At one of our recent meetings we discussed many different road blocks you meet in a conversation about abortion and how to work through them. The following is a list of things you might hear while discussing abortion and some responses that might be useful. Keep in mind that you should always find common ground before challenging someone on their beliefs about abortion. Why? People are not pro-choice because they want to kill babies – they’re usually pro-choice because they are compassionate towards women. We need to show them that their compassion for the mother is beautiful and good, and then encourage them to extend that compassion to the fetus being carried by the mother!
1) Statement: It’s just a clump of cells.
Response: I am too! I’m just a bigger clump of cells than a fetus.
2) Statement: Abortion should be allowed if the mother was raped.
Response: I believe the rapist should be punished for his crime with a severe sentence...but should the child be given the death sentence for the actions of his/her father?
3) Statement: The fetus is part of the mother.
Response: Scientifically the fetus is not actually a part of the mother, but a separate entity from the mother. Certainly the mother is carrying the fetus inside her body, but the fetus is not part of her. For example, the mother could be carrying a male fetus in her womb (which is determined from the moment of conception). The child is male and she is female – they cannot be the same individual. This is also clear if you look at the other components of a woman’s body. Her organs service her body: her lungs allow her to breathe…her kidneys filter her blood. The baby is not just another organ in her body but instead a separate human organism in her womb that is not present to service her body.
4) Statement: I cannot have an opinion about abortion because I am a man.
Response: If I had my two year old beside me and I was going to kill her, would you stop me? (Of course) Why? (Because it’s wrong to kill her) Why is it wrong? (Because you’re killing a human being) Why would you protect a two year old and not the child in my womb? You are a human being and therefore you have every right to protect all other human beings from being killed, including those still unborn.
5) Statement: If the pregnancy could kill the mother, she should be able to have an abortion.
Response: I believe any woman with health concerns in pregnancy should have access to necessary treatment. For example, I believe a woman with cancer should be able to receive chemotherapy or radiation to treat her cancer even though this will likely kill the child in her womb. Cancer therapy aims to treat the woman’s medical condition; abortion aims to kill a human being. These are fundamentally different options even though the fetus may die when the woman receives the appropriate therapy for her health condition. A therapeutic abortion is never necessary for women with health conditions.
6) Statement: It’s not a person.
Response: Do you believe in human rights? Do you believe in human rights for all human beings? Human life begins at the moment of conception, therefore the unborn should receive the same human right to life that we have. Also, women were not considered persons until 1929…the law has been wrong before and the status of personhood has been denied to millions around the world in the past.
7) Statement: It’s not even human…it’s a ‘potential human’.
Response: Science tells us that human life begins at the moment of conception when a new individual is formed with a unique set of DNA with forty six chromosomes distinct from its parents. (Check out the science in any reputable biology or embryology textbook or at: https://www.princeton.edu/~prolife/articles/embryoquotes2.html)
8) Statement: It’s a parasite.
Response: If something has human parents, is it human offspring?
9) Statement: It doesn’t look like us.
Response: We must judge appearance based on a human’s level of development. You do not judge a newborn by the standard appearance of a two year old, so why would you judge a fetus by the standard appearance of a newborn? The fetus looks like what it’s supposed to look like for its level of development.
I have one other tip to offer you today for conversations about abortion: be as loving as you can be! Many people have been personally wounded by abortions and are not ready to speak about abortion from a solely scientific or logical perspective. Let them know that you are pro-life, pro-dignity, and pro-respect for them as well as every other human being.