You hit the streets in your new, hand-painted, custom Converse and you catch someone staring. They walk by, glancing at the flower design and the word "life", and say, "Nice shoes."
Do you leave this interaction at "nice shoes"? No, of course you don't!
You thank them and explain where you got them from. You share a bit about why you think it's important to wear what you stand for, especially with such an important issue.
This person is nodding but appears skeptical, "I don't know, I just feel like we shouldn't really be imposing our views onto other people."
"I can see where you're coming from. But do you agree that we do impose our morality in other areas of society? Like in the laws that say you can't steal, or you can't kill. We're telling people you can't do certain things because it harms others, right?"
"Yes, but abortion isn't killing."
You pause, "What would you say it is?"
"It's removing a clump of cells from a woman. It's not even a person yet."
"Okay. Is there a cut-off point you would say where the clump of cells becomes a person and abortion becomes wrong?"
They stop to consider that, and then suggest uncertainly, "Maybe like after the first trimester?"
"Did you know that a fetus's heart beat can be detected before a woman even knows she's pregnant? That happens long before the first trimester ends. A fetus has hands, feet, eyes, ears, and are growing more and more every day."
They don't respond and cross their arms.
"Let me ask you - were you the same person you were when you were a baby?"
They uncross their arms, "Yes, well, I mean, I'm the same person, but I'm older now."
"Right, and you would agree that your life didn't matter less when you were a baby, just because you were younger and less developed than you are now?" You ask.
"Why is a fetus at 10 weeks or 20 weeks or right before birth any different than right after birth, or 1-years-old, or any other age? Why should we value them less?"
"Because they aren't the same. A fetus isn't a person." They repeat.
"You had said you think personhood begins after the first trimester. Can you agree that if we all pick arbitrary points in pregnancy to decide when life becomes valuable, that opens up abortion to be discriminatory? I mean, imagine 2 women walk into an abortion clinic and one fetus is a day past the first trimester, which is already an uncertain timeline. 1 fetus is allowed to be aborted and the other is "too developed" already."
"I guess so... well, then when brain waves can be detected." They answer.
"That would also be arbitrary, because detection is not always accurate and it can happen at different times for different people."
There's a silence.
You supply, "This is why I opt for the scientific answer, where life begins at fertilization. There is no other point in pregnancy where can definitively say that a new human life is formed. We have all our unique genetic makeup, everything that makes us biologically us from the moment of fertilization. No other person will be the same as us throughout time or history. Isn't that crazy?"
They nod, "Yeah, I hadn't thought about that... but I mean, I guess they are human, but that doesn't really mean they are valuable as people."
"Okay, what would you say determines why we value humanity? It can't be gender, because that would make it unequal. It can't be height or weight, we're all different heights and weights. It can't be a certain race, we're all from different backgrounds, and that would be discrimination. Even things like having all our organs or limbs becomes unequal, because our parts do not represent the whole. People who develop without an arm or with only part of their brain are still human beings deserving of protection, do you agree?"
They're nodding again, "Yes, I can see that."
"The only thing we all share equally is our humanity. Literally just the fact that we are all human. Any other indicator opens the door for inequality." You point out.
"And you agreed that we become unique human organisms from the moment of fertilization?"
"Then we must value and respect humans from the very beginning of their lives - and that would be fertilization. Abortion ends that life."
They start nodding a little in acknowledgement, "Okay, okay, this all makes sense. You got me. I guess I never really connected these dots before. But I still think this all a really difficult situation for women."
You nod, "100%, I completely agree with you. Especially in a world where women are told abortion is the best or only option, we need to provide the support she needs to choose life. It's not easy but the pro-life movement cares a lot about making sure women are in the best place possible to love and protect themselves and their baby."
They glance down at your shoes again and read the sides, "I guess the slogan 'love ALL human life' is pretty accurate after all."
You hand them a drop card with information about the resources that Life Dress offers to activists. "It's so important that we speak up for the preborn - for the ones who do not have a voice. Preborn babies need you to stand up for them against the greatest human rights injustice of our time."