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Group teaches how to present pro-life message

An organization working against abortion through persuasive and compassionate dialogue is making the rounds in the Omaha archdiocese this month.

The Phoenix-based Abortion Dialogue Academy, an organization helping people – particularly high school and college students – learn how to persuade their peers about the evils of abortion, presented a program April 20 at St. Mary Parish in West Point. And the academy will present the same program April 27 from 6 to 8 p.m. at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Omaha.

"We have a very good pro-life following here in West Point, so we thought it would be good to host the program here so people can learn how to talk to their peers about abortion," said Wendy Ridder, a member of St. Mary and the parish’s pro-life coordinator.

While the program was open to everyone, it was promoted at Guardian Angels Central Catholic High School in West Point to attract youth, a special target audience of the academy and its co-founders, Jacob and Katie Burow.

The Burows help people respond to common pro-choice arguments and present the pro-life case, using dialogue cards to help people practice as they simulate conversations with pro-choice advocates.

Carolyn Manhart, a member of St. Margaret Mary and a pro-life coordinator for the parish, said she learned about the program from members of the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Mavericks Students for Life, the university’s pro-life student group, which sponsored a program in October for more than 15 students.

"Many people, even pro-life Catholics, are often very uncomfortable talking about abortion," she said.

"These sessions teach people how to have an effective dialogue, not necessarily based on religious views, but through logic and reason," Manhart said. "If we feel confident that we can respond to people’s arguments in a non-emotional way, we can persuade people that abortion is wrong."

The Burows travel the country presenting the program at no cost for first-time sponsoring groups, and $250 for a return visit. They formed Abortion Dialogue Academy in 2014.

The Burows also will return to UNO April 26 and 27 for a more intensive workshop with the student pro-life group.

The April 27 program in Omaha is free and will be held in St. Margaret Mary’s Raynor Center, 6116 Dodge St. (enter off Chicago Street). No pre-registration is required.

Other parishes, schools or groups interested in hosting a session can contact Abortion Dialogue Academy by email at katie@abortiondialogueacademy.org.

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