Tips for conservatives on how to talk about abortion
As part of the first generation after Roe v. Wade, I had an abortion.
The day the Supreme Court sent the issue back to the states was a day of celebration for me. (Didn't help us in ultra-permissive Colorado, though. Our Legislature just made that worse, too.)
Thinking about abortion has been part of the healing process for me, along with forgiveness from God. Let me offer ideas on how to talk about abortion so there will be fewer abortions, and so those opposing abortion can win elections again.
We might base our approach on what Jesus said: "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves"(Matthew 10:16, NKJV).
In the midst of wolves: We are dealing with a really evil thing when we oppose abortion. Be realistic, pray up, put on the armor of faith.
Wise as serpents: Use reasoning to help people understand what abortion really does, not so much about when life begins. Sometimes words are not needed at all.
These days, the greatest rebuttal to the argument that a fetus is just a clump of cells is ultrasound. We didn't have that in my generation. When women with crisis pregnancies see that fetuses are little humans, and hear the heartbeats, many will choose to have their babies. So we should urge and enable women to get ultrasounds. Pay for them. Project Ultrasound helps people do that.
Another argument the left uses, implicitly, is that a preborn life is of little value — at least, it is not as valuable as a mother's current life and her opportunities. My body, my choice, you know.
Answer to that argument: Ask who that person might become if you do not abort him or her. How would having that person in your life benefit you and those around you? We can all use our imaginations.
A little story: One day, while holding a sign for a gubernatorial candidate near the offices of a local school district, I became aware that other people were holding signs behind me, down the drive to the parking lot. They were protesters for Planned Parenthood.
My dander went up while I continued to hold up my sign and wave at cars. You see, it has been a struggle for me to come to terms with my abortion.
When my sign-waving was done, I walked by the protesters, stopped, and said, "I had an abortion. It was the worst thing I ever did."
The leader of the group said, "You don't need to feel guilty." Then she seemed to be saying negative things about me to the women, calling me a fool or something.
That made me stop and say, "Think about this, ladies: 'Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the apples in a seed.'"
The women were stunned silent. A couple of them seemed to be thinking hard about the sentence. (It is a quote from the Rev. Dr. Robert H. Schuller.)
Following up, I said, "What if we have aborted the person who would have cured cancer?"
When I drove out of the parking lot, the group of women were huddled with the leader, and she was talking to them. I daresay that what the women heard from me had an impact on the group, in spite of the leader.
Carrying this further, we who oppose abortion can point out to women and their partners who is lost with each abortion: friends, family, helpers, and heroes; great teachers, leaders, thinkers, and scientists; tradesmen, construction workers, police officers, and firefighters; artists, dancers, painters, and other creatives; and more.
Harmless as doves: We should be careful with our language, not accusing or being demeaning to women, even as we fight for the lives of babies with our words. Express compassion for women. Say we are trying to help women and their babies be okay. Tell women where to find support.
Some other things to say: Let women know that we will stand by them. Add that we really hope women will keep their babies because they will be happier if they do, and we will all have more wonderful people in the world. Tell women we will leave abortion to the states, and we don't expect zero abortions. Show compassion for women who have experienced rape or incest.
Finally, let women know they are precious to God. He loves them, and he will offer them forgiveness, even if they have abortions. However, we think He would be glad if they didn't.
With our words, we can help Americans have fewer abortions, and we can help those who oppose abortion win elections again.
CS Boddie writes for Meadowlark Press, LLC.