Thanksgiving has come and gone, but rather than taking the opportunity to reflect on all there is to be grateful for in one’s life, Rewire decided the best use of a Thanksgiving gathering was to proselytize for abortion to one’s family. They presented a guide by National Network of Abortion Funds’ staffers on how to have “deep conversations” with relatives about “support for abortion access.”
Fortunately, after perusing their advice, I can safely predict that following it won’t win the abortion lobby many new converts.
“One-on-one is key—I’ve made the mistake of jumping into it at Thanksgiving on a topic where I was the only one in the family who felt the way I did, and it did not go well. Yes, we have a duty to speak up, but we have to be strategic in how we do that,” says Nan Kirkpatrick of the Texas Equal Access Fund. Have these conversations with your loved ones in smaller, less charged groups. It reduces the chance for angry conversations and allows people to ask you questions or frame their ideas with less defensiveness. It also gives you the space to converse beyond talking points and rhetoric, and share what your full vision for the future and full reproductive justice for everyone would look like.
This is generally true for any argument as far as it goes (except for the “full vision of reproductive justice” nonsense), but it doesn’t go very far. Aside from the possibility of simply being shouted down (which shouldn’t be a problem in a family gathering where all parties truly respect each other), defensiveness or emotion don’t change the fact that if you truly have the better arguments, a compelling answer to them is no more likely to come from one hundred opponents than it is from one.
Conversely, all the “space to converse” in the world won’t do Rewire’s readers any good if they can’t persuasively refute objections, patch up the holes in their case’s logic, or account for inconvenient facts. Keep that in mind as you read the rest of these: none of Rewire’s advice speaks to the substance of the ideas they’re peddling.
Prosper Hedges of the Magnolia Fund says, “I take a quick mental survey of our shared values and emphasize those first. My grandparents are vehemently anti-choice Catholics and cornered me earlier this year about the work I do. They said such inflammatory things (like ‘heart rate begins an hour after conception’), but from their teary eyes and clasped hands I could tell that a quick, scientific takedown would only ostracize them further.”
It also might out you as ignorant, considering that now doctors think the heartbeat might actually begin as early as day sixteen, whereas Planned Parenthood personnel have been known to falsely claim it doesn’t start until after sixteen weeks. Of course, when dealing with pro-aborts we can’t be sure whether Hedges’ grandparents said this at all, but assuming they did, does it strike anyone else as sleazy on multiple levels to publicly single out one’s own grandparents as examples of ignorance?
“However, I know that part of their faith is a firm default to the judgment of a higher power, and a refusal to cast the first stone. I told them that my faith is similar—I always have faith in the ability of the person I’m speaking with to assess their own needs, and I don’t need to understand more than that. This opened up a conversation about birth control and sex education that I never would have thought possible prior.”
See what I meant about glossing over the arguments themselves? “Faith in someone’s ability to assess their own needs” is the sort of meaningless babble any pro-lifer could see coming a mile away and destroy by simply asking when killing someone else falls under the category of one’s “own needs.” Rewire and NNAF aren’t doing their followers any favors with shoddy material like this.
Maia Elkana of the Gateway Women’s Access Fund says “my family is ‘pro-choice’ so I’m lucky in this regard, but abortion funding was new to them, as is a reproductive justice framework. My dad watches a lot of Fox News and has come to believe some of the more offensive things he hears on TV, but he’s a father who raised two girls mostly on his own and he’s naturally a caring and empathetic person. Talking about access to care and the economic impact on women and families, and widening it out to violence prevention and school readiness, to make the connection to my day job work as a social worker, has really helped me in my conversations with him.”
Ah, the obligatory invocation of Fox News as an eeeeevil hypnotizer of otherwise-decent people. Personally, I’ve got my share of complaints about Fox, but to pretend it’s uniquely awful or propagandizing (especially in light of its competitors spending the past couple days lionizing a dead dictator) is pure dishonesty. And if you want to talk about media platforms getting people to believe “offensive things,” Rewire should look in the mirror: this is the same website that compares pro-lifers to Taliban members and ISIS terrorists, openly advocates for abortionists to ignore laws it dislikes, and viciously attacks adoption (just to take a few of many, many examples Live Action has covered over the years).
But I digress. This advice has left hapless pro-aborts who follow it open for another devastating counterattack — asking where their vaunted “empathy” is for the babies they kill. But then, I suppose when you spend all your time talking to your fellow travelers about how uncaring your enemies are, it’s easy to forget about the log in your own eye.
Be a resource for information when people have questions: When you come across a great article or book, bookmark it and save a list for the moments when people ask you for resources.
And be prepared for some ‘splaining when everything in those resources turns out to be false.
In the end, we see that even when purporting to venture outside their echo chamber and engage with pro-lifers, pro-aborts still sound like they only know how to talk to each other. They don’t question their own facts; they don’t test their own arguments; and they don’t even attempt to consider an actual pro-life thought.