Across the country on college campuses, young men struggle with the idea of getting involved in the pro-life movement. More specifically, they wrestle with the purpose of engaging in a student group that may be deemed to be “controversial” or less than “cool” by fellow peers. I know this from first-hand experience; during my freshman year, it took a leap of faith to become involved and embrace the calling to go for it.
Maybe it’s the so-called lack of time, but more often than not, it’s merely our false perception that we as men don’t play a role in the movement, or there is a genuine lack of an understanding on how to best approach getting involved.
To begin getting involved on the college campus, look to see if a pro-life student group exists. If so, that’s great! Reach out to someone in the organization or send them a quick note regarding your initial interest. Take that leap of faith to go to a meeting and at least hear out the organization.
If there is not currently a Students for Life group or pro-life mission-driven organization on campus, consider starting a group with like-minded students at your university or college. In building and launching an organization, consider building coalitions with like-minded groups, such as Christian organizations or possibly even a conservative-leaning political group on campus. The national organization, Students for Life of America, has a user-friendly and detailed site devoted to helping launch a group on your campus.
Listed below are five tips and concepts I have picked up along the way and have found useful in my journey within the movement. I believe these are foundational steps that will benefit the way in which you approach not only joining in sharing of your compassionate pro-life views, but also in the way we engage with others who differ in opinion.
1. Get involved. No matter the group — on-campus or an outside related church group — find like-minded people on your campus and share your thoughts and why you believe what you do.
2. Listen. Take time to hear out stories and other opinions without judgment. When giving out flyers or tabling, some students might become irritated. Show patience and understanding while sticking to what you believe. That balance is hard to strike, but a smile goes a long way. This is what college should be about: hearing other viewpoints while sharing your convictions.
3. Respond to the pro-life movement’s call to action with care and understanding. Unfortunately, rape and assault occur on college campuses. That is wrong and should be met with the force of the law. But that small percentage of why abortions occur should not stop a conversation on why defending life is essential. If someone states they have been a victim of rape, showing genuine care is important. Standing with them and hearing them out can to lead to that person showing that same respect in return.
4. Speak with respect, but refute the current groupthink that says abortion is strictly a female topic. Being a male does not exclude you from the conversation. When speaking with those who disagree with you, ask their names first and seek common ground. You might even try using “I feel” or “I was raised,” instead of telling others what to do or what to believe. It’s best to avoid saying things like, “You should not,” or “you are wrong” when attempting to engage others about the topic of abortion.
5. Don’t be afraid to share facts, and be willing to learn something new every day. It is easy to share our views and thoughts with like-minded individuals who agree with us — but when armed with compassion and knowledge, don’t be afraid to speak with others that are outside of your “bubble.” One great way to do this is by sharing Live Action videos — like Debunking Planned Parenthood’s “3%” Abortion Myth and Lila Rose discussing ‘Creating a Culture of Life’ — and videos from AbortionProcedures.com, which are also educational and insightful.
With the next semester fast approaching, take this opportunity to get involved with the movement and remember that change is made one conversation heart at a time.
Bio: Zachary Petrizzo is a sophomore at George Mason University who writes on higher education related subjects. His work has appeared in The Daily Caller, Campus Reform, and The College Fix, among others.