What Should You Say to a Woman Who is Happy That She Had an Abortion?

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes.

I got a great question from a colleague recently, and wanted to share my thoughts with you. If you have something to add, I’d love to read them in the comments!

The question was this: If a girl comes up and says that Roe vs. Wade has improved her life, and talks about all the things she has been able to do after an abortion like go to college, what do you think is the best way of responding to that?

Excellent question. Off the top of my head, I think I’d say something like this:

I’m glad that you didn’t suffer any physical complications of your abortion, and that you aren’t suffering from the depression that some of my friends who are also post-abortive have experienced.

Let me ask you a question that’s a little more philosophical though. Do you think there any other factors that people should consider as they try to assess whether abortion is morally right or wrong? Do you think that if some women are not negatively affected by abortion, that proves that abortion is morally neutral?

What I’m doing here is trying to lead her to discussing other things besides whether a particular woman is happy or sad about her abortion. I want to get us talking about the central question of the abortion debate: is the unborn a valuable human being or not? We could demonstrate that abortion is wrong even if every single post-abortive woman had positive feelings about her abortion.

You could also have a discussion about the difference between right/wrong and wise/foolish. Arguably, some pro-life slogans make a stronger case that abortion is foolish, that it’s not a wise decision because of how it affects some women and society. I think women should consider whether abortion is not a wise decision, but we also want them thinking about how some things can be wrong even if they don’t affect us negatively. For example, the head of a corporation that irreparably harms the environment or kills whales around Antarctica may not feel any guilt from that, and he may not suffer any loss in profit either. Yet it may still be immoral to harm whales or the environment in that way. (That would probably be a more helpful example than a plantation owner who doesn’t feel bad about owning slaves.)

Here’s what I would never do: Say that you don’t believe the person in front of you. “But everybody is affected by abortion!” “You may not feel guilt yet, but you will later.” Statements like that will not be helpful.

The post “What Should You Say to a Woman Who is Happy That She Had an Abortion?” originally appeared at JoshBrahm.comClick here to subscribe via email and get exclusive access to a FREE MP3 of Josh Brahm’s speech, “Nine Faulty Pro-Life Arguments and Tactics.”

Question: What would you say to a woman who is happy that she had an abortion? Post your thoughts below in the comments!

Why We Should Accurately Describe Other People’s Positions

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes.

I respond to a listener who asks “Why are we trying to be so careful to accurately describe other people’s positions? They do just fine describing it for themselves.”

Why We Should Accurately Describe Other People's Positions

My next few posts will be responding to follow-up questions regarding a recent discussion I led on Life Report on what terms to use in abortion dialogues, focusing most of the debate on “pro-abortion” vs. “pro-choice.” I was joined by Steve Wagner from Justice For All and Gabi Vehrs from the Fresno City College Students for Life club, and we all agreed that pro-life advocates should generally use the term “pro-choice” when beginning a dialogue, even though many pro-life people see that as an inaccurate “weasel word.” Steve argued that he needs to ask the person in front of him a lot of questions to accurately understand what they think about abortion, and he doesn’t want to create unnecessary impediments to the dialogue by using offensive terms that he doesn’t even think accurately portrays most abortion advocates.

How Do You Convince Someone That Abortion Takes a Life?

I sometimes get requests to do interviews for local students. You can read one of them here at LifeNews.com. I just did another one, and this is my response to two of his questions:

Student: What do you think is the best way to convince those against abortion that it’s taking away a life?

I think it’s very important to be able to communicate the philosophical argument I summarized here.

Screenshot from the TED talk I linked to.

Screenshot from the TED talk I linked to.

For some people, seeing videos about human development can be helpful. National Geographic’s In the Womb and this TED talk can be very persuasive.

There are some people that don’t see abortion as something that takes life unless they see graphic images of what it does to babies. I think you should warn somebody before showing them, and give them the option of choosing not to view them. I think the best video for this is Stephanie Grey’s “Abortion: Before & After” video. It shows both fetal development images and then abortion images from babies that are the same age.

Student: What challenges have you faced in helping fight abortion?

It’s really challenging to get certain churches to partner with us and fight abortion. I can understand why some would be concerned about certain things that some pro-life groups do, but we’re not one of those groups. If they learned more about us, they should have no problem partnering with us and praying in front of Planned Parenthood, or training Christians to be good ambassadors for Christ and then mentoring them as they talk to pro-choice people on college campuses. Unfortunately a lot of Christians are either ignorant, fearful or apathetic about this issue, and fighting those three things is an ongoing frustration for me. You can hear me speak more about those three problems in depth during this sermon audio.

One of the big challenges of talking to young people on college campuses is that some have embraced moral relativism, the view that morals are subjective and that there is no such thing as an objective moral rule, only preferences. This worldview is already outdated and disrespected by the majority of modern philosophers, but sadly young college students have not all caught up to that. Which means I get to spend long conversations sometimes trying to demonstrate that some things like rape are objectively morally wrong, because if I can’t do that, it’s highly unlikely I will change their mind about something less obvious like abortion.

Why Do People Think That Unborn Babies Aren’t Human?

I sometimes get requests to do interviews for local students. You can read one of them here at LifeNews.com. I just did another one, and this is my response to one of his questions:

11 weeks from fertilization; 13 weeks LMP.

Student: Why do you think that people don’t think that unborn babies are human?

Some are ignorant of the biological reality that the embryo, from fertilization, is a living, whole, human organism.

Most pro-choice people don’t question whether the embryo is biologically alive anymore. Instead, there are two common confusions about whether they qualify as organisms:

1: They Wrongly Compare Embryos to Other Bodily Cells

Embryos are not like skin cells or sperm cells. As Scott Klusendorf explains, “that argument confuses parts with wholes.” Skin cells are a part of my body working for the good of my organism. During the fertilization process the sperm and oocyte die and what remains is a new human organism with separate DNA from the mother, who’s parts are working for the good of it’s whole.

2: They Confuse Construction with Development

Richard Stith has a wonderful article where he explains that some pro-choice think that humans are constructed like a car on an assembly line. That would explain why they don’t think embryos are valuable, because nobody thinks there is a “car” as soon as the first two pieces of steel are welded together at a car factory. But as Stith explains, humans aren’t constructed like cars, they develop from within, like a Polaroid photo.

Most people don’t argue as much about the biology anymore but instead argue that the unborn is not a valuable human being, or “person.” That’s usually because they think the unborn don’t have the necessary things that people have, like self-awareness, desires, or the ability to feel pain. The problem with those views is that it leads to arguments that permit infanticide, (newborns aren’t self-aware and they don’t have desires yet,) or they lead to arguments that allow most animals into the personhood family. (Most animals can feel pain.)

I think it makes much more sense to believe that all humans are valuable because of they share a human nature, and that’s what grounds their value.

What Should Be Done About Abortion, and What are Others Doing Now?

I sometimes get requests to do interviews for local students. You can read one of them here at LifeNews.com. I just did another one, and this is my response to two of his questions:

Student: What do you think should be done about abortion?

I think elective abortion should be illegal, because it kills human beings without justification. It’s not just because it’s morally wrong. There are some things that are wrong that shouldn’t be made illegal. Premarital sex, extramarital sex and gossip are all things that I think are morally wrong but should not be made illegal, because of my views on how government should work and how involved they should be in our daily lives. But clearly it should be illegal to harm another human being, which brings us back to the central question of the abortion debate: what is the unborn? I believe that the unborn are valuable human beings like you and me, with the natural right to life that should be acknowledged and protected by all civil and just societies.

Student: Do you know of anyone who is already trying to make a difference?  What are they doing?

I know lots of pro-life people, both national leaders as well as local grassroots activists. There are lots of different types of things that pro-life people are doing to fight abortion.

For example, some people like me work in education. We want to communicate truths to our society that many aren’t aware of, like that the unborn are just as human as you or me. Some people like my friends at Live Action make undercover videos exposing some of the seedy things about Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities. Abby Johnson used to work for Planned Parenthood before she became pro-life and quit. Her book has educated a lot of people about what goes on behind the scenes in the abortion industry.

Other people are focused on passing pro-life laws, both at the state and federal level. This is important work, as Dr. Michael New’s research has demonstrated that passing state laws can have an impact on the abortion rates in those states.

Some are focused on political action, making sure that strong pro-life advocates are well-spoken on the abortion issue and are elected into office. Then they can help pass the pro-life laws at the state level.

Some people like David Bereit and Shawn Carney are encouraging people to pray and sidewalk counsel at abortion facilities.

Some organizations like Justice For All and Students for Life of America are making sure that good dialogue is happening at the college level. College-age women have more abortions than any other age group, partially because of how difficult colleges make it to have a baby and remain a student.

There are many more examples, but that gives you an idea of what’s out there.