Canadian pro-life activist Stephanie Gray. Screeshot via Catholic Register
“A pro-life activist walks into Google’s headquarters and delivers a speech so compelling that within 24 hours, the online video of it surpassed a similar speech given by the head of Planned Parenthood.”
So begins a CNA/EWTN report about a young woman you may never have heard of, and an event that surprised me.
Let’s start with the event. There’s a programme called Talks at Google – a bit like TED talks – that brings a variety of speakers to the company’s headquarters to discuss their work. Call me ignorant, but I had never heard of it.
Earlier this year they had Cecile Richards, the head of Planned Parenthood in the US, talking about how wonderful and important their work is for women.
In April, they had Stephanie Gray, a dynamic young Canadian woman who is a full-time pro-life speaker and activist, demonstrating how to have a conversation about abortion with someone who thinks it’s okay, and still get past first base.
As already noted, Stephanie’s talk was a hit; Cecile’s much less so.
When I checked today, the latter’s video on YouTube (published March 7) had received 1,412 views, and, to judge by the handful of comments, most of those were from folks who don’t like what she does. Stephanie’s talk (published June 19) has 52,402 views and 265 comments, mostly from fans it appears.
The moral of this comparison might be that an organisation that has the government’s ear may not have to worry about its fan base, but those days are, for the time being at least, behind PPFA.
As for Stephanie, besides being a fresh, young face, she is a seasoned speaker and debater, with excellent ideas and an approach designed to broach the subject of abortion and keep the conversation going with open-ended questions and stories. To quote the CNA/EWTN report:
Gray’s talk centred around the idea that there are three qualities that lead us to call someone “inspiring:” They place others ahead of themselves, have “perspective” on their sufferings and situation in life, and do the right thing even in difficult situations. She linked these criteria to the process of dialoguing with others about abortion, emphasizing question asking.
She began by contrasting two stories, that of the shipwreck of the Costa Concordia in Italy in 2012 and the “Miracle on the Hudson” emergency plane landing in 2009. In the first story, she explained, the captain had jumped ship along with the rest of the crew. In the second, the pilot, Captain Chesley Sullenberger, had been the last off the flooding vessel, ensuring his passengers all exited safely.
In comparing the two stories, she noted that Sullenberger was lauded as a hero, and the captain of the Concordia internationally shamed.
“If you agree that it was correct for the pilot to put the passengers ahead of himself, to prioritize the needs of his dependents,” she said, “then wouldn’t it follow, that when it comes to the topic of abortion and an unplanned pregnancy, that a pregnant woman ought to prioritize the needs of her dependent?”
The talk is long — about an hour – but worth the investment.