August 12, 2013 (LifeIssues) - Let’s be honest. To truly be successful advocates for life, we can’t just spend our time “preaching to the choir.” We must step outside our comfort zone to reach those who are on the other side. This is no easy task when you’re faced with individuals who hurl obscenities, act combative or are willfully defiant. But if we’re to change hearts and minds, we must first try to understand the motives of those who are for abortion.

Not all pro-abortion advocates are the same, but I believe there are five general traits that exist among this group. They are:

  1. Disconnected: They resort to a narrow viewpoint that this is only an issue of women’s rights, rather than facing the reality that there is another life at hand.
  2. Deceived: Through misguided intentions, they believe that they’re truly helping women.
  3. Disassociated: This represents those who say, “I wouldn’t do it, but it’s not my place to make the decision for someone else.”
  4. Denial: Out of selfishness, some deny responsibility and believe in sex without consequences, including pregnancy.
  5. Dehumanizing: This is an attempt to reject the humanity of the unborn child by not considering him or her to be a person.

What’s common throughout these characteristics is that the perspective is narrow—they lack the vision to see the entire picture. And that’s the key. Advocates of abortion want to stay focused only on their limited talking points. When a person’s eyes are opened to the full reality of what abortion means, viewpoints can and will change. To learn how this transition succeeds, let’s take a look at some true stories of individuals who were once in favor of abortion.

Jennifer Fulwiler was a self-proclaimed “pro-choice atheist.” It was a comment from her husband that first caused Jennifer to start examining her views on abortion. He said, “It just occurred to me that being pro-life is being ‘pro-other-people’s-life.’ Everyone is ‘pro-their-own-life.’” That single statement made Jennifer realize that by supporting abortion she was essentially deciding whose lives were worth living. As she investigated the issue further, she was faced with technological advancements like 4D ultrasounds. Not wanting to face the overwhelming evidence, she found herself changing and moving her definition of “human.” A turning point occurred when she researched partial-birth abortion and discovered that there were people in professional positions justifying infanticide by calling the victims fetuses instead of babies. She said, “My views were motivated by loving concern: I just did not want women to have to suffer. But I recognized that I had told myself lies in order to maintain my support for abortion. Good, well-meaning people—people like me—can support gravely evil things because of the power of lies.”

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Yet, the truth breaks through those lies. An example of that occurred at the recent trial of Kermit Gosnell. Reporter JD Mullane relayed, “There was a journalist who told me that he is very liberal, very pro-choice. But after sitting through the testimony in the Gosnell trial, he’s reconsidered. He’s changed his mind.” In a court of law, faced with profoundly shocking evidence and the gruesome testimony of witnesses, the grisly truth of abortion was revealed. No amount of ideological arguments could counter those facts.

For most of her life, Ronnie Koenig remained, in her words, “a Feminist with a capital ‘F,’” strongly advocating for a woman’s right to abortion. Then last year, she listened as vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan explained why he was pro-life by talking about seeing his daughter on an early sonogram and how he and his wife nicknamed her “Bean.” Ronnie was shocked to realize that she agreed with him! She reflected on her own pregnancy, after suffering years of infertility. She recalls, “There they were on the monitor in front of me—my two little beans. Ba-bump-ba-bump-ba-bump went their heartbeats. From that moment on, life never felt the same.” She’s now a believer that life begins at conception. Although she only considers herself “sort-of pro-life,” she comes to a thought-provoking conclusion. “We are kidding ourselves if we don’t acknowledge that it does stop a beating heart—however defective, weak or unwanted that heart is. And that’s because the heartbeats I heard that day in the doctor’s office were so rhythmic and insistent, already so full of life.”

The truth will always be on the side of life. That’s the reason abortionists don’t want mothers to hear their baby’s heartbeat. It’s why abortion advocates fight against ultrasounds, because women would see a baby, not a clump of cells. They continue to attack common-sense regulations and abortion alternatives in order to embrace their lies and hide from the truth. It’s an ongoing challenge to overcome deceit so a person is open to receiving the truth. And this is the reason why we must remain vigilant in pro-life education and being a voice for the voiceless. Because we never know how something we say or do could change a person’s heart and mind toward embracing life.

Brad Mattes is the Executive Director of the Life Issues Institute, where this article first appeared.