We never recommend that you show your spouse any of these videos until you do some groundwork. They can be very counterproductive when used incorrectly. Those of us who do Respect Life Ministry 24/7 always use the orientation, dialogue, show model.
The videos have a positive effect on the person who is ready to see them. They have had very negative effect on those who are not ready to see them and when the person sitting next to them does not have the skills to come to the rescue.
You never know if you’re showing them to someone who is post-abortive. In those individuals who are post-abortive and never said anything about it, these videos can unleash great anger and hostility that is often displaced onto the person who is showing them the video. The poor unsuspecting person is not prepared to deal with this and does not know why he or she is under attack. Another common reaction of the post-abortive person is to open up a flood of guilt and pain, not to mention horrible memories that require the presence of a person who knows how to regulate them so that they do not overpower and paralyze the individual.
When there appropriate preparation for what you’re going to see, these reactions are less likely to occur.
If it’s a couple, it is always advisable that the couple watches it together and before they do, they should watch it with a specific question in mind, so that they are both on the same sheet of music. The goal should be, “Let’s try to understand this, together,” not “I’m going to convert you to my point of view.” When a couple approaches the videos trying to understand the issue, it opens the door for honest and prayerful dialogue. When one spouse tries to convert the other, it may lead to dialogue or to resentment; because one person feels that their spouse is preaching to them. Some spouses don’t take preaching well, when it comes from their partner. On the other hand, most spouses love dialogue with their partner.
Another approach that a spouse can take, when using these videos is to ask the spouse for permission, “Can I show you why I feel so strongly about this?” Once the permission has been given, then the pro-life spouse can move forward, show the video and discuss it. These usually lead to a dialogue between the spouses.
Sometimes there are questions that the pro-life spouse may be unable to answer. This is where they go search for an answer as a couple. They should go to someone who is an expert on these matters. Most priests are not experts on this matter. They have no training on abortion, other than the moral law. They don’t train in healing, biology, medical ethics, Evangelium Vitae and the other finer points. They know the rules and they try the best they can to explain why it is sinful. But they can’t always give the medical fact or the ethical regulations. That’s why the dioceses have offices and experts on the subject. You use them as resources.
Normally, you can go to them and they are happy to sit with you. They also have classes, workshops, literature and other resources that are very helpful. Some have courses that go for six to 12 weeks.
The paramount question in the mind of many people is, “What to do if we decide to allow the pregnancy to progress to its natural conclusion?” People need to know that there are alternatives and what they are. They also need to know that there are support services, from financial to spiritual and where to get them.
The initial answer to the question is easy. Abortion is always a moral evil, no exceptions. The other questions are not as easy to answer and the videos do not respond to them. I would suggest, that since this is a male spouse, that he be well-informed on how to bring up the subject, how to present the video and what the usual questions are, so as to have the right answers or at least know where to find the answers.
That’s why I suggested that he contact one of several groups:
Sisters of Life, Brothers of Life, Priests for Life, Human Life International, the USCCB Family Life, or the local diocesan pro-life ministry.
Br. JR, OSF