This past week we set up “Choice” Chain outside of a Calgary high school to catch the student lunch rush to the 7-Eleven across the road. After a couple of conversations, I learned that several of the students were post-abortive and that many of the students who we were talking with thought that ‘sleeping around’ was quite normal.
Between conversations, I noticed my colleague, Rachel, was talking with a group of students. Two girls paused to listen to the discussion before continuing down the sidewalk towards me. I extended a brochure to them and said, “Hey, what do you ladies think about abortion?”
Jenna glanced at her friend before responding. “I think it should be a choice. Like, of course not when a woman’s 6-7 months pregnant, but if she’s only 3 months? She should have a choice.”
I followed that with, “What about the child at 7 months makes it different?”
She considered that before responding, “Well, it’s more…there. It’s closer to being ready to come out because it’s more developed. At 3 months, it’s not even close.”
“Would you agree that when a child is born, it will continue developing?” I asked. Like, thankfully for the mom, the baby doesn’t start crawling right away!” They both chuckled at this as I continued: “And later the child will develop the ability to walk. When she’s older and she hits puberty, her reproductive organs continue to develop.” They nodded in agreement.
I then asked a question: “Would you agree that she will continue to develop throughout her whole life?”
When they had agreed, I asked another question: “So when did her development begin?”
Understanding crept across Jenna’s expressive face. She shot a glance of disbelief at her friend. It seemed that she couldn’t believe that the conclusion was so apparent. She twirled around for a second before responding, “When the sperm goes into the egg.”
“Exactly!” I pointed down to my sign. “And this is what happens to children when they are aborted. This baby is only 10 weeks old. That’s not even 3 months.” I paused as she studied the picture. “I think it’s so important for us to keep in mind who it is that we’re talking about.” At this point I chose to bring in the Human Rights Argument that Maria explained. The conversation continued until the bell rang about 40 minutes later. By the end of the conversation, Jenna had a very different perspective. She recognized there would be support for her if she became pregnant and said that she wouldn’t choose an abortion. If any of her friends were considering abortion, she would show them what abortion would do to their child. She concluded with, “So the best step would be prevention: Don’t sleep around.”
I asked Jenna these questions about development because it was clear that she recognized the value of human life after 6-7 months. I wanted to hone in on the reason that she distinguished a 7-month old child from a 3-month old child. Her reason was because of the child’s level of development. I wanted to illustrate that our level of development continues to change throughout our lives, so I used concrete examples that she would recognize (crawling, walking, and puberty). Considering that development continues through life, it must also have a beginning. If we can determine when the beginning of that child’s development is, we can determine when we need to start protecting and defending them too.