What else is more worth my time? What else is as important as this?
These words flitted through my mind, flitted again, and finally sunk in as I sat on the floor of a stranger’s living room in Florida, squished among twenty-something other people. We all smelled like sunscreen and sweat and, after a week spent outside, our faces and shoulders glowed in every shade of red. Maaike, a CCBR staff member, stood at the front of the room. She spoke about the week we’d just had, the students we’d reached, the minds we’d changed. Then she spoke about the work still to do. In her hands she held long, metal clamps, with two holes in one end for fingers to slip through and on the other, a sharp set of teeth, made to grind and tear. These forceps now held aloft in front of a roomful of pro-lifers—these same forceps had been used for abortions. Had pulled tiny limbs from little bodies and crushed plum-sized skulls. A tool of death now turned to urging others towards life. The Florida trip wasn’t my first foray into the pro-life movement. The summer before, I’d spent four months in Ontario, far from my home province of B.C., exposing the reality of abortion and talking to strangers about it. I almost didn’t apply. It was so far in the back of my mind that I actually forgot about the internship until a day after the application was due and my boyfriend, who had told me about it in the first place, called and made sure I sent the application in. I learned more than I thought I could learn, walked door-to-door far more than I’d expected to, and found out that, when showing the reality of abortion, I could change people’s minds. The internship changed my life and broadened my perspective—not only of the sheer scope of suffering caused by abortion, but also of the hope that comes from knowing we can change things. Still. Still, after all that, it was just a little too easy to fall back into normal life. A few months after the internship ended, I was back in school, immersed in deadlines and considering summer co-op jobs in my fields of English, history, or writing. Unexpectedly, I got a call from Devorah, one of CCBR’s Ontario staff. She asked if I would be willing to come back for another summer, this time to help lead the next internship, which was planned to jump from my summer’s five interns to about thirty. I wiffle-waffled. I thought, Maybe I should actually get a job related to my studies. I hemmed and hawed and gave a noncommittal answer. Later, she told me that she’d hung up the phone and Maaike asked her, “Do you think she’ll do it?” The answer was no. Fast forward to that closely-packed living room in Florida. Zoom in on that shiny, almost harmless-looking pair of forceps, that had been over and over again wiped clean from the blood of children, sterilized and ready to kill the next. What else is more worth my time? What else is as important as this? By the time I asked myself the question I already knew the answer. After the talk, I found Devorah and told her I would come for the summer. A year after that, I graduated one year earlier than I’d planned. I came to stay. I’ve been working full-time with CCBR ever since and not once since that presentation have I doubted my decision. Our culture desperately needs to be jolted out of stupor, which is what CCBR does, day by day, street by street, conversation by conversation. But sometimes even experienced pro-lifers need a wake-up call. For me it was that pair of forceps. That cold, stark tool of death that forced me to ask myself: What can I do to ensure these tools will never be used again?