Thursday, May 22, 2014

7 Ways to Change How you Speak about Abortion

In the abortion debate, one of things that often puts pro-lifers at a disadvantage is the improper and sloppy use of language. We often shoot ourselves in the foot with language that implies that the unborn are less than human or worth less than those who are born (as one pro-life Missouri representative did). Or we get labeled as “anti-choice” or “forced birthers” or any number of other names that make us sound bad. Liberals in general, and pro-abortion advocates in particular, are very good at twisting language to make themselves look better and the opposition look worse. They also deal in cutesy slogans and emotive labels that color perceptions in ways that are favorable to themselves. Well, it’s time we pro-lifers started fighting back and winning the language battle.

To help you in your fight against the abortion mindset of our culture, here are a few ways you can change your language in order to encourage a more pro-life mindset in those around you.

1. Use the phrase “commit abortion.”

Using this language points out that abortion is a wrong that one commits against another person. Just as theft or murder or rape are “committed” against someone else, so too is abortion.

2. Never refer to the unborn as “it.”

We don’t refer to born humans as “it” and we shouldn’t give the unborn any less respect and dignity. Humans are either male or female from conception onward. And, of course, conception is also when that human life begins. So refer to the unborn as he or she or use terms like “the child” rather than a dehumanizing “it.”

Since, classically, the male pronoun is used to refer to a generic human, I tend to use “he” or “him” when referring to the unborn. This also allows me to contrast “him” (the child) with “her” (the mother) more easily in conversations. It also points out, though rather subtly, that the child in a woman’s womb is often of a different sex than she is. He certainly isn’t part of her body.

3. Refer to the “abortion industry.”

Abortion is big business. Abortionists aren’t committing abortions (see what I did there?) out of the goodness of their hearts. They aren’t non-profits. They’re in it for the money. And it’s a lot of money too. Multi-billions of dollars per year kind of money. It’s an industry, not a humanitarian aid society. Point it out, loudly and often.

4. Use “abortion mill” and “abortionist.”

In the spirit of the previous point, refer to abortion facilities as abortion mills. Again, this points out that the money, rather than the good of women, is the goal of such places. It also emotively conjures up pictures of dirty conditions, debris lying around, and abortionists trudging from woman to woman, callously pulling dead babies from their wombs and then moving on to the next, in a long line of impersonal “procedures.” While not all facilities that perform abortions are like this, some certainly are. And if the opposition can use emotive language to influence people, I am not above doing it too in order to save lives.

Using terms like “abortion mill” or “abortionist” also helps to strip away the image of abortions as a medical procedure. Terms like “abortion clinic” make it sound so clean and medical. They lead the ignorant to believe that abortion is health care, administered by professional doctors just like any others. This is not accurate. Abortion is not health care and abortionists are usually not doctors in the usual sense of the word. Using better terminology helps point this out.

5. Say “pro-abortion” rather than “pro-choice.”

I’ve written about this one before. People who call themselves “pro-choice” aren’t usually in favor of choices across the board (like school choice, the choice to own guns, or the choice to drink giant sodas). They only apply this language of “choice” to a woman’s pregnancy. What choice is it that the "pro-choice" crowd is in favor of? It's the choice to have an abortion. The fundamental issue is that "pro-choice" people think it is okay to make the choice to abort, and that makes them pro-abortion.

Just as a person who thinks that a man should have a legal, legitimate choice of whether or not to rape a woman is pro-rape, a person who thinks a woman should have a legal, legitimate choice of whether or not to abort her child is pro-abortion.

The reason the other side likes the “pro-choice” label isn’t because it’s more accurate, but because it sounds better. It’s a euphemism. And, like most euphemisms, it’s designed to cover up the reality of the topic being discussed by framing it in more palatable terms. But if they really think abortion is perfectly fine, why don’t they own up to their views and come right out and admit to being pro-abortion? Why do they need a euphemism to make them feel better about their position? Using the term “pro-abortion” can help point out just exactly what they are standing up for, and make them face up to it, rather than letting them hide behind a nice-sounding label that conceals the truth.

6. Avoid using language that hints of birth as the beginning of life.

We’ve all done it. We talk about a friend having a baby "on the way” or we tell newborns “Welcome to the world.” But these kinds of phrases really aren’t accurate and only perpetuate the idea that the unborn aren’t people and that human life begins at birth. The truth is, once a woman is pregnant, she doesn’t have a baby "on the way" – the baby is already there, inside her. A newborn hasn’t just entered the world – he’s been in the world for roughly 9 months already.

Now, obviously, I know what people mean when they say these things. I don’t mean to quibble unnecessarily. But language is important. With millions upon millions of unborn lives snuffed out in the past few decades, a little bit of care in choosing our words is a small price to pay to help change the perceptions of those around us and support a culture of life.

7. Use the terms “discrimination” or “bigotry” to speak of the pro-abortion viewpoint that the unborn are not people.

When someone has a view that some human individuals are not people or shouldn’t have the same legal protections as all other people (i.e. people like themselves), that is bigotry and discrimination. Whether they base their views on race, age, disability, gender, or level of dependency, they’re still discriminating against some human beings. All humans have the same inalienable rights by virtue of being members of the human species. And thus, all humans should have the same legal protection. To claim otherwise is to look down on people who are not like you and try to deny them the protection you wish for yourself. That’s ugly and wrong, no matter how you slice it. Calling out this bigotry helps point out that the unborn are humans and that legal abortion is denying them equal rights. The injustice of abortion won’t stop until we force people to recognize the bigotry of the idea that unborn humans are not worthy of protection.


These are just a few ideas to help you modify your language in order to foster a more pro-life culture. There are many other ways to do this, but hopefully these provide some food for thought and a starting point for reminding ourselves and others of the humanity of the unborn.

As a final note, it is probably worth pointing out that there are circumstances where using these terms is not the most effective thing to do. I don’t recommend using them in all circumstances, but only when their use will help further the pro-life mindset or provide clarity and contemplation of the problems with the pro-abortion stance.

When speaking to a woman who has had an abortion, it’s not likely to be very kind or very effective to speak of her going to an abortion mill to commit abortion. When talking to people who are trying to converse rationally and calmly about the topic of abortion, it may not be best to continually call them pro-aborts.

So using a little wisdom in how you insert these terms into your speech is recommended. But please be bold in standing for all human life and in pointing out the injustice of abortion. We need everyone on board, standing for life, if we are to make a difference.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Twins Born Holding Hands

These identical twins were born holding hands.

View image on Twitter

It's rare for babies to share an amniotic sac, as these twins did. But it is quite common for twins to interact with each other in the womb. These babies already know one another and have been interacting with each other for months. I expect that newborns have many memories of life in the womb that persist for awhile, though they are eventually overwritten, as are most memories of early childhood. These memories are the reason, for example, that babies can recognize their mother's voice at birth. They have heard and remembered it from their life in the womb.

Babies have lives in the womb that we don't see, but which we can catch a glimpse of in circumstances like this. Birth isn't the beginning of life. It is just a event that happens in a person's life.

The idea that the unborn are not human beings is patently false. We can determine that strictly through science, which tells us that a new human individual is formed at fertilization. But stories like this one can help bring home to us the humanity of the unborn in a more personal way.

Is Consent to Sex Consent to Pregnancy?

Consider the following logical argument:

1. Actions have naturally occurring consequences.

One of the well-known consequences of sex (even with contraception) is pregnancy. This does NOT mean that procreation is the only purpose for sex. However, pregnancy does naturally result from sex. That fact is inescapable and everyone knows it. Even if some sort of contraception is used, pregnancy may naturally result from sex. So one must be prepared for that possibility.

2. We are responsible for the natural consequences of our actions.

In the real world, we are and ought to be held responsible for the natural consequences of our actions. Even if we do not intend for a particular consequence (such as pregnancy) to happen, and intentionally take steps (such as contraception) to avoid that consequence, we are still responsible for that consequence if our preventative measures fail. It is not unreasonable to require people to take responsibility for the natural consequences of their actions. If those consequences can be avoided or ignored without violating someone else’s rights, that’s OK. However, if that is not the case, then one must be required to take responsibility for his actions.

3. We do not have the right to kill another innocent human being in order to avoid taking responsibility for the natural consequences of our actions.

As premise 2 states, we are responsible for the natural consequences of our actions. In addition to that, we certainly do not have the right to avoid taking that responsibility by killing another innocent human being.

4. An unborn baby is an innocent human being.

That this unborn child is innocent of any wrongdoing should be obvious. Clearly, he is not guilty of any crime whatsoever. In particular, he is not even responsible for being present in his mother’s uterus using the bodily resources that her body (intentionally) delivers to him via the placenta. He had no say in his formation there. So how could he be responsible for that? Instead, he was created there by the consensual actions of his biological mother and father. The mother and father are the ones responsible for the unborn child’s existence and for his need of his mother’s resources.

That this unborn child IS a human is unquestionable. Fertilization produces a new human individual. Only those who are very ignorant of some very basic science regarding embryology deny that fact.

"Although life is a continuous process, fertilization (which, incidentally, is not a 'moment') is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte."

Ronan O'Rahilly and Fabiola Müller, Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001. p. 8.

5. Therefore, by consenting to sex, women simultaneously consent to any resulting pregnancy, because they do not have the right to end that pregnancy by killing another innocent human being (i.e. their unborn child).

Premise 1 is firmly supported by observation (i.e. it is confirmed by science).

Premises 2 and 3 are both perfectly logical, and it is upon these principles that laws governing human behavior are based.

Premise 4 is firmly supported by observation (i.e. it is confirmed by science).

Thus, the Conclusion (5) follows naturally and is a logically valid conclusion. That is, consent to sex IS consent to pregnancy. This means that an unborn baby does have the right to live within his mother's uterus - even if she changes her mind. Her "ongoing consent" is NOT required, because she gave initial consent and she does not have the right to rescind that consent if doing so involves killing someone (her unborn child).

By the way, you should note that "consent" does not mean that one WANTS to do something (i.e. to be pregnant). The word consent simply means that one "agrees to" or "approves." Furthermore, this consent need not be explicitly stated, and in many cases that consent is only given in the form of tacit consent. A woman gives tacit approval (or consent) to any resulting pregnancy when she engages in the one activity which she knows may naturally result in a pregnancy. She must give this approval (whether intentionally or not) because she does not have the right to kill someone (her human offspring) in order to end the pregnancy.

Since pregnancy is a natural consequence of sex, claiming that consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy makes as little sense as claiming that consent to jump off a roof does not mean consent to hitting the ground. One thing naturally results from the other - even if precautionary measures are taken.

Also, folks have suggested to me that this must mean that if one gets in a car, then one consents to be in a car wreck because a car wreck may be a natural consequence. This is absolutely correct! One does, in fact, consent to the possibility of an accidental car wreck every time one rides in a car. This does not mean that a car wreck need be inevitable, however. As with pregnancy, one can take precautionary measures (driver’s education classes, etc.). Nor does it mean that a driver is justified in intentionally causing a car wreck. However, an accidental car wreck is a natural consequence (though rare) of riding in a car, and one must be prepared for that possibility. Otherwise, one should avoid riding in a car. Likewise, if one is not prepared for pregnancy, then one might want to consider not engaging in the one activity which naturally results in pregnancy.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Woman Films Abortion and Says It was Right For Her

In this video, a young woman named Emily Letts shows her abortion procedure (not graphic) and talks about it.

Emily is a "patient advocate" at an abortion facility. She speaks with women before they have an abortion to reassure them and make them feel better about what they are doing. In other words, she is an abortion advocate, not a patient advocate. True patient advocates would speak for the patient, not for the interests of the abortion facility.

Anyway, Emily found out she was pregnant and had an abortion. But she filmed it to show women that "There can be a positive abortion experience." Why did she get an abortion? "I'm not ready to have children," she says. She also says that "It was right for me" and that she feels no sadness or remorse.

Well, I'm not at all surprised that she had such a "good" experience or that she feels no sadness or remorse after the fact. There are plenty of murderers, thieves, rapists, and other wrong-doers out there who feel no remorse. The right or wrong nature of an action does not depend on whether a person feels remorse afterwards. We don't determine whether something is right or wrong by feelings. For that, we need facts.

The fact is that a human being is formed at fertilization and an abortion intentionally ends that life. Unless a woman's life is in danger, there is no possible justification for ending the human life in her womb. Thus, it is wrong to do so, whether a person feels guilty and sad about it or feels quite happy.

As for her statement that she isn't ready to have children, well, she already had one. Once a woman is pregnant, she already has a child. Abortion doesn't prevent children. It kills them.

The argument that it was "right" for Emily to get an abortion is humongously self-centered and callous. No doubt her life is much easier without a child to take care of. That doesn't mean she had the right to kill her son or daughter.

The focus throughout the entire video is on what the procedure was like for her. She felt good; she feels no remorse; she has support from the people in her life; she is so lucky; she appreciates the abortionists, who are her "heroes." But while she was lying there feeling lucky, her child was brutally killed. What about the child? When do we think about what's right for the child? Apparently, never. Abortion is all about what the woman wants and the baby's rights are ignored. How is that different from any other murder? No doubt most of the murderers in the world were also thinking only about what was "right" for them and not about the rights of their victim. But no one has a right to kill another human being, whether it makes life better for them or not.

In the end, a child's life was ended because of the selfishness of his mother. She couldn't be bothered to think of anyone but herself, and her baby died so that she wouldn't have to take responsibility for the life she created. That is appalling, whether Emily ever feels guilty or not.

It's ironic that Emily states in the description of her video that "I respect everyone's opinions as long as they do not force them onto others." So do I. But I cannot respect Emily's opinions because she forced them (quite literally) on her child when she aborted him.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Missouri Legislators Working to Pass 72 Hour Wait Period for Abortions

According to this article, conservative Missouri legislators are working to pass a bill requiring a 72-hour waiting period before an abortion can be performed. The current wait period is 24 hours.

Opponents of the bill argue that having a longer wait period makes it difficult or even prohibitive for women to get an abortion, especially if they must travel long distances to an abortion facility. In Missouri, the only abortion facility is in St. Louis. For many women, the three day wait time means travelling and then staying in the city for that period, which might be cost prohibitive. They argue that this places an "undue burden" on women seeking abortions and that a wait period won't change a woman's mind anyway.

Proponents of the bill, however, are not making the right arguments for it. The Missouri Speaker of the House, Tim Jones, says “I don’t think 72 hours, 3 days, is too much time to bring another life into this world or not."

That is about the lamest argument he could have made!

The biggest problem is that he's conceding ground to the pro-abortion crowd by his sloppy use of language. He's talking about abortion as if it's a choice to bring a child into the world or not. It isn't! The child already exists. The question isn't whether a child will be brought into the world or not. The question is whether the existing child will be killed or not. We have to use the right terminology if we are to win this culture war.

Talking about the unborn as if they aren't yet human beings only strengthens our opposition. If abortion really was just a choice of whether or not to bring a child into the world, there would be nothing wrong with it, and government shouldn't be interfering with a woman's choice. But since an unborn child is a human life that has already begun, government does have a responsibility to protect that life. This is the argument we need to be making. Treating the unborn as only "potential humans" undermines the pro-life position completely. Potential humans don't have rights. Actual humans do.

Of course, even if a politician wants to hide the real goal of abolishing abortion completely in order to get more people on board for the legislation, the argument Jones made was still totally lame. His statement was nothing more than his opinion that three days was an acceptable wait time. But he made absolutely no argument for why a wait time (or increase in wait time) was a good idea. Why should a woman have to wait three days to get an abortion?

There are only two possible rationales for making a woman wait to get an abortion. The first is to ensure that she is fully informed about the true nature of the procedure, including the risks to herself and what the procedure does to her child. The second is to allow her time to think about her decision and to look for other options. Both of these really come down to a hope that women will change their minds and choose not to abort. In general, the longer you give a woman to think about it, the more women will change their minds. This is why the abortion industry (including Planned Parenthood) ardently opposes wait times. It affects their bottom line. Because many women get an abortion in a hurry, out of panic or pressure from family or friends, a wait period gives a woman time to find other options, to learn the truth about pregnancy and development, and to combat pressure from others.

If a politician is going to advocate for wait periods before abortions, he or she ought to be able to articulate these reasons. Here is what Representative Jones should have said (if he was going to be political and avoid speaking the whole truth in order to get votes): "Women often get abortions because they feel trapped or scared or overwhelmed because of a crisis pregnancy. Because we want to ensure that women are making informed decisions, we want to allocate a sufficient amount of time for women to learn about their options and the risks of the procedure and to make a completely informed choice." That is far more likely to result in the desired legislation than what he actually said.

Of course, committing abortion is a violation of human rights, whether a woman waits before doing it or not. So a waiting period doesn't actually get at the heart of the issue. But sometimes one has to be circumspect in order to save lives. The real goal needs to be ending the legal destruction of human lives in the womb. Until then, we must save as many as we can.