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After a Recent Workshop at UNK

Comments after a Recent Workshop at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK):

"I feel like I could apply most of this in a conversation." – Sierra

"I feel a lot more confident now with talking to other people about abortion.  The dialogue practice with a partner was especially helpful." – Marilyn

"[The day after the workshop, during a class discussion on abortion], I didn't know if I was going to say anything, but finally decided to use the argument I had learned [the night before]." – Megan

The day after the JFA workshop, Megan found herself in a class discussion of whether or not it is morally acceptable to abort children diagnosed with Down syndrome in utero.  See "Megan Schools Her Classmates on Abortion" by Jeremy Gorr for the whole story, including what Megan said, how it impacted her class, and a picture of Megan at the JFA outreach event later that same day.

Can We Tell Other People What to Do? (#MindBlown)

In election seasons, it is very common for people to talk about what the law should be on abortion.  When that is the topic, it is also very common to hear some version of the following sentiment:

“I’m pro-life, but I can’t tell other people what to do.  Therefore, abortion should be legal.”

JFA trainer Rebecca Haschke did a beautiful job of helping a young man reconsider this sentiment in a conversation she described in a recent letter entitled #Mindblown.  In this man’s case, he felt that because he had religious reasons for his point of view on abortion, he was disqualified from making a case that abortion should not be legal.  I think you’ll be encouraged to see how this young man came to see things differently in just minutes.  In the process, you’ll witness Rebecca’s manner, and you’ll learn a sequence of questions you can ask when you confront this sort of concern in conversations with friends and neighbors.

Members of JFA’s training team interacted with the topic of Rebecca’s letter recently.  You can read some of their reflections and post your own at the JFA blog.

Confidence Creates Conversations - Andrew's Story

Andrew gained the confidence to create conversations in a matter of a few days.

Andrew gained the confidence to create conversations in a matter of a few days.

Imagine how many lives would be saved and how many hearts would be changed if all of the people who have pro-life views would regularly talk about abortion with their pro-choice friends. Often, pro-life advocates don’t raise the topic, and when it’s presented to them on a silver platter, they don’t dare speak up. That is why Justice For All’s training program is so vital.

In our March Impact Report, "Confidence Creates Conversations," JFA trainer Jeremy Gorr and one recent JFA volunteer, Andrew, reflect on Andrew’s experience with JFA. Along the way, they illustrate how confidence is built little by little, through the right kinds of activities.

Thank you for partnering with JFA to serve pro-life advocates like Andrew and help them gain the confidence to become the sort of powerful pro-life advocate we imagined above, able to create conversations that change hearts and save lives.

[Note: This was posted on May 4, but was back-dated to sync with the content so that JFA's content can be viewed in order through the blog.]

Bridges Builds a Bridge

Keawe Bridges (holding brochure) talks with a student at the University of Oklahoma in March 2015.

Keawe Bridges (holding brochure) talks with a student at the University of Oklahoma in March 2015.

Keawe Bridges learned recently that talking to pro-choice advocates wasn't the only thing worth doing at a JFA outreach event.  (Keawe's alma mater, Christian Heritage Academy, is a regular partner of JFA's.)  You'll be encouraged to see how in his first conversation that day, Keawe built a bridge for a pro-life student who didn't know how to defend the unborn.

Then, in another conversation with his pro-life friends and a pro-choice student, he was able to build a bridge for all of them at one time.  

Read both stories in JFA's November Impact Report, "The Student Becomes the Trainer," written by Joanna Wagner.  Joanna's short report includes numbers that also illustrate JFA's impact in 2015.

Comments from Recent Events

“I was very curious of what abortion was. I never realized abortion was this horrible. Seeing the baby in the mother’s womb made me realize we all have rights and we are all created equal.” – Grace

“I need to stand against abortion. I also need to ask others what they think about abortion.” – Christopher

“I didn’t understand much about abortion, but now I know for sure that abortion is wrong.” – Joy

“I learned that abortion isn’t something we can fight with harmful words, but we fight it by asking questions and helping people understand.” – Conner

“[I learned] how I can have a conversation about abortion and maybe save a life, even at my age.” – Carley

Can Ten Seconds Change Minds?

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It all started at 1:40 AM at a stoplight on Pacific Coast Highway in Hermosa Beach, California.  My July newsletter tells what happened there and how one good thing that came of it was a sound bite that is still making an impact on how people think about abortion 13 years later.  The short letter, Ten Seconds Can Change Minds, includes stories of real conversations from JFA trainers Jeremy Gorr and CK Wisner.

Here are a few additional notes on the topic of the letter:

  1. See more of the conversation with the women at the stoplight in an excerpt from my original write-up on the incident (a one-page reduction of my August 2002 newsletter): Got Ten Seconds?
  2. Admittedly, there are some limitations to the "10-Second Pro-Life Apologist."  Even though it has a logical structure similar to a syllogism, it shouldn't be expressed by pro-lifers as an air-tight argument to which no responses can be made.  I use the "10-Second Pro-Life Apologist" instead in the same way a soccer team uses a kick-off.  The sound bite just gets things started.  It helps me to put something on the table and then shut my mouth to allow the other person to talk, to respond, to think with me.  In this sense, it is purposefully incomplete.  It invites questions.  So, I suggest to pro-life advocates to take care in the amount of weight they give to these three sentences, expressed on their own, without clarification.  In other words, don't toss the "10-Second Pro-Life Apologist" out there as if just in saying these three sentences, it should silence all debate.  No, on the contrary, it is meant simply to get productive dialogue started.  One of the main limitations is the fact that these three sentences only implicitly make reference to the fact that the unborn is a whole organism.  In my view, this is an essential clarification pro-life advocates must make in their conversations about the unborn.  So, the unborn is not just living (like any cells or tissue of any species) and is not just human (like HeLa cells) but it is a special sort of living, human tissue that is integrated and organized in a specific way - the same way that you and I are integrated and organized, as a whole organism.
  3. To illustrate the above point, note, for example, the way in which PZ Meyers misunderstood the intended purpose in using a version of the "10-Second Pro-Life Apologist" by Kristan Hawkins, the President of SFLA; note also the detailed critique of the PZ Meyers piece by Clinton Wilcox.
  4. Exercise 3 in JFA's Interactive Guide teaches you to use the "10-Second Pro-Life Apologist" in conversation.  You can see how I would clarify the "organism" point (see Note #1 above) in the "Imitate" section of Exercise 3.  Get the Interactive Guide here.
  5. If you’ve enrolled in our “Learn at Home” program by completing the exercises at www.jfaweb.org/learn-at-home, the "10-Second Pro-Life Apologist" should look familiar to you.  It comprises the first ten seconds of the one-minute sound bite featured in Step 2.
  6. The 10-Second Pro-Life Apologist has been referenced and utilized by many pro-life advocates and organizations, including SFLA, Trent Horn, Amy Hall, Brett Kunkle, and Josh Brahm.
  7. Has the "10-Second Pro-Life Apologist" helped you in your conversations about abortion?  Share your story in the comments below.

Note: This post originally appeared at "Human Beings Matter More," the personal blog of Steve Wagner, JFA's Executive Director.

We Can't Wait (in More Ways than One)

Amanda with Kim's Baby

Amanda with Kim's Baby

After twenty minutes with a JFA trainer, Amanda shared a JFA Brochure with a friend who decided not to kill her child ("Lucy" in the photo).  After one hour in a presentation with a JFA trainer last month, Emma and her sister went to talk to kids in the park.  Their mom said,

They said that a few of the things you said gave them the confidence to go ahead and give it a try.

In my June letter you can read how these stories remind me that we cannot wait for everyone to find two days to participate in JFA's flagship training program, and that everyone can benefit from two additional offerings: our presentations and our new "Learn at Home" program.  JFA can't wait to use these opportunities to activate...More Advocates.

Or, don't wait to read the letter. Go directly to our new "Learn at Home" program.  In just one hour, it will equip you to...Change Minds on Abortion.

JFA @ UCLA

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Here's the scene at UCLA's Bruin Walk on JFA's second day of outreach in early June.  JFA staff and volunteers set up five tables inviting people to dialogue with us (one of them is down the walk to the left of the frame).  As you can see, one-to-one conversations were happening at every table.  JFA was invited by the Live Action club at UCLA. On the first day, JFA staff and volunteers created dialogue with the JFA Exhibit on Bruin Plaza (the first time in that location since 2003).  The picture below includes an interesting juxtaposition of the facts about abortion (shown in a photo on the JFA Exhibit) with a common viewpoint in defense of abortion (expressed on JFA's Free Speech Board).  You can see the JFA Exhibit panel with the picture of abortion more clearly here.

See more of the UCLA outreach, including more pictures from the first day on Bruin Plaza, by clicking the pictures in this post or by clicking here.

"I Couldn't Stop..."

Most of us have fears about discussing abortion.  Corrie was no different.  She recently attended a mission trip that JFA led for Christian Heritage Academy's Salt and Light program.  Here's what she said about the outreach to the University of Oklahoma:

I was terrified to talk to anyone, and made a goal to talk to just one person.  Once I talked to one, I couldn't stop.  I realized they're just people.

In this month's Impact Report, we hear from one of Corrie's classmates and from students in Arizona and Nebraska, who through their experiences with JFA also became...

"Ready and Eager for the Next Conversation"

Other JFA Links:  About JFA     Donate Recent Event Pics & Updates

JFA Team at the University of Kansas (and Benedictine College, etc)

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KUSpring15_727

The JFA Team just returned from two days of outreach to the University of Kansas, along with seminar events at Benedictine College and a community seminar in Lawrence, Kansas.  The events are illustrated in the gallery below, which you can access by clicking the picture or link.  In the picture below, JFA training specialist Jeremy Gorr discusses the JFA brochure with a student.  Click the gallery for other pictures of trainers in action, free speech board responses, and conversations!

Picture Gallery: Click the picture above or this link to see more pictures from KU.

7 Days of Outreach in 3 Weeks in KS and GA (Late February / Early March JFA Update)

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JFA trainers led three Abortion: From Debate to Dialogue seminars (Seat Work) in Georgia in early March.  A total of 46 attended.  The team led 5 days of outreach to Kennesaw State University and the University of Georgia in Athens.  Seven attended outreach for the first time, and volunteers from previous events also joined the team to change hearts at these two universities (15 "days" logged). JFA's Kansas Regional Team led 11 people through one seminar in Wichita and led two days of outreach at Wichita State University, with four seminar participants attending outreach for the first time.  Three others from past outreach events joined the team to create conversations.  The Kansas Team also gave five presentations to a total of 120 students at Bishop Carroll Catholic High School in Wichita.

See pictures from events in both of these regions by clicking the galleries below.