The message of the pro-life cause is one of compassion, and our goal is to offer support to women and their babies. I had an opportunity to speak as a pro-life individual through a social change class I had to take as a graduation requirement at school. For our final, we were told we had to pitch a social innovation plan to the class, and I decided to advocate for the creation of a pro-life charity. My intention was to expand upon resources needed to make choosing life possible for a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy. My professor nominated me for an opportunity to earn funding for my idea, which required that I create a display featuring the name of my proposed charity: Loved by Christ. It featured a picture of a woman embracing her baby. Two other pictures on the display showed an ultrasound of a baby at 12 weeks and one showing Jesus surrounded by little children.
I anticipated objections to my idea, as the topic was controversial, but one young woman in particular became very upset upon seeing my display. She claimed my display was a violation of separation of church and state, and when I told her I was not prohibited from expressing my religious views in public, she began to chant the phrase at me. And things just got worse from there….
I continued to try and pursue an actual dialogue with her, as I hoped to debunk the idea that the pro-life side is merely “pro-birth,” by telling her of all the assistance that pro-lifers offer to women. As I did, she shook her head at the services I listed, and incorrectly insisted that Planned Parenthood already did all of those things for women. While it is true that Planned Parenthood provides other services besides abortion, Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider — committing more than 332,000 abortions every year — and it doesn’t fully commit to prenatal care. There are better places for women to seek help, like community health centers and pregnancy resource centers.
However, when I attempted to tell her about Care Net – one of the most influential pregnancy center organizations in the country – she confused Care Net with Care.com, and scoffed that she didn’t see how a ‘babysitting website’ could do a lot to help women. This further confirmed her unfamiliarity with other avenues of support for pregnant women. But given the way the pro-abortion movement dismisses the pro-life community as unfeeling towards women, I could hardly blame her for her ignorance. By crafting an image of the pro-life movement as people who will only protest abortion – not take action to prevent it – the pro-abortion movement ignores or dismisses (even villainizes) the efforts of pro-lifers who truly help women.
As I further explained what Care Net actually is, she oddly attempted to dismiss it as a religious version of Planned Parenthood, with less to offer — this, despite being told that Care Net had saved 70,043 preborn human beings in 2015, and over the course of eight years, Care Net has helped over 500,000 people. In contrast, Planned Parenthood only helped with 2,024 adoption referrals, and aborted 323,999 babies in 2015.
She insisted that women wouldn’t look to a charity like mine for help if it didn’t offer abortions, which is, of course, untrue. She rejected the idea of the pro-life community dedicating itself to protecting life by offering women supportive care, and continued to defend Planned Parenthood, insisting repeatedly that abortion was only 3% of its services. I explained that this was not true. She became angry, declaring she would argue with me till she died that it was only 3%. (Read more here about the debunked 3% claim.)
When I tried to shift the topic to the potentially grave consequences of abortion, she declared abortion was safer than childbirth. This is also not true, and I told her about studies showing that women who aborted had higher mortality rates than women experiencing natural births. To claim abortion is safer than childbirth does not take into consideration complications from abortion procedures or the increased risk of mental health problems.
As had been her pattern, when she did not have a response to my arguments, she merely repeated what I said in a mocking tone.
As we continued to talk, her tone became hysterical, and she declared I would never succeed in making abortion illegal. I told her my goal was to provide charitable resources for pregnant women – a point where we had common ground – but she ignored this and attempted to discourage people from viewing my display, continuing to call it a ‘religious Planned Parenthood’ before walking away.
I am not trying to demonize this young woman whose passion blinded her to the gentle pro-life message I was advocating. My aim is to show that when confronted with situations like this one, it is important for pro-lifers to remain calm as we speak of the care we’re willing to offer. Our message is life-giving and full of love, and we have to remain consistent in that. By remaining strong in our message of compassion, we can bridge the gap in order to promote life.
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