MOCK DEBATE: Who Are You to Say What a Woman Can’t Do with Her Own Body?

Pastor Dan Burrell from Life Fellowship Church invited ERI President Josh Brahm to be interviewed for a four-episode series on pro-life dialogue for their podcast, LifeTalks. This is the fourth episode in that series, where Dan plays a hostile pro-choice advocate in a mock debate with Josh!

Questions: (mock debate)

  • 1:51: Who are you to say what a woman has a right to do with her own body?
  • 2:56: But isn’t it ‘her body, her choice’?
  • 3:22: Even if the fetus may be a person, it is not viable, or won’t be for some time.
  • 4:19: What if the baby is born with severe mental or physical defects?
  • 5:30: Isn’t it wrong for you to insist that a woman deliver a baby that she cannot take care of?
  • 6:43: Is it compassionate to force a woman who has been violently raped to be reminded of the assault every day for at least 9 months?
  • 8:40: Aren’t most of your arguments based on religion?
  • 9:45: Would you force a woman whose life is at risk with this pregnancy to continue?
  • 10:59: Isn’t the pro-life position a slippery slope that could end with a negative view of even birth control?
  • 12:30: Aren’t you a conservative? Wouldn’t this be government overreach to ban abortion?
  • 13:43: Doesn’t pro-life legislation infringe on the right to privacy?
  • 14:29: Aren’t your arguments patriarchal and sexist?
  • 15:52: Isn’t comparing abortion to genocide an overreach?

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INTERVIEW: Why Create Another Pro-Life Group?

Pastor Dan Burrell from Life Fellowship Church invited ERI President Josh Brahm to be interviewed for a four-episode series on pro-life dialogue for their podcast, LifeTalks. This is the third episode in that series. They discuss Josh’s journey to create ERI and what his team has learned along the way.

Questions:

  • 1:35: How did you get involved in this?
  • 7:05: What are some of the things your team has been learning about persuading people?
  • 17:42: How do you get the opportunity to go on college campuses and have discussions about abortion?
  • 19:12: Are you comfortable doing debates?
  • 20:31: Why relational apologetics?

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“Abortion is Healthcare”: A Misogynistic Non-Argument

Did you know that if you repeat the same phrase over and over on social media, it will suddenly manifest as an articulate syllogism? You may need to use capitalization or the universal “hands clapping” emoji which converts your unfounded 👏 assertions 👏 into 👏 sound 👏 arguments that are sure to convince even the most stubborn political opponent! Sometimes called the “Beetlejuice” transformation, this new persuasion tool has streamlined civil dialogues into surface-level slogans guaranteed to get you likes from your followers faster than you can say “unproductive monologue!”

So, let’s address one of the most common slogans repeated by the pro-choice lobby: “Abortion is healthcare.” There isn’t a shred of actual argumentation going on in this statement, but I am going to respond to it anyway because pro-life advocates should do better than simply shouting back, “Abortion is NOT healthcare!” We need to explain why this misogynistic rhetoric is unhelpful to the larger discussion about abortion legality, ethics, and access.

Proponents of legal abortion access will be incredibly unhappy that I am claiming the statement “abortion is healthcare” is sexist, but, rest assured, I do not say this flippantly. I am going to defend that claim in a moment through a feminist framework. (Finally, a chance to apply my minor in Women’s Studies Gender and Health!)

In this article, I explain why defending legal abortion access with this statement plays into a male hegemonic narrative that has harmed women’s health for decades and should be abandoned by anyone who believes that female reproductive health should be treated by health professionals with the same respect and dignity as male reproductive health. I am not saying that you have to oppose legal abortion or “you’re not a real feminist.” I am saying that the statement “abortion is healthcare” is discriminatory language against female bodies, and you can and should do better to defend your viewpoint on abortion.

Let’s try and make this slogan into the best argument it can be:

  • Abortion is a fundamental part of women’s healthcare.
  • People should have access to fundamental healthcare.
  • Therefore, people should have access to abortion.

Healthcare can be preventative to maintain wellness, like a flu shot, or it can be restorative, like occupational therapy after an injury. The exact definition of healthcare includes both of these categories:

“efforts made to maintain or restore physical, mental, or emotional well-being especially by trained and licensed professionals” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, emphasis added).

I will explain why it is factually incorrect to classify abortion as preventative, and then I will explain why it is sexist to classify abortion as restorative. If you want to say that abortion is healthcare, but is neither preventative nor restorative, then you must argue that the current definition of healthcare is too narrow. Normally, you would bear the burden of proof to argue why that is justified, but I am going to explore it anyway to save some time. If you say we need a broader definition, then you will inevitably run into larger problems, or you will be incredibly inconsistent. I address this in the third section below (under “Broadening the Definition of Healthcare to Include Abortion”).