by Elizabeth Dean, D.O.
Abortion has been legal since 1973. For more than 43 years, dedicated pro-lifers have been working against abortion, believing this legal procedure is immoral. That is a long time. We would like to be effective in protecting the lives of the unborn by changing laws and by changing the minds of pro-choice individuals. What can we do to best effect change?
Recently the staff at St. Joseph PRC looked at the pro-choice to pro-life conversion stories of physicians, nurses, ultra-sonographer, abortion clinic owner, and staff. Each person left the abortion industry for different reasons, related to the brutality of the abortion process, the harm done to the mothers, and the realization of the infant’s humanity.
In no case did the individual report someone suddenly talking them into changing their minds. Most of them reported a very gradual process. In fact, Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood administrator dialoged with a pro-life husband, pro-life parents, and fence counselors for 8 years without changing her mind. Her eyes were opened when she participated in an ultrasound guided abortion. It was at that time that she was ready to accept the dialogue. Does this mean we should remain quiet?
Consider these questions. Why should we dialogue about abortion? How? When you bring the topic of abortion up in a conversation or group, what has been your experience? For what reason should we continue to try? How? If we don’t bring up this subject, what does that say about our commitment to pro-life? Do your friends and family know you support pro-life?
Serious, productive dialogue about abortion is infrequent therefore has little impact on our culture. Do we want to impact the culture? Yes! What must we overcome?
- Fear of offending or hurting someone.
- Distractions without taking time for serious moral discussions.
- Self-centered attitudes that say if it doesn’t affect me, it is not my concern.
- Discouragement and lack of hope due to the legal system which allowed for the establishment of the abortion industry and continues to protect it.
- Allowing the media dialogue, which tends to be superficial and divisive, do the talking for us.
How do we start to dialogue? With good questions such as, “I’m curious . . .”, “Do you agree that . . .”, “What do you think about . . .?”
Be well informed about what is going on in the abortion industry. For example I think most pro-choice people would agree that the intact brain of a 24 to 28 week fetus should not be provided to the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center for high school summer camp dissections, as was revealed recently in the news.
Consider the resources needed to help the women, men, families, who have been or will be impacted by abortion. We want to be in a position to offer compassion, love, and grace at all times. C.S. Lewis defines love as “. . . a steady wish for the loved persons’ ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.”
Finally, be gentle, respectful, seeking common ground, seeking to understand as well as be understood.
So let us be committed to sharing the truth about abortion. It matters because it changes the course of peoples’ lives.