In his newsletter for September (“The Power of Common Ground”), Jeremy Gorr shares a great model of using common ground in a real conversation. You can use his letter to equip yourself with questions that will help you find common ground with others regarding abortion. He also discusses an approach to finding genuine common ground that avoids compromising one’s beliefs. In a footnote, Jeremy mentions JFA Director Steve Wagner’s book, Common Ground Without Compromise, which you can get for free at www.commongroundbook.com. That book features 25 questions you can use to begin a conversation with agreement instead of hostility.
For the first time that I’m aware of, EHD has recently made a 6-minute version of their rare embryoscopy footage available for download. And, it’s free.
We’re excited about this because it’s a beautiful window on the womb, but it also will fill very nicely the video component of our lesson plan, “The Baby’s Heart Beats Like Mine.” Note, the video is also available in multiple languages!
Five years ago, JFA released a working paper to respond to the strongest versions of bodily rights arguments for abortion. Equal Rights Institute (ERI) recently released a video featuring one of the contributors to that paper, Timothy Brahm (former staff member of both JFA and ERI), in which he takes a different approach than our paper, one that we think is an even more helpful response to bodily rights. It’s called, “Blood Donation and Bodily Rights Arguments.” Some of our staff think it’s even better than our paper. In 12 minutes, Tim deftly responds to the most common challenges and gives you a framework that you can apply to the most common and most difficult bodily rights arguments. (Indeed, he also shares some reasons why our original paper may not be the most persuasive — helpful critique that we welcome!) JFA’s “It’s Her Body” series last year set the appropriate context for any discussion of bodily rights. Pairing ERI’s video with “It’s Her Body”, will give you a great primer on bodily rights, as well as a great conversation starter.
**Yes, this is the same resource we’ve been proud to highlight for the past two months! It’s that important!**
Whether you teach kids at home, in a church Sunday School, or in a traditional school environment, be one of the first to download and teach “The Baby’s Heart Beats Like Mine” lesson plan to students in kindergarten through fourth grade. Then give us feedback. During the lesson, K-4 students identify with unborn babies through a series of experiences, including feeling their own heartbeats, seeing the unborn baby in the womb, naming similarities they share with unborn babies, making a bracelet that reminds them of when the heart begins to beat, and narrating what they learned to their parents. (“Sign Up” to access this “Member Only” content. That’s free!)
JFA just released a lesson plan for K-4 elementary school students called, “The Baby’s Heart Beats Like Mine.” Whether you teach kids at home, in a church Sunday School, or in a traditional school environment, be one of the first to try this lesson and give us feedback. During the lesson, K-4 students identify with unborn babies through a series of experiences, including feeling their own heartbeat, seeing the unborn baby in the womb, naming similarities they share with unborn babies, making a bracelet that reminds them of when the heart begins to beat, and narrating what they learned to their parents.
(You’re required to “Sign Up” to access this “Member Only” content. That’s free!)
(Note: This resource was our “Featured Resource” for April 2019 and May 2019.)
FEATURED RESOURCE FOR EQUIPPING YOURSELF:
In “Empathy Opens the Door” JFA trainer Jon Wagner shares his conversation with “Eva,” a student whose pro-choice view stemmed from her experience in foster care. Notice how Jon invited Eva into the dialogue, starting with common ground rather than an argument. See also how “Trotting Out the Toddler” revealed that, if the unborn is a human being, abortion is not a compassionate solution to the difficulties surrounding unplanned pregnancy.
FEATURED RESOURCE FOR EQUIPPING YOURSELF:
JFA trainer Rebecca Hotovy talks with a student named Julia at Colorado State University in a video JFA just posted. Prepare for your own conversations by watching Rebecca share the Equal Rights Argument (Part 1), graciously challenge the idea that legalized abortion aligns with feminism (Part 2), ask key clarification questions related to women’s rights and bodily autonomy (Part 3), and offer evidence for the biological humanity of the unborn (Part 4).
Featured Resource For Equipping Yourself:
Grace Fontenot described a conversation she had at Colorado State University in the fall in a recent letter, “Americans Are Weird!” And Why That’s Fantastic. Her conversation is a beautiful model of how asking just a few open-hearted questions can help a person go from seeming completely closed to the pro-life position to actively engaging the question of whether the unborn are human beings with equal value to the rest of us. Along the way, Grace helped a British student see why something that seemed crazy to him at first, Americans discussing abortion, is actually not crazy at all. Some of our trainers have latched onto a phrase at certain points in our history: “Don’t be weird.” By that they mean, “Don’t add unnecessary weirdness to a message that seems inherently weird to many people.” Grace clarifies in this letter that there is definitely one type of weirdness we should not be afraid of exhibiting — the weirdness of working to create respectful conversations about unborn children.
Richard Stith has made a distinction between construction of a car and development of a Polaroid photo that can help you understand and illustrate for friends how the unborn child is a human organism from the time of fertilization. You can read his entry-level treatment of this topic, “Arguing with Pro-Choicers” (First Things, Nov. 4, 2006), and his scholarly article, “Construction vs. Development: Polarizing Models of Human Gestation” (Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, 2014), through the link below.
Learn to use JFA’s new “Invitation to Dialogue” Brochure in the third section of JFA’s updated “Learn at Home” Program. It features a short script you can use to start a conversation with a friend using the brochure. It also includes a longer script that helps you dig deeper into all of the resources referenced in the brochure. The entire “Learn at Home” Program takes just one hour to complete (followed by a conversation you start with a friend), and this portion of the program takes only 15 minutes!
In “My Mom Wanted to Abort Me,” Jeremy Gorr shares a story from our recent outreach event at Kennesaw State University. In the conversation, he saw first-hand how a personal story can help open a person’s mind and heart to change. Take note of Jeremy’s approach to the conversation, asking questions and gently challenging Amin to consider a more optimistic perspective. Note also how God caused Ima to be present at precisely the right time with the courage to speak. We’re reminded that we can train Christians in good conversation skills and good arguments, but ultimately we depend completely on God and his work behind the scenes to change hearts and minds.
Our “What Is the Unborn?” web page features the most important information you can share in conversations to demonstrate that the unborn is a living human being. Our “What Is Abortion?” web page helps viewers wrestle with accurate videos, images, and descriptions of what abortion does to unborn children. Both of these pages is written with the pro-choice reader in mind so you can pass the pages on to start a conversation. Both pages have been recently updated to include new links and information. Take a look!
Last month we featured “It’s Her Body,” Part I of Steve Wagner’s series focused on defenses of abortion which refer to the woman’s body. This month we’re featuring Part VI of that series (“From a Foundation of Love for Women and Children, We Respond Intellectually to Bodily Rights Arguments”). In Part VI, Steve outlines a thoughtful response in eight steps, and he includes links to help you prepare for each step of the conversation.
Read Steve Wagner’s recent article, “It’s Her Body,” and the accompanying series of blog posts to prepare for defenses of abortion that refer to the woman’s body, such as “my body, my choice” and “she can do what she wants with her body” and “the unborn is part of her body.” Even after 15 years of engaging bodily rights arguments, Steve recently realized he’s been missing something very obvious and very important. Through Steve’s reflection on a recent campus conversation, you’ll gain a new way of seeing these arguments and a step-by-step framework (including links to in-depth resources) for meeting the relational and intellectual challenges present in every discussion of bodily rights and abortion.
Prepare for Conversations (June):
In the last two months, we’ve encouraged you to read Parts 1 and 2 of “A Living Room Conversation,” by JFA trainer Grace Fontenot. This month, you can finish the story by reading Part 3, in which Grace discusses the topic of feminism with “Heidi,” a young woman she met, not during an outreach event, but in an everyday-life setting. Do you know someone, like Heidi, who wants to be pro-life, but is fearful of coming across as “anti-woman”? Through this story, you’ll learn one of the most powerful arguments we’ve found for helping pro-choice advocates rethink their position. It will prepare you to explain how the pro-life view is the most consistent position on abortion for those who care about women’s rights and human equality.