This past weekend, the Students for Life of America team traveled to a Washington, D.C. area metro station with a simple goal in mind: engage in productive dialogue regarding the issue of abortion. Through this dialogue, our team was able to change the minds of eight self-proclaimed abortion proponents to become effective supporters of the cause for life.
There is an unfortunate tendency in America to treat political discourse as an ugly thing, where opposing sides constantly seek out ways in which they might be able to undermine, attack, or discredit those who disagree with them. In our outreach, we actively worked against this stereotype by seeking to respectfully dialogue with those who held views antithetical to our own. While this dialogue is oftentimes difficult at first, the entire team was ecstatic by the end of our three-hour long outreach due to the incredible responses from those we spoke with.
Perhaps the most meaningful experience of the day started out when one woman came up to us, laughed, and enthusiastically indicating her support for abortion to remain legal. While discussing with her why she held this belief, she revealed that she herself had an abortion. Despite such a stance, through respectful communication and compassionate response, we were able to develop a working relationship with this individual, which resulted in her emphatically proclaiming her support for abortion to be outlawed and her enthusiasm to take this message and pass it on to her family by the end out our conversation.
Engaging in this dialogue is not always immediately rewarding, but being committed to the mission will most certainly prove fruitful. For instance, another individual reluctantly agreed to talk with us about her opinions regarding the legality of abortion. Though initially reserved in her words and posture, she revealed to us at the end of our discussion that she had simply never been exposed to the truth that supports the pro-life cause. While she had initially told us that she supported abortion through most of a woman’s pregnancy, she directly indicated to us that she had changed her stance to one that supported legal restrictions against abortion from the moment of conception and indicated a desire to have a pro-life club on her campus.
Not all conversations that day were centered around changing the minds of those who were self-identified abortion supporters. In overhearing the conversation that was taking place, a gentleman approached us who told us that he supported the right to life at all stages of development. While he supported our mission wholeheartedly, he revealed to us that his good friend was in school, pregnant, and strongly considering abortion. Through our conversation, we shared information as to how he may be able to better communicate to his friend about her concerns. Through this conversation, we were able to make steps to connect this struggling mother with resources that would encourage her in choosing life for her preborn child.
This outreach was unique in that it did not require a massive media campaign, months of planning or an army of volunteers to carry out. In fact, this form of outreach is so easy to do that any group of determined abortion abolitionists carry out this type of activism and see this type of result. The only material preparation involved in this event was to gather a folding table, two notepads, some pens and a sign that asks the public if they believe abortion should remain legal.
A very special thanks to Josh Brahm and the staff at Justice for All for the incredible training they provide in regards to this form of outreach. If you are interested in learning how to change people’s hearts from pro-choice to pro-life, be sure to get in contact with Josh and get him on your campus!