By Charlotte Pence Bond
The holidays bring joy, laughter, reunion, and togetherness, but they can also be accompanied by difficult conversations. Especially when political issues are top of mind. The stereotype of holiday conversations is often that people will argue over religion or political views, leading to avoidance of these topics altogether. Sometimes, family members make a pact – either spoken or unspoken – to not discuss abortion or anything controversial. It’s possible, however, to discuss political and cultural issues in a kind way that still takes a stand.
Pro-life advocates know that nothing is more important than advancing human rights. The work of fighting for the right to life for every human being never ends. But there are times when having these conversations can put a strain on relationships. Preparing yourself for these conversations ahead of time can be helpful. It is also beneficial to remember why you are fighting for the right to life.
The Political Conversation
Politics will likely come up when talking with friends and family members over the holiday season. This year especially as Americans enter a presidential election year. An easy way to discuss abortion and pro-life values when this happens is to clarify why you might be supporting a certain political candidate if this is because of his or her pro-life beliefs. While the conversation might be political in nature, it is not centered on abortion. It could provide a way to discuss abortion and the importance of pro-life policies.
Pro-life values can also be nuanced and don’t necessarily need to contain political overtures or sound like talking points. Including pro-life concepts in conversations can be easier to do when the topic of abortion isn’t the main point. For example, discussing a charity you are involved with or an organization to which you contribute because of their pro-life efforts can be a way to share a part of your life with someone while discussing why the right to life is essential.
Social Media Ice Breaker
Social media can be a helpful conversation starter, as well. If there is someone you follow on Instagram or Twitter who is pro-life but also shares other content, this could be an open door for you to share the content with a friend while also describing the reasons why you follow that person. It is a way to tell someone that you are pro-life and admire others who are pro-life activists. Social media provides a stepping stone to a larger conversation instead of making a splash with a controversial topic.
Being Pro-Life Isn’t Just About Politics
Another way to discuss abortion topics is to relate the topic of life to other issues. Scientific achievements can be an entry point to a larger conversation about when life begins or if someone is particularly invested in social justice, human rights, and providing poor families with better resources. This is an opportunity to explain how pro-life policies and pregnancy centers help families and underserved communities. Educating yourself on your local pregnancy center and volunteering there can also provide a way to talk about your life while discussing the power of pro-life efforts and how they can change lives.
Of course, pro-life messages aren’t limited to politics. The ways in which we talk about pregnancy, babies, and children can create a culture where life is celebrated. Oftentimes our culture discusses pregnancy and child-raising in a negative light, focusing on how becoming a parent disrupts the ease of life rather than how it improves it. As families grow, talking about the positive changes that happen when someone becomes a parent, and the joy children bring to one’s life is one way to promote a pro-life worldview in our daily lives. It is also an opportunity to encourage mothers as they enter a new stage and share resources to help them continue achieving their goals while raising children.
Abortion can also become the center of a heated conversation when someone who is pro-abortion raises the topic with someone they know is a defender of life. Suppose a man or woman has a personal experience with abortion or knows someone who has had an abortion. In that case, it is natural for them to be defensive of the “right” to an abortion. Sometimes it can be in an aggressive way, directed at pro-life people in their lives. This can be uncomfortable, but it is ultimately an opportunity for the pro-life person to explain their views and why they believe a culture of abortion is wrong and painful for women, their families, and communities. It is also a chance to show kindness and understanding of the hurt the other person has experienced and offer a nonjudgmental place for healing.
Before finding yourself in a conversation like one of these, prepare yourself ahead of time with the facts about abortion. And remember that the pro-life movement is won with one conversation at a time.
Standing up for the right to life will be accompanied by unavoidable, uncomfortable interactions. As activists have known for millennia, being a voice for the voiceless is worth the fight.