When I am doing pro-life activism, I frequently think of the quote by Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” When my colleagues and myself have conversations with people each day about abortion, there are two things we know will stay with each person that we speak with: how we made them feel as we talked with them, and the images of the crushed bodies of pre-born children that we show. They will likely forget a lot of what we said to them, but they will not forget the images or how we treated them.
For many pro-choice people, their focus is predominately on born humans, often at the expense of pre-born humans. Pro-life people have a special passion and care for pre-born children, which is essential, because not only are they forgotten and not considered human, they are decapitated, dismembered, and disemboweled each day through abortion. However, along with our passion for saving pre-born children and fighting for their human rights, it is important that we express equal love and care for the people that we talk to each day while doing activism.
If the person who we are speaking with does not feel that we care about them as a unique and valuable individual, they will have a hard time believing that we genuinely care about the lives of pre-born children. To be truly pro-life, we need to care for all humans, whether born or pre-born. When my colleagues and I talk to people about abortion, with the goal of helping them see the value of all humans from fertilization to natural death, our desire is not to win a debate, but to win hearts and minds. I have a passion for debating, but when I am having conversations with people while doing “Choice” Chain, Door-knocking, or Banner Project, my goal is not to win an intellectual debate with them, but to reach their hearts with the truth about abortion and understand where their passion comes from. Through asking questions and illustrating where we have common ground, I am able to show genuine care and interest in the people that I talk with.
Over the course of my summer internship so far, I have had many pro-choice people shift or completely change their opinion on abortion through seeing abortion victim photography, coming to understand that human life begins at fertilization, and realizing that we should never discriminate against people based on their size, level of development, abilities, or any other arbitrary factors. I have also talked to many pro-choice people that did not visibly shift or change their opinion during the duration of our conversation. However, I don’t just show people that I care for them in the hopes that this will help them change their opinion on abortion—even though it is my hope and goal for them to become pro-life. I care about each person that I talk to regardless of whether they shift their opinion or not, yell and curse at me, spit on me, shove the middle finger in my face, or tell me that I am a morally reprehensible person for showing people the truth about abortion.
With each person that I speak with, I always try to ask them if they know someone who has had an abortion. Many of them say yes. After 50 years of legalized abortion in Canada, and almost 4 million pre-born children who have been killed by abortion during this time, most Canadians have been affected either directly or indirectly by abortion. Many people who seem to be debating on a purely intellectual level with you about abortion—like Jordan who I spoke with today—say yes when asked if they know someone who has had an abortion. Often the intellectual debate that they pursue can be hiding the pain they are experiencing from their loss or is an effort to defend a loved one who has had an abortion.
If my colleagues and I did not show genuine care and compassion for the people that we talk to each day, they would not be willing to open up about their life stories and share how they are still hurting from having had an abortion. When my colleague Alexis and I were Door-knocking this week, we spoke to Carina, who opened up to us that she had an abortion about twenty years ago. She told us that she had not even told her children, but despite how close she kept this secret, through the compassion and care that we showed to her while we were discussing human rights, showing her abortion victim photography, and sharing about the resources that we offer to women who are in difficult pregnancy situations, she felt free and able to open up about her experience of having abortion. Alexis and I felt very honoured that she would share her story with us. Through this, we were able to connect her with post-abortive care resources from Choice 42 and Silent No More. Carina thanked us, told us that we were doing amazing work through standing up for the rights of pre-born children, and encouraged us to keep up what we were doing.
Through asking questions, seeking to find common ground, and showing people that we genuinely care about them, we are not only able to save the lives of pre-born human beings, we are able to make lasting impacts in the lives of born human beings. With compassion and truth together, we are making Canada a more pro-life nation each day.