On average I travel to the Netherlands twice a year for presentations in high schools, colleges, and churches. Pro-life apologetics are in high demand, it turns out. Young people overwhelmingly change their mind after learning the truth about abortion and are eager to engage with those around them after hearing the human rights argument. I always go home hopeful yet wishing we could reach more people. You’ll understand my excitement when I was asked to speak at the annual March for Life in The Hague on Saturday, December 8th.
Several months ago, I was asked to write an article about in vitro fertilization (IVF), the artificial reproductive technology which requires eggs to be retrieved from a woman’s body to then be combined with sperm in a laboratory setting to result in fertilization. After extensive research I began writing but couldn’t seem to finish the article, one of the reasons being the sensitive nature of the topic itself.
One of the most common questions I am asked after a presentation is this one, or a variation of it: How did you decide to do pro-life work? The answer could be very long, outlining all the factors that played a role in what seemed to be an inevitable conclusion, but it seems natural to start at the very beginning.
The evening was comfortably warm. The heat of the day had subsided and a breeze blew through our back yard. We sat around the fire with friends. Some of the kids roasted marshmallows while others played frisbee. Since my three-year old needed a bathroom, I took her inside. She chatted about the fun she was having with “fwiends” but when we opened the door to go back outside, she suddenly stopped. “Mom!” she said, her voice full of awe. “It’s almost night time!” I followed her gaze. The trees had turned to silhouettes, the sky a purplish blue. “Look at the staws!” she pointed.
Sometime ago my friend from the Netherlands asked if she’d be able to come visit for a week and I excitedly said yes. We love hosting people and I soon started thinking about the places we could visit together. The Niagara Falls, of course. The CN Tower perhaps. Then she messaged me. I would really like to witness the work you guys do on the streets.
Memories are simultaneously wonderful and strange. At times they come to the fore without having been summoned. On other occasions they remain vague, despite the desire to recall them more clearly. No matter how far I go back in my memories, there’s no recollection of first learning about abortion. Somehow, I knew that babies are being killed before being born, but that knowledge must have been too foreign to fully process. The day this concept became reality is burned into my soul.
There are countless myths about abortion that are being presented as facts every single day. The more often they're repeated, the more people will believe them to be truth. For example, pro-life friends have messaged me links to studies that seem to say (but don't) that less women die when abortion is legal. The confusion is understandable. Often, unless one analyzes the study, a certain point seems to be proven, at least at first glance.
2017 saw what was likely the largest single-day demonstration in recorded American history. Organized in response to the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, the Women's March sought to unite a broad group of movements. Its mission, at least in writing, is to end violence and promote civil rights, disability rights, environmental justice, immigrant rights, LGTBQIA rights, worker's rights, and so-called reproductive justice.
It would be almost impossible to miss the fact that our culture celebrates a major feast today. Trees, lights, dinners, decorations, and gift exchanges have already set the tone around us in the past few weeks. "All ready for Christmas?" the cashier asked as I collected my groceries on Saturday. I couldn't help but ponder that question as I drove home.