Rebuilding the pro-life consensus isn't nearly as hard as you think it is

By Jonathon Van Maren

We are currently in Week Two of our annual tour of Florida campuses, bringing our large display of abortion victim photography to face thousands of students with the truth about what goes on inside clinics and hospitals every day. Thousands of pamphlets explaining the development of the baby in the womb and the reality of what abortion does to that baby are being passed out, and hundreds of conversations are happening. We are watching the pro-life consensus on campuses grow in real-time.

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I could share so many different stories with you, stories of students who saw the truth, talked to our team members, and became pro-life as the result. For example, I just talked to a young man who wasn’t sure what he thought about abortion, but after a fifteen-minute conversation in front of the display, agreed that killing a baby in the womb was always wrong. “This display is very graphic,” he told me, “but ultimately effective.” We keep notebooks behind the display, and it’s exhilarating to watch them fill up with dozens of similar stories before lunchtime even arrives.

But the encouragement I want to share is the simple fact that so many of our volunteers have been realizing: The abortion activists don’t have any good arguments. One of the things that often holds people back from doing pro-life outreach is that they think it’s difficult, and perhaps even a bit scary. Considering that the media usually only covers conflict or controversy, many people believe that they have to be a veteran debater or long-time activist to start conversations about abortion with their peers or their neighbors. But the reality is different: Once you start talking to people, and once you show them the truth, many of their arguments fall away. It’s shockingly easy to disarm many people with compassion and compelling arguments. Yes, we meet with hurting people, and then we have to reach out to them heart to heart rather than mind to mind. But still: Reaching out in compassion, armed with the truth, consistently produces extraordinary results.

Many pro-lifers have been persuaded by the arrogance of the pro-abortion politicians and the media that this debate is settled due to the inferiority of pro-life arguments. The opposite is true: They’re bluffing. They don’t have any good arguments for violently ending the life of a human being in the womb, and showing people what that violence looks like makes the feeble assertion that abortion is humane response to a crisis pregnancy look downright indefensible. We live in a visual culture, and reaching out to people with powerful visuals makes a generation distracted by everything but truth stop in their tracks. To use a different analogy, we are defence lawyers for pre-born children in the court of public opinion, and we are utilizing the most powerful evidence we have: photographic evidence of what is taking place behind closed doors.

For the past week and a half, I’ve watched campuses turn into a buzzing hotbed of abortion conversations, I’ve seen our volunteers engage with hurting students, offer help to those who needed it, hug those who asked for one, and transform the worldviews of dozens. So from our activist team on the road: Be encouraged. The pro-life consensus is growing, and that is because the truth has the power to make the reality of abortion obvious, and change minds as a result.