Fighting for Life

 

 

Ep 5 | Fighting for Life with Alyssa Thoburn

 

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We sit down with Trinity Christian School graduate, Alyssa Thoburn '21, to discuss her passion for the pro-life movement. Once a shy, quiet student at Trinity, Alyssa is now known as the “Bullhorn Girl” for pro-life events! She walks us through how God opened her eyes to the horror of abortion, and what her life has looked like since the moment she found out. 

 Note: This conversation surrounds sensitive topics, and we suggest listening on your own before allowing young children to hear.

Organizations mentioned: Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action, Let Them Live, Live Action

 

Our circumstances of conception do not determine our value as human beings.

     

Alyssa Thoburn

Alyssa Thoburn is a TCS alumna and student at Liberty University who loves spending time with her family and pets, writing poetry, and advocating for pre-born lives. She volunteers full-time with Students for Life of America in the Capital Area. 

Jo Wilbur

Jo Wilbur is a Marketing and Communications Specialist at Trinity Christian School and proud JMU grad who loves writing, shopping, and making new friends. She and her husband live in Paeonian Springs and spend time together cooking plant-based meals, singing worship songs, and volunteering as Young Life leaders in their community.

I was talking to one of my friends who is not really pro-life, and I wanted to defend my position but realized I wouldn’t know how to. So I researched abortion, and realized what it really was, and I couldn't not do anything about it. That's when I started Students for Life at Trinity and first got involved.


 

Transcript

Disclaimer: This is a direct transcript of the podcast audio and may not be grammatically correct.

 

Jo Wilbur:

Hi everyone. This is your host, Jo Wilbur. Before we get into the interview today with Alyssa, I just wanted to give the heads up that there is a brief mention of some more mature content. So if you are listening with your kids… maybe wait until you are just by yourself to listen to this one. Thanks so much and enjoy the interview.

Jo Wilbur:

Hello and welcome to Mind and Heart, a podcast by Trinity Christian School. I'm your host Jo Wilbur, and today I'm sitting down with Trinity Christian School Class of 2021 graduate, Alyssa Thoburn. How are you today, Alyssa?

Alyssa Thoburn:

I'm doing great. Thank you.

Jo Wilbur:

Good! Thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you have been up to since you graduated.

Alyssa Thoburn:

I came to Trinity in seventh grade and since [graduating] I have been attending Liberty University. I'm majoring in criminal justice and crime scene investigation and minoring in sociology, and I've absolutely loved it.

Jo Wilbur:

That's great. Do you have plans for what you're wanting to do after you graduate?

Alyssa Thoburn:

Well, I have different options. I'm thinking of being either a crime scene investigator or an adoption agent, and those are totally different paths, but I'm not quite sure where God is leading me right now.

Jo Wilbur:

Tell me, in what ways are you involved in the pro-life cause?

Alyssa Thoburn:

I'm doing quite a few things right now. Specifically over the summer, I got really involved now that I'm done with high school. My biggest position is with Students for Life of America. I'm on their SCOTUS Squad, which is basically a team of students who show up at the Supreme Court when there's a court case on abortion (or really any abortion-related event), or if we need to counter-protest. So that's what I've been doing the most. I'm also an ambassador for Let Them Live and Live Action, and I'm a student for Liberty Students for Life.

 

Jo Wilbur:

Are those all volunteer positions? Or part-time job, internship…?

Alyssa Thoburn:

They’re all volunteer positions. For SCOTUS Squad, that's a commitment. I do have to show up at that because I agreed to it, but it's volunteer work.

Jo Wilbur:

Awesome. When did you first become passionate about this cause, and what really sparked that interest for you?

Alyssa Thoburn:

It was really interesting how it started. I had never thought about abortion before, even though my dad was a pro-life activist. I really only thought about abortion when I was a rising junior, because I was talking to one of my friends who is not really pro-life, and I wanted to defend my position, but I realized I wouldn’t know how to. So I researched abortion, and I realized what it really was, and I couldn't not do anything about it. That's when I started Students for Life at Trinity and first got involved.

Jo Wilbur:

Now, what is Students for Life at Trinity?

Alyssa Thoburn:

Students For Life is not technically part of the organization, (Students for Life of America), but they do help us out a lot. It's a group for pro-life students to help women in need through baby registries or baby bottle campaigns, and who learn about abortion together to educate our peers and open up the conversation.

Jo Wilbur:

And that’s a club that's still going on today, even though you've graduated.

Alyssa Thoburn:

It is, yes. And it has amazing leadership.

Jo Wilbur:

How amazing that you've left that legacy at Trinity behind. That's awesome.

What do you think are some misconceptions about what it means to be pro-life?

Alyssa Thoburn:

There are so many, but I think the biggest one is what pro-life means. The term pro-life means anti-abortion, but people will say you're not pro-life if you don't support many things, like if you're pro-death penalty, if you're anti-illegal immigration, if you're not adopting every child who needs to be adopted, then you're not pro-life… but pro-life really just means you're anti-abortion.

Jo Wilbur:

That's right. I hear that argument a lot: “you're not pro-life, you're…pro birth,” which isn’t really a fair statement, right? Because all it means is you don't want to harm life in the womb.

Alyssa Thoburn:

And we want babies to be born. Of course. In a way, we are pro-birth, but that's not all we are. We care about women. And many pro-choicers will say, “You don't care about women,” but we are women. We just care about both lives.

Jo Wilbur:

Well, even the club that you started, as you mentioned, you're raising money to help moms, women, single parents, moms who are in bad financial situations…you're trying to help them. So I think that really speaks to the heart of the pro-life movement.

Alyssa Thoburn:

Absolutely. I agree.

Jo Wilbur:

What is the most common argument that you hear from the other side, and how do you refute that?

Alyssa Thoburn:

There are a couple main arguments I hear. I would say the biggest is cases of sexual assault. I often hear “what if a woman is raped?” And [I heard this argument] once when I was counter-protesting the Women's March, which is really a pro-abortion march. And they know that because they renamed themselves this year to “Rally for Abortion Justice.”

Jo Wilbur:

Oh wow. I did not realize that.

Alyssa Thoburn:

And so this woman pulled her young daughter up to me and said, “When she's raped, are you going to tell her that she can't have an abortion?” And I couldn't respond because she walked away. But the truth is that rape accounts for less than 1 percent of all abortions, and yet it's still used as the most common argument. Of the less than 1 percent [of women] who conceive out of those situations, 75 percent of those women choose life for their babies. And the truth is that abortion harms women. It does not heal women. When a woman obtains an abortion out of rape, that is adding more violence and more pain onto her already traumatic situation. There's no forgetting either way. And for the child, that is punishing them with the death penalty, when the rapist doesn't even receive that. I love this quote by Jennifer Christie-Brierly, she conceived out of rape, and she says, “Is my son a reminder? He absolutely is. My son is a reminder that as women, we can rise above our circumstances.” And also Ryan Bomberger, who spoke at Trinity, actually, at our Students for Life club, he was conceived in rape and a quote by him is, “I am not the residue of the rapist. I am the resilience of my birth mom.” And I love that quote so much because it shows that our circumstances of conception do not determine our value as human beings.

Jo Wilbur:

That’s really profound. I've heard it said that really every pro-life argument comes back to whether that person in the womb is considered a life, because if it is (which we believe that it is) then why should they be punished? Why should they get the death penalty for a sin that somebody else committed?

Alyssa Thoburn:

Yes, they're totally innocent.

Jo Wilbur:

What are some practical things that everyday average people like myself, who are not necessarily political activists, what are some things that they can do to help support the cause?

Alyssa Thoburn:

There is so much you can do. I would pray for where God can lead you to because that's what I did, and now I'm here. But first I would say that you shouldn't think you're not right for being an activist, because I'm very shy and reserved, and I still do this because it's important. And now I'm “Bullhorn Girl” for Students for Life. So that is really shocking, but that's how God used me. I think he can use anyone like that. Prayer is very powerful. I do want to say that the cancellation rate, when people are praying outside of clinics like Planned Parenthood, it goes as high as 75 percent when they see people praying outside of the clinic. That's amazing. So prayer is powerful, but I think it's important to get involved practically because prayer alone will not end abortion if you don't do anything else about it.

Alyssa Thoburn:

One thing you can do is post on social media. You will probably find this surprising, but I've actually seen, this past summer, two people became pro-life over having conversations on social media. One of them was a pro-choice account and she made a pro-life account after becoming pro-life. People think these things can't happen on social media, but I've seen it happen. It's true. And then voting is very important of course, to fight for pro-life legislation. Lastly, I would say it's important to show up to the Supreme Court for big cases. December 1, the Supreme Court will be hearing the Dobbs v. Jackson case, which is the best chance we have right now for overturning Roe v. Wade. And they want as many people as possible there. I know Students for Life, Concerned Women for America, and many other groups are going to be there on December 1 to represent the pro-life movement, because the narrative is that women aren't pro-life…women want abortion. So when pro-life women like us come out and show up, that's really powerful for them to see.

Jo Wilbur:

Something you said earlier about people really being able to change their minds, even just through talking to other people on social media who have different opinions from them, it is so encouraging to hear that people can and do change their mind and change their heart based on conversation. I think a lot of us back away from those conversations because we're scared. We don't know what to say. We fear that judgment. What do you think is maybe the most powerful way that Christians can advocate for this cause in conversations with other people? Do you have any tips for how to have those conversations?

 Alyssa Thoburn:

That's a really great question. First, I think the biggest, most important thing for having conversations is to be loving because no one will listen to you if you're not loving. They want to know that you care about them and what they're going through because abortion-minded women really are in difficult circumstances. And maybe they've grown up with a certain mindset about abortion and they just don't know the truth about it. We have to be loving and reveal the truth to them in that way. But I would say it's okay to be scared because I was, and I still am. But I think this cause is so important. And as Christians, we are called to do more than just live life for ourselves. We should be working for God's kingdom and get involved in the movement that way. So I think as a Christian, it's important to do more than pray and have conversations with people and go out of your comfort zone. Because even if people hate you for it and turn against you, even sometimes family members disagree with you and it's just going to happen, but it's worth it if you're saving lives and you're changing hearts and minds.

Jo Wilbur:

I think it's comforting for me and probably for a lot of our listeners to hear someone like you, who's so involved in fighting for this cause, to say that you are scared too, and that you are constantly pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. And you know, it just makes me think there is no bravery without fear. It's okay to be afraid, but you have to be brave and you have to be obedient to the Lord and stand up for what's right, even in the face of fear. Can you give us an example maybe of a way that you have stepped out, even in fear? You have felt afraid and still done something?

Alyssa Thoburn:

Oh man, there's so many examples. I would have to say the scariest and most intimidating was the first time I counter-protested the Women's March, if you know what the Women's March is, I know I mentioned it briefly earlier, but it's a march for abortion. None of the women there…well, I shouldn't exclude them, maybe there's some…but none of them that I saw want to include pro-life women and there's so many of us. But what we did the first year was, we lined up on the sidewalk, so when the Women's March was coming by, we held signs that had ultrasound images on them, and they all said, “She could be ___,” and then had a name of a really influential woman. So we held those up and some people looked really impacted by them, but that was also the rudest I've ever seen people be. People were so mean to all of us. We had water thrown on us, some people were punched, one girl was even punched by a man. There were some really disgusting things that happened. It's so shocking because we are women too. And we just have a different opinion. So that was probably the most terrifying because people were coming up and having conversations with us. And most of them were just yelling in our faces, but there were some amazing conversations had that I think really made people think.

Jo Wilbur:

You know, examples like that just go to show that it's not really about women's rights. Right? It's not about supporting women and uplifting women because if it were, then you can support women who have different opinions than you. You can support women who are in the womb, because those little girls are going to grow up to be women.

Alyssa Thoburn:

Exactly. I think abortion actually shows that we've failed women as a society because women think that their only options are abortion or be a mom. And that's simply not true. I think if all of the government funding that goes into abortion went into resources for women and real support and help…because women don't feel supported generally. They don’t even feel supported by the men who get them pregnant in the first place, because women are seen as, “you're supposed to be independent, it's your choice,” but men should be held responsible as well.

Jo Wilbur:

I absolutely agree. We need to lift women up. We need to actually support women, encourage them, surround them with love and hope and resources. Speaking of resources, we will get to that in a minute, but before we do, I heard something about you recently. I don't know if it's true. Did you do something recently where you slept on the steps of the Capitol or something in protest? Or are you going to do that?

Alyssa Thoburn:

I am going to do that. So that will be happening the last day of November. We will be sleeping on the steps of the Supreme Court to reserve our space, because we know that on December 1st, the Dobbs case, there will be a lot of counter-protestors and we want to be the first people there, the most visible. So that'll be happening and I'll be giving speeches at Virginia Commonwealth University and the State Capitol as well on November 16th.

Jo Wilbur:

So you're giving a big speech in front of a lot of people on a very controversial subject. How do you find the courage to do that? I'm much older than you and thinking about doing something like that terrifies me. How do you find that courage?

Alyssa Thoburn:

The truth is that it is terrifying, but it has to be done. No one else is going to do it for us so we have to step in. I would say the biggest thing that gives me courage is praying. It's so calming to just pray before speaking, especially speaking to pro-choicers because God will give you peace and speak through you if you ask him to, because it's him who is capable of changing hearts and minds. And that's not something that we can do ourselves. So relying on God for that.

Jo Wilbur:

And that takes the pressure off you.

Alyssa Thoburn:

Yeah, for sure it does.

Jo Wilbur:

But it's not easy. It's not easy calling. Is it? I mean, you, I'm sure you get a lot of backlash when you go to these women's marches, these rallies.

 Alyssa Thoburn:

Oh yeah, for sure. All of my friends and I get lots of backlash. It happens, especially on social media. People have said to my friends and I, “You should have been aborted. I hope you die. I hope you get raped.”

Jo Wilbur:

Women say this?

Alyssa Thoburn:

Yes, women, it's all women. I've had very few conversations with men on social media about it. But it's interesting. The woman who has actually been the most rude to me on social media, she is the one who ended up becoming a pro-life activist. And I had blocked her because she was posting horrible things about pro-lifers and it was going nowhere, so I thought. But staying calm and praying for her eventually led her to actually become pro-life. So even in those seemingly hopeless situations, it's possible to change people's perspectives.

Jo Wilbur:

Now you mentioned that you've had very few conversations about this topic with men. Why do you think that is? On either side it seems like maybe men feel like they're not allowed to have a voice in the conversation.

Alyssa Thoburn:

Right. There are pro-choice men, even at the Women's March. Men were being very rude to us. So I think it's really that “no uterus, no opinion” really applies to pro-life men, but it's very important to stand up for the pro-life cause if you are a man. The whole reason this is an issue is because men and women together conceive children, and this is also a men's issue. And half of aborted babies are men. Men are as much a part of this as women are. It's not just an issue of women's bodily autonomy. Everyone is involved in this and men have a duty to stand up for it as well.

Jo Wilbur:

That's amazing. We wish you all the best and we're praying for you and for your efforts, we pray that they are fruitful, that people's minds and hearts would be changed. Having said that, I think there are a lot of people, maybe listeners who are listening to this podcast right now, who would also love to get involved in the cause. What are some ways they can get involved and what are some resources for people who want to know more and understand more about abortion and the pro-life movement?

Alyssa Thoburn:

There's so many great organizations out there, maybe I'm biased, but I would recommend getting involved with Students for Life. It is truly amazing. And it has something for everyone. If you're more interested in politics, there's Students for Life Action. And that whole organization exists to activate people politically and to influence voters and show up at political events. And then Students for Life does all sorts of things in the pro-life movement. And to get involved with them, you can email your state@studentsforlife.org. So, in Virginia would be virginia@studentsforlife.org. Another great organization is Live Action. They have amazing demonstrations of abortion procedures and they respond to common arguments on their YouTube channel, and they have professionals explain these situations. So I think their great resource to learn. And they're actually who I started learning from when I got involved in the pro-life movement. Lastly, I want to mention Let Them Live. They're less of an organization you can physically get involved with- they're more something you can donate to. Let Them Live exists to help women financially. Around 73 percent of women choose abortion because of financial instability and no woman should have to be that worried about her financial situation that she thinks she literally can't care for her child. Let Them Live exists to help them pay for groceries, housing supplies, anything they need…and they even create baby registries and do counseling for women. So they're an amazing organization to donate to.

 Jo Wilbur:

What an amazing cause. Thank you so much for joining us today, Alyssa, it has been so fun to get to hear your story and the way that you are involved. I know I'm personally inspired to get more involved. Thank you so much for sharing with us today.

Alyssa Thoburn:

Thank you so much for having me on.

Jo Wilbur:

Thanks for joining us for this episode of Mind and Heart, a podcast by Trinity Christian school for more information, visit us at www.tsfairfax.org.

 

 

 

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