By Derick Cranston
IOWA CITY — More than a dozen people gathered on a cloudy, gray morning June 13 to hear Connie Hardie give a training seminar to members of Johnson County Right to Life (JCRTL). Hardie is a former nurse who has been involved with the Dubuque County Right to Life chapter for 15 years. She was invited by Judee Albert of JCRTL to lead a training session in Iowa City for volunteers interested in getting the pro-life message out.
Each participant received a bag with informational pamphlets and brochures as well as a small booklet that highlighted the “myths and facts” surrounding abortion. Participants also watched a short video that gave tips on speaking to people about abortion.
To highlight the way words and images can change people’s perception, Hardie used the example of a mouse. “If a mouse was running around in your house, you would probably want to get rid of it, and you may even find yourself standing on top of a chair if it entered the same room you were in,” she said. She then held up a plastic figurine of Minnie Mouse and said, “But if you dress it up and give it big eyes, what you once may have thought of as a disease-carrying rodent suddenly becomes an adorable cartoon figure.” Hardie went on to say the pro-choice movement has used this technique to its advantage.
Later, each participant chose a fact about abortion and was given three minutes to stand in front of the group to present the fact and defend it. The people in attendance ranged from teenage boys to young mothers to middle-aged fathers to elderly grandmothers. Everyone took turns to stand up and introduce themselves and share why they were drawn to the pro-life movement.
One participant, Leslie Holmes, had once been a nurse who helped doctors perform abortions. At that time, she told the group, she did not belong to any faith tradition but after an epiphany she said involved a vision of Christ, she realized that what she was doing was wrong. She decided to stop helping perform abortions and became a Christian. She eventually became a Catholic and has been an outspoken pro-life advocate ever since.