When asked about his job, Josh Brahm has a default response.
“I try to help pro-lifers be less weird,” Brahm said during a presentation he gave in Miller Hall on April 7.
Brahm is the president of the Equal Rights Institute, an organization which, according to the group’s Facebook, trains pro-life people to defend their views in honest and persuasive ways.
“I try to help pro-life people use more good arguments and fewer bad ones,” Brahm said. “More importantly, I want to help us connect better with people who are different from us. I want to see people connect.”
Brahm was brought to campus by the Western Washington Students for Life, a pro-life club at Western.
Karlie Lodjic, the president of the club, said the event was helpful for both pro-life and pro-choice students.
“There’s not a lot of pro-lifers on campus,” Lodjic said. “A lot of times they don’t know how to respond to people who disagree with them.”
There was appeal for pro-choice students as well.
“[The event] is also beneficial to the other side of the spectrum to let them see there’s more opinions out there,” Lodjic said.
The goal of the speech was to present reasoning against pro-choice bodily rights arguments. More specifically, Brahm rounded up the strongest pro-choice arguments he could find and presented the most logical counterarguments.
He did not, however, seek to accuse pro-choice people of being wrong. Rather, he wanted to open a dialogue to understand their views better and to share his own.
“I try to help pro-lifers be less weird.”
Josh Brahm, pro-life speaker
“I’m really interested in psychology and what connects with people who think differently,” Brahm said. “This talk is really great when both pro-life and pro-choice people come. Both sides get something out of it.”
After the speech ended, Brahm opened the floor for questions and discussions, receiving responses from both pro-life and pro-choice members of the audience.
A pro-choice advocate who attended the event, Kinsey Anuta, said she was impressed with how thorough and honest Brahm’s speech was.
However, Kinsey was hoping to hear more ‘real-world’ arguments and less of the philosophy, such as Judith Jarvis Thomson’s violinist thought experiment that Brahm presented.
Although she didn’t agree with everything, she found the presentation insightful.
“It’s really important to reach across the divide,” Anuta said.
Brahm said his main hope for the speech and other speeches like it is for people to walk out with a better understanding of each other. He gives similar speeches across the country with the Equal Rights Institute.
“I hope, as a result of this, we can have more intellectual and more understanding conversations with each other,” Brahm said.