While doing activism, one of our foundational conversational tools is the Human Rights Argument. Last Friday, while we were doing “Choice” Chain at Mount Royal University in Calgary, I had a conversation with a young woman who wasn’t sure what she thought about abortion. You may be surprised, but this is actually a very common response, especially from high schoolers or 1st year college/university students. Many of them simply haven’t thought much about abortion. In a conversation like this, the Human Rights Argument is powerful because it’s both simple and logical, so I brought it into the conversation right away.
“Would you say that you believe in human rights?” She agreed. “And shouldn’t all human beings get human rights?” She eagerly nodded so I followed with, “If 2 human parents have a child, wouldn’t that child also be human?” As she agreed, I pointed to my own body, being 7.5 months pregnant and said: “Right? I didn’t need to wait for an ultrasound to confirm that my baby is human! So then,” I continued, “if this is all true, then wouldn’t abortion—which does this to a child (I pointed to a picture of a 10-week aborted fetus inside the pamphlet I was holding)—be a human rights violation?” If someone’s going to disagree, it’s usually at this point in the argument but again, she agreed. “You’re right!”
Where can I go from here? She has eagerly agreed with my arguments AND she wasn’t trying to rush off to her next class. There were a few different things that I wanted her to think about more, such as what would she do if her friend became pregnant and wanted her to come along to an abortion clinic.
Instead, I chose to direct the conversation to difficult circumstances that women can face when they’re pregnant. I wanted her to have a stronger defence for her newfound pro-life views should she be challenged on them, “Are there any circumstances then where you can think that abortion would be ok?” I was glad to hear that she didn’t think so but I still wanted her to think through an example. I brought up the most difficult circumstance that is most commonly used to defend abortion.
“There are definitely circumstances which would be very difficult for a pregnant woman. What if she’s been sexually assaulted?” She agreed that that would be difficult but waited for me to continue. “That woman will need a lot of support and help. The man who is guilty should be punished. Should the innocent child receive the death penalty?” She didn’t think so.
I continued by asking her if she knew of the extent of abortion in Canada. I informed her that it happens nearly 300 times per day. Shocked, she said that that is about the size of one of her classes. We talked about the importance of doing something to protect these children. At the end of our conversation she said that she was going to fill out our online application form to join our volunteer team!
We need to be there to reach these students; the students who have grown up in a Canada with abortion on demand, who’ve been handed a pro-choice worldview, and who continue about their lives without considering what that means. We don’t want their first discussion about abortion to be when they or their friend find themselves facing an unplanned pregnancy. We want them to have a stance on abortion before they get to that point, when they’re afraid and vulnerable. We want them to have a stance that recognizes the difficulties of continuing with that pregnancy but which also recognizes that no matter what, a child is valuable and a child is worth it.
How will others come to see the importance of the pro-life position? Someone needs to go out there and talk to them. Could that person be you?