Abortion is a hot topic in politics this year, thanks to the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the recent midterm elections. This holiday season, you may be nervously anticipating table talk with pro-abortion relatives and friends during get-togethers. These conversations can be very sensitive and emotionally charged. While we don’t want to create strife, we need to courageously stand up for voiceless and vulnerable preborn babies.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.” Here are tips on standing up for truth in a peaceful and fruitful way:
Listen and Clarify
Truly listen to the other person to understand where they are coming from. Try to be self-aware about whether you are actively listening or simply waiting to talk. It’s tempting to assume that you know what others think or feel about the topic, especially if we’ve spent some time reading and hearing pro-abortion arguments, however our assumptions can often be wrong.
Everyone comes to the table with different life experiences and depths of knowledge that influence their opinion, and their perspective may be more nuanced than you first assume. Even their definition of terms like “abortion” and “life” may be different to yours. Use clarifying questions to get on the same page and ensure that you understand exactly what they are saying.
Find Common Ground
Seek out things you can both agree on. When you find agreement with certain points, it can make the conversation more civil and create the opportunity for further dialogue. It’s likely that both of you want to show love and compassion towards women facing difficult unexpected pregnancies, but you happen to disagree on the best way to do so. Perhaps they also recognize that a fetus is a baby at some point during gestation, for example when the heart starts beating or when the baby is capable of feeling pain. Highlight your agreement and use that as an opportunity to take the conversation further.
Know the Facts
To be persuasive in your discussion, it’s important to be clear about why you believe what you believe. Brush up on your understanding of pro-life arguments so that you can be better prepared to answer questions and respond to misinformation. Here are some resources to help you with that:
- National Right of Life Committee’s guide to responding to basic pro-abortion arguments.
- Our refutation of common myths about abortion and whether it is medically necessary.
- Our refutation of false claims about pregnancy resource centers and medical clinics.
- Watch pro-life speaker Trent Horn debunk common pro-abortion arguments.
Remember that the person you are engaging with is made in God’s image and therefore deserving of love and respect regardless of their viewpoint. We are all created to be oriented towards love, but we are also still learning what the most loving thing to do is. Your relative or friend with pro-abortion views likely holds them because they have been convinced that it is the most loving, reasonable, and civil position to take.
It’s also important to tread carefully because we never know how another person’s life might have been hurt by abortion. Show compassion and understanding for the struggles that an unexpected pregnancy can create, and share your love for the women, men, and preborn babies affected by challenging circumstances.
Be aware of your body language and tone of voice. A furrowed brow and harsh language can make the other person feel attacked, and a know-it-all attitude can cause them to close themselves off to your point of view. Keep your tone calm, reasonable, and sincere. Avoid crossing your arms and raising your voice, and instead smile, relax, and nod along when you are in agreement. A charitable disposition will help communicate the good intentions behind the pro-life perspective.
Remember that you are merely planting seeds, but it is God that ultimately makes them grow. We cannot expect to change peoples’ minds in just one day. Leave the conversation with a peaceful heart, knowing that you stood up for the truth with charity, and let the Holy Spirit take it from there.