Many of us who are pro-life advocates spend most of our time discussing our beliefs within the security of people who think the same way we do. Even as we write, speak, or march in support of the cause, we are mostly surrounded by like-minded people.
Most of us never make it beyond the safety of friends who readily agree with every statement we make. We tend to stay in our distant and comfortable places, where it’s more convenient and less controversial — but every so often, we make the decision to move out of that space and engage someone on a personal level.
When You Can’t Change Their Mind
That’s what happened to me when I stepped into a conversation about an imminent abortion.
The conversation caught my attention immediately, and I knew I couldn’t ignore it. I awkwardly interrupted the conversation, trying to convey my concern and care for both the mother and her child. We talked for a moment, found common ground in believing abortion is tragic, and I offered to connect them with a crisis pregnancy center.
“We never know what God may be doing behind the scenes when he calls us to step forward and say something.”
At first, I thought the conversation was going well. But the flicker of hope quickly faded as the women affirmed abortion was the best decision for the circumstance. Nothing I said made a difference. The only thing it seemed to accomplish was earning a few disapproving looks and remarks from bystanders.
There was nothing else I could do. I felt helpless, defeated, and even a little responsible for not being able to change the outcome.
That encounter will always stay with me. And I will always wish it had turned out differently.
Five Ways Forward
I can’t answer why this happened. I don’t know why we’re sometimes handed an opportunity to say something, but we are not able to help someone choose life instead. It doesn’t make sense. But I do know that when speaking up about abortion does not turn out the way we hope, we are not hopeless. There are still several things we can do to fight for the sanctity of human life.
The first thing we should do is cover the situation in prayer (Philippians 4:6). Pray for the mother. Pray that God would still work in her heart and intervene to protect the life of her child. Pray that even if she does still choose abortion, she would know the Lord is near to her as she begins to understand the ways her soul will need to recover.
“Abortion is not something that happens in faraway places with faceless strangers we’ll never meet.”
Abortion is not a one-time decision. It’s a decision that will affect her for the rest of her life. Pray that the Lord would draw her to repentance and begin his work of healing in her heart, compelling her to use her voice for the lives of other unborn children.
2. Trust God
We never know what God may be doing behind the scenes when he calls us to step forward and say something. We do not know who might hear our conversations, or what seeds will be planted that may encourage someone else to make a different decision.
We do not know how small moments of faithfulness may influence other small moments of faithfulness, even if they don’t appear to accomplish something big in our corner of the world. We are called to be obedient in going where he leads, and to trust he will accomplish his purpose (Psalm 138:8).
3. Remember Only God Saves
Disregard for human life is always a symptom of deeper sin. Even if God may choose to use us as part of his plan, it is the work of the Holy Spirit that transforms a person’s heart (Philippians 2:13). It is not our words. Only he can move someone to change their mind about him — and abortion.
4. Offer Support
Abortion is not something that happens in faraway places with faceless strangers we’ll never meet. It’s happening all the time and all around us. It affects people we know. We do not have the option of believing it is not our responsibility to advocate for the unborn child and to care for the mother.
“Satan wants us to feel defeated so that we will not speak up again.”
The fact that some of the women we encounter will still choose abortion never gives us permission to overlook sin or stay silent. It also does not justify another wrong: missing the opportunity to remind her that Christ forgives, redeems, and heals brokenness. We are called to walk beside her, speak truth, show her love, and share God’s word (John 13:14–15).
5. Never Stop Speaking Up
We must commit to continue stepping out in faith as we advocate for life, and step out even further than the time before. We need to ask God to give us the courage to have even more boldness as we declare the sanctity of his creation. Satan wants us to feel defeated so that we will not speak up again. But if you speak up against the horror of abortion and for the sanctity of human life, you are never wasting your time, and your words are not in vain.