4 Reasons Pro-Lifers Need to Stop Doing This

4 Reasons Pro-Lifers Need To Stop Doing ThisTrigger warning for those who have experienced sexual trauma. There is also a disturbing image of a man falling from one of the World Trade Center towers.

We have a motto at Justice For All trainings: “DBW. Don’t Be Weird.” We certainly don’t believe that all pro-lifers act weirdly, but most of us have seen well-meaning pro-life people do things that appear odd (at best) to the world around us. If we want to make an impact on how people think, we should avoid being off-putting, or weird, when possible.

One of my colleagues at Students for Life of America recently asked me for an example of pro-lifers doing things that appear weird to our society. The first thing that came to mind was something that my brother Timothy and I call FTV: “Fetus Tunnel Vision.”

fetus tunnel vision
noun
   1. the inability to see and/or acknowledge human rights injustices without equating or comparing them to abortion.

I’ll give you a common example, and then make four arguments that pro-lifers should avoid FTV.

Photo credit: Richard Drew for the Associated Press

Photo credit: Richard Drew for the Associated Press

I’ll never forget where I was on September 11, 2001. Unless you’re pretty young, you remember that day too. Our nation watched in horror as dozens of people jumped from the burning towers, knowing they would die when they hit the ground. We watched in horror as two skyscrapers collapsed on themselves with thousands of people inside, while the news stations frequently cut over to shots of the Pentagon with a huge hole in the side and a crashed plane in Pennsylvania.

Put simply, 9/11 is one of the most unforgettable acts of violence we’ve seen live on TV.

Yet, every time September 11 rolls around, I watch dozens of well-meaning pro-life people post Facebook statuses like this:

“2,977 people died on 9/11. 3,300 babies are killed every day in abortion facilities. Why does everyone get so upset about the former and not the latter?”

#1: You won’t persuade a lot of people to become pro-life while comparing every single instance of multiple people dying to abortion.

People won’t take your moral views seriously if it seems like your moral compass is broken. They won’t have a reason to believe your moral compass is properly functioning if you are unable to authentically acknowledge the horror of other mass killings.

Pro-choice people look at the 9/11 Facebook status above and think, “Of course we get so upset about 2,977 people dying! And we should! It was horrific! And we watched it on the news! Why can’t you see how horrible 9/11 is?”

Don’t miss this point: I’ve (almost) never heard a pro-life person actually say that we shouldn’t mourn those other tragedies. But what they say comes across to many people as devaluing one tragedy to elevate the one issue they care most about. I think some pro-life individuals just need help expressing the grief they already feel about other human rights violations.

#2: Other human rights injustices matter too.

Just like some people need to finally realize how unjust abortion is, we need to be able to acknowledge the injustice of rape, human trafficking, and incidents of mass killings like 9/11.

Sometimes the problem is that pro-lifers see the injustice of abortion just fine. What they often lack is a sufficient understanding of just how horrible atrocities like human trafficking are.

In 2012, I spent several weeks researching the issue of sex slavery for a campus outreach designed to generate dialogue among the student body about apathy regarding social injustice.

Through that experience, I realized that it’s one thing to know sex slavery exists and it must be bad, but it’s another thing to watch an interview of a survivor describing the hell of her experience.

It’s one thing to know women are probably enslaved in your city, but it’s another thing to know that they are probably being held by kidnappers who are pocketing the money made, beating them into submission on a regular basis, threatening the lives of their family members to prevent them from escaping, and that they are sometimes raped 6-10 times a night.

trafficking

We need to be able to grieve and even weep over human rights injustices that are going on right around us, including those injustices that are not abortion, because the victims of rape, sex slavery and events like 9/11 are people too. We effectively dehumanize these people if we ignore those things or upon hearing about them, we immediately do an “abortion juke.”

#3: Comparing every instance of mass killing to abortion is rude.

Imagine what it would be like to have lost a husband on September 11. Every time the anniversary comes around when the nation should be commemorating your husband’s death, you see people comparing it to the social issue they most care about. It’s just wrong. Thousands of people died, and we need to appropriately observe that fact without constantly attempting to turn the focus to abortion.

#4: Thoughtful pro-choice people will see that you’re begging the question.

The central issue of the abortion debate is whether or not the unborn have the same value as born human beings like those who died on 9/11. If you’re talking to a solely pro-life audience whom already believes the premise that the unborn are valuable human beings, you’re not begging the question. However, if you’re talking to a mixed audience and you want pro-choice people to reconsider the issue of abortion, this isn’t going to do the trick. For your statement to make any sense you must be assuming that the unborn are valuable human beings, precisely the thing you should be trying to demonstrate with reasonable arguments.

Somebody could respond, “But Josh, I don’t have pro-choice Facebook friends, so when I post a comparison to abortion on 9/11, I’m not trying to persuade pro-choice people of anything. I’m just trying to help my apathetic friends to see the horror of abortion.”

My concern is that when we talk to each other, we set habits that affect the way people think about things. I don’t want to train pro-life people to hear about a big tragedy and immediately think, “That’s not as bad as abortion.” I want pro-life people to have a proper amount of grief about all human rights injustices.

Does that mean we need to split our time between fighting every human rights injustice? No. That wouldn’t be very effective. We need people focusing on abortion. We also need people focusing on ending sex slavery. Those are two different issues with different causes and necessary responses.

What I’m arguing here is that we need to be able to see how horrible non-abortion injustices are, and respond appropriately. Doing this publicly will also have a side benefit of helping pro-choice people see that we’re normal human beings who oppose injustice. Then we can gain the opportunity to show abortion to be the injustice it is.

For more on this topic, you can watch me lead a discussion about a meme that a friend and colleague of mine distributed right after the Aurora movie theater massacre.

Part 1:

Part 2Bonus Discussion

The post “4 reasons pro-lifers need to stop doing this” originally appeared at JoshBrahm.com. Subscribe to our email list with the form below and get a FREE gift. Click here to learn more about our pro-life apologetics course, “Equipped for Life: A Fresh Approach to Conversations About Abortion.”

Question: Do you think you’ve ever experienced “Fetus Tunnel Vision?” Should you avoid it, or is it justified? What are some other examples of pro-life people doing things that may seem weird to others?

President

Josh Brahm is the President of Equal Rights Institute, an organization that trains pro-life advocates to think clearly, reason honestly and argue persuasively.

Josh uses speaking, writing and campus outreach to emphasize practical dialogue tips, pro-life philosophy, and relational apologetics.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • Isa241

    I get the point that’s being made, but are there any times when it IS appropriate to compare abortion to other human injustices like slavery or the Holocaust? There are similarities between them and abortion so it seems like that would be a good way to make a point about how we dehumanize groups in order to justify abusing them. Or is it better to just keep the two separate?

    • Excellent question. I’ve been thinking a lot about that question and I still have more thinking to do. I expect I will write about it when I’m more convinced one way or the other.

      Right now I’m planning on not comparing abortion to the Holocaust when I’m having conversations with pro-choice people, at least for pragmatic reasons. I don’t need that comparison to convince people that abortion is wrong. Abortion is bad enough on it’s own merits, and I’ve seen too many pro-choice people get distracted by the comparison and suddenly that’s all they want to argue about. I think I would need to be persuaded that pro-life people should use the Holocaust comparison when talking to pro-choice people, and I’m open to that argument.

      • Teresa

        I think what’s more effective is to simply describe… “Abortion is killing. It kills babies at a rate of x.” And maybe if you want you could then say “to put that in context, the holocaust had a death rate of x, 9/11 x, insert other tragedy and rate here”.

  • Jim M.

    My concern is that we are not disturbing and shocking enough to others. And who is being rude? What is “being rude”? The magnitude of worldwide Intrauterine Childslaughter dwarfs most genocides and wars combined. When we contemplate the horror of it, then this mass killing becomes the new archetype for human destruction, death , murder. How can we avoid comparing other evils to it?

    • I think I need to understand your concern better. Why do you think that the pro-life movement is not disturbing or shocking enough?

      And since you asked, this is the dictionary definition of being rude: “discourteous or impolite, especially in a deliberate way.”
      http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/rude?s=t

      • Jim M.

        I’m thinking of “rude” as “making others uncomfortable”. And I am not asking that we be more shocking or disturbing just to be shocking or disturbing. If we really do see the world differently, if we have actually internalized and integrated a set of values, what we call Natural Law, also informed and supernaturalized by the perspective grace should give us, and our affect also undergoes conversion, then I think we will seem very odd. I believe we underestimate how others naturally place greater importance on issues they see others sincerely passionat about, even if they do not agree fully. Often as not, it is the emotional weight of an attitude that causes other to take it more seriously. Most people could not understand why, if we believe as we say we do regarding abortion, we do not show more anger. Yes, anger is usually counterproductive, but showing little or none may indicate we have some other “agenda” we really care about, and that the defense of innocent children does not mean to us what we say it means to us, There is an emotional resonance. If we all see a child being beaten to death and cannot reach it to help, then what do we feel together, how do the feelings of some move others to feel similarly? What is the distress we ought to feel over the ongoing slaughter of children? If we felt in accord with what we know, that resonates naturally within the larger group. This is part of the moral training of a child, this emotional empathy for joy and distress. (sorry, I am wandering somewhat).

        • That’s actually a really helpful clarification. We agree more than I thought we would when I read your first comment.

          I am not arguing that pro-life people should avoid every single thing that could be interpreted as “weird.” You’re right. We live in an age where apathy is cool, at least to some people. So if someone thinks I’m weird, the question is, why do they think that?

          If they think I’m weird because I’m working full-time to educate on a civil rights issue, then I’m fine with that.

          But if they think I’m weird because whenever I talk about the issue, I’m really off-putting and make them not want to talk to pro-lifers anymore, I should at least question my communication techniques.

          Sometimes we have a debate where we ask zero questions, we don’t really listen to what they have to say, (since we’re right and everything,) we fail to state any points of genuine common ground, and sometimes use language that distracts the person, making it more harmful than helpful to a good dialogue where people change.

          Can we agree that there are some things that make us seem weird that we should avoid?

          • Jim M.

            Ok. A difference in emphasis, and I must respect your greater experience as a communicator.

            • Thanks, Jim! I’m definitely open to having wrong views on this. Thanks for your passion for the unborn. If only more apathetic people could be more like you.

              • Jake

                I’m curious. Not saying I disagree with pro-life or anything, and this is straying a bit, but I was just curious on your opinions since you all seem very passionate about this. What is your argument for the slaughtering of animals when you seem so opposed to the death of humans? (I’m not saying I am for the death of humans. I am vegetarian, by religion, and am just curious about what your reasons for not being may be). If you do not believe that humans have the right to determine whether unborn humans get to live or die, what gives humans the right to decide whether animals live or die?

                • Jake, you have a fantastic way of asking questions. You seem truly curious and interested in the way you wrote that, and few people are able to get that to come across online.

                  It’s a great question. There’s a few things going on for me.

                  First, I’m a Christian, so I believe that when Genesis 1:26 says, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” that means that God did something special with human beings that He didn’t do with other animals.

                  Then verses 26 and 28 both say that God gave man dominion over the animals. For these reasons, I don’t believe that animals and human beings are equally valuable.

                  Does that mean we should mistreat animals? Absolutely not. It’s wrong for independent reasons to cause gratuitous suffering to another creature who can suffer. Practically speaking, that means I have a pretty big problem with the way we treat lots of cows and chickens who are bred to be slaughtered.

                  Then you have animals that are more self-aware, like gorillas, chimps, whales and dolphins. I’m still processing what I think about them. I don’t think they have equal value to human beings, but I’m pretty sure we shouldn’t kill them or keep them in captivity, except for special circumstances like preserving their species or something. “The Cove” and “Blackfish” had a stronger impact on me than I expected they would.

                  So that’s a brief thumbnail sketch of where I’m at right now. I’d definitely be interested in your take, and I’d be glad to try to answer any follow-up questions you have. I think animal rights is an important topic that many of my friends don’t take as seriously as they should.

                  • Isa241

                    @ Josh Brahm, I have a question for you, I read an article on the Life Training Institute website which made the argument that a pro-choice person who supports a woman’s right to kill her unborn child, must also support a woman’s right to do anything she wants to her unborn child, including causing intentional harm. Now I could just be taking what I read out of context here (and I’m really not trying to advocate for the mistreatment of animals) but I think that the same argument could also be made for the animals we use as food. If we support killing animals for food, even when we don’t need to eat them in order to survive, then can we say that it’s wrong to mistreat them? If our rights over animals allow us to unnecessarily kill them, then why would they not also allow us to mistreat them since I could argue that killing them is worse than mistreating them?

                    • I’m not sure that LTI has actually said that “a pro-choice person who supports a woman’s right to kill her unborn child, must also support a woman’s right to do anything she wants to her unborn child, including causing intentional harm.” I would want to see the link.

                      There are certainly a few pro-choice arguments that may have that problem, but not all of them. I won’t go more into that until I see a link because I don’t want to come across as fighting with LTI on something they probably didn’t say.

                      On to your animal rights question. For clarity’s sake, let’s separate out harder cases in the animal kingdom: whales, dolphins, gorillas and chimps. (Not an exhaustive list, but you get the idea.)

                      For animals like cows, pigs and chickens, here’s your question: is it worse to kill them or mistreat them? It seems to me that this depends on the definition of “worse” and what kind of killing and mistreatment we’re talking about.

                      Let’s assume by “worse” you mean worse for the animal. I would argue that a swift death is better for the animal than years of mistreatment, housed in cages so small that they can’t move around.

                    • Isa241

                      Took me a while to find searching through my old favorites (I have a lot of them). As I said, I may be taking the argument out of context. And I know that I am trying to compare two completely separate issues, but it seems to me like the reasoning in this argument and yours are similar. Of course I could be wrong and if I am you will be able to set me straight.

                      LTI website. http://www.prolifetraining.com/FiveMinute12.asp

                      There was also this which talked about it in more depth. Not on the LTI website but a link provided in LTI blog archives, “SUFFER THE VIOLINIST: WHY THE PRO‐ABORTION ARGUMENT FROM BODILY AUTONOMY FAILS “ by Richard J. Poupard http://www.equipresources.org/atf/cf/%7B9C4EE03A-F988-4091-84BD-F8E70A3B0215%7D/JAA025.pdf
                      In his paper Poupard also states that “Death, in fact, is the ultimate harm.” (with emphasis on ultimate). I generally agree with that statement BUT he is talking about a human being and not a non-human animal. I’m not sure how death can be argued as the ultimate harm for humans, but not for animals. I haven’t gotten that far on this issue yet.

                      Assuming the animal is going to be killed either way, then I may agree that a swift killing is better than suffering for years then being killed, if that’s an option. But even if I conceded that point, it doesn’t answer why it’s ok to kill them, but wrong to harm them. I’m not completely sure about that yet.
                      I would also argue that the reason we cram chickens into tiny cages is because we have set them aside as food and they really serve no other purpose than to be killed for our enjoyment later. It’s even likely that they wouldn’t be in that kind of treatment if not for our demand for them as food in the first place. That’s very different than animals that we have invited into our homes as pets and companions.
                      Also, I’ll make sure that I always provide links form now on and I am sorry for not doing so in the first place.

                    • No apology necessary!

                      On bodily rights arguments, I’d recommend you check out this speech and/or paper, both of whom explain the difference between two categories of bodily rights arguments: the “Sovereign Zone argument,” and the “Right to Refuse” argument: https://blog.equalrightsinstitute.com/dfg/

                      I think Poupard’s Thalidomide argument is a very helpful response to Sovereign Zone arguments, and my brother Tim adjusted it to make it even stronger, in my opinion. You can read Tim’s article here: http://www.timothybrahm.com/autumn-in-the-sovereign-zone/

                      I wouldn’t personally use the Thalidomide argument in response to the violinist case, which would fall under the Right to Refuse category, because the Right to Refuse argument is not that a woman has the right to do ANYTHING she wants with her body. I think Thomson could argue that you have the right to unplug from the violinist but you don’t have the right to inject drugs into the violinist that will mutilate his body.

                      Having said that, there are several very good responses to the violinist in the LTI link above, namely the responsibility objection, the parental obligation argument and the difference between unplugging and actively killing. There are downsides to all of those arguments that I go into in the DFG speech/paper, but that doesn’t mean they are bad arguments that shouldn’t be used. You should just know the potential weaknesses and be ready to respond accordingly.

                      On animal rights, I think you could argue that death is the ultimate harm for humans but not for animals. You could argue that using Don Marquis’ “Future Like Ours” argument: http://faculty.polytechnic.org/gfeldmeth/45.marquis.pdf

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  • Dawn

    I believe thought provoking is good. It is not forceful, but it makes one think what is acceptable in their heart. I’m Christian and I know I am turned off when someone says forcefully that what they are saying is right or wrong. I walk away. If the issue is forced I tend to close my ears. But to raise questions to make them think for themselves what is right, or to look beyond society’s ways. John haggee mission. Has a quote ” if we can’t declare someone dead until their heart stops beating; than why can’t we declare them alive when it starts beating”. This made me think further. I’m pro life but what is “my” reason to pro life. I believe God gave us a purpose and he is faithful to fulfill it. However, he gives us free will. He hopes that we will receive all he has for us. But sometimes we get scared dont we. I believe once the cells join it has a purpose. To grow to a baby with a beating heart and to do something wonderful like learn to walk. To love another. To feel joy to feel sadeness. To live. I have been assaulted. And although I am Pro-life I dont know what I would have done had I become pregnant from it. This is where compassion must outweigh our human sized opinions. An opinion is only a way for us to justify ourselves, no one else. Someone feeling immense shame from rape amd then carry a baby. Yes they could adopt it out. But if they feel judged, attacked, they will hide it and live in shame from something that was not their fault. And it is best to empower. That being God does not condemn his children we have no place to to condemn. Someone’s choice from something they cannot understand but the person going through it. They feel demeaned as it is and to put guilt trips just causes more shame. If it has been done they need to heal and that can’t happen if our society continues to shame the victim. Forcefulness causes cowering and turning away causing the exact problem you are trying to stop. Like I said I’m pro life but than that happened to me and I did think “what if I’m preganant” and I’m glad that I did not have to know what choice I would have made. But many have to make that choice and then shamed further because of it. We need to help them to heal and move forward and lift them from a place of shame to a place of hope.

  • Kevin St. John

    #bamh

  • Guest

    CBR and even JFA are known for displaying images of abortion victims next to images of Holocaust victims. Do you feel this is inappropriate and/or ineffective? Should these groups rethink their approach?

    • That’s a good question. I’m still thinking about it. My views on it have been challenged recently and I’d rather not comment until I’ve thought about it more.

      • m17l6s85

        I’m interested to hear your response to this if/when you have a chance to formulate it fully, because I also thought the same thing as “Guest” even before I read this FTV article.

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  • I love this piece.

    It is true. One of the most painful things I hear over and over in pro-life logic is a repetition of comparison to genocide even when the logic is falling on the ears of someone who doesn’t believe that fetuses are babies. If someone doesn’t believe that a fetus is a baby, then your first job is to get to the root of that logic.

    No walls are going to crumble without first knocking out the foundation.

    If we keep comparing abortion to genocide when our audience doesn’t think that they are people, we’re just going to sound like idiots, making the same debate mistake over and over again.

    Love the “Don’t be weird.” Wish that was every Pro-life advocate’s motto.

    Wonderful piece.

    • Great thoughts, Kasey. We would communicate so much better if we were careful not to question beg when discussing this issue. (Or any other hot topic, for that matter.)

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  • Susi O Fanabba

    Oh my gosh! AMEN!!! May I please share this on my blog?
    Thank you so much for speaking out about this!!! Keep up the great work! :D

    • Absolutely. You could quote several paragraphs and then link back here for the full article. The only thing I don’t like is when people copy and paste the entire article on their site, which doesn’t give people the chance to explore my other articles or subscribe. Thanks, Susi!

  • Chandler Klebs

    I agree that all deaths should be taken seriously as the tragedy they are. However, I do find it impossible to stop thinking about abortion precisely because I see it as no different than other cases of death.

    The sex slavery thing bothers me on multiple levels. I want to end all the evil in the world. I am angry that it has been happening long before I existed and don’t know why people tell me that there is nothing I can do. I get highly emotional about it and am glad I am behind a computer screen where they can’t really see how I feel. I have to try to speak some truth into this world of lies.

  • DonnaDiva

    Speaking as a pro-choicer who has had an abortion, the constant comparison of abortion to mass murders makes me think you guys aren’t telling the truth when you say you don’t want to prosecute women for murder under an abortion ban.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your abortion. I can’t read your tone in that comment, so I’ll just say that if you’re interested in resources on managing the grief that SOME women feel at some point after an abortion, feel free to email me personally at josh@equalrightsinstitute.com and I’d be glad to share some resources with you.

      I think your comment is very understandable. It’s one of many reasons I don’t think it’s generally helpful to compare abortion to genocide.

      If you’re interested in my personal take on the “how should women be punished if abortion becomes illegal” question, I hosted a discussion about that five months ago and published it here: http://prolifepodcast.net/2013/12/184.

      • DonnaDiva

        I’m not interested. I have no regret or grief. I have had antis tell me that women like me should be forced into “counseling” if caught trying to access an illegal abortion, which I also find chilling.

      • DonnaDiva

        And here’s the thing: Even if you, personally, are opposed to prosecuting women as murderers, you or people like you are not necessarily going to be the ones legislating and adjudicating the issue should abortion be criminally banned. This country is full of people who would be happy to throw women in jail (or worse) for abortion and such people have a knack for getting themselves into positions of authority.

        This is not mere speculation on my part. Women are already being arrested and prosecuted under so-called fetal protection and chemical endangerment laws, which anti-abortion activists swore up and down would not be used to prosecute women when they were going through the legislature. Tennessee is considering a bill to criminalize pregnancy outcomes.as we speak.

        • Pobretano

          This country is full of people who would be happy to throw women in jail (or worse) for abortion

          Maybe because if they are right about abortion being a crime against human life and humanity, then a crime like this needs to be severely punished?

          • DonnaDiva

            Thanks for proving my point that the “oh, we don’t want to punish women!” claim is bullshit. Appreciate the honesty!

            • I “want to punish” any murderer, regardless of anything – because the sentence for murder is prison, regardless of any other points.

              If “this country is full of people who would be happy to throw” black and/or poor men and women in prison because they commit crime; and, if abortion is equivalent to murder, there is no other logical conclusion.

              • “…the sentence for murder is prison, regardless of any other points.”

                This is simply an oversimplified view of the justice system. I would recommend you listen to this discussion to see that while it does make sense for some illegal abortions to be punished in some way, a blanket statement like the one Trump recently made is grossly oversimplified: http://prolifepodcast.net/2013/12/184

                • DonnaDiva

                  When you criminalize something, as antis want to do with abortion, the people who do it become criminals. Women are *already being prosecuted* under bans that you guys swore would not be used to go after women. You can stop pretending that’s not going to happen. It is.

                  And you yourself are admitting that “it does make sense for some illegal abortions to be punished in some way” (your words) here in the comments section. There is simply no way that radical anti-abortion zealots are going to allow an abortion pill black market to thrive so you will direct your energies to that and the result is “suspicious” miscarriages being prosecuted and nosy neighbors and relatives turning women in to the police under the belief that they did something to end their own pregnancies. Trump just impolitically blurted out what has been the intention of your movement all along

                  • There is simply no way that radical anti-abortion zealots are going to allow an abortion pill black market to thrive

                    Just exactly in the same way no one can fully stop any type of criminal association – as counterfeit money, adulterated petrol, poisoned food, even child sexual abuse. This is not a good argument at all, because no human has omnipotence or even omniscience.

                    • DonnaDiva

                      Not my point. Prominent anti-choicers have spent years denying publicly that women will be prosecuted under bans and that that has been their intention all along. Of course you’re not going to catch every woman who has an illegal abortion. It will be conducted much the way the current War on Drugs is, with poor, minority, and otherwise marginalized women being the main targets for prosecution while the nice Christian ladies you know get to have their little “procedures” in peace.

                    • What you are saying is anything but new. We can say exactly the same thing, mutatis mutandis, about almost every crime:

                      It will be conducted much the way the current “war on child abuse” is, with
                      poor, minority, and otherwise marginalized people being the main targets
                      for prosecution while the nice rich people get to have
                      their little “joy division” in peace.

                      It is a poor and bad argument indeed. And a bit emotionally loaded indeed.

                    • DonnaDiva

                      Again, your admission that you do want to prosecute women for abortion. Which is exactly what the author of the article from 3 years ago that we’re both commenting to is strenuously denying (in public anyway). And you are not only doing that, but seem pretty excited at the prospect of doing it to the most vulnerable women in society, but not the more fortunate ones. Which is you admitting that this has never been about “life” or babies but rather about your disgusting desire to brutalize women you deem beneath you.

                    • Stop crying and making stupid ad hominem emotional arguments.

                      I am sticking to the basic principle: IF abortion is a crime, THEN there is nothing wrong to “desire” punishment for it. Just change “abortion” by any other unlawful act of your preference – robbery, murder, carjacking, child abuse, rape, genocide, any crime -, the phase remains the same.

                      If you need to resort to emotional, fallacious devices as “you are pretty excited… you don’t care…”, it is the most complete proof you are blatantly wrong.

                    • DonnaDiva

                      The problem is that you are so utterly lacking in basic reading comprehension, despite all your pretentious psuedo-intellectualizing, that you continue to miss my point. Trust me, I am WELL aware that the likes of you are eager to deal out brutal punishments to women for the crime of having sex…whoops I mean “killing babies”. My point from the beginning has been that anti-choice leaders, like the one who wrote this article, deny this strenuously in public (despite admitting it in less visible spaces such as this very comments section).

                      So when people like you come along to admit freely that this is exactly what the intention is of abortion bans, it really highlights the dishonesty of the leaders!

                      Hope that helps. And bye now, because I really have better things to do than argue with sex-obsessed misogynistic wannabe pedants. Like rearrange my sock drawer.

                    • Guest

                      When did the author of this article ever say that women should never be punished for having an abortion? And how can you know what he thinks when you openly brag about not reading what he sends you?

                    • You seem entirely unwilling or unable to quote me without misquoting me. I didn’t say that no women should be prosecuted for illegal abortions. I said that there is no blanket punishment that would fit every crime, given that there are huge differences between coerced and uncoerced abortions, just to name ONE factor.

                      You continually violate the comments policy of this blog, which I created in order to encourage a community of people who disagree about a topic being able to do so respectfully. I’m banning you, just as I have others who do the same thing.

                • Yes, it’s oversimplified on purpose. I am not going on the justice system per se, but only on the core statement: it is not wrong per se the “desire or willing to punish” someone who commits a crime.

                  In fact, the person who carry out the unlawful act needs to show your motivations in order to soften or even obliterate the punishment – something we don’t need to do if the act is not unlawful.

                  If, for example, a person steals a piece of sausage and bread because he is too hungry and poor, it can be argued as a “legal excuse”. But the fact is: he commits an unlawful act. No one needs to explain why “I am changing some nickels and dimes in my pockets for sausage and bread”, it is?

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  • Tim McCarty

    In my experience, the comparisons are not effective if used too soon in the conversation. I say that as one who has used them in the past. In order for the other person to truly understand such a comparison in the way that I mean it, we would first need to come to a mutual understanding of the humanity and personhood of the child in the womb, otherwise known as the fetus. If we don’t both understand that at, we are just going to talk past each other and accomplish very little except to become very frustrated with each other. In my experiences on line, I’ve found that usually either the other person already agrees with me and I’m preaching to the choir, or else strongly opposes me and is hardened into that position to the point of refusing to be convinced regardless of how much evidence I present or how strong it is. For the second type of person, the comparisons are seen by them as invalid sensationalism, since they won’t believe the baby, or fetus to them, is human. If I can convince them to see the humanity, then they will be able to understand the comparisons, but not until then.

  • Catherine Wettengel

    “Sometimes the problem is
    that pro-lifers see the injustice of abortion just fine. What they often lack
    is a sufficient understanding of just how horrible atrocities like human
    trafficking are.”
    (Pro-lifers tend to understand the connection between
    sexual illnesses and how it affects those who are conceived through them. And
    we’re alerted to watch for traffickers. Because, unlike pro-choicers, we’re
    willing to acknowledge that traffickers literally and figuratively get away
    with murder at abortuaries. Anyone who had “sufficient understanding”
    of trafficking would be outside the clinics trying to stop abortion altogether.)

    “Imagine what it would be
    like to have lost a husband on September 11. Every time the anniversary comes
    around when the nation should be commemorating your husband’s death, you see
    people comparing it to the social issue they most care about.”
    (Again, if I was a pro-lifer (which I am), I wouldn’t have a problem with the comparison of a past
    atrocity to a present one IN AN ATTEMPT TO STOP THE PRESENT ONE. Only a
    pro-choicer wouldn’t see the connection and agree with it.) It’s just wrong (It
    only seems morally wrong if you fail to see the connection to the fact that the
    “husband” is being killed millions and millions of times over…RIGHT
    NOW.) Thousands of people died, and we need to appropriately observe that fact
    without constantly attempting to turn the focus to abortion (I’ll turn the
    sentence and see if you see the inconsistency: ” Thousands of people died,
    and we need to appropriately observe that fact without constantly attempting to
    turn the focus [on the exact same thing that is happening continuously in our
    midst and under our noses]”.)

    “My concern is that when we talk to each other, we set habits that affect the way people think about
    things. I don’t want to train pro-life people to hear about a big tragedy and
    immediately think, “That’s not as bad as abortion.” I want pro-life people to
    have a proper amount of grief about all human rights injustices.”
    (You’re assuming a lot here about what pro-lifers feel when they hear about injustices.
    And…other atrocities do pale in comparison to abortion. Billions of people
    have and continue to be murdered this way. The numbers alone scream that with
    clarity.) Also, you just said above, ” I think some pro-life individuals
    just need help expressing the grief they already feel about other human rights
    violations”. So, you’ve gathered that pro-lifers generally grieve the past
    as well.

    “Does that mean we need to split our time between fighting every human rights injustice? No. That wouldn’t be very effective. We need people focusing on abortion. We also need people
    focusing on ending sex slavery. Those are two different issues with different
    causes and necessary responses.”
    (The causes are the same…the devaluing of human life.)

    “What I’m arguing here is that we need to be able to see how horrible non-abortion injustices are, and respond appropriately. Doing this publicly will also have a side benefit of
    helping pro-choice people see that we’re normal human beings who oppose
    injustice”
    (Again, there’s no way to seem “normal” to someone whose
    heart is tainted by a culture that devalues human life. We’re going to seem
    insane to those who refuse to see. You’re making the mistake I initially made.
    You’re thinking this is a matter of reasoning. If it were a matter of
    reasoning, then Roe v. Wade wouldn’t have ever passed. This goes way beyond
    reasoning. The pro-choice mentality is a kind of irrationality of the heart.
    They get upset with pro-lifers especially when we point out the obvious because
    they have no rational* argument against it. They’re hearts are what get in the
    way. They want the moral universe to agree with them that killing an unborn
    person is alright. But…it’s not. And the moral universe isn’t just going to
    change for them. So, yes, pro-lifers may look crazy. But it’s not necessarily
    something we can help. Because to a person with a crazed and ill heart,
    everything and anything looks crazy.) Then we can gain the opportunity to show
    abortion to be the injustice it is. (We have that opportunity. It’s not due to something we’re doing wrong necessarily if we cannot sway every heart.)

  • Brenda from Flatbush

    Excellent points, all.

  • Teresa

    As a formerly pro-choice person, I can also tell you that constantly turning your focus away from other super important justice issues like the environment, slavery, poverty, rape, etc. Degrades your credibility. Being pro-life is about WAY more than just abortion, and it wasn’t until I was shown people who care about ALL parts of life – people who care about mothers as much as fetuses – that I was ready to begin to change my mind. It seems, to a pro-choice person, the ultimate in hypocrisy of ALL pro-lifers can talk about is fetuses. Please please remember that there are so many other issues related to life to talk about and frame abortion as one that is part of a larger picture – and explain that you’re focussing on it because it’s one of the biggest legal gaps still, because it’s one you personally happen to feel particularly strongly about, because it’s one that vets underemphased or overlooked. Etc. But first put it in a context, first acknowledge and exaim that you support women. That you support poverty reduction strategies even if you disagree on what is most effective. Because the main reason I was completely closed off to pro-life, and actually really angry about it, was I saw it as something that wanted to ignore all other issues in favour of abortion, even to the point of forgetting about the mothers or saying their lives matter LESS! (Feminists for life is one of my fave pages, they explain things in a way that worked really well for this formerly pro-choice person!)

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  • Jeanne Hall

    Valid points. However, there will always be those who, while acknowledging these other atrocities, will always go and compare them to abortion, and /or even state that abortion is worse.
    In fact a number of pro-lifers will claim that if abortion is eliminated, human trafficking, terrorism, discrimination and the like will follow.