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It isn’t always popular to be pro-life. In some circles, having a pro-life conviction can be isolating. And sharing those convictions with others can seem intimidating, daunting, or simply nerve-wracking in our culture today. But the beauty of our pro-life position as disciples is that it is rooted in the universal message of the Gospel; it is not purely political or social, but shared most fully in the context of the good news of Jesus Christ.

When it comes to sharing your pro-life position with others, especially those who might disagree with you, you have a unique opportunity to share the Gospel. This work isn’t easy, but it’s critical to our call to unleash the Gospel. Use these tips to effectively witness the pro-life message during discussions about matters of life.

1. Remain calm

When you are confronted about or discussing matters of life, especially more controversial ones, strive to be a source of peace. Remain confident in your position and try to avoid being affected by another’s words of disagreement or even contempt. Take deep breaths or say a short mental prayer while engaged in a discussion, whether it’s heated or not. While it may seem simple, these practical tactics will help you remain calm and credible to others, and talking about hard things will feel a little easier.

2. Listen 

Many on the other side of life arguments have very sincere concerns and desires. Even if you can’t imagine holding a pro-choice or pro-abortion position, it’s likely you can imagine the experiences that sometimes result in abortion: a career hanging in the balance due to an unplanned pregnancy, lack of family support for a single mother, or the inability to make ends meet for oneself, much less a child. These are valid experiences that are all too common in our society. 

Ask questions and listen, seeking to understand the person with whom you’re speaking. If you genuinely care about them and their reasons for supporting abortion,  they may be more inclined to return the favor. As you develop a rapport, you can invite them to consider the ways their position can extend to respecting the dignity of all human beings. Even if you still disagree at the end of the day, you will have learned a little bit more about that person who bears God’s image and can pray more deeply for their areas of woundedness or confusion. 

3. Speak deliberately

When discussing these matters with someone, avoid being flippant, relying on cliches or filling silence with unnecessary words. What you say matters, and if you’re trying to convince someone of the dignity of human life, you need to use words you believe in and can back up. This can include: 

  • Sharing your personal testimony regarding life
  • Asking questions that challenge the pro-choice position
  • Describing legal implications that are often misunderstood or misrepresented (in the case of Proposal 3, this is especially necessary) 
  • Responding charitably to any criticisms of the pro-life position  

4. Don’t leave God out of it

The pro-life movement is made up of a diverse group of people from all walks of life, faith traditions and beliefs — one does not need religion to arrive at the conclusion that it is unjust to take life from another human. However, as Catholics, our pro-life position is deeply connected to our faith in God. We are pro-life, not simply because we’ve reasonably concluded killing people is bad; we are pro-life also because we recognize the image of God in every person. 

Even if you speak with someone who doesn’t share your beliefs, you can still share the good news you’ve experienced through a relationship with Jesus! You don’t need to speak with heavy-handed language or try to condense Scripture and the Catechism into whatever time you have to converse with someone, but sharing the fact that your pro-life position is connected to your deepest conviction in God is an evangelization opportunity that can’t be missed.  

5. Walk the walk

What you say about being pro-life should be just a fraction of your pro-life efforts. Ensure that, as you share and evangelize to the goodness of human life, you also actively support women, children, and families in need. It’s one thing to say and vote against abortion; it’s another to be an active part of creating and supporting solutions that are better than abortion. 

Consider starting a Walking With Moms in Need chapter at your parish, or joining an existing one. Donate to or volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center. Offer free babysitting to women in your life who are struggling with the demands of motherhood, work, and life in general. Support the efforts of organizations like Project Rachel, which helps mothers heal after abortion. Get creative, but be sure that you are practicing what you preach about being pro-life at every stage. 

To dive deeper, check out these Pro-Life Ministry Resources for the Faithful