It’s a cold but sunny morning in Toronto. We set up for “Choice” Chain at various street corners around Ryerson University. I’m excited because we are there for a full day of outreach, and because there are so many of us—around 20 people spread across campus, with signs ranging from 3 feet wide to 10 feet wide. Most of our signs show first-trimester abortion victims, some show first-trimester ultrasounds, and some show second-trimester abortion victims. I know that we will reach thousands of people with pictures, hundreds with pamphlets, and dozens with conversations.
“What do you think about abortion?” I ask a young woman walking by. She’s hesitant and says she doesn’t know what she thinks about it. She opens the pamphlet I have offered her. I gesture to the photo within of the aborted child and ask her, “Do you think it’s ever okay to do that to another human being?” She says no, that is never acceptable. She asks what we can do to stop abortion.
Another young man stops. He initially tells me that he’s not sure what he thinks, but after we look at the photos, he agrees that abortion is completely wrong. He says to me, "I didn't want to see these pictures, but you've got to be as visual as possible." He thanks us and leaves pro-life.
We set up at a new location. A student stops to ask me some questions. She has spoken with another volunteer at a previous “Choice” Chain—someone who had taken her through the human rights argument. She wants to know more about our position: what do we think about abortion in the case of rape? I tell her, “I think that sexual assault is a horrific crime--one of the worst things someone can do to another person. We are failing survivors by not giving them enough support. And anyone who does that kind of a crime needs to spend their life in prison.” She nods in firm agreement. I then say to her, “I also know that we live in a country where we don’t even give the death penalty to the guilty rapist. Is it fair to give the death penalty to the innocent child?” I gesture to the picture on my sign. She thinks about this and then says, "Your logic is perfect. There's really no situation where it's okay to kill a child, regardless of the circumstances of how they came into existence." She then tells me that she is confused about when human life actually begins. We discuss fertilization and different developmental features, such as consciousness. She has to leave for class and tells me that she is “still hung up on when life begins” and needs to do more research on it. She thanks me and says that the conversation was “really constructive.” She has now seen abortion victim photography multiple times, has spoken to two volunteers, and she is journeying towards the pro-life viewpoint.
At another corner, I speak with a student who thinks that abortion is needed if a woman is living in poverty. We find common ground in agreeing that women in crisis need real support, and we talk about some of the concrete ways to offer that help, such as volunteering at pregnancy care centres. I then give her an analogy where a woman becomes poor not while pregnant, but while parenting a born child. I ask her, “If it wouldn’t be okay to kill a born child because her mom is living in poverty, why would it be okay to kill a child before birth for the same reason?” As we talk more and look at the pictures of aborted children, she agrees that abortion is never justified. She tells me, "I think you guys are doing a good thing here. Thank you for talking with me."
Those are just some of the stories I have from that day. And I was just one of the many volunteers who talked to people and saw their views shift. Now add in all the people who didn’t even talk with us, but who saw our signs or accepted pamphlets.
We know how to change the culture.
When we make visible the victims of abortion, the pro-choice worldview immediately begins to crumble. As my friend Blaise Alleyne writes, “The phrase ‘my body, my choice’ rings hollow next to a photo of another human body brutalized by abortion.” When people see the pictures, they understand the violence of abortion. They change their minds.
And when we speak to people about respecting human rights—when we speak to them about killing problems rather than killing people—they get it. They realize that the pro-life worldview is scientifically accurate and ethically sound. They change their minds.
So, we will show the victims. And we will speak up for the victims. When we do this, we win. Over the course of one day, the pro-life consensus grew at Ryerson University, and I saw this growth with my own eyes.
It will take hard work and dedication to shift the views of our entire country. It’s not easy. But it is simple.
Will you join us?