Feeling tired and drained because of ongoing criticism from both pro-lifers and abortion advocates, I was not looking forward to another “Choice” Chain. I wondered if our efforts were making a difference and whether students would come to see the signs, let alone talk with us in -30 degree weather. However, being the “Choice” Chain coordinator I had no other choice but to bundle up and head over to the high school to meet our faithful volunteers. On my way there I silently prayed for guidance. I asked that if this is a way through which God wants to move to reach our culture (as I had previously believed), that today’s “Choice” Chain would be a clear sign.
It was quiet at the high school. We saw students walking around inside, some of them glancing at the signs but none caring enough to come out. Then we noticed groups of students exiting through another door in order to get to the public library, situated right beside the school. And so we moved, positioning ourselves in between the school door and the library entrance.
I approached the first student who walked by. What do you think about abortion?” He must have been 12 or 13 years old, took a close look at the sign I was holding and said, “That’s pretty gross.” I agreed with him, adding that is precisely what happens to pre-born children every single day. His response: “Oh, you mean abortion? Yeah, that’s pretty bad but it’s still a woman’s choice.”
In the ten to fifteen minutes that followed we engaged in a discussion that gently challenged his notion that just because abortion is a woman’s choice, it must be right. I was able to explain that human life begins at fertilization, and that all of us -both born and pre-born- have value, regardless of the circumstances in which one is conceived. The teen seemed open to these ideas, then thoughtfully brought up abortion in case of rape. “What about that, though?” After expressing my sympathy for victims of such a horrible crime I asked him whether that would change the fact that abortion ends the life of a child, as depicted on the sign. “I’ve never thought about it like that before,” he said. “I guess human life starts right at the beginning. That makes a lot of sense. So, I’m not sure why we say it’s okay to kill them.”
In the mean time, not far from the building, a group of smokers had noticed us as well and started shouting colourful names and phrases at us. They responded to a volunteer’s invitation to come talk by yelling, “No! You come here!” and so she did. Since the group was big another volunteer soon joined her. After fielding the usual arguments for awhile, one tall young man turned to them and said, “I’m sorry for yelling at you guys earlier. What you’re saying makes a lot of sense. You’ve completely changed my mind.” We were amazed by the students’ honesty and maturity. It doesn’t happen often that we talk to people who are mature enough to openly admit it when we’ve given them something to think about!
After about an hour we went into the library to warm up and were soon approached by next door’s principal. So far educators have either ignored or opposed “Choice” Chain, some going as far as physically preventing students from seeing the signs. But this principal was different. He shook our hands, asked how the conversations were, and expressed his appreciation. “I couldn’t show these pictures in my school.” He chuckled. “Could you imagine the response from parents? But I think students should see both sides of the issue and so I’m glad you guys are here!”
When we ordered coffee, the lady behind the counter also thanked us for coming. “I’m a new Christian, I’m pro-life, and I think it’s really great that students get to see this and talk with you.” At the same time several students approached us and asked for pamphlets. And as we sought for a place to sit down, a young man asked us to come over to his table because he had some questions.
A long discussion ensued in which he argued that consciousness should be the point when human beings receive the right to life. When this was hard to maintain, he switched his position and said morality should not be imposed on others and that we just cannot be sure when life begins. When a volunteer kindly pointed out that this conviction was inconsistent with science, he admitted, “I guess so, but that’s what I believe.”
Several students followed this dialogue and interjected here and there. A young woman asked if we think that those who have abortions after rape are murderers. We explained that we judge the action of abortion because it ends the life of a child. She responded, “Well, ’cause that’s what you’d call me then.” I expressed how sorry I was that this happened to her but someone else fired a question at us, and the conversation went on from there.
When we wrapped up, one of our volunteers stayed behind and asked the girl, “Are you okay? May I give you a hug?” With her permission, the volunteer held her and told her how brave she was. The young woman then shared her account of this awful experience with someone whom she had never met before but simply showed she cared. Perhaps she didn’t become pro-life that day, but the volunteer recognized and affirmed her value and dignity as a human person. And hopefully, one day, this hurting young woman will also recognize the value and dignity of pre-born people.
On my way home I phoned one of my friends and asked what she thought about today’s “Choice” Chain. She shared with me that she too had felt worn-down, even nervous, but had hoped and prayed that we would be used to change minds and to bring a message of truth and love to these teens. “And that’s what happened,” she said. That’s when it suddenly hit me: God answered our prayers!
From the conversation with the principal and the lady at the cafeteria, to students asking for information and changing their minds, to the young woman confiding in a volunteer about her pain, “Choice” Chain had clearly been blessed in a way that we couldn’t have imagined. And God was gracious to show it to us too.
That’s why I continue to do “Choice” Chain, despite criticism, cold, or discomfort. It may not always be easy, but let us then remember what is at stake for pre-born children and their mothers. And let us be humbled by the fact that ordinary people are often used to bring about great change.
Corrie ten Boom once said, “In darkness God’s truth shines most clear.” So today, in the darkness of a society that legally and systematically kills its own offspring, let us courageously and compassionately show forth the truth, a truth that will eventually set free.”