Abby Young, New England Regional Coordinator for SFLA, was visiting the University of Connecticut with our Planned Parenthood Truth display when a random passerby silently approached the pro-life students, shoved one of their banners down, and walked away.
This behavior is ugly for a lot of different reasons. For one, look how sullen this poor girl is. It can be easy to see a video like this online and get angry at the lack of civility and discourse, but there is an outstanding chance this person has been hurt by abortion in some way. Those who act out the most are often those hurting the most – something pro-life advocates should never forget.
While it’s always best to approach this scenario with compassion, it is still disappointing how often we see this type of violent behavior instead of civil dialogue efforts. Though it’s not surprising given the abortion industry’s (and their political allies’) outspoken support for violence in place of discussion.
Our students’ response to this girl was kind; they gently tried to keep her from continuing her outburst and towards the end of the video, you can see someone approach the girl and try to dialogue with her. At the end of the day, someone who’s very emotional may not remember all of your facts and figures, but they will remember how you made them feel.
Fortunately, not everyone at UConn thought violence was the best way to convey their disagreement with our display. The following online comment offered a ray of light and a good example for the rest of this school’s pro-choice community (click thumbnails to see enlarged image):
Our approach of love and information makes a difference. When someone in favor of abortion can set that aside and listen to what we have to say about Planned Parenthood’s dangerous facilities, we’re doing something right.
Compare this closed-mindedness with the attitude of one of our high school groups over in Minnesota who were inspired by the SFLA Embracing Controversy training their Regional Coordinator did with their group. This training is about accepting the controversial nature of abortion and using it effectively. As a result, the group decided to start a club (in addition to the pro-life group there) to have difficult conversations about controversial topics. Essentially, a dialogue club! It was even picked up by their city newspaper.
The pro-life student leader, Kristina Beer, said:
“At a public school of over 2,600 students, there are a lot of different opinions. Having contradictory ideas oftentimes creates unrest, so teachers generally do not support discussions on controversial topics. But some do—in the right setting. Embracing Controversy Club is a place for students to openly, civilly discuss relevant issues in order to better understand their peers. And with three meetings complete, it’s safe to say that’s exactly what happens. The topics range from Affirmative Action/White Privilege to Pro-Life/Pro-Choice, but students remain respectful, despite feeling passionate about each topic. The introductory meeting contained eight students, the second meeting held fifteen, and the third had over thirty-five. As more students became involved, the complicated conversations begin spreading outside of the club into every day life. The controversial issues feel less taboo and more approachable, and reaching common ground frequently occurs. The first step to enacting change involves addressing the problems, and members of EC Club practice that perfectly. Maybe members of society agree more often than people think.”