I think it was a good way to start my 21st year on earth. She was campaigning for Elizabeth Colbert-Busch and I asked what Mrs. Colbert-Busch’s stance on abortion was.
"Elizabeth believes that abortion is a woman’s personal private choice." Well this is why I cannot possibly stand beside Elizabeth. I categorically deny that a woman has the right to choose to end the life of her child.
"Well, we appreciate your opinion, but you cannot force it on others." Ma’am, I’m not speaking in the realm of opinions. I am saying that it is actually and truly wrong for anyone to end the life of their child by abortion. This is a moral claim more akin to the statement ‘insulin treats diabetes’ than it is to ‘vanilla is the best flavor of ice-cream.’ You’re the one forcing abortions on the 3,000 children aborted every year, and violating their right to live.
"No, sir, you’re stating an opinion, and no one’s opinion is better than anyone else’s." Of course they are, otherwise you wouldn’t disagree with me. Are all opinions equally valid and true? "Of course!" Then you agree with me that it’s wrong to kill children, because my opinion, as you call it, is equally valid and as true as your opinion.
"Well sir, a child isn’t a child until it’s been born." What’s the difference? A few inches travel? "It’s no longer dependent on the mother." It’s still largely dependent on the mother! "It has the breath of God in its lungs." God says that He knit us together in our mother’s womb and that He knew us before we were born.
"Sir, read the Hebrew Bible." Ma’am, I just quoted the Hebrew Bible to you. Ha-Shem makes it clear that life begins before the moment of birth. "Sir, read the Hebrew Bible."
At this point she walked away rapidly. I kid you not. She just. walked. away. Power-walked, in fact.
I did not edit or rephrase this: As best as I remember this is true to our conversation. It was telling, to say the least.
Here are a few thoughts about this encounter that I hope help you next time you talk to someone with these or similar convictions:
- Remember to always use accurate vocabulary. By referring to the unborn as a child (what it is) rather than a fetus (its current developmental stage) we trade sterilized language for words that make our point clear: At stake is a human life and we are not willing to let that go so flippantly.
- Stay on their level. Obviously I could have just turned to scripture right from the start, but there is no way of knowing that she accepts scripture as authoritative. By waiting until she brought it up, I engaged her where she was.
- Be polite, yet persistent. Again, with human lives being lost every day to this horror, let us be dogged in the opportunities that are afforded us. I could have simply said “agree to disagree” and left it at that. Hopefully she’ll remember the guy who stood next to her and patiently engaged her, disagreeing without being disagreeable.
- One thing I wish I had done: Chuckle a bit. Disarm them by asking something like “why would you believe a silly thing like that?” when they say a fetus isn’t a child, or a woman has an open-ended right to choose. This is not derisive laughter at someone, it’s bemused laughter about a silly idea. A jovial nature is impressively helpful when discussing something so intense as abortion, so the laughter helps to set the tone.
I hope that this exchange is enlightening and helpful for you. It was certainly an interesting experience first-hand. May God use us all to love and serve even our tiniest of neighbors.