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Expressing Genuine Empathy

People often have intense and passionate feelings about pregnancy and abortion. Empathy is understanding and sharing the feelings of someone else. We encourage pro-life advocates to take the time to empathize with the people they talk with and the people they talk about. Empathy is the key to creating loving conversations.

Person 1: I’m pregnant and I’m scared. Person 2 (our hero): It’s okay to feel scared, but everything will be okay. We’ll figure this out together. I’ll be here for you through everything. There’s no hurry, so let’s take this one step at a time.Person 1: I don’t regret my abortion. Person 2 (our hero): I’m glad you’re okay. If you’re willing to share, I’d be interested to hear what led you to seek an abortion.Person 1: ...and that’s not okay. Person 2 (our hero): I’m concerned about that too.Person 1: There’s no point in us talking about abortion, because you’ll never change my mind. Person 2 (our hero): I bet talking would be worth it even if neither of our minds change. If you’re feeling up for it, I’d be interested in having a conversation where we just try to understand each other better.Person 1: You know, it’s not like women are just getting abortions for fun. Person 2 (our hero): Right, I agree. Women get abortions for real reasons. I genuinely want to help women with the challenges they face. I just don’t think abortion is a good approach.Person 1: Don’t judge me for my abortion. You haven’t lived my life. Person 2 (our hero): You’re right, I’m sure I can’t imagine what you’ve been through. I’m not here to attack you. Would you be willing to share more about your experience?Person 1: I’m pro-choice because when my aunt got an abortion, pro-lifers screamed at her. Person 2 (our hero): Wow, I’m really sorry that happened. I think those people should have treated your aunt with respect, not screamed at her. Person 1: When a fetus is diagnosed with a terminal illness, the pregnancy becomes a source of pain for the parents. Abortion ends the pain ASAP. Person 2 (our hero): Losing someone close to you is really hard, it’s true. But if you found out your friend was dying, wouldn’t you comfort them and enjoy your relationship while you still can? You wouldn’t cut the relationship short.Person 1: Rape victims shouldn’t be punished with pregnancy. Person 2 (our hero): I don’t want anyone to be pregnant who doesn’t want to be. Rape is always a terrible crime. I hate that rapists sometimes make people pregnant against their will. I wish nobody were ever raped.Person 1: I wish I had been aborted. Person 2 (our hero): I’m really sorry to hear that. It sounds like you’re not in a great place right now. I would love to do anything I can to help you. Would you like to talk more?Person 1: Women who get abortions are murderers. Person 2 (our hero): Hm, I think women getting abortions typically don’t have a murderer’s mindset. It’s helpful to think of them as victims of abortion culture, not murderers.Person 1: I was raped. I got pregnant and I had an abortion. Person 2 (our hero): I’m so sorry to hear that. Rape is a terrible crime. Thinking about it makes me sick. Nobody should be forced into sex, and nobody should be forced to become pregnant.Person 1: It’s not the rape victim’s fault she’s pregnant. Person 2 (our hero): I agree. It’s the rapist’s fault, and the victim shouldn’t be blamed. Rape is an awful crime, doubly so when the rapist robs his victim of the choice to not become pregnant.
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