When I first went to Florida to participate in the Abortion Awareness Project I was scared. I had little experience talking to people about abortion and was worried that I wouldn’t make a difference, or worse, represent the pro-life movement poorly and push people further from the truth.
The first few minutes of that warm Florida morning I hid behind the display nervously reading over the brochure I was supposed to be handing out. Will I ever be ready? I asked myself. I knew the answer already. No, I’d never be ready. If, that is, ready meant confident, comfortable, and unafraid. I knew I needed to take the plunge. Step out, speak up and see what happened. I needed to be brave. Not just for myself, but for the babies.
I walked out to the sidewalk and approached two girls walking by. I don’t remember that first conversation. It was short because they needed to get to class and they quickly walked away after taking brochures. Well, that wasn’t awful, I thought. Maybe this won’t be the worst thing ever.
I saw another student approach. This time he was on a skateboard. Not sure if he’d get off to talk, I extended my arm and offered him a brochure. “What do you think about abortion?” I asked him. He stopped and hopped off of his skateboard, taking the brochure. “I’m pro-choice,” he told me. I tried to remember what I’d been taught that weekend and did my best to put it into practice. We discussed abortion, I asked him questions about his position, found common ground in many areas, and directed him towards the pictures of aborted children. After a few minutes he told me, “I guess there’s not a significant enough difference between born children and pre-born children to make it okay to protect one and not the other one. I completely agree with you. Thanks!” We shook hands and he went on his way, skateboarding off to class.
Did that just happen? I asked myself. Is it possible? Is it possible that scared, uncertain, inexperienced me, was just able to guide someone to change their mind on abortion? I didn’t have much time to think as I saw another student angrily approach the display. I walked over to her and asked her if we could discuss her opinion on abortion. “I have five minutes until I need to get to class,” she told me. Again, it was a simple conversation, looking at the pictures of abortion, discussing pre-born children’s humanity. She put out her hand to shake mine. “Thank you,” she told me. “When I first saw the display I was angry, but now I understand.” We shook hands and she left for class.
With a simple set of pro-life conversational tools and a powerful display showing not only the humanity of pre-born children but also the heartbreaking inhumanity of abortion I was able to make a substantial difference. All of this in just a few minutes and the day was just getting started!
For the next four days my fellow volunteers and I spoke with hundreds of students, many of them informing us that they became completely pro-life. I left the week with a new-found confidence. It wasn’t just that I had changed and was now knowledgeable and experienced in how to have effective pro-life conversations; I was now part of a pro-life movement that knew how to make a significant change in the abortion debate. I knew that I could go back home to Canada and spread what I had learned to other pro-lifers and continue to share about abortion in truth and love—every conversation making Canada more pro-life.
At the time I would have been shocked to know that that wasn’t my last trip, but that I would proceed to take eleven similar trips and provide the training for eight of them. Every time I go I see students changing their minds on abortion. Every time I learn something new and grow as a person and a pro-life advocate. Every time I see volunteers—some who are experienced and have come to refine their skills and some, like I was, are uncertain, nervous, and very much afraid. All are there to reach students and save lives, and no matter their starting point, I get to see them do just that.
If you are pro-life—no matter your experience or whether you’re already involved in the pro-life movement—each one of us can make a difference by attending the Abortion Awareness Project. You will grow as a person and a pro-life advocate. You will change minds, touch hearts, and save lives. You will take experience, knowledge, and wisdom home with you that will help you in conversations with your friends, family, colleagues, and classmates.
As Canadians we live in a country where no pre-born children are protected by law. If we don’t step out, who will? If we don’t speak up, who will? Attending the Abortion Awareness Project will not only change your life, it will save the lives of others. You never know what kind of difference you can make until you try!