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.
When you do CCBR’s internship, you have the opportunity to have unforgettable conversations with people on the streets. I wish I could say that all of the conversations I’ve had saw peoples’ opinion on the issue of abortion at least shift towards the pro-life position. Even though I’ve had a lot of those conversations, that’s not always the case.
It’s 5:30AM. My alarm clock goes off. Groggily, I turn it off and roll out of bed. It’s time to get up, go out, and start working to save babies.
An hour later finds me driving to today’s postcarding location. I chat with Kim—one of our summer interns—about each other’s weekends. It crosses my mind how if it wasn’t for this awful issue of abortion, I probably never would have met Kim.
I hate abortion—but I’m glad I know Kim.
Her story broke my heart. It was one of pain, brokenness, loss, sorrow, loneliness – all carefully hidden under a mask of anger and bitterness. From her blazing eyes and the way she yelled at me, the mask was all I saw. But from her words, the buried pain was obvious. She’d survived sexual assault. She’d had an abortion. And it had happened when she was only eight years old.
What could I say? I could do nothing to take away her pain. I couldn’t even imagine what she was going through. I couldn’t begin to understand how much the memory hurt.
I grew up in a Catholic home, and I have always been pro-life. Even though abortion was not talked about while I was growing up, I knew my family believed abortion was wrong. I lived in a bubble; I thought everyone around me was pro-life too. That bubble didn’t burst until I was in my Grade 12 English class.
Working in the pro-life movement can be discouraging at times. We do experience a lot of backlash for what we do. I have to admit, however, that I often assume people’s reactions before I even know them. Last week I was post carding a particularly unforgiving neighbourhood when I came to a house where a woman was sitting on her porch. I walked up her front steps and asked if I could give her some important information regarding human rights, offering her a postcard.
A short while ago, I spoke with a student named Kevin. Last year, Kevin had encountered our group in front of his high school as we dialogued with students while showing abortion victim photography. He told me that at that time he was passionately pro-choice and debated fiercely while we were there. He went on to explain that when he walked away, he was still adamantly pro-choice. However, Kevin shared that something had resonated with him. After encountering the images and reflecting upon the conversations he had had, he was prompted to do his own research.