In a country [Canada] where there is no protection for pre-born children and nearly 300 little boys and girls are walked to their death every single day, there is a lot of devastation. Nearly 600 parents, 1200 grandparents, countless siblings, and innumerable friends suffer a loss each day anew.
I’ve heard before that people are like buckets. All too often people are brimming over with a lot of pain and hurt. When these are the people standing in front of us on the street, there is no room for logical arguments in their bucket.
Before anything else can be added, some of the pain needs to be poured out. When they are standing in front of us, we have an opportunity to truly love these people by listening. They can begin to pour out the pain and hurt if we are willing to listen.
This past summer I was privileged to be a part of the CCBR summer internship program in Calgary. It was the very last “Choice” Chain of the summer. We were standing along the C-train line downtown and I was engaged in active, fast-paced conversations the whole time. People were recognizing the inhumanity of abortion and I had the opportunity to let them know about the lack of protection for pre-born children in Canada. One person after the next was saying, “Yes, I need to do something!” But my last conversation didn’t follow the same pattern.
I caught a young man’s eye and asked, “What do you think about abortion?”
“I don’t think I can tell a woman what to do with her body. She needs to be able to make that choice.”
We talked about human rights, agreeing that human rights should be for all humans, and worked through defining when a human being comes into existence. We discussed how difficult it would be for a woman to raise her child when she is poor or when her child has a mental disability.
He said, “Sometimes it’s just better if a woman has an abortion.”
I agreed that it would be difficult to be pregnant and then raise a child in either of these situations. I followed this with a question: “What if I told you that I have a little 2-year-old girl with Down’s Syndrome and I just lost my job so I can no longer provide for her. Can I kill her?”
He responded, “Well, I don’t think you should. But you could.”
“Wait, so then if your friend was going to take her 2-year-old to a clinic to have her dismembered—to have her killed—you would be ok with that?”
“No, no, of course not!”
So I asked him, “Then if something is wrong, shouldn’t we do everything possible that we can to stop it?” I let that sit a minute before asking, “Can you think of something that is always wrong?” When he didn’t answer I offered, “Would you say rape is always wrong?”
“Yes, of course.”
Follow LifeNews.com on Instagram for pro-life pictures and the latest pro-life news.
“Now, what if someone at the C-train station over there was sexually assaulting someone. What would you do? Shouldn’t we try to do everything we possibly can to stop that from happening?” He was nodding along with me. “Ultimately, whether or not the wrong is done isn’t in our control, but we have to at least try to stop it.”
He agreed that we should, and I asked him, “If killing children is wrong, then isn’t abortion wrong? Because this is a child (motioning to my sign), and isn’t the difference between her and a toddler simply her age?”
He switched topics and said, “If we make abortion illegal as it is in 3rd world countries, women will die because of abortion.”
A crazy analogy popped into my head. I asked him to forgive me because I knew it was going to sound ridiculous: “Imagine this, what if women were taking their toddlers to a clinic to have them killed, but the clinic was on an island, surrounded by a lava flow with only a stepping stone path to get across. It is extremely treacherous and if they try to cross, they could be seriously harmed. They may even die. Now should we build a bridge for them so that they can get across safely to kill their children?”
He looked at me with wide eyes, “No! Of course not.”
So I asked him why we should keep abortion legal to protect women if abortion is killing their children. Again it was as if there was a block. Something was there that I didn’t understand because he responded again, “No, women need to be able to have abortions.”
He kept calling it that: “abortion.” Whenever I said “killing a pre-born child,” he thought I was being extreme. I realized that we needed to define abortion so I asked him, “But what is abortion?” He looked like he really didn’t want to answer. So I said, “This is what it looks like (highlighting my picture). It’s killing a baby. Before she was alive, but the doctor tore her limb from limb, took off her head and now she’s dead. That is what abortion does to little boys and girls.”
“I don’t know . . . I’m just indifferent.”
I couldn’t believe that. He was a genuine young man but his eyes were pleading with me to believe him. I asked him if he has any children, nephews, maybe nieces.
“A little brother.”
I asked him how he would feel if it was his little brother who looked like this. He told me that it isn’t what he’d want, but it would have to be up to his mother. She ultimately gets the final say. I asked him, “What if your brother was dismembered like this when he’d been in his crib?” His face fell and he didn’t answer. My mind was searching desperately for how to reach him.
“Have you always had the view that you have now?”
“No, it shifts with different people I’ve met . . . My ex-girlfriend . . . we had an abortion. It was so hard to see her come out of the clinic room crying.”
My heart broke. I told him I was sorry for his loss and asked him how he was doing. I told him about the website for post-abortive help on the back of the brochure.
“Have you been able to tell anyone about it?”
“Only a few close friends . . . not my parents. We were so young. We didn’t think we could raise a baby.”
“What would you do if the person you are now was back in that situation?” I asked him. “What would you do?”
He said, “I wouldn’t do it.” He kept looking at the 10-week fetus, lying in pieces in the picture on my sign. He was silent for a long time and then, “That is horrible.” He was no longer indifferent. He had been protecting himself for so long that at first he couldn’t process what was on my sign. But after talking about his experience and acknowledging his abortion as a loss, he recognized what had happened behind that door his girlfriend had walked through. He thanked me before he walked away.
It’s a beautiful thing to be given the opportunity to listen, to allow people to pour out some of their pain and hurt. Every person on the street has stories that have made them who they are now. We can’t possibly begin to understand it all in our short interaction with them but we must be willing to listen. Only then can their bucket be emptied of some of the hurting and filled with love instead.
LifeNews Note: This appeared at the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform.