What to Say to Someone Who Says “I Wish I Had Been Aborted”

E-mail concept on white background. Isolated 3D imageI got a tough question from a reader this week:

“Josh, what should I say to someone who tells me that they wish that they had been aborted? I hear this a lot from people who had bad childhoods.” ~ Rebecca from Georgia.

I would probably start by saying this:

“That makes me sad that you would say that. It tells me that you must have lived a very sad life. I’d be open to hearing about that if you’d like to share with me.”

Notice that I’m not taking the bait to debate abortion at this point. A statement like that deserves a relational response, similar to the way Steve Wagner trained me to respond to the issue of rape.

My friend Jasmin Aprile said it well on my Facebook page where I invited people to offer their responses to this challenge:

“Find out why they feel that way. Listen to their story. Find common ground with the difficult circumstances they may have experienced, be it poverty or abuse or growing up without a dad. I would say building the relationship is the top priority.”

I might also recommend he get professional counseling. While his statement doesn’t necessarily mean he’s suicidal, it’s a fair guess that he is probably very sad. There is help for depressed people, and some just need a gentle push in that direction.

What if you feel like it’s appropriate in the situation to make an intellectual response? One important point you can make is that while it’s one thing for someone to wish they had been aborted, it’s another thing to assume that EVERYBODY would wish the same thing later in life. I haven’t talked to very many people who think that every human should be killed before birth for their own sake or the planet’s sake.

I ask, “Do you think we should assume that everybody will have such a sad life that they would regret being born?” Most people, after they think about it, will admit, “No. I suppose most people are glad they are alive.” They should at least be given the benefit of the doubt!

The pro-choice person might counter with abused children and how maybe we could make educated guesses on which kids would be abused in the future and “mercy-kill” them while they’re still in the womb. This assumes two things: that our predictive powers are a lot greater than they actually are, and that the unborn are not valuable human beings, the central question of the abortion debate. I demonstrate the latter by making this thought experiment:

“Imagine the government decides to really crack down on the child abuse epidemic, and passes a law that Child Protective Services will go to every household with a child once a year. If they determine that X amount of abuse is happening, they immediately euthanize the child. Would you support that law?”

Of course everybody says, “No, we should come up with a better solution, like putting the abused children in somebody else’s custody.”

Precisely. And IF the unborn are valuable human beings too, then if a mother thinks she will abuse her child in the future we should recommend placing the child for adoption.

In my experience, most pro-choice people make a similar statement to the one Rebecca asked about, but with an important difference. Most say the same thing that a man told me while I prayed outside of Planned Parenthood during our first 40 Days for Life campaign.

Hannah at PP croppedIt was only our second day and I hadn’t done a very good job recruiting people, so out of necessity, I had to be there for six hours waiting for someone to come and relieve me. For the last hour or so my wife hung out with me, while pregnant with our oldest son, Noah.

As an aside, I later learned that the Planned Parenthood staff thought Hannah was wearing a fake belly, but as the picture below shows, she was really pregnant, and we gave birth to Noah in the middle of the campaign!


I even took Baby Noah with me during the last few hours of the campaign. :)

After six hours of prayer on day two of the campaign, my relief finally arrived and I started walking my wife to our car.

Then I saw him coming.

He was storming down the sidewalk and he locked eyes with me and said, “You! I saw you on TV last night! I want to debate!” (He had seen a clip on the news of my speech at the rally we held at City Hall.)

He cooled off pretty quickly after he learned how many misconceptions he had about our campaign, and I had a thirty-minute dialogue with him while my wife drank another bottle of water.

About halfway through our conversation, he said, “I wish that my mother had had the right to abort me.”

Notice the difference between that statement and the one Rebecca asked about: “I wish I had been aborted.” The latter sounds like something a suicidal person would say, or at least someone who’s led a sad life. But if a pro-choice person says the former, maybe they’re simply being consistent!

Think about it. If I’m pro-abortion-choice because I sincerely believe the unborn aren’t valuable persons and/or because I think a woman’s bodily autonomy trumps the child’s right to live, then my views won’t change simply because I’m glad MY mom chose life. I’ll just say, “Well, maybe my mom was in the emotional and financial state where the best thing for her was to parent me. But under different circumstances, I would want her to have had the option to safely terminate her pregnancy. I wouldn’t have known the difference anyway.”

After the man at Planned Parenthood said, “I wish my mom had had the right to abort me,” I’m embarrassed to admit that the instinctive part of me wanted to snarkily reply, “Well, your self-survival instinct is really kicking in, isn’t it!” I’m thankful to say that I only thought that and I didn’t say it.

Instead I said:

“I’m really glad your mother didn’t abort you. I’m glad that she chose life and that we’re able to have this conversation today.”

My friend Anthony Trent said it even better:

“Well, I’m glad you’re here because you have inherent dignity and worth that not even you can take away. Your life is valuable and deserves to be respected even if you don’t believe that.”

I’m happy to report that the man ended our conversation really well. He said, “I’m still pro-choice, although I’m not proud of that. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I’m glad you’re here!”

There is no way that conversation would have ended so well if he had come at me yelling, “I want to debate!” and I yelled back, “Me too! Let’s do this!” and we went into a verbal yelling match. We would have just been shouting past each other, as so many pro-life and pro-choice advocates do every day.

That conversation went well because he could tell that I cared about him, and because I asked a lot of questions, listened a lot, and found common ground several times.

I’m excited to report that I received an email from a reader who took the discussion question on this topic from my Facebook page and used it as a tool to find common ground while discussing abortion with his pro-choice family members. Take a cue from him and ask one of your pro-choice friends this question: “What do you think a pro-life advocate should say if the pro-choice person in front of them says, “I wish that I had been aborted?”

I bet you will have a great conversation, and you will have the chance to show that you really care about pro-choice people, and not just unborn babies.

The post “What to say to someone who says ‘I wish I had been aborted’” 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 in response to either of the two pro-choice statements I discussed in this post? I want to hear from you!


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.

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  • Good post, thanks.

    Also, in my mind’s ear, I’m hearing you yell “Me too! Let’s do this!” and cracking up.

    • HA! Thanks. Occasionally I’ll tell that story in a speech and I’ll channel my inner wrestler for that part. :D

  • John Munro

    To me it would seem they had a tough life have no clue of Love.

  • Alyssa

    I read this post because I’ve felt this way a lot. I’ve always been pro life but recently Ive started thinking if there are this many people who hate themselves, are suicidal, self harm, or think about death daily then is it really fair for me to force everyone to be born? I mean I sometimes wish I wasn’t born and life can really suck so can I really force the hell that life can be on someone else? I know that I’m probably being selfish but I would give anything for someone not to feel the same way.

    • Tullia_Ciceronis

      I used to feel that way. I am really sorry for what you are going through. Trust me, I can definitely relate.
      However, we don’t encourage or even allow suicidal people to kill themselves, so why would we allow abortion for people who might become suicidal in the future?
      I have hope now that death is not the answer to mine or society’s problems, and I hope that you will eventually feel the same way. Hang in there…life is very hard, but I think that in the end it’s worth it.

      • Alyssa

        I guess. I mean I know everyone deserves life but I’m just really struggling right now and I wish there was a way to do something so that no one else feels like this. I know death isn’t the answer but right now death and self harm are some of the only things I can think about. (Don’t worry I’m working on it though. I’m going to counseling) I guess I was just thinking about my life and forcing that onto other people who deserve to be able to live.

        • Alyssa, I am so sorry to hear the level of pain you’re in. I’m very glad you’re in counseling, and I hope it’s helping. I can tell you from personal experience that self-harm is not the answer, although it can definitely be very tempting when it seems like the physical pain would drown out the emotional pain.

          Please know that there are people that truly care for you, and that this difficult season is a temporary one. Hang in there.

  • Warren Fain

    I’m still waiting to hear why you won’t change from “unborn” to “preborn” or “prenatal child,” etc. I can’t think of any logical or Biblical reason to keep using a term that only negates–“unborn,” when there are so many other ways to refer to developing human life in the womb.

    Warren Fain
    Adviser–Students for Life, Valencia H.S. (Orange Co., Calif.)

    • Hi Warren,
      For clarity, I’ll separate this into two different scenarios: beginning a dialogue with a pro-abortion-choice person, and when talking to a pro-life person one-on-one.

      Dialogue with a pro-choice person: My goal when beginning this dialogue is to use the most neutral terms possible, so as not to beg the question. I think pro-lifers beg the question when they begin these dialogues by calling the unborn a “child” or a “baby” when those terms imply intrinsic value. By using neutral terms, I’m not introducing any distracting barriers to our conversation, and we can focus all attention on the real questions that matter: what is the unborn and how should we treat them?

      After I’ve made my case for the humanity of the unborn, I may start using less neutral terms like “preborn” or “baby” to humanize them. I’m simply choosing not to do that when I start the conversation.

      For sure, “preborn” is less question-begging then “child” and “baby.” I just think it sounds less neutral than “unborn.” “Preborn” sounds a little preachy to me, or like “Christianese.” Since almost nobody besides pro-lifers use the term “preborn,” the word sounds a little weird to a pro-choice person who doesn’t trust pro-life people anyway. For those reasons, I choose to use “unborn,” although I personally prefer the term “preborn.” (Probably for all the reasons you like the word.)

      So what about when it’s just pro-lifers? I still use the word “unborn” in that situation because when we talk, we build habits. I think it might be tricky for a pro-life advocate to say “preborn” all the time and then remember to switch to “unborn” or another neutral word with pro-choice people. Having said that, if the advocate can successfully do this, I have no problem with them saying “preborn.”

      I’m open to not having the best view of this. I certainly feel a lot less strongly about this word debate than other terms like “pro-abort,” which I hate. Between “unborn” and “preborn,” I slightly lean toward “unborn.” It’s about 60-40 for me, but it’s 60 for “unborn” for the reasons outlined above.

      I welcome you to continue this dialogue for our mutual benefit and for the benefit of others. God bless, Warren! I’m so glad to know you.


      • Warren Fain

        Sometimes in dialogue with pro-choice people, we can use terms like “preborn” unless they object, because it is so obvious. However they view the developing life (and do you insist on blob of protoplasm if they wish?) it is destined for birth…most reasonable pro-choice people will acknowledge that. So why persist in “unborn”…just to curry favor? I think the point of any honest debate is to convince the other person of the errors in their thinking and the correctness of ours, in a polite and respectful manner. If they insist on terms like “unborn fetus,” and “product of conception,” then you go from there.
        However, usage connotes meaning, as well. You will never know if using terms more accurately portraying God’s view of life in the womb might be lasting “salt and light.” Like I said, if they object and feel that my usage is “begging the question,” then I will gladly use a term we can agree upon, so we can proceed to the essential argument–what is being killed ( or do you not use that term because it may offend?) in the act of abortion?

        With pro-life people or Christians , in general, who may not think much about the issue (could there be such Christians…???!!), I believe we should martial every effort to help inform and teach. The excuse of not using preborn or prenatal child, etc., just so you won’t get in any bad habits when talking to pro-choicers seems to me to be giving up too much of the battlefield of ideas, represented by words, usage, and expressions.
        If indeed, preborn says so much more about God’s intention, why not use it when talking to Christians??
        It seems your concern about being “preachy” or using “Christianese” with believers is a bit misplaced. Should we not use “repentance” or other terms when talking about the church’s failure to address the 56 million (and counting) elective abortions since 1973, for fear of sounding “preachy”?

        I want to be Biblical and effective…I think using preborn or baby in the womb, or prenatal child, instead of a term so stark and cold as “unborn,” seems appropriate and natural if I want to speak about developing human life the way God thinks about developing human life.

        Warren Fain
        P.S. I still think the question, “Why use “unborn” to describe a developing human being, if that being remains “unborn” in abortion ? “, is a good question. I have not heard a good response to that question yet.

        • Let me start by correcting a few misconceptions.

          I’m not using the word “unborn” simply to “curry favor.” I’m attempting to use a neutral term so as not to add distraction or unpersuasiveness to the dialogue.

          I didn’t say to avoid using “Christianese” around Christians. I talked about that in the first section, about why to not use it around pro-choice people. That’s partly why I separated those two sections, to try to keep the distinctions clear.

          As a worship leader, I use the word “repentance” all the time.

          I’ve never had a pro-choice person use the phrase “blob of protoplasm” around me because when we’re talking about abortion, the children being killed are past that stage. So words like “embryo” get used more often.

          I do use the word “killed” because everyone can agree that something gets killed in an abortion. The question is whether or not that entity has moral value.

          I’m a little concerned about the way you phrased that question though. You said, “…what is being killed (or do you not use that term because it may offend?)”

          I feel like the implication is that I’m just a wishy-washy guy who’s so worried about offending people that I use wishy-washy words, or suck the truth out of my arguments so as to avoid possibly offending my audience. Trust me. After 11 years of public speaking on abortion, writing on abortion, publishing nearly 200 podcasts about abortion, and having talked to around 1,000 pro-choice people, I’ve said lots of things that have offended people. My fear is not offending people. My fear is *needlessly* offending them.

          You argued that I should start with words like “pre-born” and only stop if the other person objects. I have a few concerns about that strategy:

          1: Most people won’t verbally object to your use of terms. But they may mentally note that you’ve begged the question, or perhaps just feel more uneasy about the debate without being able to put their finger on what the problem is. That person won’t be persuaded by anything else you say, because they’ll feel like you’re using some kind of a word trick, even if they don’t know what it is.

          2: If the person does catch you making a logical fallacy, you’ve lost a lot of points for the rest of the dialogue.

          3: Your argument proves too much. Why not say “child” or “precious human person, son or daughter of God, made in His image” whenever talking about the preborn, and only retreat if they object?

          You say you want to be “Biblical and effective.” Obviously I want the same thing. I think my strategy is more effective, and I have a lot of experience to back that up. I don’t think that one of our ways is more Biblical than the other. I think we’re talking about advanced dialogue approaches here, and it’s a wisdom question.

          I don’t understand the question you’re asking in the postscript, which is why I haven’t responded to it yet. Can you flesh that out for me?

          • Jasmin Aprile

            Personally, I prefer the term ‘unborn’, because I want to avoid terms that may put a roadblock in someone’s mind to accepting the pro-life and Gospel message. From the perspective of the person I’m talking to, I don’t them to feel like I’m ‘cheating’ in what is supposed to be an objective intellectual discussion. I don’t want them to feel that I’m trying to ‘sneak in’ what the pro-choice person might see as pro-life bias. (As an aside, I do admit we’re all ‘biased’, but people tend to have a knee-jerk reaction if they think I’m acting biased. As a conversational technique it has been helpful to me to not come across as biased to win my point, but rather to use biology and philosophy.)

            Even though the term ‘unborn’ is technically an adjective, it’s very commonly used and accepted in common parlance as a noun. So basically, it’s not weird (at least to most people). It seems like a more neutral term. In my experience, using that term helps me to get past side issues and facilitate a conversation which focuses on the MAIN issue: what is the unborn?

            On the other hand, ‘pre-born’ is much less commonly used, especially among people who are not pro-life nerds (like me). :) So when someone first hears it, their initial reaction might be, “Wait, what? What on earth is a pre-born?” To me, it sounds more weird to use it as a noun in conversation. I actually haven’t tried using this term much in conversation, so I’m open to the possibility that it might actually be helpful, but to me it sounds distracting from what we really want to talk about – reasons why the unborn are valuable human beings.

            So, I personally prefer ‘unborn’. I want to have the best shot I can at building rapport and mutual respect with the person I’m talking with without introducing unnecessary roadblocks. Ultimately I hope to show Christ’s love to them – that He cares about them too – and to build receptivity to the truth of the Gospel and the pro-life message.

            • Jasmin, you always explain things so well! That really impresses me.

              • Jasmin Aprile

                Thanks Josh! I try. I’ve learned from a lot of really incredible mentors at Justice For All. :)

            • Warren Fain

              I think your tactic with “pro-choice” people is admirable and for you, probably it has been effective. However, when talking with any rational person about a subject we may disagree with them about, it is not unfair or unexpected to have someone choose terms (of course, they must be accurate and honest) to illuminate their issue, even if such terms connote an emotional or predisposed assumption. Of course, if I am talking with a pro-choice individual, and they object to my using “preborn human,” then I will gladly accommodate them, and seek to get to the heart of the matter–what is being ended when a pregnancy is terminated.
              Is it unfair or too emotional to ask them, “What is the developing life in the mother’s womb?” Is it human? Of course, the discussion may ensue, what is the definition of human…is it then a person, with any rights…? Of course, these are the crucial questions.

              Your comment on people’s reactions to “preborn,”is one of the reasons I use the term. I want them to think about life in the womb. Is it not “preborn,” or meant to be born? If not, why not?
              If the person is a believer in God or Christianity, then the term “preborn,” is so much to the point, because that is clearly God’s intention for every pregnancy (short of natural miscarriage or to directly save a mother’s life such as in a critical ectopic pregnancy).
              I will gladly accommodate anyone if “preborn” offends them. I will seek to reason with them why that term fits better than “unborn.” Pro-choice people often want to call human life in the womb things like “unborn protoplasm,” or “unborn product of conception,” and thus I would reason with them about the eventual path of such “unborn tissue,” and hopefully, get them to acknowledge that if uninterrupted, such pregnancies normally result in birth. I would then gently suggest to them that is why I prefer to use the term “preborn,” when referring to human life in the womb.
              If we were reasoning with a KKK member about the evil of lynching blacks in the South before 1960, would it be wrong to suggest that this action would be a tragic, moral evil? Those are loaded terms, of course. If they demurred, we could have a discussion about the essential humanity of all people and why taking an innocent human life is always wrong. Using honest and accurate terms can be an effective tool is discussing moral issues with people. But, if using any term gets in the way of an honest debate, we should forego the usage and work from logical premises to see if the person can be won over.
              I welcome your response to any flaws in my reasoning.
              In Him for good,
              Warren Fain

        • Warren Fain

          You asked about my question in the postscript: “Why use unborn if the child remains unborn in abortion?”
          By that I mean the term unborn is too amorphous, too imprecise. I think it might be helpful, as you pointed out, to establish with a pro-choice person that you or I have a reason for using the term “preborn.” It is not meant as a word trick or to gain sneaky emotional points, it is meant to be an accurate description of human life in a mother’s womb. Just as you may need to establish with the pro-choice person that something is being “killed” in an abortion, so if that is agreed upon, why not use “preborn” to describe that life, since it is also obvious that individual is intended, by nature, if you will, to be born. I don’t want to sneak in anything, I want to be accurate. So, maybe I need to ask the pro-choice person if they mind that I use preborn instead of unborn in our discussion. If they feel I am “begging the question,” I want to know. Then we’ll agree on a term for what is developing in that pregnancy that we both can use in the subsequent discussion.
          I want to be respectful to my “debate partner”,but not to needlessly give up ground regarding the accurate description of human life in the womb.
          Thanks for your input,
          Warren Fain

          • Jasmin Aprile

            Hello Warren,

            There’s something you said that I really agree with – that in our conversations our mutual goal is, like you said, to get to the heart of the matter. What is the developing life in the mother’s womb? We have the same goal, to talk about what really matters, which is awesome. :)

            However, I’d like to clarify the discussion by distinguishing between talking about what an embryonic human IS, on the one hand, and how we want to TALK about it, on the other. I think you’re right that an embryonic human is ‘pre-born’. It also is, like Josh said, a “child” or “precious human person, son or daughter of God, made in His image”. Obviously some of these terms, though most definitely accurate, aren’t necessarily helpful in most conversations. So it seems like our goal should be to determine which term is the most helpful in facilitating productive dialogue.

            I see your point that preborn seems more inherently pro-life than unborn. I also respect your readiness to accommodate to someone who dislikes the term. However, doesn’t that willingness, in itself, show that the term carries more inherent potential to offend? Certainly, we can use the term ‘preborn’ without the intent or goal to appear tricky or beg the question; but even the best of intentions doesn’t make the term helpful in actual dialogue. It seems to me like the term ‘unborn’ is an honest, accurate and neutral term which does not carry implied bias.

            I like your idea of asking permission to use the term ‘preborn’. That may really help people feel more at ease. In my opinion, that would be better than simply using it, and hoping that people won’t be turned off. However, to me, that seems like jumping through an unnecessary hoop in the goal of trying to talk about the central question of the abortion debate. Students I talk to on campus bring up all kinds of off-topic objections like the role of graphic visuals, poverty, child abuse, homosexuality, Westboro Baptist Church, the Crusades, you name it…and usually their time is extremely limited before they head off to class. There’s only a brief window that I get to actually talk about the central question with them. So, I don’t like the idea of having to introduce another possibly controversial roadblock, when we could be using that time to talk about the heart of the issue.

            In my personal experience, I have used ‘unborn’ in every conversation for more than a hundred hours of outreach, and I don’t think anyone has ever been offended by it. As a result, it has been less challenging to get to the heart of the abortion debate in conversation, ultimately resulting in minds changed.

            Again, I haven’t had much personal experience using preborn, so you might be better qualified to say if it tends to be more effective or more offensive. I’m really curious – does it tend to be helpful for you? What do you think?

            I’m really enjoying this conversation! Thank you for helping me think about this issue more deeply!


    • Michelle Ewing

      unborn suggests that the child is not born, but preborn suggests that the child will be born. That being said, I think preborn would be incorrect, because not half of blastocyst become embryos, 1/4 embryos don’t live to become fetuses. and then there is still the chance of late miscarriage and still birth. medically speaking most of these things are not birth. even without abortion, we do not know if that young child will be born. all we know is the child is not born.

      • Great point. I’ve been trying to figure out whether or not an unborn child who will tragically die in miscarriage could be accurately called, “preborn.”

        • Michelle Ewing

          I think even calling an unborn child a baby would be more correct. A baby is someone who is adored, normally a young child. Though the term is less neutral because a personal emotional attachment a mother has (most of he time) that pro choicers would rather ignore.

  • Warren Fain

    Michele Ewing (if I remember right),
    Even if medically those facts are correct, it is part of the fallen world that every conception does not result in birth. The reason for using the term “preborn” rather than “unborn” to speak of pregnancies about to be aborted (always beyond six weeks, except in the case of RU-486 or methotrexate abortions, or the morning after pill) is that the child’s heart has been beating since 25-30 days and brain waves have been measurable somewhere between 35-40 days. These are developing human beings, on the way to being born (short of natural miscarriage as a result of living in a fallen world), except if their life is ended prematurely by an elective, surgical abortion.
    As Christians, we should speak of these developing human beings in the way God sees them. They are not simply and solely “unborn” (and will stay that way in abortion), they are indeed, profoundly “preborn”, in the sense that they are intended to be born, assuming the normal process of pregnancy continues and is not interrupted by natural miscarriage or by some abortion procedure.
    When a woman is facing the choice of abortion or carrying her pregnancy to term, we hope to convince her that the developing life in her womb is indeed a preborn, human child, intended by God for birth (short of natural miscarriage).
    If we insist on referring to the developing life with such a limited term as “unborn,” we may as well concede that if she chooses abortion, the “unborn” human life can stay that way and we will shrug it off as something inevitable. As Christians we believe that “God grants conception,” (Ruth 4:13 and other passages). Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to actually articulate an accurate way of describing life in the mother’s womb. Thus, “preborn” more correctly connotes God’s intention (short of natural miscarriage, which is a result of living in a world that is characterized by disease and death due to the Fall). “Unborn” simply says that the developing life is not born. Don’t we, as believers in a God who commands us to “Choose life…”, want to say more than simply the developing life is not born. If the child is aborted, she is still “unborn.” By definition a “preborn” child, who is aborted, is a profound tragedy because the intention of the pregnancy, from God’s point of view, is birth and ongoing life.

    I am not as concerned about being medically accurate with a sterile and unfeeling term such as “unborn.” I want to say the developing life is “meant to be born,” and that abortion on demand should be shunned by a mother who thinks about the fact that the developing human in her womb is meant by God to be born. Thus, when I say the “preborn child,” or “prenatal human,” or developing baby, I am trying to speak in a way as to capture God’s thoughts and God’s will for that developing human life. If we can agree that every elective abortion (not one necessary to directly save the mother’s life), is a profoundly wrong moral decision, from God’s point of view, then we should choose terms to describe that developing human life that will speak of the intended destination–birth. Thus, I choose to use “preborn” instead of “unborn”, unless dialoguing with a “pro-choice” person who objects to such usage.
    I welcome your response to any errors in logic or reason which I may have made here.
    In Him for good,
    Warren Fain

  • Warren Fain

    Thank you for your kind and thoughtful response to my concerns. You are obviously an intelligent, articulate spokesperson for prenatal life and for the sanctity of life ethic that is facing challenges at every turn in our culture.

    I have a question for you. How is it bias, if a term more accurately describes a thing than another term. I believe that “unborn” is unnecessarily vague about the entity we are describing. Biologically speaking, the developing fetus is progressing, short of natural miscarriage or some accident causing death to mother and/or her developing fetus, into a born human being at the end of nine months (or so…). Since the growing entity in her womb is progressing towards birth, it is accurate to call that entity “preborn.” In fact, you could make the point that “unborn” is not very accurate at all, since it could describe the fetus in a miscarriage, an abortion, or some terrible accident that leaves the developing human “unborn.”

    What “unborn” doesn’t describe is the progress toward natural birth that is the normal destination for most pregnancies. If using “preborn” is much more scientifically accurate, we could gently point that out to our pro-choice friends as we discuss what is the actual status of what is being aborted. It is not some “unborn product of conception,” or “unborn fetal tissue,” as some have stated, it is in scientific fact, a “preborn human who will eventually be born,” assuming the normal progress of most women’s pregnancies. How is that being sneaky or trying to gain an emotional advantage–it is scientific and normal human occurrence in most pregnancies. Thus, I can find no bias in using the term “preborn”. Now, if my pro-choice friend insists on using another term, I will gladly accommodate to avoid that linguistic hurdle, in order to reach the essential point–what is being aborted, and what value does that “product of conception” have.

    I don’t want to avoid a term, which is scientifically and logically accurate just because the debate has been skewed, over the years, by terms like “product of conception,” or “fetal tissue.” You may have heard some just say the child in the womb is only “tissue.” At which point we may ask, “When does that tissue become a human person, to be fully protected by law?” As you know, some , like Peter Singer, say two years, one year, or six months after birth. If this is where our friend wants to begin, so be it. We begin there and reason (and pray) that God will open her/his mind to the facts, and scientific reasons for viewing what is developing in the womb as a real human person, deserving of full protection in law and practice by the larger human community.

    Preborn is thus not biased usage, but more accurate usage than “unborn,” which says so little, and only the obvious. Of course, one might ask, “Well if it is “unborn” right now, does it stay that way (assuming no abortion or miscarriage)?” The answer is rightly, “No, the entity in the womb continues a natural progression toward birth.” Thus, the better description of such an entity is “preborn.” You could even say it is a term more in concert with the nature of most pregnancies, and thus should have been the natural term to use to describe life in the womb.

    I have a hunch that if there had been more female doctors practicing in the 1900s when most of the medical textbooks were written for our obstetricians since the 1950s, the term “unborn” would not have become so entrenched. Pregnant mothers who welcome their developing fetuses almost always refer to the growing life as a “baby” or “child” or some life-affirming term like those, not as “tissue” or “products of conception,” or even “unborn child.” Preborn child is so much more accurate and life-affirming.

    I have found pro-choice people don’t particularly care what the developing life is called, the issue of who or what it is becomes the focus, if we stay on point. Then the scientific facts tend to help our case–left alone, or if you will, to natural causes, the developing fetus becomes a born human in nine months or less.
    And my friend’s child, born at 28 weeks (about three months premature) was no less human than the forty week baby, right? At any stage of pregnancy, the term “preborn” fits better than “unborn” as the tiny human progresses towards birth.

    I look forward to your thoughts and comments. I would love to meet you some day and shake your hand for being such an articulate and committed pro-lifer.

    In Him for good,
    Warren Fain

    • Jasmin Aprile

      Hello Warren!

      Thank you for your encouragement, and for taking the time to thoughtfully explain your reasons! First I will address your question regarding bias; then I’ll give two reasons why I still believe ‘unborn’ is the most effective term to use.

      You asked, “How is it bias, if a term more accurately describes a thing than another term?” When I say bias, I’m trying to consider what the pro-choice person might perceive as bias. Certainly it’s not truly biased to use the term ‘preborn’, just the same as if I used the term ‘precious human child’; both are completely accurate. But from the worldview or perspective of the pro-choice person, that term would seem biased – to them. Even if it isn’t. By your logic, why not use the term baby, or, intrinsically valuable child of God? Personally, I think the term ‘precious human person’ more accurately describes embryonic humans than the term ‘preborn’. ‘Precious human person’ is so much more accurate and life-affirming; yet we would probably both agree that it wouldn’t be very helpful in conversation, when the goal is to influence a pro-choice person to change her heart about abortion.

      So, I firmly believe the main issue we need to discuss is not which term is most precise, but rather, which term best facilitates productive conversations with pro-choice people. We should accomplish this by avoiding introducing unnecessary roadblocks in the mind of the person we are talking with, shouldn’t we?

      It’s helpful for me to try get into the shoes of pro-choice people. So I ask two questions: First, which term is less weird? Second, which term holds the least potential for offense? To answer the first, ‘unborn’ is more commonly used, thus less weird. It facilitates building more rapport, in my experience. I’m already alien enough to most people because of my prolife, Christian, pro-family, conservative worldview. Throwing in strange terminology just adds to the hassle. For the second, ‘unborn’ is more neutral, without the potential for being viewed as biased(even though it’s not), which gets us to the central question of the abortion debate more quickly.

      So ultimately, I agree with you that ‘preborn’ is admittedly more precise; yet I think ‘unborn’ is most helpful in producing fruitful dialogues.

      I am still interested in hearing from you – when you have real-life conversations, is the term ‘pre-born’ usually helpful/effective? Do you often have to spend time discussing the term? I’m still open to using it, if it’s helpful practically in propelling the conversation forward.

      Have a very blessed day!
      In Christ,

  • Warren Fain


    You are so articulate ! I know God must use you to reach many pro-choice hearts with a convincing pro-life apologetic.

    I have found that in dialogue with pro-choice friends and people on the sidewalk (My friend and I go out on most Saturdays to a nearby Planned Parenthood to pray, share, etc.) that they have never objected to my use of “preborn.” In fact, since, as you acknowledge, it is a more accurate description of life in the womb, maybe more seeds have been planted by the very use of the term.
    Now, I realize that “precious human life/person” is even more accurate, from God’s point of view, the reason I don’t use that phraseology in my initial discussions with pro-choice people is that would be truly begging the question. However, since preborn merely describes the state of the entity in the womb, if left to the natural course of time, etc. , I think it is fair to use it. Now, I think I will make a point of asking any pro-choice person I am dialoguing with in the future if the use of “preborn” is objectionable to them. I do not want to seem like I’m stacking the linguistic or emotional deck just to win an argument. I truly want them to understand why I use preborn human, so if they object, we can start at an earlier point to hopefully reach that plateau.

    I think “unborn” is unnecessarily vague and vacuous. I want to be precise and objective in my terminology both with Christians and pro-choice individuals.
    I think your reasons for sticking with “unborn” are almost treating the pro-choice person as someone who can’t handle using accurate, logical terms, …almost not giving them the proper respect as someone who can think logically, etc. Now, if they display an unwillingness to have you or me use “preborn” since they don’t agree with the term’s implications, then we back up and start with other terms–maybe developing human (if they object to that…maybe “developing human fetus”, and so on).

    To the point with fellow believers and ones we assume to be pro-life, I always use the term “preborn” and explain to them why using “unborn” says so little and can even be a negative, as in “…the unborn aborted fetus…” I honestly am convinced that, as important as good pro-life apologetics are, the real key to stopping abortion on demand lies squarely with the professing Church–the genuine Body of Christ, whatever denomination they may be.

    Our Lord told us to pray that God’s will would be done “…on earth as it is in heaven.” I believe His command to be “salt and light” can be seen through history as having cultural and national, even international ramifications when God’s people see cultural issues (like abortion, slavery, the poor, etc.) from His point of view and act accordingly. St. Francis of Assisi comes to mind as someone who led the church to re-evaluate their view towards the poor, outcasts, lepers, etc. The first hospitals began to spring up all over Europe as led by the Franciscans…and many other institutions dedicated to acts of charity and kindness. The anti-slavery movement began in England when William Wilberforce began a lonely but committed campaign to end the slave trade (1781-1807) and eventually slavery, altogether abolished in the British Empire (1833). His influence was huge in sparking a similar movement here in the U.S., largely led by God’s people.

    I believe we, as His church, must rise up and lovingly take our message, first and foremost to the places where children are being sacrificed to the gods of pleasure and lifestyle, etc.–the abortion centers across the country. If the Peter Singers of the world had their way and one and two year olds were being taken to “child euthanasia centers” could we get a better response from the church than to date on the abortion issue? Are two month olds in the womb worth any less to God than two year old toddlers? Obviously, God cares the same…do we?

    Someone once said, “Abortion will come to an end in the U.S., when, and only when, the Church of Jesus Christ decides it must come to an end…”
    What will it take? A great persecution of the church? A great revival? More of us lovingly confronting church leaders with their failure to act and speak about the issue?

    Maybe you are familiar with an Evangelical pastor/Bible teacher by the name of Chuck Swindoll. His radio program has been on Christian radio stations for several decades. I had the privilege to be his daughter, Charissa’s sixth grade teacher in 1976 (I am a sixty-two year old public high school teacher now). My wife and I attended his church before we moved to Riverside County where we could afford to buy a home on my salary (she was a stay at home , home-schooling mom). His Orange County church grew quite rapidly–First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton. A friend supplied me with tape cassettes (1990-1991) of some of his sermons.

    During the Operation Rescue days (1989-1992), Swindoll decided to give a two part sermon series on what the Bible had to say on abortion. I was listening to the two-tape series each day on my way to and from work and heard him say the following:

    “After the first service this morning (first of his two-part talk), a woman came up to me with tears in her eyes and she said, ‘Pastor Swindoll, if you had given that sermon ten years ago, I would have four children alive today…”

    You could hear his voice breaking up. I couldn’t believe it. Now, of course, the woman can not (and didn’t seem so) be putting all the blame on Swindoll. She had a Bible, she had prayer and her conscience. However, the Scriptures and human existence is clear, “as the leaders go, so goes the people (by and large).”

    I truly believe that until we reach a “critical mass” of believers who are willing to say and act like abortion is truly the taking of an innocent human life (tantamount to murder, at least for the abortionist), we will not win this battle to end abortion. In the Bible, God said that His hand of judgment was stayed in Elijah’s day because there were 7,000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal. I want to be part of that 7,000 or 700,000, or whatever number He needs to forestall His judgment falling on our land for the more than 57 million deaths since Roe v. Wade.

    I believe that using “preborn” with fellow believers helps wake them up to what is going on in abortion. I remind fellow Christians that children stay “unborn” in abortion, so let’s use a more accurate and life-affirming term like prenatal child or preborn baby, etc. when speaking of life in womb, not only because birth is the natural destination for most pregnancies, but that is God’s will for most pregnancies (Ruth 4:13, Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:13ff, etc.).

    Jasmin, do I read it right, that by your picture, you may have a child ? If so, God bless you for your concern to reach out and by His grace, change hearts and minds.

    In Him for good…all His best to you and family,

    Warren Fain

  • Warren Fain

    I just posted a response to you, but not from this post…I hope you can find it. I told about my real concern–awakening the church to the plight of the preborn.

    Also, I told about an incident in 1991 at Chuck Swindoll’s church in Fullerton (Orange County), California. I think you will find it saddening and somewhat shocking. Let me know if you are not able to find my post–at the end of a series of other posts, etc.
    I see your picture shows you holding a child…I assume that is your child…if so, God has blessed you…
    Let me know if you find my post, this same evening.

    In Him for good,
    Warren Fain

    • Jasmin Aprile

      Hello Warren,

      I sincerely apologize that I did not see your response to my post! I have not had time to check for updates, since I’m working to finish my home school high school courses to graduate this month. We also took a family vacation, unplugged. I only checked just now, so I’m very sorry that I did not see your post until then. I apologize!

      Thank you; God has most definitely blessed me! That child is my baby sister. I’m eighteen, and she just turned one this year. I’m the oldest of seven lovely siblings and am so blessed. Don’t worry about mistaking me for her mom – it happens regularly. :) I have been mistaken for my sister’s mom and my brother’s girlfriend. It’s just another day in the life of a big sister. :-D

      Thank you for your thoughtful response to my post! I couldn’t agree more that we, as the Church, have the responsibility to rise up and fight to stop this heinous evil. It encourages me to dialogue with someone as passionate as you are about this issue! Even though we might disagree on terminology, I’m so glad we can strive together to defend the unborn. I will continue thinking about your points. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me!

      I pray you have a very blessed day!
      In Christ,

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  • Catherine

    What makes men interested in this topic?

    • Guest

      That would depend on the person. Here is why Josh Brahm became interested in this issue:

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  • Tina

    Hi, I grew up very pro-life, except I believed in instances of rape or incest that it was cruel to punish the rape/incest victim twice. Now I am still not pro-abortion in the sense that people women should just be able to use abortion like birth control, or just get rid of a child because they don’t want it. But I do believe there are times when it is a necessary evil, kind of like war.

    Here’s my background: I had an amazing childhood with wonderful, loving parents. I have a background in psychology, and I never remember a time when God was not a major focus in my life. There have, of course, been times that I was less diligent about being a Christ follower, but for the most part, I have not strayed very far. I even considered a life as a minister for quite some time. Now I am in a good marriage with a wonderful man, and I feel so blessed every day. I am a positive person, and I probably look pretty goofy because I go around smiling a lot for no apparent reason. I am not in the least depressed, as you can probably tell from that description.

    The kicker, though, is that I wish I had been aborted. When I was a young adult, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. And while there are many people who can go through life with that illness and function decently, I was not one of them. I have been hospitalized an unreal amount of times, numerous suicide attempts, etc. I just have a really severe version of the illness. But I’ve been stable now, for over a year, and there is no indication that this remission of sorts is going away any time soon. But the illness is so horrific when it’s here, that I can hardly bear it. It’s not like I wake up every morning and think about it, or that I am constantly fearful that it will come back. I’m not. Most days, I am just truly grateful for the break, and I don’t think about the illness much at all. My life has been wonderful and amazing in so many ways, but the good times have never been as good as the bad times were horrible. And that is why I wish I had been aborted. I am clear-headed, I am not depressed, I am great at seeing things from different perspectives and don’t have any type of tunnel vision. And still, I wish I had never been born, or in lieu of that, had been aborted. I honestly wish I didn’t feel that way. I don’t obsess about it, but still, I imagine it seems pretty weird to people who have no idea how awful bipolar disorder can be. When I realized how hereditary it can be, and the third person in my family was diagnosed, I got my tubes tied. I really wanted children, but I could have never dealt with the guilt of passing on that horrible illness to someone I loved.

    My mother didn’t know that much about bipolar disorder when I was born, and her brother was the only one to be diagnosed yet, so she would have no reason to have aborted me. I was wanted and I was loved. Still, I can’t help but wish that I had never had to endure the pain that I have endured thus far. Even if I had some guarantee that I would never have another episode again, would it be worth it to me to have endured it thus far? No, I can’t say it would. My matter-of-factness probably seems a little creepy, and I apologize for that. But it is reality. I am active in my church, i pray daily, and have a devotional time with Scripture almost daily, but I can’t deny that is how I feel.

    So, I was curious. What would you say to someone like me?

  • Winter

    The biggest mistake about humanity is regarding ourselves as “special.” We are still biological machines driven by instinct. The urge to protect the unborn isn’t from love (as love is just a hormone) it’s a natural maternal response.

  • gustavo herrera

    I sincerely wish my mother had aborted me. Life is not a gift. A gift is something one has a choice in accepting. I had no choice in being or not being born. I have never enjoyed existence. I have always found it profoundly crippling and overwhelming. If I had a choice I would cease to exist for eternity. To be nothingness would be heaven. I cringe when I hear the virtues of motherhood being praised. Its disgusting and moronic to uphold what comes naturual to nature, as a gift. Life is not a gift, it is a burden, a hollow, empty mess of pain and anguish. I have attempted suicide at least three times in my feeble existence. I am hoping my fourth time will be a home run. I want nothing more but to cease being. I want to be nothing. I want no trace of me ever being here to show. Now that woul be a gift. All else is a shit sandwich.

  • Tracy

    Saying you wish your mother had aborted you obviously means you do not feel loved. I’ve been depressed before and I’ve been down but there is nothing like the feeling (or knowing) that you’ve never been loved. Life can be a horrible experience when you have absolutely no one. Having children does not fill that void. I was hated as a child. I was told that I should kill myself because I was nothing. My mother has severe mental issues. If she saw a professional, she would probably be diagnosed as a malignant narcissist and psychopath. She was/is dangerous. She should never have been allowed to have 12+ children. She should have never been allowed to keep any of us. She went out of her way to ensure that I had no one. She didn’t love me and she didn’t want anyone else to love me. She deliberately sabotaged anything that was good in my life. I had to move thousands of miles away from my hometown just to get away from her and the rest of my severely dysfunctional family. I was abused in every way as a child. The system doesn’t work nor do they care. I didn’t fit into the right demographic. I was nothing to them too. Social workers blamed me for everything that ever happened to me. You claim someone touched you?
    Why? What were you doing? Did you like it? Someone beat you? Why? What did you do? You probably deserved a beating. Someone locked you out in the cold? Why? You weren’t home on time, right? You missed your curfew. I didn’t have a curfew because no one cared where I was. They just didn’t want me to come back. They hoped I would die out in the cold. I was told, “I wish you were dead. I wish someone would kill you out there in the street. I hope they find you with your throat slit in some alley somewhere.” The bruises meant nothing. The injuries meant nothing. My mental state was ignored. Everything was my fault. I was an ungrateful, delinquent brat. I’ve been maligned and rejected throughout my life. Yes, I do wish she had not only had the option to abort me – I wish she had done just that. Thanks to a horrific childhood and the severe psychological and physical scars, I have been miserable for as long as I can remember. I thought I had to earn love. I tried with everyone I’ve ever met and ended up being used and abused by every person I’ve ever held dear. I have no friends. My mother saw to it that I had the loneliest existence on earth. I have no love interest. My reputation has been so tarnished, no decent man would have me. My relationships with my own children are tainted by my family’s ability to manipulate and enthusiastically lie. She even sabotaged my educational and career opportunities. Whatever she thought meant anything to me, she worked hard to destroy – and she’s good because she is pathological. I don’t have one part of my life that I can say is unblemished or untouched by my disgusting family. Does that sound like a life worth living to you? I have become bitter. I am lonely. I have severe PTSD, depression, agoraphobia, anxiety, and a myriad of other issues I can’t even name. I have been emotionally drained for years. I have nothing left. I gave it all away trying to earn someone’s love. I don’t even have enough left for myself. I hate my mother more for the things she didn’t do more so than what she did to me. She didn’t love me. She didn’t like me. She didn’t hug me. She didn’t encourage me. She didn’t protect me. She didn’t want me. She should have aborted me.