Etgar 36

Day 5 – Little Rock & Dallas – By Amanda Rosner

Prior to our discussion with the pro-life activist today, last night we had a discussion about the facts, ideas, and concepts of abortion. The discussion had a range of topics including the definition of abortion, Roe v. Wade, the beliefs of those who are pro-life, and the beliefs of those who are pro-choice.

Today we entered Texas, a state that has been appearing in headlines everywhere because of State Senator Wendy Davis’ (D) recent filibuster. Her filibuster prevented a bill to be passed that if passed, would have dramatically restricted abortion access in Texas.

As someone who holds strong pro-choice beliefs, going to listen to Andrew Smith from Texas Pro Life Action Team seemed like it was going to be a not so pleasant experience for me. Before going into the meeting, I had to remind myself that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, no matter how much I may disagree. Political disagreements and compromises are what truly make out country’s history so rich and unique.

When we met with Andrew Smith from Texas Pro Life Action Team, he discussed facts and answered questions about the 1.2 million abortions performed in the US every year. Smith expressed many of his opinions with us, including how he thinks that life begins at conception, and that there should be no abortions whatsoever, except in the case of saving a mother’s life. Smith discussed various forms of abortion, and how finds them all to be murder. He explained gruesome partial birth and late term abortions. He then proceeded to show us images that really resonated in the minds of many people here, including the images of a 21 week old aborted fetus. This 21 week abortion was aborted through the saline method, and then he showed us an image of a 30 week old aborted fetus, where they had to cut off its head. Andrew Smith was a great speaker and was able to answer the questions we asked or, in my opinion, dance around the answer that he did not want to give. I left the meeting still pro-choice, but many people, although not completely convinced, started to question their beliefs and lean a bit more to the middle.

Our next stop was the Grassy Knoll and the Sixth Floor Museum to see the sight of the Kennedy assassination. It is incredible to be able to stand where history happened. Billy spoke to us before going into the museum about the presidency of John Kennedy and how he ignited America. After the museum Billy taught us about the various conspiracies surrounding his assassination.

Afterwards we went to the most incredible Friday night service at Temple Beth El Binah, a welcoming LGBTQ community Reform synagogue. They prepared a delicious dinner for us, and it was great to hear the congregants’ stories. The synagogue is in a rented room in a community center, and our services took place while sitting in a large circle. We visited on a great night, because it was the first Shabbat after the monumental SCOTUS, DOMA, and Prop 8 rulings. There was such joy in the services, and it was an inspiring experience.