Pro-life individuals have a responsibility to communicate the pro-life message. Through civic participation, many pro-lifers put their beliefs into action, campaigning and voting for pro-life politicians and holding elected officials accountable for their positions on pro-life issues. However, when it comes to discussing pro-life issues with their friends and acquaintances, many pro-lifers hesitate.
On the one hand, because many conservatives ascribe to the pro-life position, pro-lifers may not see the need for intentional pro-life conversations with their conservative friends. Conversely, since abortion is a sensitive and often political issue, pro-lifers may avoid discussing it because they are unsure of an appropriate way to introduce the topic. By starting a conversation around pro-life issues, a pro-lifer risks an exchange that could be at best “preaching to the choir,” and at worst painful and alienating.
Although the risks of such conversations are real, pro-lifers must remember the great need for truth in America today. People who call themselves “pro-life” often do not know why they are pro-life, or what being pro-life even means. The Barna Group found that 59 percent of Mainline Protestant church leaders have never talked about the pro-life cause from the pulpit or mentioned it in a sermon. Engaging professed pro-lifers in conversation allows strong pro-lifers to share the reality of abortion and our opportunity to advocate for life in America.
Pro-lifers have several options available for beginning a pro-life conversation:
1. Inviting nominal pro-lifers to join pro-life initiatives can bolster their weaker pro-life convictions.
When nominal pro-lifers attend a pro-life conference, pray outside an abortion facility, or tour a Pregnancy Resource Center, they come face to face with the pro-life movement. Pro-lifers can enlist the support of friends and church members by asking them to volunteer at a Pregnancy Resource Center or attend a pro-life fundraiser. As these individuals become part of the pro-life movement, their eyes will be opened and their commitment strengthened.
Nominal pro-lifers also may not fully comprehend abortion, but they may have been personally impacted by it. Because abortion has been legal in America for 46 years, millions of Americans have been affected over the decades. People have lost siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends’ children. Talking about abortion allows these individuals to understand and process what happened to their family and friends.
2. Talking about pro-life issues can bring healing.
Abortion has impacted other individuals even more directly. Millions of American parents have lost their children to abortion. By bringing up pro-life issues, pro-lifers can point these parents to programs and resources for healing. Many local Pregnancy Resource Centers host post-abortive support groups, and organizations like Rachel’s Vineyard and Silent No More exist to come alongside post-abortive parents.
While such conversations open the door to healing from past abortion, they can also prevent future abortions. Josh Brahm from Equal Rights Institute observes that many women do not realize the support that is available to them if they become pregnant unexpectedly. By discussing pro-life issues, pro-lifers can ensure that their friends know about the alternatives to abortion and the support that is available to expectant parents.
3. Asking questions can lead to changed minds.
Entering into a conversation about abortion allows pro-lifers to reach uniformed friends and acquaintances with the truth. Nonetheless, while some people are simply ignorant about abortion, others are hostile to the pro-life movement. Instead of replying with similar anger, pro-lifers can ask their pro-abortion friends why they are pro-abortion. Verbalizing their views forces pro-abortion individuals to consider the implications of their views.
4. Pro-lifers can also bring the message of life to their churches.
CareNet reported that 36 percent of women were attending a Christian church once a month or more at the time of their first abortion. David Bereit from 40 Days for Life reveals that post-abortive women can endure pain when they do not hear abortion addressed in their churches. Churches have an amazing opportunity to share the importance of life and forgiveness, encouraging expectant mothers not to abort and offering healing to those who have lost children to abortion.
Christians can involve their churches in a variety of ways, from coordinating activities for Sanctity of Life Sunday to recruiting church members to volunteer at Pregnancy Resource Centers. By asking church leaders for permission to pursue pro-life activities in their churches, pro-life members remind pastors of the importance of the pro-life message and support church leaders in spreading this message.
Don’t be afraid to reach out.
Engaging these four strategies in the pro-life movement will help to build a culture of life. Those who previously paid lip service to the pro-life movement will realize the tragedy of abortion and the sacredness of life, while those hurt by abortion will understand that healing is possible. Women who might consider abortion will learn about the pro-life resources available to them. Additionally, those who hold pro-abortion views will be prompted to reconsider their positions. Reaching out to friends with the pro-life message may be a leap of faith for pro-lifers, but through their faithfulness, our culture will experience the truth and healing of the pro-life message.
Anna Longbons is an intern at FRC Action.