Below, I’ve posted the audio from the Open Mic session I facilitated (with some help from JFA Intern, Claire Rice) on March 30, 2011 at UTSA. You can listen in to the discussion; then, join the discussion by posting your thoughts in the comments section. (For more on my approach to Open Mic, see my August 2010 newsletter.)
Warning: Parental Advisory. Unedited Adult Content.
Justice For All (JFA) Open Mic sessions are true free speech events that coincide with a JFA Outreach. Any member of the University community is invited to come to the microphone and share anything they would like related to unwanted pregnancy, abortion, the unborn, or the Justice For All Exhibit. It is the practice of our Open Mic facilitators to hold the mic for the entire session, but we work hard to give people ample opportunity to speak along with an opportunity to dialogue about their views. Our Open Mic facilitators regularly declare that we have one rule on the mic: we will treat people with respect, even if we disagree with their views. Because the session is composed mostly of interactive conversations with passersby, session content is unplanned, and there are moments of confusion (“I’ve got two of you on the mic at once..let’s hear from you first, then we’ll give you a chance.”), dead air (“Would anyone like to share on the open mic?”), profanity, frank discussion of sexuality, fast-paced dialogue, moments of sobering storytelling, and humor. When we release the audio, it is unedited (unless noted).
Justice For All’s mission is to train thousands to make abortion unthinkable for millions, one person at a time. Our outreaches provide a turn-key opportunity for JFA volunteers to engage in dialogue with people they do not know. Helping these volunteers create productive dialogue is the main purpose of everything we do at outreach. So for JFA, the purpose of the Open Mic is (1) to draw more people who are interested in discussing abortion with our volunteers and (2) model productive dialogue that features our three essential skills, so everyone listening can grow in their ability to discuss abortion productively.
JFA’s Open Mic recordings are not edited for profanity or sexual content. If you are under the age of 18, please invite your parents to preview this material and approve it for your listening. You might also invite them to listen along with you! These clips provide great opportunities for discussing what you think about life before birth, pregnancy, and abortion.
Open Mic at University of Texas, San Antonio on March 30, 2011.
Note: Audio is unedited except the following: The first ten minutes were removed because there were no takers on the mic. Steve Wagner, JFA’s Director of Training, facilitated the discussion on the open mic.
- Segment 1, 00:00-01:34: Steve Wagner interviews JFA Intern Claire Rice to kick things off on the open mic.
- Segment 2, 01:34-03:35: Alex shares her “pro-choice” beliefs with the crowd.
- Segment 3, 03:35-09:16: “I’m pro-life, but I don’t agree with this display…It’s too public. It’s a personal decision…[I’m pro-life because] I was adopted…” Steve asks the gentleman to explain what “pro-life” means to him. They dialogue about the unborn early in pregnancy: What is it?
- Segment 4, 09:16-14:41: A man asks Steve, “If you didn’t have a heartbeat, would you be alive?” The man then makes the argument that because the unborn in the first few weeks doesn’t have a heartbeat, then “you can’t say you’re killing a child, because there really wasn’t a child there yet.”
- Segment 5, 14:41-26:45: A woman interjects: “In three weeks, most women don’t have enough time to [know they’re] late, you moron.” Another woman interjects. The first woman says, “As soon as you grow a…uterus, you can tell me what to do with mine.” Steve engages her in dialogue, asking, “But how is that relevant to our discussion?” Others join in a lively discussion.
- Segment 6, 26:45-38:30: “Instead of putting [this exhibit up], just teach people how to have safe sex. [Instead of] talking about abortion…use protection…We should talk more about stem cell research and things like that towards the future instead of talking about abortion.” A woman joins the discussion and claims the unborn is not self-sustaining and is only “potential for life.”
- Segment 7, 38:30-49:46: “What makes it a child?” Steve responds with a mystery for all of us to solve: There are 30,000 already-born people on the UTSA campus that we believe should be treated equally, in terms of the right to life. Why? What is the same about all of us?
- Segment 8, 49:46-56:06: “I morally believe in the whole right to life concept; however, when you have someone going out to try to make the right to life into a law — to force our beliefs on someone else, that’s where I take issue.” Steve builds a thought experiment about Peter Singer to show that “any law…forces somebody to not act according to their beliefs.” He then asks, “Shouldn’t our question be whether their beliefs are true or false?”
- Segment 9, 56:06-59:21: Kyle (UTSA student) makes a moving speech about Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Museum) and one of the main reasons for abortion: “Those people… are unwanted…[they] are not with us.”
- Segment 10, 59:21-66:01: “When I say unwanted, I mean rape or incest, and I don’t think any man has the right to tell a woman what to do with her own body.” Another woman joined in, “I know what it’s like to be raped. And I’m pregnant.”
- Segment 11, 66:01-71:30: “No offense, I’m just standing here as a woman who is pregnant right now.” [Editor’s note: I don’t know of any Ob/Gyn or midwife who performs ultrasound or doppler at 5 weeks LMP (3 weeks post-fertilization), so I doubt this woman heard her baby’s heart at that time. Perhaps she just misspoke. It is true that the heart starts beating at about 5 weeks LMP (3 weeks post-fertilization), but most pregnant women don’t hear it until later.]
- Segment 12, 71:30-75:56: Megan Bray, president of the UTSA Students for the Right to Life, gives a “woman’s perspective.”
- Segment 13, 75:56-82:35: “I may say something that’s going to get [some] people mad here…what’s the normal breakfast you eat?” Steve discusses cage-free eggs, how he’s not out to “get anyone,” reasons women have abortions, and “Do you eat meat?”
- Segment 14, 82:35-83:39: “There are some guys like me who will say, ‘Hey, I’ll keep the baby.’ “
- Segment 15, 83:39-85:45: Gentleman with spina bifida gives the crowd “something to think about.” See my June 2011 newsletter for more comment.
- Segment 16, 85:45-87:19: Kyle finishes his earlier comments (he was interrupted). He points out that “if society has no absolutes, society will become the absolute…” He also discusses the “darkest hour” of the Hebrew peoples and how that relates to Americans today.