Little More Rock and A Little Less Roll


Screenshot 2014-02-22 at 10.27.21 PM

A little more rock, a little less roll
A little more new, a little less old
A little bit of faith, a little bit a trust
A little bit of never giving up

Stereo Skyline – A Little More Us

Dear Pro-life Movement,
A little more love and a lot less hate.

On Monday March 10th I will personally celebrate my anniversary of becoming an abortion abolitionist.  It was in early March of 2013 that I met the Rock for Life crew at the Maryland March for Life.  (Which will be held Monday March 10th this year!  More details: http://www.marylandmarchforlife.org)  I didn’t realize it then, but a new chapter in my life was just beginning.

Like a teenarger just discovering indie rock, I immersed myself in the culture.  This time, instead of dying my hair red, attending shows, and dating band guys, I went to protests, started groups, and ran the Rock for Life booth wherever a venue would have me.   In my short time of activism, I’ve discovered that pro-lifers carry the burden of a pretty hefty stereotype.  We are perceived as hateful.

Allow me to walk you through a surprisingly eye-opening event I ran last summer:

Rock for Life partnered with Maryland Right to Life at a county fair to have a booth with pro-life educational materials and sell some shirts.  A large part of our display consisted of a simple MDRTL banner, neon “I ❤ Babies” tank tops, and a video clip of a 4D ultrasound for a baby at 20 weeks.  Every day that week the booth was manned by my team of passionate educated young women excitedly donning their neon tank tops.  To stay with the theme: we were ready to rock.

After the first day, it was clear what the rest of the week would have in store.  Our neighboring vendors were visibly unsettled that they were stationed next to the “controversial booth.”  I knew going in that each new face or family passing the booth had their own unique story concerning the issue of abortion.  Most people have already formed an opinion and were ready to either high five us or avoid eye contact.  One minute we received loving support and hugs from complete strangers thanking us for our brave efforts, and the next we were cursed out by an old man with a cane.  After complimenting a passerby on her Where the Wild Things Are tattoo, she shouted, “I hate you and everything you are about!”  One woman even yanked her little girl away from the booth and covered the girl’s eyes as they darted in the other direction.

So, that was Day One.  I knew the only aspect of this week-long event in my control was how our team could respond and present ourselves to the public.  So our mission was clear: be the most pleasant and loving group in that exhibit hall.  Each day when other vendors sat in the back of their booth, we stood ready to greet everyone at the aisle.  We brought the other vendors coffee and doughnuts and sparked conversation whenever possible.  We welcomed the public to “come learn about human development” or “see how they could make a difference in a young woman’s life.”  When asked, “So what is this all about?” we would respond, “We are educating young people and empowering women with the knowledge and truth about what happens in their bodies when they become pregnant.  We also connect with the local crisis pregnancy center to help support women and their children.”

Looking back on the event, I believe the woman who shielded her daughter’s eyes from the TV screen at our booth assumed the 4D ultrasound clip was a graphic image of abortion.  Why would she assume that?  Well, because that’s the image we’re most known for presenting.  Why did the old man shake a cane in my face and tell me to “mind my own damn business”?  Well, he probably needed a nap, but mostly it’s because he’s from a generation who remembers violent protesters and clinic bombings.

I may get a lot of grief for this, but some stereotypes exist for a reason.  I’ll make fun of myself to illustrate: Italian people are obsessed with food.  Totally accurate description of my Italian family.  When I visit my grandmother, the order of welcoming phrases are, “How have you been?” and then, “Are you hungry?”  Even if it’s 2am, there is freshly baked bread and half a leftover ham waiting in the fridge.  Pro-lifers are stereotypically pegged as a hateful, judgemental, and hurtful group of humans – and there’s a reason.

We can’t go back and change how the pro-life movement has presented itself in the past.  We can’t stop every extremist from being hurtful in the future.  What we can control is ourselves, and thankfully, love is quite contagious.  Certainly my team didn’t take the county fair by storm and convert every pro-abort to be pro-life, but I know we made a huge impact.  Our mission wasn’t only to show the opposition our credible scientific research or moral theology.  Our mission was also to show that pro-lifers care about women and children.  Vendors surrounding our booth (many who were admittedly “pro-choice” in varying cases) were drawn over to us, listened to our message of love and education, and signed the MDRTL petition for banning abortions after 20 weeks (when the baby feels pain).

If you’re a pro-lifer, take some time today to reflect on the way you’ve used words or presented yourself to your pro-abort friends and the public.  If you support abortion, let the record show that your opposition, the pro-life community, desperately loves and cares for all humans, born and pre-born, mothers and children – some of us may just not have shown it very well.

Claims that I’ve made in this post open a myriad of other doors for questions and topics which I am excited to address in a future post.  For now, my two-year-old is not napping, so I must stop here.

❤ Michele

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