Pro-life persuasion

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, October 23rd. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.

JILL NELSON, HOST: And I’m Jill Nelson.

Coming next on The World and Everything in It: how one woman accepted her calling as a voice for unborn humans. Stephanie Gray is the founder of Love Unleashes Life. That’s a ministry that’s taken her around the world to deliver a pro-life message. WORLD Radio’s J.C. Derrick sat down with Gray to talk about her work.

J.C. DERRICK, MANAGING EDITOR: Okay, let’s start with your background. There are a lot of pro-life activists out there, but most of them are doing rallies, protesting, praying, counseling, passing laws, all these different things. Not that many, or certainly not as many, do what you do, which is go to public venues, sometimes with antagonistic audiences, and make the pro-life case from a logical perspective—making the arguments. So, can you talk about your pathway into this work?

STEPHANIE GRAY: Sure, so it actually began with what you described generally as common in the movement. My parents were both involved in the movement, my mom volunteered at a pregnancy center. So, as a young child, I was exposed to activism, education, the pastoral arm, and that laid the foundation.

And then when I was 18, in college, I went to a conference for college students who were pro-life, and I heard a speaker named Scott Klusendorf, and he said, at that conference, there’s more people working full-time to kill babies than there are working full-time to save them.

And two things happened: One, I really felt the Holy Spirit convict my heart to be one of those people working full-time to save babies, but secondly, I became convicted that my pathway would indeed be Scott’s pathway, and that was… training myself and my peers in how to logically and winsomely defend the pro-life perspective was something I could do with my skill set, that I could be a teacher and… he mentored me to do that, and here I am 20 years later.

DERRICK: Now, you say that making the pro-life case, in doing that, it’s important to remember the power of stories, of questions, and also the power of prayer. Can you give me quick examples of those three and how you use them?

GRAY: Sure. I think questions are powerful because they engage the person we’re dialoguing with, and so often in the abortion debate, people haven’t thought through the claims they make. So, when you ask a question like, “Why do you believe that?” or “Where does that perspective come from?” they’re going to have to start to think more deeply. So, I like to ask people questions not only like that, but things like, “Do you believe in human rights?” “Well, when does human life begin?” And, “If a human life begins at fertilization, which science teaches is the case for beings which reproduce sexually, then wouldn’t it make sense that that which is human has the human rights that you yourself believe in?”

I think stories are also powerful. Jesus himself taught through parables, and stories can take concepts and make them easier to embrace because we see them lived out in concrete circumstances that we can relate to, visualize, and understand. And so I’ll tell all kinds of little parables that often analogize the pre-born child to a born child to make the point that if we wouldn’t allow poverty or the age of the mom or no support to be grounds to kill a born child, we should not allow poverty, the age of the mom, or no support to be grounds to kill a pre-born child.

And then, of course, as a person of faith, as a Christian, I absolutely believe that prayer is the foundation from which any action should spring, because at the end of the day, this is God’s work, and we are instruments for him. And so we want to begin with prayer so that we are filled with the Holy Spirit and that spills over into our encounters, so that we work on God’s power and not our own.

DERRICK: And I’ve heard you tell a story about one time you were stumped during a debate with a professor, and you prayed on the spot and got an answer. Can you tell that story?

GRAY: Sure. You know, I was doing a debate, and the professor made the argument that the pre-born child could be a living human person, but abortion justified because the child doesn’t have a right to the mom’s body. And he said, look, your born child can’t claim a right to your kidney if they need a transplant, so your pre-born child can’t claim a right to your uterus. And, honestly, I didn’t know what to say. And so I began to pray, and I was like, “Come, Holy Spirit, what do I say?” And I sensed God communicate to me, very distinctly, not verbally, but distinctly he said, “Stephanie, I made the uterus for a different purpose.”

And that’s all He gave me, and so I was like, “God, is there any more?” But he knew that’s all I needed, and so I just wrestled with that and contemplated on that, and then the epiphany came, and I said, when I got up, you know, “The professor’s remarks are compelling until we ask a question. We have to ask what is the nature and purpose of the kidney versus the nature and purpose of the uterus. The kidney exists in my body for my body, but the uterus is different. It exists in my body every single month getting ready for someone else’s body and, therefore, the born child cannot claim a right to the kidney, which exists for me, but the pre-born child, therefore, can claim a right to the uterus, which exists more for the child than for me.”

DERRICK: Now, I think the average person hears things like this and hears your talks and thinks, “I could never do that.” But yet I’ve heard you say that that’s exactly what you want to do is help people to do the exact kind of thing you’re doing, teach them how to make the case for life. So, can you talk about just a few basic concepts or basic tools that every just average pro-life person should be thinking about and use in just their daily conversation?

GRAY: Well, absolutely starting with prayer. The Holy Spirit isn’t just for me. The Holy Spirit is for everyone, and so I love taking short passages from the scriptures and turning them into prayer. The blind man cried out to Jesus, “Lord that I may see.” That can become the prayer of our heart, “Lord that I may see what this person needs to hear.” “Lord that I may see the best question that I can ask, the best story that I can tell.” When Mary conceived Jesus and went to visit Elizabeth and John the Baptist leapt in Elizabeth’s womb, recognition that not just Mary walked into Elizabeth’s home, but God himself had in her womb. The tiny Christ child was an embryo. John the Baptist was reacting to the presence of Jesus in the form of a pre-born child. And Elizabeth’s declaration, “Blessed are you among women. Blessed is the fruit of your womb,” prompted Mary to say, “My soul magnifies the Lord.” That should be our prayer, “My soul magnify the Lord in every encounter.” “Lord, may I magnify you.”

Once we pray for that, then the big thing to always remember is to just ask questions. I tell people, if you forget everything I say but one thing, besides the importance of prayer, actually, the second thing would be just ask a question. Ask someone where does your view come from? Where does your passion come from? Why do you believe that? The simple question of why. And so if you just ask yourself, what is the next most logical question to ask in response to what they’ve said, then your conversations will go far.

DERRICK: They kind of unwind themselves, don’t they?

GRAY: They absolutely do.

DERRICK: So, lastly, I just want to ask you about your endgame, your goal in all of this. You’re from Canada, obviously, so I’m also interested if your vision is unique to Canada or if it’s more of a global vision for this?

GRAY: It’s definitely a global vision. I actually travel frequently across the United States as well as internationally overseas in Europe and Latin America, and so very much I would say my mission is to make abortion unthinkable. I certainly believe that the law needs to change so as to protect pre-born children the way the born are protected, but my specific role is to make it unthinkable so that it doesn’t enter into the hearts and minds of a woman in crisis or anyone around her to consider harming the youngest amongst us, the pre-born child, when circumstances are difficult. And so very much my mission is to travel the world to teach people the logic behind our perspective, but equip them to be able to teach others so that there’s foot soldiers everywhere that are using the power of persuasion.

DERRICK: Stephanie Gray, thanks so much for joining us.

GRAY: You’re welcome. Thank you.

(Photo/Stephanie Gray)

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