California pro-life activists must stretch themselves and take the hard step of speaking a pro-life message where they might not be wanted, but they need to do it, led by God’s spirit, in a way that is “compelling, convicting, yet is gentle.” This advice came from Fresno Assemblyman Jim Patterson, a panelist on the Sacramento 101 Pro-Life, an advocacy webinar sponsored by the National March for Life and the California Family Council last week.
As a legislator at the California Assembly for the past eight years, Patterson knows first hand the importance of being bold, yet meek, at a capitol he said has “some of the worst pro-death culture, politically, you can find.” Patterson acknowledged it can be a lonely place for a pro-life legislator and at times it feels like the “lion’s den,” but he knows God has him there for a reason. “There is no place I would rather be,” he said.
“Allow the spirit of God to prompt you to step into a place that is very uncomfortable,” Patterson encouraged. “You have a sphere of influence. … You never know who you are going to influence to make a choice for life.” Dig deep and “stretch beyond where are you think you are comfortable.”
When sharing his pro-life position with other legislators he likes to talk about the joy his three adoptive children have brought to his life, two from unwed mothers, one 16 and the other 37, who contemplated getting abortions. Patterson remembers standing on the floor of the Assembly in 2019 speaking out against a resolution celebrating the Roe vs. Wade court decision. He talked about his desire to “celebrate a choice of a different kind… It’s a choice that brings wonderful things.” The assemblyman when on to talk about the happiness the choice of life has brought him and his wife including, birthdays, graduations, marriages, anniversaries, and grandchildren. All the legislators listened in silence. (watch the speech here)
Patterson also emphasized the importance of elections. “If California is going to turn away from this culture of death… You have to win elections,” he said. “Send me some help.”
Be sure to download the Sacramento 101: A Guide to Pro-Life Lobbying in California.
Watch the video below for more advice from Assemblyman Patterson on California pro-life advocacy, as well as the expertise from other Sacramento 101 webinar speakers, Jonathan Keller and Greg Burt with the California Family Council; Bernadette Tasy, President of Fresno Pro-Life Future; and Tom McClusky with the National March for Life.