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Monday, 22 October 2018
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Conflict Resolved. Good Wins. Again.

Those of us in the life-affirming community can be thin-skinned at times, for good reason.

When angry activists—who never walked inside the doors of a pregnancy help centerwrite nasty reviews online about the work we do and cost us hours of work undoing the damage, we are rightly concerned.

When Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and its allies create false reports regarding our clinics and call us “fake,” we are justifiably angry.

When we must take precious time and resources to fight unconstitutional laws forcing our centers and clinics to promote the work of abortion centers, we understandably throw up our collective arms and say, “What next?”

So yes, it is reasonable for us to become skittish when anything affecting our ministries shows up on our radar.

Which brings us to YouTube. In April, YouTube suspended the account of the Abortion Pill Reversal Network, claiming the Network’s four videos contained “harmful or dangerous” content.

Admittedly, my first response was, “Here we go again.” Now YouTube was after us, right? My guess was, someone in the abortion lobby contacted YouTube, leading to a meeting of the liberal minds in an executive office and Zap! The life-affirming community is dealt another blow.

This was my first reaction, and my theory was not far-fetched. Things like this happen often; it was easy to put this one together.

Yet, my mind went back to a book recommended to me by Heartbeat International’s Director of Ministry Services, Betty McDowell: Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High. Published originally in 2002, Crucial Conversations is a walk through those situations when it is difficult to find solutions, taking the reader through processes to find win-win answers for all involved.

As I read the Pregnancy Help News story on YouTube’s action, chapter 6 of Crucial Conversations—focusing on how, when we are angry, we sometimes create our own assumptions regarding another’s motives—struck me.

It hit me. Without any evidence, I had already crafted my own story on why YouTube took down APR’s account

The other option, of course, is to give the benefit of the doubt. Heartbeat President Jor-El Godsey did this, telling Pregnancy Help News, “We are confident that YouTube did not intend to silence a woman who was merely telling her own abortion story, simply because that story ended with a healthy baby boy. We look forward to the account being restored quickly.”

It was the right thing to do. 

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Fact is, our assumptions often get away from us. We create stories in our minds, not knowing if they have any validation. Then, we get angrier. Before we know it, we’ve formed our own posse, ready to go after the “evildoers” and bring them to justice.

Then, we boycott. We write letters to the editor. We protest. We rage. Most of the time, little change takes place.

In the YouTube situation, however, Heartbeat International—which recently brought APR under its umbrella of services—chose a crucial conversation over blatant confrontation. Heartbeat legal counsel Danielle White, working with the Susan B. Anthony List, contacted YouTube and worked through the appeal process.

YouTube admitted its mistake and reversed its decision. APR has its YouTube account restored.

Godsey responded by commending YouTube for “acknowledging their mistake and promptly resolving it,” adding that “No woman should ever be censored for sharing her testimony simply because she chose life—even at the last minute.”

Full disclosure here: As a part-time employee at Heartbeat, I’m probably biased. But watching this unfold, it’s powerful to see your president, with a strong legal and communications staff, handle a challenging circumstance with grace and wisdom. 

In the end, I have no idea why APR’s account was dropped in the first place. Perhaps the story I created is close to the truth. Or, it could have been an honest mistake by someone who received false information. Another thought? An algorithm—all social media seems to be about algorithms these days—picked up a false positive for harmful material.

I don’t know. But now, it doesn’t matter.

What matters is that because the YouTube situation never turned into a confrontation, good prevailed. YouTube didn’t get itself into a protracted battle regarding censorship. Heartbeat International and APR are again putting forth a positive message of life and hope through a social media giant.

Better yet, no one had to lose and everyone...won.

Tweet This: What matters is that because the @YouTube situation never turned into a confrontation, good prevailed. Everyone won. #prolife @kirkwalden

This isn’t always what happens, of course. Sometimes, we are forced into conflict. The NIFLA v. Becerra case is what happens when one side—in this case, abortion proponentsrefuses to be reasonable. In these difficult situations, one side must win; it’s the nature of conflict. 

Conflict, however, needs to be our last resort; not our first reaction.

Today then, I’m thankful. Abortion Pill Reversal is back on YouTube where anyone can find choice, even after beginning a chemical abortion. 

Better yet, not a shot of conflict was fired.

Kirk Walden

Kirk Walden is a senior writer with Pregnancy Help News, an Advancement Specialist with Heartbeat International and author of The Wall. He also blogs at www.kirkwalden.com. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter (@KirkWalden) and he is a new Instagrammer (kirkwalden). For banquet speaking engagements, contact Gloria Leyda at Ambassador Speakers Bureau.

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