Instead of launching fire and fury, we Oregon Catholics must trust the sense of our argument against abortion. Nastiness only weakens our powerful position.

As Pope Francis has wisely said, abortion on one level is not a religious issue but a matter of science and human ethics. Researchers have found that a unique human genetic sequence is established at conception. No one can claim that a fetus is only tissue and that only a woman’s body is at stake. And clearly it’s ethically problematic to halt the progress of a human life to avoid even a serious inconvenience among the adults involved. Tendentious language about women’s rights cannot stand up to this ethical truth.

How are we going to spread this good but challenging news? Melody Durrett, president of Oregon Right to Life, promotes one-on-one conversations with those in our pandemic bubbles. A young adult, she’s right when she says that the way to protect life is having respectful conversations, one by one.

Some of our local pro-life leaders are examples. Therese Ruesink led vigils outside Lovejoy Surgicenter for years, offering generosity and kindness along with reason and dedication to the unborn. Lovejoy closed its doors after almost five decades of abortions.

Ruesink, a member of Holy Rosary and St. Rose of Lima parishes in Portland, knows that Oregonians who are pro-choice are not demons. Most are people of good will who believe in personal freedoms. They may feel leery of religion. They may be hurting. Hurling condemnation will be singularly ineffective and will only confirm their wrong assumptions about people of faith and the pro-life movement.

As Archbishop Alexander Sample has said, let’s be relentless in speaking up for the unborn. And let’s be brave and confident enough to do it in a way that works.