Olivia Boyd is our teenage guest writer who is very passionate about supporting the pro-life movement and ending human trafficking. Upon completion of her High School education, she intends to study law and psychology. She has an interest in human rights and social psychology, and is an active member of the PragerForce group for students and young professionals. Olivia will be contributing articles to Family First this year as part of her Duke of Edinburgh award.
Please read Olivia’s article on planning for the future of the Pro-Life movement…
Abortion is a highly emotional topic and at times can be very polarising. Because it touches on our deepest beliefs around the sanctity of life, human rights, compassion and justice, abortion is not an issue that will resolve itself any time soon.
Those of us in the pro-life movement need to be thinking ahead beyond the present time and preparing for the future. We need to think about long term solutions like shifting cultural thinking. Winning gains in areas of policy are important but in order to have legislative shifts more widely supported we need to establish the pro-life movement in New Zealand as a growing, thriving force for change—a collective voice for life.
When we look at how long it’s taken for the pro-life movement in the United States to get to the point where the Supreme Court might overturn Roe v Wade, the court case in 1973 that essentially legalised abortion in the United States, we can see that in New Zealand we shouldn’t just be pushing for legislative change. We need to take inspiration from what William Wilberforce did in the years before the slave trade was abolished in 1807—change cultural thinking and turn the tide of public opinion towards the value of all human life.
As many will know, William Wilberforce was the driving force behind the eventual abolition of slavery in England. In the introduction of his biography, Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery, Author Eric Metaxas wrote: “To fathom the magnitude of what Wilberforce did we have to see that the “disease” he vanquished forever was actually neither the slave trade nor slavery. Slavery still exists around the world today, in such measure as we can hardly fathom. What Wilberforce vanquished was something even worse than slavery, something that was much more fundamental and can hardly be seen from where we stand today: he vanquished the very mind-set that made slavery acceptable and allowed it to survive and thrive for millennia.” 1
William Wilberforce and others in the abolitionist movement spent decades driving cultural change in how slavery was viewed before change happened in the law itself. It’s a lesson we can learn from.
For the pro-life movement, there is much to be done in educating people on the widespread harm abortion causes, and the options and support for women and their families who find themselves in a difficult situation of an unplanned pregnancy.
We should still be lobbying the government and pushing for change at that level. But there is a greater level that we must rise to if we are truly going to protect and uphold the value and sanctity of all human life. We must become committed and strategic in planning for the future. We must change the culture, be understanding, and be unwavering in our cause.
Changing minds is vital to shifting our society’s perception of abortion. However, what we need to do goes beyond simply sharing facts and information (although this is important). To truly move this mountain, we must speak to hearts, not just minds. We must live out our message that life is precious by showing love, compassion and empathy to those who are hurting, such as post-abortive women or women who find themselves facing what feels like impossible circumstances.
When we speak to people’s hearts with understanding and compassion, we open the doors for healing to come for those who are hurting or those who may feel trapped or alone. By putting ourselves in other’s shoes and empathising with their situation, we can offer life-saving support and options. As we inform and educate, we can communicate in a way that goes beyond just debating and presenting our point of view. This will help bring the much-needed momentum to the pro-life movement. Eventually, if enough people call for change, the government of the day will have to listen. When enough people speak up, we can turn the tide. It all starts with loving others, and with supporting our fellow humans. The end of abortion starts when we stop condemning and start touching people’s hearts with the truth.
For information and educational resources, visit chooselife.org.nz
- Metaxas, E. (2007). Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery. Harper Collins Publishers.