Etgar 36 Talks Abortion
Etgar 36 is a cross country summer journey for Jewish youth enabling them to experience America and explore their Jewish roots. They stop in about 25 cities in 36 days and explore the sights and sounds of America's past and learn how to make a difference for the future. Etgar 36 is an independent, non denominational, non partisan and non profit Jewish educational venture. The goal of all Etgar 36 programs in to help create the future American and Jewish political voice by helping our youth become critical thinkers.

Every year, Etgar 36 has come to Dallas during its whirlwind tour for several reasons, but one reason is to explore the issue of abortion. They normally come speak with personnel from Operation Rescue but were unable to do so, so they called the Catholic Pro-Life Committee to see if someone could come address this group of 50 Jewish high school students on the issue of abortion in late June.

Michelle C., a member of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee's Speakers Bureau and I agreed to go and address this group. We met at the Cathedral Guadalupe on a Friday afternoon in late June. I figured that since this group of youth may not fully understand what abortion really is, then it would be necessary to show them the video "The Harder Truth" with its graphic video of aborted babies bodies. (Click here for a defense of using graphic images in pro-life work)

I started off by asking how many of them considered themselves "Pro-choice." Every single kid raised their hand. Knowing that this might be a different crowd than from the ones we usually address, we showed them the video and I could hear some of the kids commenting "how disgusting" during the video.

After the video, Michelle spoke to them about facts and statistics about abortion and its true application in America. The kids were not hostile to us, but they were very energetic and had many, many questions. I could tell, by the questions they were asking, that they had really only had a surface level understanding of what abortion is and particularly its effect on women. I could also tell that what they knew about abortion they had learned from a largely biased and essentially pro-choice media. The pro-life position is not covered fairly in the media and it's easy to see why people believe that abortion is OK.

As they asked their questions, we very slowly began to blast through the pro-choice mentality that allows for abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy, through all 50 states for any reason or no reason at all. Some of our answers to their questions shocked them. For example, one young man asked if we wanted to go back to the "time of coat-hanger abortions." When I responded that there is zero evidence of coat-hanger abortions ever occuring at all before Roe v. Wade, he became visibly upset and told me "You can't say that!"

I then challenged him to find any proof, ie. medical reports, police reports, hospital reports, newspaper accounts that would confirm this. He did not fully understand that in a debate, one side has to be able to prove the assertions they are making.

As Michelle kept on talking, they kept on raising their hands with more and more questions. It seems that they kept on trying to find some scenario, some circumstance that was so bad for a women to be in that we would agree that abortion would be OK in that instance. But there is no such scenario and I kept on making the point that we will always say that abortion kills an innocent human being, because it does. That fact is a truth upon which those who are "pro-choice" will never be able to get around.

Michelle gave her testimony about her past abortion and how she feels very strongly that abortion should not be legal at all. I think the kids reponsed to her well because she really came across as a concerned and caring mother who wanted the best for her children.

Again, this was something that most of the Etgar 36 group had never heard before and I think they were astounded at the things she was saying.

Towads the end, Billy (Etgar 36 leader) split us up into two groups because there were so many questions. Michelle and I both talked to as many of them as possible and tried to answer all of their questions. We had originally been scheduled to talk for 1 hour but that 1 hour turned into 2 and they were still asking us questions as Billy was trying to get them out the door and onto the bus for their next visit, to the JFK memorial downtown.

One of the young men came up to me and said, "Look, I agree with you, I think abortion is murder and that it should not be done, and I would never do it myself. But I still believe that it's a women's right to choose if she wants to do it." This is a fairly common way of looking at the abortion issue and many people would agree with his statement. The problem of course is that if you take the underlying logic of what he is saying and apply it to any other issue, it makes no sense at all. For example, slavery; I don't believe in slavery, I wouldn't own a slave, but if you want to own one, go ahead?

At any rate, I think we got across to some of the youth in the room and am happy we were able to talk to them. Billy afterwards thanked us for getting their tour started off the right way. He wants them to be excited and asking questions during the trip and we sure got them to do just that!

We look forward to talking to another Etgar 36 group next year.

Click here for the Etgar 36 journal entry about their visit with us >>

submitted by Andrew Smith
Catholic Pro-Life Committee
July 17, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...
i was one of those kids in the group that day, and neither of you got through to ANY of us. we disagreed with your every word. and we still do to this day.

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