This is post is to catch you up on the most exciting developments at Equal Rights Institute, where we’re headed next year, and how I’d like you to prayerfully consider partnering with us financially.
Here are some of the highlights from 2017:
One of Josh Brahm’s two keynote sessions at the 2017 Students for Life DC Conference.
We gave 25 speeches to about 4,000 people. That’s more than twice the number of people we spoke to in the previous year, and Tim and I gave these speeches in California, Washington State, Oregon, Arizona, Ohio, Nebraska, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia, and Washington DC! The most encouraging part about giving these talks is the opportunity to meet people who have already benefitted from our work. It’s also great to hear the kinds of things people say who’ve just heard us for the first time. It’s not so much, “you’re a good speaker” but more often comments like “I can’t wait to use that argument with the next pro-choice person I talk to” or “I’ve never thought of nurturing friendships with pro-choice people before, and I’m already thinking of people that I could start doing this with tomorrow!” It’s incredibly meaningful when the impact we have on people is for them to change their lives and become more gracious and persuasive.
If you are a part of a dialogue-oriented outreach, you should be paying attention to who should be in a given conversation, and who should not be.
Josh Brahm (middle) talks to students at Davidson College while Rachel Crawford (left) watches. We don’t have a picture of the actual conversation in this article, but it took place in the same spot.
It was our second day of outreach at Davidson College and after having had several conversations, a lull swept over our area of campus while all of the students were in class. I went behind our poll table setup to take a short break with ERI staff member Rachel Crawford who was also sitting back there. We were talking about the dialogues we’d had that day. Two other male volunteers stood behind Rachel talking with us.
While we were talking, a young woman whom I will call “Alice” walked straight up to us to ask us what the point of our outreach was. I responded that we’re trying to help pro-life and pro-choice people to have better conversations with each other, to hear each other, to learn from each other, and hopefully help people get closer to finding truth on the subject. I then asked her, “What do you think about abortion?”
She confidently responded with a statement about being pro-choice, but instead of offering the logical reasons why she believes that, she started describing the abortion experience she had had only five months before. She also shared with us some very personal information about how she didn’t feel like her boyfriend was supportive of her through the process and how she didn’t talk to her friends about it either. She also shared that her parents had abandoned her as a child and that she had been raised by her grandma. She felt very alone in this situation and ultimately one of the staff members of the campus health center had to be the one to drive her to and from the abortion facility. The campus even gave her a loan to pay for the abortion, which she worked through the summer to pay off.
Every other Wednesday we publish a new episode of the Equipped for Life Podcast, available to everyone who purchases our course, “Equipped for Life: A Fresh Approach to Conversations about Abortion.” Generally, these podcast episodes won’t be available to the general public, but we plan on releasing short clips from the episodes every Thursday, to give you a sense of what these podcasts are like.
In this episode of the Equipped for Life Course Podcast, I play pro-life and Tim plays pro-choice in an example dialogue.
Download Audio MP3 | 00:08:53
In this clip from the full episode, you’ll hear me discover the key to Tim’s pro-choice view and hear us debate utilitarianism.
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Download Audio MP3 | 00:13:20
Often, as pro-lifers, we can assume that if we’re going to have people outside an abortion facility reaching out to those walking in, women will be far more effective than men. Women might seem less intimidating and easier to trust, and we want to be as inviting and friendly as possible.
However, men have more influence with other men in front of an abortion clinic than women do. This is why Jacob tries so hard to get the attention of the male escorts. Men can say things to other men that are much harder for women to say. Men can issue challenges to other men without either party feeling degraded, whereas if a woman says the same thing the man is more likely to perceive it as an attack.
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Download Audio MP3 | 00:21:56
I give an update on the main things that have been going on at ERI in the last month and what we’re working on next.
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