Impact Report: August 2015
I almost didn’t talk to her. It was the morning of the second day of our outreach event at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). “Jenny” was standing across the walkway, and I was uncertain if she had seen our “Should Abortion Remain Legal?” poll table question. She appeared to be lost in thought, and I didn’t want to be a bother to her. I immediately began an internal argument with myself about all of the reasons why I shouldn’t talk with her.
The longer Jenny stood there, the more I felt like I should ignore my fear of interrupting her day. I approached her and asked if she had an opinion on our question. At first she seemed hesitant to talk to me, but as the conversation continued, I learned that Jenny did have an opinion. She believed that if a child was going to be born into poverty that abortion would be justified. I listened to her concern and acknowledged that growing up in poverty would be extremely challenging. In response to her concern, I used a conversational tool that we teach at Justice For All (JFA) called “Trot Out the Toddler” (TOTT)* to help refocus the conversation on the central question, “What is the unborn?” After discussing the humanity of the unborn, Jenny agreed that abortion was wrong in most cases, but she still had one very serious concern.
Jenny asked me about the issue of a woman having to care for a child conceived in rape. I took great care to share just how evil I think rape is and how we need to take better care of the woman in that situation. After spending a significant amount of time talking with Jenny, I shared another belief that I hold strongly. I said, “You know, often when women are in the midst of an unwanted pregnancy, pro-life people come alongside them and say, ‘Don’t get an abortion!’ What if, instead, we said, ‘Let me help you’? I think we need to do a better job of coming alongside the woman and the unborn child inside of her.”
After a short pause, Jenny looked at me with eyes wide. She said, “You just turned on the lightbulb for me. I realized we've been talking about the woman, but there is a child involved in this, too.” She then asked me what she could do about abortion. She went over to our “Should Abortion Remain Legal?” poll table and signed the side that said “No.” I gave her the JFA Exhibit Brochure and showed her how to share it with a friend. I also gave her the contact information for a local pregnancy care center so that if she ever encounters someone considering an abortion, she herself could say, “Let me help you.”
I’m so thankful that God enabled me to face my fear and talk to Jenny. The fruit of that conversation has shown me how a small step can accomplish a lot. I pray that God continues to strengthen her to take a stand for unborn children.
-CK Wisner, for the JFA Team
* Scott Klusendorf (Life Training Institute) gave us our initial formulation of “Trot Out the Toddler.” For a step-by-step explanation and dialogue excerpts, see www.jfaweb.org/tott.
In this Impact Report, JFA trainer CK Wisner tells the story of one of her conversations from JFA’s UCLA outreach in June. What I love about CK’s description of this conversation is that we get to see the specific decisions CK made at different points which helped one UCLA student change her mind about abortion.
This is a different kind of conversation, the sort that 49 staff members and volunteers created many times over during two days at UCLA. Among those volunteers were mission trip participants from Houston, Nebraska, Central California, and Kansas, who have already taken what they learned back to their communities. Thanks for helping JFA train pro-life advocates to create conversations that are changing minds and engaging hearts in Los Angeles and beyond.
- Stephen Wagner, Executive Director