The sunny Saturday we enjoyed last week facilitated another extremely fruitful occasion for meaningful conversations.
We set up our table on O'Connell street. We put our bright red cloth which asked passsersby “Do you have a question about abortion?” on the table, and arranged our preborn baby models for viewing.
The vests which said “I’m pro-life change my mind” were put on our back and we were ready to hit the streets after our commencing prayer.
This week's conversations were very interesting and fruitful ranging from a Garda stopping by and asking us about abortion, to a young lady discussing the issue for about an hour beginning with the assertion that abortion should be legal in some cases up to 9 months.
Our volunteers take different approaches to the conversations we have. Some people have a question they want to ask, while others want to know and to understand why pro-lifers are standing on a city street discussing an issue like abortion.
One of our canvassers has a direct answer when people ask him a direct question. So when he’s asked “Are you against abortion”, he answers “Yes, I’m against killing babies”. However the conversations begin, they are usually informative and useful.
Sometimes couples stop to chat and discover they may have different views on the topic. Many people ask about the ‘hard cases’ - many are shocked to learn that there were 8,156 abortions in 2022.
At the end of conversations, most people say that we’ve made them think and thanked us for doing that. We focus on positive interactions, the pro-life activists at our street canvass really want to change hearts and minds, we’re there to discuss, not to argue.
There were occasions where some of us were moved to tears, such as when a woman came to the table and described to us what a miracle her son was, after finding it so difficult over the years to conceive. She was a striking contrast to another lady who was talking to another volunteer beside her, saying killing babies in the womb for any reason should be legal.
What we noticed again is that men feel overlooked in the discussion - even when they are the father of the baby. As happened last week, another man came up to us to talk about their experience of the death of their own children through abortion and what an impact it had on them. Overlooked by the society, they suffer with depression knowing that they lost their child and that it wasn’ just a clump of cells despite what everyone around them has been saying.
An intriguing conversation took place also with a cheerful elderly man who seemed to notice the inconsistency with his argument that abortion is okay at 7 weeks but not at 9 weeks. When faced with the facts that a baby has almost as many developments at the 7 week stage as the 9 week stage, he seemed to think that there had to be some cut off point and laughed realizing his own inconsistencies. He shared how his 14 year old niece had an abortion and believes that it’s too young to have a baby. When the question was posed to him that if an innocent life should suffer because of this, he agreed. He posited that an orphanage might not be a good outcome for a baby. One of our canvassers mentioned to him that life does entail suffering but there is much joy in it as well, to which he smiled and said of course. The canvasser said, well thank God you are here full of smiles and joy on this beautiful day, and doesn’t every human deserve that chance to grow into the world which he couldn’t dispute. Laughs were shared and the importance of every child getting that chance was put to the forefront.
The most interesting part of the canvassing is always the disgusted faces of some people passing by looking at our table. The curious thing about that is the fact that the baby models that we are displaying on our table have been purchased from a medical school. It’s what students see learning about the biology and development of a baby in the womb. What is so disgusting about the baby models? Are people so disheartened by facts? Or is it their conscience tugging at their hearts realizing that it’s just not a clump of cells?
We finished the day with a hot homemade meal, prayer and meaningful conversations between us, re-building the pro-life community little by little.
If you would like to get involved please contact 087 1674656