“I am your self-appointed opposition.”

UAlberta pro choicer piece

We hosted a meet-and-greet event where about five or six new pro-life people showed up to attend. There were four of us.

Everything was fairly standard in terms of mingling until, right before the formal program began, a female student (later self-identified as queer, but I'm not sure exactly how this individual identifies) burst into the room and stood there silently, staring at us. After we greeted her, she identified herself as our “self-appointed opposition.” We asked what her name was, and after a moment she said, “Jamie will do.”

We invited Jamie to sit down and share some snacks with us, and participate in our icebreaker round of Never Have I Ever. “People before politics,” she said, and we all had fun.

Afterwards, Deirdre gave a formal presentation about the pro-life club and its projects, with Jamie taking notes the whole time. Afterwards, we asked if she had any comments or the like, and this ultimately turned into an hour-long conversation about different pro-life and pro-choice arguments. Among these were common objections to the pro-life worldview, different analogies such as the kidney analogy, the burning fertility clinic, and so on.

I fielded most of the back and forth with club member Siobahn also contributing a few points. The conversation was civil, though ultimately for Jamie it came down to the idea that it is wrong to inconvenience someone with the burden of pregnancy if they don't want to be pregnant. “Even if it means killing a person?” I asked.

“Yes”, she replied.

We also talked a bit about the use of abortion victim photography, and how Jamie had seen people from the Canadian Centre for Bio-ethical Reform (CCBR) using those signs at Mount Royal University. We were too short on time to go into a whole discussion but I briefly explained that they were exposing victims similar to many other social reform movements throughout history and that if she ever saw them again, to consider going up and chatting to them. CCBR prioritizes politeness and respectfulness to people they interact with, so they'll probably be quite pleasant.

I also said that as much as people like to object and claim that photoshop is involved, all you have to do is go to a pregnancy development website and imagine what that flesh-and-bone fetus looks like torn apart by a pair of forceps. Jamie pointed out that a chicken would look gross torn up too, and asked if we were vegans. Instantly everyone in the club turned and pointed at Deirdre.

We went a half hour over our original scheduled time, but overall it was an extremely productive and positive time. We thanked Jamie for coming and sharing her views so that we could understand them better and not just dialogue with people who agree with us, and later Jamie told me that I had articulated my views well and felt that the environment had been respectful.

Deirdre posted a video about the incident here.