Most of the people who walked by us looked indifferent; they probably didn’t even notice our signs. But of those who actually looked at us, most of them smiled or gave thumbs up. Many stopped by and said thank you for volunteering. One woman stopped by to talk about the hypocrisy of our culture. (Recently a McDonald’s worker delivered a baby in the bathroom and tried to flush it down the toilet and she is being prosecuted for that, but she could have killed her baby at Planned Parenthood and gone without punishment).
Another woman stopped by and told us that it was this same Right to Life booth twenty years ago that made her pro-life. She told us that she had been on the fence before visiting the booth. The lights switched on when she saw a keychain handed out by the volunteers which represented the size of a ten week old baby’s feet.
After the events in Charlottesville, President Obama tweeted a quote from Nelson Mandela. “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…” I’ve often heard this same argument used to normalize gay marriage and other controversial lifestyles. “Children don’t have a problem with this until they’re taught to have a problem with it.” They take a Lockean approach to childhood bias, saying that a baby is born as a tabula rasa, a blank slate.
If we didn’t teach our children to think that homosexuality was wrong, they wouldn’t cringe at it, right? I think that’s false: look at how homosexuality is nearly universally taboo, regardless of the religion, language, or race of the region. Further, I would question whether these people really want to make this argument.
We had child after child walk up to our booth and, without a moment’s pause, reach for the four week old fetal model. Hardly bigger than a shelled peanut and shaped like an alien, it was easily recognizable as a baby, even by these children. When we get older, we learn to rationalize away our sins. In a recent YouTube video, James Franco is perplexed by the way that Elizabeth Harman of Princeton University explains away the evil of abortion. If I had to pick a side to be with, it would be the children who see and believe (Matthew 18:3). We should be skeptical of Harman’s philosophical gymnastics. If you’ve got to have a philosophy degree to understand why something is okay, it’s probably not.
Just by looking, we couldn’t tell for sure who would be in favor of the booth. Occasionally someone would walk by with a County Democrats pin on their shirt, and that was generally a giveaway. But the most reliable way of telling which side they’d be on was if they had children of their own.
No parents would come up to the booth and explain to their child that, when they were the size of the four-week fetal model, they were still a choice. They don’t mention that there are philosophers at Princeton who say that it’s not wrong to kill a fetus because it hasn’t achieved any potential yet.
They came to the table and said, “Look how small you used to be.” Or they would ask their older kids if they remember feeling their little sister kicking before she was born. The kids would look fascinated and grab the models to see what their little siblings looked like when their mother was pregnant.
The number of thumbs up far outweighed the number of glares. Still the largest group of people were those who walked by and didn’t want to cause any problems. They didn’t have a problem with us, but they didn’t exactly want to smile either.
About 60% of adults polled believe that abortion should be legal in most or all cases. I may contest those numbers—after all, most reputable polls also showed Clinton handily winning the 2016 election—but I think it would be more important to convince those who say abortion should be legal in most cases. The fact that they believe it is wrong in certain circumstances tells us that they at least believe abortion is a potentially immoral act, rather than a simple medical procedure.
Though this issue is a heavy one, we shouldn’t forget that most people are indifferent to social issues so long as they’re not happening to them. We shouldn’t be as worried about the extreme liberals who push for more women to get abortions; we should be worried about the huge number of people who really don’t want to decide. Our biggest enemy—from the Latah County Fair to the Supreme Court—is indifference.