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.
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!
- 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
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.
We have exciting news to share for pro-life high school and college clubs! As many of you know, ERI published the Equipped for Life Course last year. It’s designed to help pro-life clubs get trained in dialogue skills and the most persuasive pro-life arguments so they can change more minds and save more lives during their outreaches.
If you haven’t heard about the positive impact the course had on the University of Michigan club, you can check out their report here. (Short version: Their most timid members were begging for weekly outreaches after only completing the first two modules of the course!)
For those of you who are overwhelmed by the thought of fundraising, there is now another way you can get the course. ERI president Josh Brahm spent the last several months asking our donors to pay for scholarships so some pro-life clubs could take the course without spending a dime. We’ve already given six scholarships away, and as of today we still have the funds left for 68 scholarships!
If you’re interested in getting the Equipped for Life course for free, and you’re willing to commit to getting your club through the course and doing at least one outreach within three months, go to EqualRightsInstitute.com/Apply and fill out the quick application.
Do you know of a club that may be interested in this offer? Please send them a link to this offer! This course can really help a club change more minds about abortion and save more lives, and if they apply soon enough, they can get the course without spending a dime!
Every other Tuesday 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 occasionally making exceptions, and we’ve decided to make our 11th episode the first one we make available to everybody.
This is the first part in a two-part series on practical sidewalk counseling tips, from the person who has impressed me most with the way he thinks about decision making in front of abortion facilities, our Operations Coordinator Jacob Nels.