Responding to Attacks on Pro-Life Efforts
Family North Carolina MagazineJan/Feb 2007
By Traci Griggs
Emboldened by the 2006 mid-term elections, pro-abortion groups are expected to step up efforts to pass favored legislation and to marginalize pro-life groups and laws. Rhetoric aimed against pro-life organizations has already grown more and more harsh, apparently in an attempt to demean the truthfulness and question the integrity of these non-profit, often Christian, organizations. As the legislatures convene and the debate heats up many of us will be challenged to respond to our coworkers and acquaintances.
So how do you reason with earnest, well-meaning folks who are, frankly, wrong? The first thing to do is to try to figure out why they arrived at their conclusion. Ask questions first, listen, then respond. Mark Liederbach, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary explains how he speaks with an abortion supporter.
“They might say, ‘I don’t understand why all you Christians are so against abortion. Isn’t it a right for a person to choose?’ And I might say, ‘tell me why you think a person has the right to choose?’ And they will probably say something along the lines of, ‘I am a free person and no one has the authority or right to put rules in my life.’ I might suggest, ‘let’s think about every law that’s in our country. Isn’t that in some sense telling you whether you can do something or not?’”
Once you’ve established that it is permissible in our society to make laws that limit what we do, then it’s time for some facts. The abortion industry is well-funded and as such has the resources to market its perspective in powerful ways. However, despite the official-sounding studies and statistics, the pro-abortionists’ evidence is inconclusive at best. There is a strong “other side” to their argument and you can make it. Here are some talking points to help you get started.
Argument: It’s not a personit’s just a mass of tissue.
Response: By the time most abortions can be performed, the baby already has a beating heart (18 days after fertilization) and identifiable brain waves (six weeks after fertilization). (National Right to Life)
Argument: Abortion is safer than full-term pregnancy.
Response: According to a recent large study by doctors at UNC-Chapel Hill, there is strong evidence that induced abortions lead to increased risk of premature births for subsequent pregnancies. There are multiple other potential physical and psychological effects of abortion which have been documented, including depression and a likely abortion-breast cancer link.
Argument: If abortion is made illegal, women will die in ‘back alley abortions.”
Response: We should not legalize the killing of innocent human beings just to make the abortion process less hazardous.
Argument: What about women who were victims of rape or incest? Or women carrying a child with a severe birth defect?
Response: Although we have great compassion for women who find themselves in such a difficult circumstance, it is still true that the life within her is a person. The worth of a person should not be measured by the circumstances by which he or she was conceived or by whether he or she is free from mental or physical deformities.
Argument: What about a woman whose life would be in danger without an abortion?
Response: In the cases where there is truly a threat to the mother’s life (estimated at less than 1%) this is one area where a woman and her family must exercise a right of conscience. However, the danger in such an exception to an abortion ban, is that of abuse. The “health exception” clause allowed by the courts is routinely interpreted by pro-abortion doctors to justify abortions for almost any reason.
In addition, when we as Christians seek to communicate the truth about abortion, let’s not forget our message and method should reflect a loving attitude. Nancy Pearcey, in her award-winning book “Total Truth”, says,
“A Christian church or ministry may be biblical in its message and yet fail to be biblical in its methods...We must express the truth not only in what we preach but also in how we preach it . . . If we find ourselves thinking we can do the Lord’s work in the world’s way, as though worldly weapons were adequate, then we have drastically underestimated the nature of the battle.”
The North Carolina Family Policy Council has many materials available on our web site, www.ncfamily.org to help you learn how to intelligently discuss abortion. Our video series, Family Policy Perspectives, is a great resource for leading others to learn about abortion and many other public policy issues being debated today.
Traci Griggs is director of communications for the NCFPC.
Copyright © 2007. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.