Speaking to People in a Post-Roe America
It looks like a decision that has ignored the humanity and equal rights of a group of human beings for 49 years could rightly and finally be overturned. The decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was supposed to be released in June, but a leaked document from the Court appears to show a majority of the Justices will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
If Roe and Casey are in fact overturned, we need to understand how that will feel to people on the other side. We need to consider how this news will be seen by them. The importance of having conversations and changing hearts and minds on this issue is just as important now as it was before this news.
Abortion will not become illegal if Roe gets overturned. Overturning Roe returns the decision to the states. Some states will ban abortion. Others will keep it legal and accessible.
The reality that Roe could very well be overturned is scary to many people. Many people are angry. They see this as a dangerous step backward in history. They see it as an attack on women’s rights. They fear that women will now die in dangerous, illegal, “back-alley” abortions.
With this in mind, let’s engage those around us sharing truth with compassion, love, and
patience. We need to listen to the concerns pro-choice advocates have. Truly listening to people is an important first step in reaching them. We need to do better than just “listening” to refute. It isn’t good enough to just hear what they say but then respond back with your argument thinking they should “get it” because it’s so clear to you. We need to listen to truly understand this person who has a different view than we do. We need to listen to understand what motivates them, why they have this belief in the first place, and how they came to their conclusion.
We should also seek to ask questions to understand where they are coming from. Take time to find common ground with them whenever possible. We agree about a lot of things and if we take time to find out where we do agree, we will make much more progress in communicating well with those who disagree with us.
There is still so much work before us. We must continue to engage those around us in conversations. We still need to work to change hearts and minds about abortion. We need to help people see unborn children not as burdens but as fellow human beings to be valued and protected. We need to support and help pregnant women and their families. We need to engage those we disagree with in civility and open dialogue.
Imagine the tables were turned. Let’s say abortion has been illegal for 49 years and we are now on the cusp of making abortion legal. How would we want to be approached by pro-choice people? What would be persuasive to us in that scenario?
People are more likely to be persuaded and are more open to changing their minds when they feel safe to reconsider monumental issues. Abortion is a difficult issue for both sides on many levels. Let’s not let our excitement about the possibility of Roe being overturned get in the way of reaching out to people across the aisle. Their feelings, their thoughts, their arguments, their backgrounds, and their experiences are worth listening to even if we don’t agree with them.
In order to continue to secure the rights of unborn children, we have to reach the people who desire to keep the right to end that human being’s life through abortion. Changing their minds and hearts help make the world a safer place for vulnerable, defenseless human beings in the womb.
(This article was originally published at Human Defense Initiative on May 11, 2022.)