I feel I now have to blog about something that happened later on which is not part of the campaign but does worth mentioning. I apologise for my poor retelling of this but I hope you can see why I wanted to relate it. After our hour there my friend and I had lunch and after we'd warmed up we started back for the train station. To do so we walked past the vigil again and we saw that the local pro-choice group had set up their table behind them and one young woman had sellotaped a banner to the ground a short distance in front of them that read "These people tell LIES about abortion." I slowed my pace and we both read it as we walked by and the woman herself then said that the pro-lifers spread lies about abortion. I told her I didn't agree, she said that was my opinion, I then pointed to her slogan said and that this was simply hers. To my shame I was going to carry on walking but my very courageous friend stopped and we had what then became a very interesting and worthwhile conversation. I owe my friend a great big thank you! What was so good about this conversation was that we each took the time (albeit briefly as we did, alas, have a train to catch) to listen to each other's point of views (one of the other pro-choice group came over to talk to us too) and discuss them. Had we had more time we could all have had a coffee together and had a very fascinating discussion I'm sure!! My friend spoke about her own abortion, the pro-choice lady had had one too, and she said how she deeply regretted it as she knew that that action had ended another life. The pro-choice lady (sorry, I don't want to use names or descriptions of people without permission) said she felt the pro-lifers were intimidating, we responded to that by saying we want to highlight there are other options; both my friend and other people we both know have, as I previously said, felt pushed into it, no other options were given in any of the stories we told her which she agreed was wrong. She also said she felt that, on both sides of the argument, it was male-dominated; men telling women to abort or not abort and she thought too that the pro-life movement was mainly men; we told our group is all women and we are not anti-woman in any way. My friend said she'd become involved in this peaceful movement due to her own abortion and I told her that I had because I did not believe that anyone, under any circumstances had the right to take the life of another which is why I would also never support euthanasia or the death penalty (if there were ever a push for it to be legalised once more). What we both found quite interesting is that she agreed with me totally in this view, we were coming from the same starting place but she didn't consider an unborn baby a baby. I wish we'd had longer to talk about this as we did start talking about when life begins and it really was good to discuss it. What we all agreed before my friend and I dashed off for the train was that the two sides should talk more as we'd all got something out of our brief and polite exchange.
After we left I did feel very bad that I would have just carried on walking and I have no excuse as to why. Perhaps I let my own fear or misguided bias of what the other side might have to say but what I discovered is that we actually do have a lot of common ground but differ on some very key and essential points (I didn't see the common ground side of it before) and we should really engage with each other more often. Even if ultimately we agree to disagree we can't expect to make a difference, to change minds and hearts without properly listening to one another, hearing what we each have to say and explaining our points of view. And how can we properly witness to the truth if we don't take up the opportunities to do so?! Thank you so much, again, to my fellow pro-life as she did a great thing today and I won't just walk on next time!!