How To Talk To Your Pro-Life Parents

by Cate Carrejo
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

2016 had a lot of really, really bad side effects, but one of the good ones was the renewed commitment to civil political discourse with those who have opinions different than yours. However, this is much easier said than done when it comes to your family members. Talking to your pro-life parents about reproductive rights can be one of the hardest things ever, but it's worth it because it helps you and them in the long run.

Trust me, I know what you're going through and how hard these conversations can be. My own parents are very religious and strongly pro-life, and it's led to many arguments about the morality of abortion. It can be unbelievably frustrating to talk to someone who disagrees with you so deeply, especially when they're a member of your own family. But it's important to talk about it, specifically because they're your family. Discussions with the people you love helps humanize both sides of the issue. Talking to your pro-life parents can help them understand and respect your position, and help you find compassion for theirs.

My typical strategy is to approach the discussion from the central argument of free will. Assuming that your parents' pro-life ideals is founded on religious beliefs (as many voters' are), this is a strong argument for its theological merits. According to the Bible, all people were given free will by God, and others are not supposed to impinge on that free will with their judgement. Even if your parents believe that abortion is a sin, they should be able to admit that, which can lead into your next point.

Expanding the connotation of pro-life is the logical extension of the free will argument because it provides an alternative to abortion regulation. There are a lot more efficient ways to change lives and reduce abortion rates than restricting abortion rights, such as improving education, ending domestic violence, and combatting rape culture. Making your parents see that there are more effective ways to use their pro-life energy could at least stop them from sending donations to anti-choice organizations. If you're willing to theoretically concede the point that abortion is morally wrong and move on from there, you can find some convincing ground on which you can really connect with the pro-life people in your life.

Realistically, the probability of changing your parents' minds about the morality of abortion, and going into the conversation thinking that's a possibility is only going to make you more disappointed in the end. But changing their mindset about the concept of pro-life is possible, and it should help you talk to other pro-lifers too. Just remember how much you love your family, which will help keep the conversation calm and focused, then apply that same mentality to all your conversations about reproductive rights.