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.
As I was reading Maaike Rosendal’s new article about in vitro fertilization (IVF), it reminded me of a recent conversation I had with a student during “Choice” Chain. IVF has many troubling ethical implications, and I encourage you to read the article in order to understand how it harms and even kills many pre-born children.
I joined Edmonton Against Abortion in their door-knocking project last Wednesday. The evening temperature was -11°C and I wasn’t sure how many people were going to come to their doors. There were lights on in many of the houses we approached, but either no one was home or whoever was inside wasn’t coming to see who was outside. Instead, we left postcards. We were heading up the walk to our last home of the hour. So far, three doors had opened but the people who met us were too busy, too sick, or too young to have a conversation with us.
While at a pro-life display with Toronto Against Abortion, I asked a young woman what she thought about abortion. The student, Sharon, told me that she was pro-choice. “Is there any particular reason that you’re pro-choice?” I asked, for clarification. Sharon said, “I think that it’s important for women to have a choice about having a child. Especially if they weren’t planning on getting pregnant.” She told me that she was not sure what she herself would do in an unexpected pregnancy.
Alex had stopped, curious at our images and at my question— “What do you think about abortion?”—as he was heading to class.
“I’m pro-choice,” he answered.
“Pro-choice for what?” I asked.
“Uh, just pro-choice. I’m not sure what you mean.”
“Sorry,” I replied, “I don’t mean to be confusing. I’ve talked to a few people today who said they were pro-choice, but they all had different definitions of it. What does being pro-choice mean to you?”
I was at SAIT, a college in Calgary, Alberta with our team of volunteers and staff. I held a “Life” sign and passed out brochures, hoping to catch a few students on their break and hear what they thought about abortion.
It was a good day for conversations and all our volunteers were chatting with students when a young woman stopped by my sign and shared with me that she didn’t like abortion. She understood that the pre-born child is a living human being, just like you and I, and deserves the same protection.
Have you been given this scenario to justify abortion before?
“What about a baby whose mother is addicted to crack cocaine and will be born with an addiction to crack? Would you rather that baby suffer horribly and have a terrible life?”
How do you respond? Usually, I reply with something like the following:
“What do you think about abortion?” I asked a student at Mount Royal University, who was right around my age.
“I would have an abortion,” she told me. It was not just a stubborn pro-choice response, as that statement often is. She was firm in her tone, but not harsh, and though she was holding herself together, I could see the tears she held in her blue eyes.