A pro-life journey: “you know what changed my mind?…”

Originally published on Leaven for the Loaf.

This is why I don’t want anything to do with bloody-baby pictures outside abortion facilities or on billboards or anywhere else.

Consider these two tweets from @LetiAdams:

I wish I could get it across to ppl just how much “abortion kills a baby” didn’t work to get me to understand the truth about abortion.

You know what changed my mind? Grace. Plus encountering Christians who didn’t shout at me about how wrong I was about everything.

Thank you, Leticia. Your tweets hit me where I need to be hit.

I was always squeamish about demonstrations showing the dead bodies left behind by abortion. The “ewwww” factor was overwhelming.

Then a few years ago I read Abby Johnson’s Unplanned, and her more recent The Walls are TalkingI met my near neighbor Catherine Adair. Together, they burst my bubble. Troublemakers, the pair of them.

Catherine has said, “The worst thing we can do [when meeting abortion workers] is be confrontational, antagonistic. I think the best thing we can do is smile, say hello – just be that peaceful, kind, loving presence they need.” This from a former worker at an abortion facility, who knows what a sidewalk looks like in the hands of people being antagonistic.

Surprise: it wasn’t the truth in bloody pictures that changed her heart, or Abby’s. It was the truth in relationships.  Patience, love, grace, and time were relevant, urgently so.

I need those reminders. Anyone who’s heard me testify at the State House (as has been my custom for the better part of 30 years, God help me) knows that patience is not my strong suit. Dang, some of those political types are dense. No names, please.

And yet…”You know what changed my mind? Grace.”

How did I pick one that out of this morning’s torrent of mostly-forgettable tweets? No matter. Twitter’s existence has been justified for another day. Carry on.

Listen to “Hush”

A few months ago, I saw an advance screening of a documentary from what seemed to me an unlikely team. The “Hush” film’s producer and director take different views of abortion. They set out not to assert one side or another. Instead, they made a film about abortion’s effect on women’s health. The director was still pro-choice when she finished making the film, but she was troubled by her findings.

“Start a healthy conversation,” as the production team says in the film’s Twitter hashtag. A good goal, and an urgent one.

“Hush” went into formal release a couple of months ago. A library near my home is hosting a screening next week. A friend reported to me tonight that she’s getting online pushback for promoting the film, from people who dispute the film’s findings – without having seen the film.

Frustrating. Dismaying. Yet I hold out hope that the protesters will come to the screening. They might be surprised to discover that “Hush” isn’t a pro-life movie per se. It’s one woman’s search for answers to her legitimate questions about what, if anything, abortion does to women besides induce the death of a preborn child (a term with which the director might well take issue).

I’m grateful to the documentary’s director, Punam Kumar Gill, for asking questions and having the courage to follow the answers wherever they took her.

I hope the protesters in my area choose to come inside and watch the film. Let the pushback wait until we’re all working with the same information. Better yet, let’s work toward that healthy conversation the filmmakers are encouraging.

Read more about “Hush” and where to find it at hushfilm.com.

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