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clairelushbaugh
Since I started reading and listening to ERI material, I have drastically changed my tune in discussing the abortion issue, as well as other issues I am passionate about fighting against (with sex trafficking, rape, terrorism, racism, and pornography being among them). I realize more and more with each interaction with pro-choice people that they actually care about women, they just have a different opinion on how to care about them. So, that's what I need to express that I care about in my dialogues with them, rather than completely ignoring the difficult situation that the woman is very likely to be in and zeroing in on the unborn child. (Yay for common ground!) I am asking more questions and have a more open-minded attitude towards other people's opinions. This has even helped me in my everyday conversations when petty disagreements might arise. My only issue is I feel that I get overzealous, and that I might juke people or simply overstep some boundaries prematurely.
I am a Christian as well as a pro-lifer, so I have also brought ERI discussion techniques into my conversations about religion in recent years. My goal is to re-brand pro-lifers, and Christians for that matter, as people who genuinely care about human life and who are willing to welcome people with diverse experiences and views into their friend group. This is actually something that I started trying to do in high school after a discussion with my dad about racism. We were talking about how people naturally group others into categories, which is fine as long as your groups don't negatively influence your views of others. Compare: "people at my church, people at my school, people in my neighborhood, my friends, and my family" vs. "My people (friends from school, church work, etc. and family), and "those other people (e.g. those I don't know, LGBTQ, the racially different, and pro-choicers)." The former acknowledges even people not in my friends and family groups as people from different places, while the latter identifies them mainly by labels of what they, I, or other people identify them as. While it's not wrong to acknowledge that you don't know people, that they have a different skin tone or sexual orientation, or that their political views differ, identifying people as just those particular things that make them different from you makes it very easy to exclude them and makes it difficult to love them because you get caught up in the whole "us" and "them" dynamic. I've found that half the battle in discussing any issue is eliminating the existence of your "those people" group, which I feel for the most part I have successfully done. I have two issues remaining: lack of knowledge and conveying it with good perspective (relatively easily remedied), and that I feel that I am very weird, to the level of being off-putting (not so easily fixed). Is there an article or podcast on how to avoid this?
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Rachel Crawford
Hi Claire, thank-you for your comment. We do have material on how to avoid being off-putting. You're right to say that it is not so easily fixed, but we want to help pro-life people be the best advocates that they can be and think what we've created is certainly a great place to start. As part of the Equipped for Life course we have video modules on both "Habits of Ineffective Pro-Lifers" and "Practical Dialogue Tips." Both lessons are designed to help with this struggle that you're having, because you're not alone! If you're not a member of the Equipped for Life Course then I highly recommend you consider becoming one. You can learn more at http://equippedcourse.com. If you really want to grow in this area, that is the best way to do so. Here is a link to the first video of course that is on youtube: https://youtu.be/ovxAxJUyZA4 We don't have one specific podcast or article on how to avoid being off- putting that is not on the course, but it is certainly an underlying theme of our blog and other materials. If you have specific questions, you're welcome to email me!
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maryheerschap
I think the position Pro-Lifers should take is a philosophy of life, how does one reach happiness? What truly makes us happy? What interferes with our happiness? The LIfe Principles by Robert Spitzer, S.J., defines the human heart and the 4 levels of happiness. I realize this is an old post and this may be more mainstream now. God bless.
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Anonymous
When did the author of this article ever say that women should never be punished for having an abortion? And how can you know what he thinks when you openly brag about not reading what he sends you?
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Jeanne Hall
Valid points. However, there will always be those who, while acknowledging these other atrocities, will always go and compare them to abortion, and /or even state that abortion is worse.
In fact a number of pro-lifers will claim that if abortion is eliminated, human trafficking, terrorism, discrimination and the like will follow.
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Teresa
As a formerly pro-choice person, I can also tell you that constantly turning your focus away from other super important justice issues like the environment, slavery, poverty, rape, etc. Degrades your credibility. Being pro-life is about WAY more than just abortion, and it wasn't until I was shown people who care about ALL parts of life - people who care about mothers as much as fetuses - that I was ready to begin to change my mind. It seems, to a pro-choice person, the ultimate in hypocrisy of ALL pro-lifers can talk about is fetuses. Please please remember that there are so many other issues related to life to talk about and frame abortion as one that is part of a larger picture - and explain that you're focussing on it because it's one of the biggest legal gaps still, because it's one you personally happen to feel particularly strongly about, because it's one that vets underemphased or overlooked. Etc. But first put it in a context, first acknowledge and exaim that you support women. That you support poverty reduction strategies even if you disagree on what is most effective. Because the main reason I was completely closed off to pro-life, and actually really angry about it, was I saw it as something that wanted to ignore all other issues in favour of abortion, even to the point of forgetting about the mothers or saying their lives matter LESS! (Feminists for life is one of my fave pages, they explain things in a way that worked really well for this formerly pro-choice person!)
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brendafromflatbush
Excellent points, all.
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timmccarty
In my experience, the comparisons are not effective if used too soon in the conversation. I say that as one who has used them in the past. In order for the other person to truly understand such a comparison in the way that I mean it, we would first need to come to a mutual understanding of the humanity and personhood of the child in the womb, otherwise known as the fetus. If we don't both understand that at, we are just going to talk past each other and accomplish very little except to become very frustrated with each other. In my experiences on line, I've found that usually either the other person already agrees with me and I'm preaching to the choir, or else strongly opposes me and is hardened into that position to the point of refusing to be convinced regardless of how much evidence I present or how strong it is. For the second type of person, the comparisons are seen by them as invalid sensationalism, since they won't believe the baby, or fetus to them, is human. If I can convince them to see the humanity, then they will be able to understand the comparisons, but not until then.
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AZDem9933
Speaking as a pro-choicer who has had an abortion, the constant comparison of abortion to mass murders makes me think you guys aren't telling the truth when you say you don't want to prosecute women for murder under an abortion ban.
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joshbrahm
I'm sorry to hear about your abortion. I can't read your tone in that comment, so I'll just say that if you're interested in resources on managing the grief that SOME women feel at some point after an abortion, feel free to email me personally at josh@joshbrahm.com and I'd be glad to share some resources with you.
I think your comment is very understandable. It's one of many reasons I don't think it's generally helpful to compare abortion to genocide.
If you're interested in my personal take on the "how should women be punished if abortion becomes illegal" question, I hosted a discussion about that five months ago and published it here: http://prolifepodcast.net/2013/12/184.
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AZDem9933
And here's the thing: Even if you, personally, are opposed to prosecuting women as murderers, you or people like you are not necessarily going to be the ones legislating and adjudicating the issue should abortion be criminally banned. This country is full of people who would be happy to throw women in jail (or worse) for abortion and such people have a knack for getting themselves into positions of authority.
This is not mere speculation on my part. Women are already being arrested and prosecuted under so-called fetal protection and chemical endangerment laws, which anti-abortion activists swore up and down would not be used to prosecute women when they were going through the legislature. Tennessee is considering a bill to criminalize pregnancy http://outcomes.as we speak.
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TradutorBastardo
This country is full of people who would be happy to throw women in jail (or worse) for abortion
Maybe because if they are right about abortion being a crime against human life and humanity, then a crime like this needs to be severely punished?
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AZDem9933
Thanks for proving my point that the "oh, we don't want to punish women!" claim is bullshit. Appreciate the honesty!
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TradutorBastardo
I "want to punish" any murderer, regardless of anything - because the sentence for murder is prison, regardless of any other points.
If "this country is full of people who would be happy to throw" black and/or poor men and women in prison because they commit crime; and, if abortion is equivalent to murder, there is no other logical conclusion.
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joshbrahm
"...the sentence for murder is prison, regardless of any other points."
This is simply an oversimplified view of the justice system. I would recommend you listen to this discussion to see that while it does make sense for some illegal abortions to be punished in some way, a blanket statement like the one Trump recently made is grossly oversimplified: http://prolifepodcast.net/2013/12/184
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TradutorBastardo
Yes, it's oversimplified on purpose. I am not going on the justice system per se, but only on the core statement: it is not wrong per se the "desire or willing to punish" someone who commits a crime.
In fact, the person who carry out the unlawful act needs to show your motivations in order to soften or even obliterate the punishment - something we don't need to do if the act is not unlawful.
If, for example, a person steals a piece of sausage and bread because he is too hungry and poor, it can be argued as a "legal excuse". But the fact is: he commits an unlawful act. No one needs to explain why "I am changing some nickels and dimes in my pockets for sausage and bread", it is?
And, it is not wrong to "desire" a robber to be punished, it is?
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AZDem9933
When you criminalize something, as antis want to do with abortion, the people who do it become criminals. Women are already being prosecuted under bans that you guys swore would not be used to go after women. You can stop pretending that's not going to happen. It is.
And you yourself are admitting that "it does make sense for some illegal abortions to be punished in some way" (your words) here in the comments section. There is simply no way that radical anti-abortion zealots are going to allow an abortion pill black market to thrive so you will direct your energies to that and the result is "suspicious" miscarriages being prosecuted and nosy neighbors and relatives turning women in to the police under the belief that they did something to end their own pregnancies. Trump just impolitically blurted out what has been the intention of your movement all along
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TradutorBastardo
There is simply no way that radical anti-abortion zealots are going to allow an abortion pill black market to thrive
Just exactly in the same way no one can fully stop any type of criminal association - as counterfeit money, adulterated petrol, poisoned food, even child sexual abuse. This is not a good argument at all, because no human has omnipotence or even omniscience.
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AZDem9933
Not my point. Prominent anti-choicers have spent years denying publicly that women will be prosecuted under bans and that that has been their intention all along. Of course you're not going to catch every woman who has an illegal abortion. It will be conducted much the way the current War on Drugs is, with poor, minority, and otherwise marginalized women being the main targets for prosecution while the nice Christian ladies you know get to have their little "procedures" in peace.
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TradutorBastardo
What you are saying is anything but new. We can say exactly the same thing, mutatis mutandis, about almost every crime:
It will be conducted much the way the current "war on child abuse" is, with
poor, minority, and otherwise marginalized people being the main targets
for prosecution while the nice rich people get to have
their little "joy division" in peace.
It is a poor and bad argument indeed. And a bit emotionally loaded indeed.
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AZDem9933
Again, your admission that you do want to prosecute women for abortion. Which is exactly what the author of the article from 3 years ago that we're both commenting to is strenuously denying (in public anyway). And you are not only doing that, but seem pretty excited at the prospect of doing it to the most vulnerable women in society, but not the more fortunate ones. Which is you admitting that this has never been about "life" or babies but rather about your disgusting desire to brutalize women you deem beneath you.
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joshbrahm
You seem entirely unwilling or unable to quote me without misquoting me. I didn't say that no women should be prosecuted for illegal abortions. I said that there is no blanket punishment that would fit every crime, given that there are huge differences between coerced and uncoerced abortions, just to name ONE factor.
You continually violate the comments policy of this blog, which I created in order to encourage a community of people who disagree about a topic being able to do so respectfully. I'm banning you, just as I have others who do the same thing.
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TradutorBastardo
Stop crying and making stupid ad hominem emotional arguments.
I am sticking to the basic principle: IF abortion is a crime, THEN there is nothing wrong to "desire" punishment for it. Just change "abortion" by any other unlawful act of your preference - robbery, murder, carjacking, child abuse, rape, genocide, any crime -, the phase remains the same.
If you need to resort to emotional, fallacious devices as "you are pretty excited... you don't care...", it is the most complete proof you are blatantly wrong.
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AZDem9933
I'm not interested. I have no regret or grief. I have had antis tell me that women like me should be forced into "counseling" if caught trying to access an illegal abortion, which I also find chilling.
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chandlerklebs
I agree that all deaths should be taken seriously as the tragedy they are. However, I do find it impossible to stop thinking about abortion precisely because I see it as no different than other cases of death.
The sex slavery thing bothers me on multiple levels. I want to end all the evil in the world. I am angry that it has been happening long before I existed and don't know why people tell me that there is nothing I can do. I get highly emotional about it and am glad I am behind a computer screen where they can't really see how I feel. I have to try to speak some truth into this world of lies.
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susiofanabba
Oh my gosh! AMEN!!! May I please share this on my blog?
Thank you so much for speaking out about this!!! Keep up the great work! :D
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joshbrahm
Absolutely. You could quote several paragraphs and then link back here for the full article. The only thing I don't like is when people copy and paste the entire article on their site, which doesn't give people the chance to explore my other articles or subscribe. Thanks, Susi!
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kasey_jackson
I love this piece.
It is true. One of the most painful things I hear over and over in pro-life logic is a repetition of comparison to genocide even when the logic is falling on the ears of someone who doesn't believe that fetuses are babies. If someone doesn't believe that a fetus is a baby, then your first job is to get to the root of that logic.
No walls are going to crumble without first knocking out the foundation.
If we keep comparing abortion to genocide when our audience doesn't think that they are people, we're just going to sound like idiots, making the same debate mistake over and over again.
Love the "Don't be weird." Wish that was every Pro-life advocate's motto.
Wonderful piece.
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joshbrahm
Great thoughts, Kasey. We would communicate so much better if we were careful not to question beg when discussing this issue. (Or any other hot topic, for that matter.)
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Anonymous
CBR and even JFA are known for displaying images of abortion victims next to images of Holocaust victims. Do you feel this is inappropriate and/or ineffective? Should these groups rethink their approach?
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joshbrahm
That's a good question. I'm still thinking about it. My views on it have been challenged recently and I'd rather not comment until I've thought about it more.
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