, in which I answered a question from one of LMJ’s readers. This reader asked for help responding to the question of rape:
One of the most common questions I get about being pro-life is “But what if the mother was raped?” I stand for all life, even life that was created through rape or any other difficult situation. How can I explain that to a pro-choicer in such a way that I don’t come across as callous or uncaring about the mother’s situation?
~ Troubled in Tuscaloosa
I love the way this question is worded. You clearly care about showing that you don’t only care about the child, but that you rightly care for the survivor of rape as well. Many pro-life people don’t communicate that very well when they talk about rape. They come across as if they have something we call “Fetus Tunnel Vision.” I think the question of rape is the most common example of this. Immediately we say, “The child’s right to life shouldn’t be dependent on how it was conceived!” I agree with that, but who does this skip? The mother.
My friend Steve Wagner at Justice For All has made a huge impact on the way I think about how pro-life people should respond to rape. He says:
When a pro-choice person brings up the issue of rape, they’re not terribly concerned at that point if the unborn is human. They want to find out whether you’re human.
Can you see how horrible rape is? If not, please don’t tell people you’re pro-life. I’ve trained people before who understood the definition of rape, but they didn’t understand what rape is. There are other pro-lifers who cannot hear the word “rape” and let themselves acknowledge how horrible rape is because they feel like they’re losing debate points or time. There’s too much of that out there and it’s hurting our movement.
So, here’s what we should do instead. We should first acknowledge the horror of rape.
Sometimes when I talk about abortion with strangers, it feels like I’ve already had that conversation before, because they’re making familiar statements. But the truth is, I haven’t had that conversation before, because I haven’t heard that statement from that person before. Even though some statements are very common, different people mean very different things by them. A recent conversation I had with a hotel shuttle driver named “Mark” reminded me that while I may have heard the same words before, I hadn’t heard his story before. I think there’s a lesson you can learn from this situation that will help you have better dialogues with pro-choice people.
This is a guest post by my formerly pro-choice friend Deanna Unyk. Read more about how she became pro-life here. Read about our upcoming event in Portland here.
“After Tiller” is a documentary that follows the lives of the remaining four late-term abortion providers in the United States. It chronicles their family lives, what they were doing before they started performing abortions, as well as the kinds of harassment and threats they have been the victims of at the hands of pro-life activists. The documentary also interviews women who came in for late-term abortions.
Watch the trailer below:
This is a very pro-choice documentary, but there are several reasons why I think it is important for pro-life people to watch it with compassion.
The compassionate thoughts that this movie encourages can help us to interact in a compassionate manner when we encounter abortion providers and post-abortive people. Acting compassionately towards others is both a pragmatically wise and the morally good thing to do. It is pragmatically wise for the pro-life movement to treat abortionists and post-abortive women with compassion because we want pro-choice people to hear us out, consider our reasoning, and eventually agree with us. Nobody is going to want to do that if they think we’re all jerks.