My speech from the 2015 Students for Life of America conference in D.C. has been posted! These are six practical tips for having good dialogues with pro-choice people.
Six practical tips for having good dialogues:
- Silence your inner monologue.
- Rephrase what they said.
- Find genuine common ground when possible.
- Acknowledge the horror of rape.
- Be intentional with your body language.
- Be willing to jump to another topic.
- I referenced Steve Wagner’s book, “Common Ground Without Compromise.” You can get it for free at CommonGroundBook.com.
- I referenced what I call “Fetus Tunnel Vision.” Read more about that concept and why it hurts pro-life dialogues at this post: 4 Reasons Pro-Lifers Need to Stop Doing This. Read the two follow-up posts here and here.
- I wrote a post that goes into more detail on body language here: Why You Shouldn’t Face the Person You’re Talking To.
- If you want to keep up with what we’re learning about how to have good dialogues with pro-choice people, subscribe to this blog and/or our monthly newsletter here.
I created this list using the Google Analytics for my own site, instead of complicating the process by incorporating stats from LifeNews.com, where many of my articles are later republished.
My blog received over 71,000 unique pageviews from more than 28,000 unique people this year. That’s a 400% increase from last year, albeit the blog was only live since June, 2013.
I think I would have done even better if I had managed to stay consistent in the last half of this year, but successfully launching a national pro-life training organization and maintaining a consistent blog presence became mutually exclusive. Thanks for your patience with me as I temporarily slowed down my writing to make my dream organization become a reality.
On to the list!
This was a response to a question from a reader and includes a story about a dialogue I had in front of Planned Parenthood. The thing I like most about this piece is the distinction between the suicidal-sounding version of this pro-choice statement, “I wish I had been aborted,” and the consistent version, “I wish my mom had had the right to abort me.” I believe the latter is what most pro-choice people mean when they say this, and clarifying what they actually mean will make a world of difference in whether you respond effectively or not.
This one is a response to one of the most challenging things a pro-choice person can say to a pro-life advocate. I offer what I would say, as well as explain the right/wrong vs. wise/foolish distinction that may be helpful in that conversation.
I was very surprised at how well this post did. I wasn’t very excited to write it. It was just another story from campus, and I wrote it at a time where I was more interested in making substantive points and not just telling stories. I didn’t do anything that unique or interesting (to me) in response to the hostile biology professor in the story, but a ton of people who don’t frequent my blog read this post. I suspect that some people who don’t frequent my blog clicked on it because they thought it would be a “pro-life smart guy makes a pro-choice guy look like an idiot” post, which it really wasn’t. They seem to have gotten sucked into it though because I saw a lot of comments online from people saying that want to learn how to talk about abortion this way, which was very gratifying.
Ah, the infamous Fetus Tunnel Vision piece. This may be my favorite blog post I’ve ever written, because the content is very unique to something my brother Tim and I have talked about, and I think it’s very needed if our movement is going to show the world that we care about all people, and not just unborn babies. That gives you the credibility to talk to people who wouldn’t listen to certain other pro-life people.
I credit part of the success of this post to my friends at Students for Life of America who frequently tweet it to their followers and even discuss the topic in their trainings with college students across the country!
It was almost a tie for first place but my commentary on Richard Dawkins’ tweet about Down Syndrome was the most visited article from 2014. Tim and I worked really hard on this piece and watching the results the following day made for one of the most fulfilling days I’ve had since I launched Equal Rights Institute. I blogged about what happened here, including Richard Dawkins himself retweeting the article and several pro-choice people commenting that this was the most careful and rational piece they had seen from either side of the abortion debate regarding Dawkins’ tweet.
That’s the list! Thanks again for following my blog during the most exciting and most terrifying year of my life, and I’m truly humbled by the gracious feedback I’ve received from most of you.
For the rest of you, I’m looking forward to more open-minded dialogue about the philosophical issues surrounding abortion in the months to come. :)
Last week I posted an article that pro-lifers either loved or hated. I wrote about something I’m calling “Fetus Tunnel Vision,” the inability to see and/or acknowledge human rights injustices without equating or comparing them to abortion.
I responded to a few concerns people had about it a few days ago, but there were a few more really good questions emailed to me and I wanted to share them and my answers with you.
“The problem is that sensitivity can be defined differently by every single person one is trying to reach. There are always going to be recipients who will have a negative reaction to your message no matter how ‘sensitive’ it is. You can satisfy some people sometimes but not all the people every time.”
Good point. I’m not saying that we should never say anything that somebody could call insensitive. Clearly some pro-life statements are more sensitive than others though. Maybe sometimes it’s hard to tell. I’m arguing that comparing abortion to 9/11 on the anniversary of 9/11 is clearly insensitive.
“I completely agree that making 9/11 comparisons on 9/11 is insensitive. Would you consider making such comparisons on any other day?”
Fantastic question. There are certainly scenarios where it seems less inappropriate.
Since posting my article, 4 Reasons Pro-Lifers Need to Stop Doing This I’ve watched the response and engaged some commenters with interest. It’s generally been a great experience, as many pro-life people said they changed their mind about the way they’re going to make comparisons to abortion after reading the article, and it sparked what I expect to be a friendship with an important pro-choice speaker whom I hope to meet this summer.
confession, I’ve sort of been enjoying @JoshBrahm’s twitter feed….
— Robin Marty (@robinmarty) January 18, 2014
There were also a lot of people who were honestly confused about a few things. Some of them were nicer than others but in most cases they seemed to be helped after I offered a few clarifications. Below are several of these clarifications, with the objective of making a clearer case against “Fetus Tunnel Vision.”
“Pro-life people are intrinsically weird, because we have something we’re passionate about.”
I am not arguing that pro-life people should avoid every single thing that could be interpreted as “weird.” You’re right. We live in an age where apathy is cool, at least to some people. So if someone thinks I’m weird, the question is, why do they think that?