Perhaps it is an easy route to present the opposing side with facts in support of our viewpoints. Yet, is this the most effective route? When answering that question under an Options United lens, the answer is a resounding no. The mission of Options United and pregnancy centers is to help women and their families who are facing unplanned pregnancies. When she is calling into our helpline or visiting a center we partner with she is looking for support not talking points. This is why it is important for our call responders to be crisis trained and why Options United offers similar training for PRC staff.
Crisis training equips those who are supporting women in need to access her situation properly for whatever unique circumstances she is facing. Although situations may be similar they are never exactly the same. This concept is to see each person we are in contact with to be seen as an individual rather than a number. It is a hope of pro-life supporters that no woman chooses abortion. However, if we only focused on the numbers we would be more apt to leave out the loving care that these mothers deserve.
Imagine if a mother called into the Options United helpline only to be met with horror stories of abortion. It is likely she would seek help elsewhere. When I was barely a teenager, I went on a trip to Washington D.C. with my fellow classmates. In line to tour the capital, I was approached by a man holding a model of an unborn child in which he thrust it into my face boldly asking if I was comfortable killing this tiny being. This isolated experience portrayed pro-life supporters as aggressive and even scary. Yikes, I don’t think this is the image anyone wants for the pro-life community. Again, facts are important but they never need to be forcefully pushed on someone it only closes minds rather than opens them. Thankfully, I had more positive experiences in church and with others who held viewpoints on the value of children preborn and born. This is what shaped my pro-life viewpoint as loving rather than aggressive.
When I first began advocating for the pro-life movement I found myself often repeating facts about abortion. I wanted others to know what happens in an abortion procedure so that they may know the truth, make an informed decision before having one themselves or encouraging others to do so. I felt as if this is what was most important in my own personal mission in promoting a culture of life. Why wouldn’t it be? Didn’t everyone deserve access to the truth? However, I seemed to forget how I felt the first time I was pregnant. I was unsure, I felt unprepared and honestly I was scared. Abortion could have been an option for me but it was the support I felt from others that steered me far away from the decision to which I never considered it as one. Some mothers do not feel supported by their friends or family. Without this support, other options may be more appealing or seen as the right choice for them. This is why having a helpline to connect them to a support system is vital in expanding their mindset, allowing them the thought that they can parent or choose adoption for their child.
How are we to be pro-life with love? It’s actually quite simple. It doesn’t require in tactics, it is simply loving others no matter the situation. Leading with love shows the goodness of the pro-life mission. It is to show mothers that they are capable of loving their children and it’s okay if they need guidance or support in doing so. It’s about celebrating new life through smiles and congratulations to the new mama. And most importantly, it’s about treating others as individuals giving them attention by listening rather than insisting on them viewing their situation through your viewp