By Brock Schmeling
Editor’s note. This appeared on page 8 of the August edition of National Right to Life News. You can read the issue in its entirety at www.nrlc.org/uploads/NRLNews/NRLNewsAugust2014.pdf.
I can say with confidence after five weeks that the National Right to Life Academy is a great learning experience that more young pro-lifers should take advantage of.
The best lesson I learned at the Academy was how to listen to the argument the other side was giving and respond in a way that both answers their questions and reframes that question in a manner that highlights the humanity of the unborn child (or other vulnerable group). This is still something that I need a lot of work on but I am much further along that I was in June.
The Academy also helped teach us how to improve our critical listening skills so at the same time we answer the question, our response highlights our core message–the humanity of the unborn, disabled, elderly, or other vulnerable people.
There is a saying at National Right to Life, “We are here to make a difference, not simply a statement.” This approach is what is needed to persuade America to embrace the pro-life cause. For this reason I recommend the Academy to all teens, and young adults (even those already employed by their state affiliates) who desire to be pro-life advocates who make a difference.
When attempting to persuade, for some people it will be enough to hear the basics—that the unborn child is one of us, differing only in size and stage of development. For others the common humanity we share does not register with them until they hear about something like the basis for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. A majority of Americans support this bill.
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act focuses the attention on the humanity of the unborn child, and asks a question that most people have not thought about before. When they learn that a child is able to feel and react to pain, it is new information that dramatically changes the way they understand the abortion issue.
When we focus on the humanity of the unborn and when we ask questions that people have not thought about before, they cannot easily dismiss our case for the unborn. We move closer to the day when all unborn children will be protected.
After I complete the coursework for the National Right to Life Academy I will continue working as the Legislative Director for North Dakota Right to Life, NRLC’s state affiliate. The National Right to Life Academy has helped me add critical skills that will allow me to be more effective in my lobbying efforts, media interviews, and other situations where communicating a concise and effective pro-life message is essential.