In high school, I called myself pro-life. I had always been told abortion was wrong, and I knew instinctively that the preborn were living human beings (though I knew none of the science). Thus, it would follow that the killing of these people was wrong. In my small, Christian, conservative, West Texas town, being pro-life was just assumed. I cannot remember any person ever calling themselves pro-choice or challenging the pro-life belief while I lived there. There was no pro-life group associated with my school or church, I guess because no one ever saw the need to start one.
Because of this, the only times I ever heard abortion discussed were in church, either when we prayed for an end to abortion or when we had the occasional fundraiser for the local pregnancy help center, though for a long time, I didn’t understand the difference between that and Planned Parenthood or why we supported one but not the other. I never knew what an abortion actually was, never knew any of the laws surrounding abortion, and had never heard a well-articulated reason why abortion was wrong. Abortion was a rare topic of conversation, and the other areas of the consistent life ethic were never talked about. Ever. I was uneducated on pro-life topics and did not go out of my way to do or say anything that reflected my pro-life beliefs.
Halfway through my senior year of high school, a friend’s mother encouraged me to apply for a scholarship for pro-life students. All you had to do was complete a certain number of hours of work with your campus pro-life group each semester and go to Houston for a week for the two summers after you got the scholarship. I figured I would be somewhat involved in the pro-life group anyway, so I might as well try to get a scholarship for it. I also thought if I got this scholarship I would be more likely to go to all the meetings. I applied on the last possible day, completed the necessary phone interview, and was accepted into Texas Right to Life’s Dr. Joseph Graham Fellowship for College Pro-Life Leaders.
Two short weeks after graduation, I was on a plane to Houston for a week of training on pro-life issues with no idea of what I was about to experience. When I arrived, I was the least educated and least passionate one of the twenty-something people there. I was just there, going with the flow, doing what was expected of me. After we all briefly got to know one another, the training started.
Speaker after speaker came in and taught me things I had never heard before. We delved into what exactly an abortion is, how they can be performed (I hadn’t known more than one type existed), the history of abortion in the United States and Texas. We talked about fetal development, how science shows that life begins at conception, how any time chosen for human rights to begin other than conception is arbitrary.
The more I learned about these issues, the more invested I became in the pro-life movement. It started a chain reaction within me; I would learn something and then want to know more about it, never fully satisfied with the information the speakers gave. I wanted to read all the books and articles I could find, gather an arsenal of information I could unleash onto every person I knew, and make everyone realize how important this is. People are being legally slaughtered. Why weren’t more people back home talking about this aspect of the pro-life stance? Why weren’t we doing more about it? Surely, if everyone knew what I knew, it would be different. We could change the culture, change the laws, change the world. Save lives!
When I left the training, all I wanted to do was talk about pro-life things. Did anything else really matter? Pro-life issues were interesting, and if we didn’t talk about them, nothing would change—people would continue dying. As the summer went along, I soon saw that none of the people I was around wanted to talk about it, even when we had the same opinions. Why hadn’t I noticed this before?
And then it hit me—I hadn’t cared before, either. I never wanted to talk about these kinds of things; “pro-life” was just a belief I held in the back of my mind. But what had caused this transformation from apathetic to energetic pro-lifer? Well, I had spent a week with other young adults dedicated to the pro-life mission, but I was still surrounded by people who claimed to be pro-life. Surely that was not the problem. What else happened?
I was given information. I learned what was actually going on. No longer did I simply hold the belief that killing people is wrong. I knew the figures. I knew how it was happening. I knew about the terrible discrimination the abortion business thrives on. I was educated on pro-life topics, and that education had made me passionate.
This is why it is so important to educate people on the consistent life movement. The more information people know, the more willing the are to talk about it and the more passionate they are. The more they talk about it, the number of people who hear the consistent life message—and the number of Consistent Life Ethic supporters—increases. One person who supports the Consistent Life Ethic cannot change the world by themselves, but one person who is well-educated and talks to as many people as possible can change a few minds and start a ripple effect. Education is the key to the consistent life movement.
*The photo above is of my Fellowship class by the Big Blue Bus, Texas's first mobile crisis pregnancy center. The Big Blue Bus is parked on the street across from Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast to provide nonviolent pregnancy help to people in the Houston area.