One of the biggest challenges we as activists face when engaging the public in dialogue about abortion is presenting the pro-life argument in a way that others will be open to accepting it. Often clearly sharing the facts is not enough; I find that I almost have to show them that I am not changing their mind or the way that they see abortion, but rather they are changing their mind on their own and really all I did was guide their self realization. If you ask me, it really is an art.
Last week I was almost surprised when a student at the University of Calgary shared with me that he had become pro-life on his own. He told me that after looking at the facts of the argument he “just had to be honest with [him]self.”
That’s not something I hear every day!
When this student initially approached me, he shared that he is fully pro-life but he hadn’t always had that view. He’s been a student at U of C for five years now and has seen us on campus a lot throughout his time there. However, for a long period of that time he assumed that we were, to use his word, ‘idiots’. He shared with me that he now realizes we are “ actually intelligent with well thought-out answers.” That was nice to hear.
When I asked him how he became pro-life he shared how he is really into philosophy and ethics, so he finally decided to look deeper into the issue of abortion and see for himself what he thought of it. He went on to say that the pro-life position just made sense to him. Clearly the pre-born are living human beings and abortion kills them.
He was wondering though, how do we respond when asked about the circumstance of rape, or when the health of the mother is at risk? I was glad he asked. I find that a lot of pro-lifers simply don’t know how to respond to these questions. They are fully pro-life but start sweating when asked about these tough circumstances because they don’t want to sound heartless or as if they are compromising their pro-life position.
“Look around,” I said. “All these people are just as human as you and I and deserving of the same rights as us, right?” He nodded. “The act of rape is horrendous and unimaginable for that woman to go through. However, does the manner in which any of these people were conceived change their humanity? Or their human rights?” He did not think so and seemed satisfied with this explanation, so I moved on to his question about the health of the mother.
“Did you know,” I asked, “that there is actually no circumstance in which abortion is needed to save a woman’s life?” He did not. “There is always another procedure that can be done to save the woman’s life that does not directly and intentionally kill the child. It is important to differentiate between these procedures.” I explained: “Though in different procedures the child may die, how we got there is extremely important.” Since he enjoyed doing his own research, I recommended he look up the Dublin Declaration, a document signed by over 1000 doctors stating that abortion is never medically necessary to save the life of a mother.
He thanked me for the explanation and continued on to thank our team of staff and volunteers for the work we do and said goodbye.
It’s amazing how showing a hidden reality pushes people to search deeper for the truth. It is when people like this young man are shown the truth, that minds are changed.