A Brief Guide to the Pro-Life Cause

By Steven A. Christie

Photo Credit: Kelly Sikkema

Since Roe v. Wade in 1973, there have been more than sixty-two million abortions performed in the United States. 

If the unborn are not alive or not human, then it really doesn’t matter, and we needn’t bother about this.  

If, however, the unborn are alive and are human, then we have killed more than sixty-two million children.  

Children. That’s why we bother. It’s that simple. 

The Pro-Choice movement relies on denying the truth about abortion—through denial, manipulation, and falsehoods.  

Their arguments are based on clichés and typically employ ad hominem attacks, branding their opponents as morons, misogynists, or both.  

Inevitably, their arguments boil down to a single falsehood: “Sex is liberating and should be without consequences.”  

Of course, preserving this falsehood takes great effort. Why? Because the “consequences” of “liberating” sex are nothing less than the broken bodies of unborn children and a culture of death that degrades women, children, and families. 

And denying the truth of abortion is hard work. It requires a concerted effort to be blind to the truth, to be deaf to the truth, and to never ever speak the truth.  

Our job, then, is to reveal the truth to those who desperately do not wish to see it, hear it, or speak it. And to do so with intelligence, diligence, and—perhaps most importantly—compassion.  

But we cannot accomplish our task by simply winning arguments. We must focus on winning hearts.  

And winning hearts takes patience, kindness, perseverance, and a mastery of the facts surrounding abortion. In the end, our constant goal is to hear these words at the end of every discussion or debate: “You know, that’s interesting. I’d never really thought about it that way before. . . .”  

That is the sound of a heart opening to the truth. 

Our success in opening hearts to the truth depends on not only the words we say, but how we say them. The following comprise a strategy for approaching these conversations:  

  • We speak charitably, intelligently, and persuasively—relying only on facts. 
  • We make clear, simple arguments (no complex philosophical “proofs”).  
  • We are brief (no rebuttal longer than thirty seconds).  
  • We are always mindful that nearly 25% of the women we will speak with have already had an abortion. Many of these women suffer deeply, and they deserve our compassion. 

There is much debate among those in the Pro-Life movement as to how we should refer to (1) the unborn, (2) the act of abortion, and (3) those who support a right to abortion. 

As to the unborn, I generally use the term “unborn child.” It is simple, accurate, and honest. It is also advantageous that Merriam-Webster defines “child” as an “unborn or recently born person.” 

As to the act of abortion, I keep it simple and honest as well. An abortion is the intentional ending of an innocent life, and “killing” (as per Merriam-Webster) is to “cause the death of.” Therefore, I usually refer to abortion as “the intentional killing of an unborn child.” 

While the term “killing” is entirely accurate, some may prefer to say “ending the life of an unborn child” or “the destruction of a living human being.” Gauge your audience and use what feels right.  

Pro-Choice advocates obviously hate terms like “child” or “killing,” but I don’t believe we should let them reframe this debate inaccurately by using disingenuous and deceptive phrases, such as “products of conception,” “non-viable clump of cells,” or “ending a pregnancy.” 

As to how to refer to those who support a right to abortion, I personally use the term “Pro-Choice” rather than “Pro-Abortion.” I do so for several reasons. One, I find it fosters more productive debate. Two, many supporters of abortion rights still find the act abhorrent. Three, I ask others to refer to me with the label that I prefer—“Pro-Life” instead of “Anti-Woman” or “Anti-Choice”—and it seems only fair to reciprocate.  

If you are uncomfortable with any of my preferred terms, please replace them with those that work best for you. But remember, the point is winning the hearts and minds of others, and not necessarily giving vent to the words that feel good or righteous to you. 

It takes courage to speak up against abortion in today’s modern secular culture—a culture that so fiercely advocates for “sex without consequences.”  

Whenever and wherever you speak up, you will be ridiculed and maligned, and will be called “extremist,” “misogynist,” “intolerant,” “moron,” and worse.  

But the fear of ridicule must not deter you. And when you do find yourself lacking in courage, remind yourself that in this great cause of defending the unborn, there is really only one thing to fear: remaining silent. 

Dr. Steven Christie is a physician specializing in oncologic radiology and body imaging. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Radiology. He is also an attorney and member of the Florida Bar. Aside from his medical and legal work, Dr. Christie also lectures regularly on Catholic social issues, particularly marriage, family, and the dignity of life. He and his wife, Dr. Grazie Christie, live in the Miami area and are the proud parents of five children.

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