Boise is a relaxed place. No one drives over the speed limit, people sit on their front porches and enjoy the sunshine, and no one contradicts anyone else. Abortion is a divisive subject, so no one talks about it. Most placate their consciences by telling themselves that abortion is a private issue and although they would never have an abortion themselves, they can’t tell someone else what to do. In fact, they tell themselves, they have an obligation not to voice their opinions. And then Survivors arrived.
We researched who did abortions in Boise and, first thing Monday morning, we were out on the sidewalk in front of a doctor’s office with signs, telling the passersby that the doctor took his patients over to the hospital to kill their babies. No one wanted to know - they would all have rather remained blissfully ignorant.
An hour later we arrived at Boise State University and partnered with the Abolitionists4Life club for a two-day display. The campus became polarized - students had to pick a side; they couldn’t sit in the mushy middle any longer. Here’s how Josh describes one conversation he had: “I asked a student when he thought a woman should be able to get an abortion, and he stated that a woman who conceived by rape shouldn't have to have the baby. I made sure he understood that I knew rape was horrible and explained that rape accounts for less than 1% of abortions. Then I asked him if we should punish the baby and the mother for the father’s crime. He said ‘no.’ By the end of the conversation we agreed that the fetus in the womb was a human life and we have no right to take that life. He thanked me for talking with him and left with a lot to think about.”
Here’s something Lauren noticed: “Pro-abortion protesters always manage to surprise me. On the second day of activism their goal was to normalize abortion and distract others from the pictures of the victims. I watched as they assembled together and claimed a chunk of the quad. They marked their space by labeling it the ‘shame free zone.’ More protesters gathered throughout the day and I could see them feeding off of each other’s pain and anger. It built further when students walked past and refused to acknowledge them. They were trapped by their own devices. By boldly putting on the armor of empty choice rhetoric they effectively self-imposed a scarlet letter.” They publicly shamed and ostracized themselves by celebrating the death of children.
Planned Parenthood set up a table on campus and Sarah chalked on the sidewalk about Tanya Reaves, a woman that Planned Parenthood killed. “I started chalking in front of their booth. 'Hey, hey,' the girl behind the booth called to me. I didn't want to stop and have a conversation with her, or else I could mess up spelling with the chalk, so Lauren started talking to her and asking about Tonya Reaves. 'I don't want to talk to you,' she snapped. But Lauren kept talking to her exposing the truth to the girl.”
Emily describes the violence we encountered at Boise High School: “The vast majority of the students were rude, disrespectful, and close-minded. Many boys were arguing, asking lots of questions without allowing us to answer and one of the guys even set fire to a stack of our literature while it was still in my hands. He came up with his lighter, ignited the fire, and then asked ‘May I light this on fire?’ I pulled the literature away and he only managed to burn the corner of one piece of literature.”
Everywhere we went, people became polarized about abortion. They either decided it was wrong and should never, ever happen, or they admitted that they support killing babies. No longer could they hide in the middle, trying to please everyone and justifying their inaction - they had to either wholeheartedly support killing babies or condemn abortion completely.