Open Mic Warning: Parental Advisory. Unedited Adult Content.

Justice For All (JFA) Open Mic sessions are true free speech events that coincide with a JFA Outreach. Any member of the University community is invited to come to the microphone and share anything they would like related to unwanted pregnancy, abortion, the unborn, or the Justice For All Exhibit. It is the practice of our Open Mic facilitators to hold the mic for the entire session, but we work hard to give people ample opportunity to speak along with an opportunity to dialogue about their views. Our Open Mic facilitators regularly declare that we have one rule on the mic: we will treat people with respect, even if we disagree with their views. Because the session is composed mostly of interactive conversations with passersby, session content is unplanned, and there are moments of confusion ("I've got two of you on the mic at once..let's hear from you first, then we'll give you a chance."), dead air ("Would anyone like to share on the open mic?"), profanity, frank discussion of sexuality, fast-paced dialogue, moments of sobering storytelling, and humor. When we release the audio, it is unedited (unless noted).

Justice For All's mission is to train thousands to make abortion unthinkable for millions, one person at a time. Our outreaches provide a turn-key opportunity for JFA volunteers to engage in dialogue with people they do not know. Helping these volunteers create productive dialogue is the main purpose of everything we do at outreach. So for JFA, the purpose of the Open Mic is (1) to draw more people who are interested in discussing abortion with our volunteers and (2) model productive dialogue that features our three essential skills, so everyone listening can grow in their ability to discuss abortion productively.

Warning: Parental Advisory.  

The audio/video clips of JFA's Open Mic sessions contain unedited free speech audio and portions include profanity and frank discussion of sexuality.  If you are under the age of 18, please invite your parents to preview this material and approve it for your listening. Once they've reviewed it, you might invite them to listen along with you! These clips provide great opportunities for discussing what you think about life before birth, pregnancy, and abortion.

Steve Wagner leads an open mic session at University of Texas at San Antonio (2011)

80+ minutes of dialogue

Steve Wagner (holding mic), Arizona sTATE uNIVERSITY, 2009

Dialogue Lab Assignment from Steve: The dialogue you see above (4.5 minutes) begins with an ASU student making an interesting assertion: Pro-lifers should adopt all of the children who are born (if abortion is made illegal).

As you watch, pause the video after this initial assertion and think of a question you can ask to help return the conversation to the question, “What is the unborn?” Then watch my interaction with her and see what you think.

Note this assertion that comes a bit later in the clip: The unborn in the early stages is just uterus lining.  How would you respond?

Note also one opportunity I had to build common ground.  She commented that late-term abortion is bad and that women should take responsibility for the child at that point.  I don’t think I did a good job of pointing out our agreement on that point.



Dialogue Lab Assignment from Steve: Here’s another student opinion on the open mic on ASU.  Listen to the initial comment, then stop the clip. Decide how you might respond if you were in my shoes.  Then watch the rest of the clip and decide if my response helped or hindered progress in the dialogue.


Dialogue Lab Assignment from Steve:

  • Step 1: Listen to the first thoughts from this student at ASU. Stop the video.
  • Step 2: Think of a question you can ask to build common ground with the speaker. Write your ideas in the comments section.
  • Step 3: Now listen to the remainder of the video. Did my attempt at common ground succeed?