We Live Action interns recently finished our third Advocate distribution in Washington, D.C. Since my previous post, “Advocate Adventures,” Claire, Erin, and I have taken The Advocate to the Capitol South Metro and the Folklife Festival at the National Mall. These two locations presented very different scenarios — the metro area being fast-paced, with individual conversations nearly impossible as folks scuttled to catch a train, and the festival being relaxed, with groups of people not only willing to talk, but also able to pose for a picture with The Advocate! Our encounters with the people in these contrasting locales taught us how to more effectively engage passersby and get The Advocate out to as many of them as possible.
Each scenario came with its own challenges as well as its own benefits. At the metro, where people are impatiently bustling about, the issue is that while numerous people may take our pro-life periodical, there is little time for any serious discussion on abortion. At the festival, people are easy-going and sociable, but although conversations come easier, fewer people receive The Advocate if we distributors are caught up in conversation with overly talkative folk. However, these challenges can be countered and converted into pro-life victories with some planning, perseverance, passion, peace, and personability.
Below are some similar challenges that might prevent pro-lifers from enjoying adventures with The Advocate, along with responses learned from experience on how to overcome them:
Challenge: Not many people will take The Advocate because they are all so busy!
Response: So people are busy. We’re all busy, but never so busy as to let innocent people die. People need to hear the somber fact that abortion is murder, and learn how they can take a stand against this horrible practice. That’s exactly why we want them to read The Advocate. Even if you as a distributer are unable to engage with hurried commuters, you can still hand out copies as people pass by, always with a smile. Who doesn’t want a free magazine?
Challenge: If I come into contact with pro-aborts, they will heckle me and prevent me from reaching out to more open-minded people.
Response: Heckle? Maybe. Even if some do, there is no greater pro-life witness than to respond to them with confidence, respect, and kindness. More often they want to debate, which can be good, as long as you are able share with them the personhood of the unborn. Perhaps your discussion with an abortion proponent can open his or her mind to what being pro-life really means. Also, there’s no need to let any debate prevent you from continuing to pass out The Advocate. Of course, if any abortion-supporter is too distracting or adversarial, the wisest thing you can do is to politely end the conversation and allow him or her to move on, or just move on yourself.
Challenge: Some people are simply turned off as soon as they hear the words “abortion” or “pro-life.”
Response: Pro-lifers never need be afraid of talking about the hard facts of abortion and in utero life, yet we can convey the same life-affirming message with more popular expressions. Other phrases like “human rights” and “social justice” can be used when referring to The Advocate and describing the work of Live Action. (These terms may be misused by liberal and abortion-supportive groups, but they can and should be utilized by the pro-life movement!) Abortion is a human rights violation, of the most severe degree, and ultimately what the pro-life movement works toward is the end of this gross injustice. As defenders of the pre-born, we can be confident in using the term “social justice” when we talk of pro-life activism and the dire plight of the child in the womb. The right to life is the most fundamental human right, and whatever terminology we use we must be bold in proclaiming this truth in love!
As you try out these recommendations, let the Live Action team hear about your adventures, challenges, and pro-life victories while handing out The Advocate. We love to highlight our courageous Advocate distributers!
If you have any exciting stories related to your pro-life activism, e-mail Maggen Stone, The Advocate program director, at [email protected].