Monica Snyder, Executive Director of Secular Pro-Life (https://secularprolife.org/), recently messaged their membership about making it known that you are pro-life. It is a message we should all read. Consequently, I am repeating it here in my blog with permission.
Secular Pro-Life is a member organization of the Consistent Life Network (https://www.consistentlifenetwork.org/), but it focuses mainly on abortion. Its materials are always on target, audience-oriented, and effective. This latest essay explains the reasons it is important to let others know you are pro-life.
As Snyder wrote: “You don’t have to have encyclopedic knowledge of the abortion debate. You don’t even have to argue at all. Just identify yourself as pro-life. Stand up.” To avoid debate, “memorize this sentence: ‘I don’t want to argue about this, but for the record, I disagree.”
What will this declaration accomplish? Why should you come out of the closet and expose yourself to the slings and arrows of what appears to be the majority of people? Here’s why:
“1. Identifying yourself as pro-life helps destroy stereotypes.
“This is especially true if you’re a non-traditional pro-lifer, as you can help others realize that anyone from any walk of life can (and should!) oppose abortion.
“But identifying yourself as pro-life can undermine stereotypes even if you are the more traditional, conservative, Christian pro-life person. Stereotypes are destroyed through friendships. It’s harder for someone to stereotype you when they know you as a full, complex human being and as someone they like.
“If you let your pro-choice friends know you’re pro-life, when they hear absurd stereotypes (“Anti-choicers hate women and sex and freedom!”), they can pause and think of you. Hopefully, they’ll think “Hm. I don’t think my friend hates women and sex and freedom. Maybe…those are stupid talking points.
“Without even making an argument, you’re helping normalize opposition to abortion just by ensuring people who know and like you are aware that you oppose abortion.”
“2. Identifying yourself as pro-life creates strategic tension.
“At Secular Pro-Life, we have heard countless stories of pro-lifers–especially those who belong to predominantly pro-choice demographics–taking great care to avoid letting anyone know they oppose abortion, much less that they do any activist work on the issue. Many pro-lifers learn to be very subtle and deferential about this topic to avoid social ostracization or academic or professional repercussions.
“There typically doesn’t appear to be an equivalent caution on the pro-choice side. Pro-choicers will start speaking easily and carelessly about supporting abortion without appearing to even consider whether those around them feel the same way about the issue. So here is your rule of thumb:
“If you’re going to be uncomfortable, make sure you’re not the only one.
“Stating in the moment, and particularly in front of other people, that you disagree can cause tension, but that’s okay. In fact, half the time, that’s the point. We want the general nominally pro-choice public to understand that those of us who oppose abortion aren’t just some far-flung demographic they hear about from their favorite late-night comedy host. Pro-lifers are their friends, family, and members of their community. We’re everywhere, and we’re watching, and we’re listening, and we’re not impressed.”
“3. Identifying yourself as pro-life creates opportunities.
“If your pro-choice friends know you’re pro-life, they know they can come to you to discuss abortion opposition if they want to.
“Until recently, I spent most of my adulthood among highly educated Californians. Often I was the only pro-life friend they had (that they knew of, anyway). So, from time to time, one of my pro-choice friends would turn to me for discussion on this issue. ‘What do you think about overpopulation? What do you think about the rape exception? What’s all this about heartbeat bills?’ Being friends with a pro-lifer gave them the opportunity–when they were ready–to talk about this issue outside their more typical echo chambers. But they were only able to take that opportunity because I had already identified myself as pro-life to them.”
From the Pew
So very often when I hear pro-abortion speakers, it seems to me to be painfully obvious that they have never spoken to a pro-life person or been to a Pregnancy Resource Center. Thus, they have no accurate idea of what we think or do or what happens at a PRC. They are going on rumor and propaganda.
However, if those of us who are pro-life would identify ourselves as such, these people would have someone to ask, someone who has told them about resources or perinatal hospice. If so, when they are in crisis, or have a friend who is, there is a chance that options besides abortion will be discussed.
I have written on this topic before, urging people to forget their fears and identify as pro-life to invite dialogue and be a resource: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/musingsfromthepew/2021/10/tolerance-means-respecting-differences-not-hiding-them/
Please share these three points of advice – hand out flyers with them, give presentations about them. Spread the word to save lives and to close the divide over abortion!