Ask Good Questions, Listen to Understand, Find Common Ground. We believe these Three Essential Skills are the groundwork for an ambassador to have a productive conversation on the topic of abortion. Armed with these skills, a humble spirit and the support of our Mentors, our volunteers arrived at Fresno City and Fresno State prepared to have a different kind of abortion conversation.
During both days of outreach our Mentors and Volunteers had the constant opportunity to be in a conversation. Here are just a few stories of the conversations our Justice for All Team had during those two days. (All names have been changed for privacy)
Sierra’s Conversation with Mary
Mary approached the poll table angrily writing that abortion should remain legal. It was 1:30 and I just brought my lunch to the check in table. All the mentors and volunteers were busy. I walked over towards Mary telling her I was available if she wanted to talk, but I needed to eat. Surprisingly she came over sitting down in a huff. I gave her a drink and let her vent. She told me that we hated women, and we were taking away women’s rights, defunding social programs, degrading women etc. After several bites of lunch, I took advantage of a pause and said, “Well, if that’s what you think about us, I don’t blame you for being frustrated and angry.”
Suddenly her whole demeanor changed. She visibly relaxed and enjoyed the rest of our conversation. From that moment on we had a great conversation. For about an hour we talked about her concerns for women’s rights over their bodies and I was able to ask her thoughts on questions like: What is the unborn? What is abortion? Is abortion humane? We talked about equal rights, preferences vs objective moral truths, the gospel of Jesus Christ and why all people are valuable. Mary was listening carefully and considering my thoughts as I did hers. We both enjoyed our time together while we seriously discussed many weighty issues all encompassing the lives of unborn children.
Marcos’ Conversation with Joe and Mark
“Why are we valuable in the first place?”
“You know when I walked up to your display with Joe I was ready to rip your head off [not literally he was a nice guy], but after talking to you and being challenged on my views I really appreciated your way of explaining things and not right away trying to convert me or judge me when I flat out told you I was an atheist. You took what I had to say pretty seriously and addressed my concerns. Thank you for that unique conversation, I have to get my thoughts together because you caught me off guard.”
Liz’s Conversation with Nancy
I’m always amazed at the personal experiences of people on Campus and what someone is willing to share when you are genuinely interested in listening to them. Nancy (Not Pictured) seemed like any ordinary college student but she had actually experienced a miracle in her life. Nancy found herself with an unplanned pregnancy and went to the Planned Parenthood here in Fresno to schedule an abortion because she didn’t feel she could raise a child. It turns out she was 6 months pregnant, the Fresno clinic couldn’t perform her abortion so they gave her paperwork to go to San Francisco to have the abortion the next day. That night she had a dream about her baby; seeing him dead on the table after the abortion. She said “When I woke up I just knew that I couldn’t go through with the abortion.” Her son Jared is now 4 years old and is her inspiration and motivation to continue her education.