Earlier this summer I volunteered to man the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) booth at my local county fair. I decided to do this because I think it is important to get involved with the issues we feel strongly about. In my case, I strongly believe that abortion is the murder of an innocent human being and is therefore an abhorrent act. Not only that, but it is also harmful to the souls of the mother, father, and anyone else involved in the process. That being said, this article is supposed to be about my experience volunteering, not my reasons for it. With that in mind, here we go.
When I arrived at the booth I was greeted by a volunteer I will call “Bill” because he never actually gave me his name. Come to think of it I didn’t offer him my name either. When did we start failing to introduce ourselves when making someone’s acquaintance? It seems to me that this has become the new normal and I am unsure if it is healthy. Anyway, Bill showed me around the booth and explained some of the things I was supposed to focus on. There were two raffles that could be entered, one for a big stuffed bear and one for a handmade, baby-themed quilt. There were also numerous diorama which displayed what a fetus looks like at different stages of development. Stacks of leaflets, flyers, and informational pamphlets covered the tables. However, the main mission was to get passersby to sign a petition designed to garner support for making abortion after 20 weeks illegal. It is my understanding that 20 weeks was the age settled on because that is when we know the fetus is capable of feeling pain. After explaining all of this to me, Bill took his leave and vanished into the crowd, leaving me to fend for myself.
One of the first comments I received after being left by the previous MCCL volunteer was from a middle-aged woman passing by. She said, “a man, we don’t usually see men volunteer for this kind of thing.” That stuck with me because it has never been my belief that abortion isn’t a human issue, which means men should be involved as well. Yet, just like this passing woman, I too have noticed a lack of men taking a stand on this issue. Some men, such as one of my neighbors, believe abortion to be a “woman’s issue” and that they should have the final say, regardless of whether or not he agrees with it. How can a grown man stand idly by while unborn babies are killed by their mothers? How could that possibly not raise a man’s ire? God embedded the average man with a predisposition to protect those that are weaker than him. Why do so many men think this protection doesn’t extend to the unborn? As a side note, the woman who made this remark was the first signature I got for the petition.
Generally speaking, most people who passed by didn’t want to make eye-contact with me. This was despite me putting on my friendliest and most open demeanor. You might be wondering, “but Junior, perhaps your ‘friendliest and most open demeanor’, simply isn’t friendly or open enough.” Well, you might be right about that, but I sincerely doubt it. I have had quite a few customer service-oriented positions and have always done well in them. Smiling, laughing, and cracking jokes with strangers isn’t my natural state of being, but I can put on that hat if I want to. No, I think the giant banner with the ultrasound of a 20 week old fetus on it is what caused most people to avert their gaze. Abortion is a hot button topic these days and most people don’t fall firmly on one side of the line or the other. Which is why I made it my personal mission to simply be friendly, inviting, and open to cordial conversation of virtually any kind. I wanted to show people that a pro-life person isn’t just looking to chastise and preach at them. That we can hold a rock-solid, anti-abortion stance and still partake of genial conversation.
Even though I believe the fact that most people being hesitant to engage in talks about abortion is a sign of something greatly wrong with our society, I can understand why they are. Large media corporations like CNN and MSNBC feature many shows that spread only the ugly side of pro-life protesters and advocates. Most of the mainstream news shows even refuse to cover the March For Life, which is a massive gathering of pro-life advocates that takes place each year in our nation’s capitol. This can give the impression that pro-lifers are to be avoided, that we are perhaps too extreme. Another reason why many people are hesitant to engage with strangers about abortion is because the pro-abortion crowd can be rather loud and intimidating. When deciding to volunteer, one of my greatest concerns was how abortion supporters might behave toward me. An abortion activist kicked a young woman in the face while she was protesting. Brian Simms, a Democrat representative from Pennsylvania, harassed and tried to expose the identities of three teenage girls praying in front of a Planned Parenthood clinic. There have also been instances of elderly people being attacked and pro-life advocates on college campuses being harassed and their displays destroyed. So, in light of such events and behavior it is understandable that some folks might be hesitant to be seen showing sympathy to the unborn. However, this does not excuse burying your head in the sand and pretending there is no debate. Human life is intrinsically valuable and should be boldly protected.
One of my more interesting exchanges was with an older gentleman that showed interest in the petition but decided not to sign it. He expressed a concern that whatever law that would be put in place might be used in a way he did not intend it to be used. Therefore he didn’t want to sign his name to the petition. I don’t disagree with his general concern about laws being manipulated by legislatures and turned into something you never would have supported if you knew that the end result was different than what you believed it was going to be. However, I believe that some things, such as life, are worth that risk. As we talked and I continued to question him it came out that he believed the pro-life movement sought to strip rights away from women. He said, “they have already taken so much away from them”, this, of course, pricked my ears. I asked him what it was that women have had taken from them by pro-life advocates. He couldn’t answer. When I was about to question him further my replacement came walking in an immediately began talking to me as though the elderly gentleman wasn’t even there. While she was doing this the gentleman crept away and gave me a parting wave. I wish I had had more time with him, I am genuinely interested to know how he formed his opinion and why he values the legal right of abortion over the God-given right to life. As well as whether or not he is aware the United States Constitution lists life as an inalienable right.
During my time volunteering I managed to get a couple pages of signatures in support of the petition to end abortion after 20 weeks. I acknowledge that if we are successful in this endeavor it is a step in the right direction, but it is not the endgame. The ultimate goal has to be the complete abolishment of abortion. So men, take a stand next to the women and protect the most helpless of human beings from persecution, oppression, and death. To everyone, do not be afraid to stand in favor of what is right no matter how unpopular that position may be. Over a million babies are aborted each year in America alone, which means literally millions of lives depend on whether or not we are willing to fight this battle.
I hope I have gotten across the seriousness of the situation without darkening your day too much. I also hope I have provided some interesting commentary on my experience volunteering at the MCCL booth. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below. I genuinely want to know what all of you think. Thank you for reading.