For years, I thought having pro-life conversations meant that you basically had to accost people on the street and be a loud, annoying activist. I thought I would always have to initiate the conversation, and since I was too shy to talk about controversial issues, I barely talked about abortion. But one really cool thing that I have learned recently is that the opportunity to have a great conversation will come, and most of the time when you least expect it!
A few days ago I went to a coffee shop to read and ended up having a conversation with the gentleman next to me for more than an hour, even though I sat down to read about economics all by myself. In the course of this conversation, I discovered that three of the most important things to remember for pro-life conversations are to be open to having a conversation, be prepared, and be confident.
1) Be open to conversation. When someone interrupts your peace and quiet, be open to having a conversation. Don’t automatically decide not to talk because someone is a stranger. It’s as easy as sitting down in a coffee shop.
2) Be prepared. Know about what you hope to defend. If I didn’t know when the heartbeat begins, I wouldn’t have been able to correct this man when he quoted inaccurate statistics. You don’t need to know everything, but even being able to quote a few statistics will help you greatly. Basically, you cannot represent life well if you don’t know why you believe what you believe.
3) Be confident.
Here are just a few of the reasons I was intimidated at the beginning of this conversation:
-this was an older gentleman. (In my experience, older men do not take kindly to younger women disagreeing with them)
-he was very opinionated. (I would get in maybe one sentence, before he would talk for the next 10 minutes)
-he was clearly educated (9 languages…need I say more?)
But it was all okay! Sometimes you will find yourself in conversations with people who are older, opinionated, and highly educated…and they will still disagree strongly with the truth. If you remain confident, then you will be able to educate people about why you have such a confidence in the truth!
Throughout the conversation, the man kept nodding his head. A couple times, he even paused before answering, so I knew he was thinking about what I was saying.
And because I remembered those three things, I was able to give this man new information for him to consider and make him think about things in a new way, so this conversation was a complete success.
A few days later, while walking to the bank, I saw two people in bright pink shirts. This shade of pink could only mean one thing: they worked for Planned Parenthood…awkward.
I briefly considered walking quickly past them to attempt avoiding a conversation, but I changed my mind because I remembered my conversation from a few days earlier, and I realized I needed to be open to talking to Planned Parenthood workers if I ever hoped to educate them.
I ended up talking to one of the workers for about 15 minutes, and because I was prepared and knew what I was talking about, I was able to share with her a lot of the information about Planned Parenthood that she did not know (racism, sex discrimination, and more).
And I would definitely call helping to educate someone who didn’t know much about the organization she works for a success!
This conversation was not at all how I expected it would be. I thought she would try to deny what I said, and I was expecting her to refuse to listen for more than a minute or two. As I talked to her more, I realized she didn’t really know anything about Planned Parenthood, and she seemed to be genuinely listening to what I said. Now, I know this isn’t the norm. Most Planned Parenthood workers are much more adamant about what they believe, even when they are wholly uneducated about what Planned Parenthood does. Most Planned Parenthood workers I have seen are definitely not as friendly as she was, which did make being open to the conversation and being confident easier.
I know it can seem really difficult to have conversations with people who disagree with you, but if you are always surrounded by people who believe exactly what you do, you’re doing something wrong. Yes, it’s wonderful to be surrounded by like-minded people, but we are not supposed to learn things to keep bottled up in our own little communities.
We must go out, meet with those who do not believe, and continue educating others until we bring an end to abortion.