Doing pro-life work is hard. I’m not going to lie. I often feel tired and discouraged, and I often wonder what I’m doing. I don’t like to step outside of my comfort zone and confront people with a truth that I know is going to make them uncomfortable, upset, and often even angry. And what’s even harder for me to deal with is people who know what abortion does to a pre-born child, recognize that it’s wrong, and yet think that their involvement in this battle is unnecessary.
It doesn’t take long before I stop sharing pictures and links to articles on Facebook and other social media. After a while, you just get tired of people hating you for disrupting their lives, for condemning their worldview, or destroying their comfort, and you wonder if it even has any effect at all. And while the likes and comments you do receive are encouraging, you wonder if there’s any action inspired beyond what’s been dubbed “Social Media Activism”, aka “Slacktivism”.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s a place for social media activism, and it can play a role in the pro-life movement as well. Social media provides an audience for our opinions which may otherwise not be reached, and can occasionally lead to thought provoking conversations. But if that’s all we do, we’re not actually doing much at all.
Let me give you an analogy: A house is burning, and as you’re standing with your neighbours watching the situation progress, you hear cries coming from the house. Your neighbour turns to you and says, “Someone is in there. We need to do something.” You agree, perhaps vigorously. Perhaps you echo his sentiment and say the same thing to another neighbour. But as long as you stay rooted in that spot and don’t actually DO something to save the life, if the person in the house dies, you bear part of the blame. All your head nodding and agreeing didn’t do a thing.
As I’m in Florida as part of the Genocide Awareness Project, I feel some of the fire I used to have returning. When I first became involved in the pro-life movement five years ago, I was loud and insistent and persistent. Babies were being killed, and I couldn’t be silent. And since I had an audience on social media, I used Facebook as one of my platforms for spreading the message. Over the next few years, I lost friends and family grew more distant. In an invitation to a birthday party I was explicitly told that the subject of abortion was a forbidden subject. And eventually I started to get the message that my message was not welcome.
But as I’m here, seeing the signs, watching the team of incredible volunteers gently approach each passerby with a pamphlet and a simple question–“What do you think about abortion?”–I wonder why I allowed myself to be silenced. The message I have is not my message. The story I am telling is not my story. It’s the story about a beautiful, innocent human being whose life was ended too early. It’s the story about the precious pre-born child whose mother has an appointment scheduled at an abortion clinic. It’s the story about all these children who have never had the opportunity to speak for themselves. And so I must do what I can, even if it makes you uncomfortable, even if making you uncomfortable makes me uncomfortable. Because what kind of people are we if we are comfortable with the brutal slaughter of other human beings?