Note: “PLA” refers to the book ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments by Randy Alcorn. The number following “PLA” is the argument number of the 39 prochoice arguments dealt with in the book. This way, you know where to go in the book if you want to see further development and documentation of the response.
1. Tailor your presentation to your audience, so you’re speaking to them, not yourself.
a) realize the vested interests, denial, and rationalization surrounding this issue.
b) realize the average person’s saturation and indoctrination with media propaganda.
2. Do your homework. The other position can afford to be ignorant of the facts. You can’t.
3. Present the facts logically, clearly and succinctly, citing credible sources, secular whenever possible. (PLA contains hundreds of such sources.)
4. Use terms they’re familiar with, not prolife buzzwords.
5. Appeal to their curiosity and “open-mindedness” to hear a suppressed and politically incorrect viewpoint. (Prochoice is the status quo, establishment position. Prolife is the radical, counter-culture position.)
6. Surprise your audience—don’t fit the “anti-abortion” stereotype.
a) “Actually, I’m prochoice. And you’re not.” (“I’m prochoice about jobs, clothes, cars, schools, seat belts, smoking, etc. You’re anti-choice about rape, kidnapping, assault, theft, and child molesting. Aren’t you?”)
b) “I don’t believe in unwanted children.” (“I just believe the solution is wanting them, not killing them.”)
c) “I’m committed to women’s rights.” (“Like Susan B. Anthony and other pioneer feminists, I believe abortion is harmful and demeaning to women. In fact, abortion has become the primary method across the globe of eliminating unwanted females.” PLA 14) “Abortion is a means for irresponsible men to exploit women, using them sexually, then leaving them alone with the devastating physical and psychological consequences.”
7. Be rational and calm. When you’re right, there’s no need to be defensive. Give the facts and let the listener develop her own emotions based on them. (Don’t overwhelm people with your emotions. Don’t go ballistic in a debate; nine out of ten times the other side will. People who are listening will see which side is angry and irrational and which is calm and logical.)
8. Be prepared for straw man and ad hominem arguments, but don’t use them yourself. When the facts aren’t on their side, people have nothing left to do but distort issues and call names. The side with the truth need not and should not do this. When the facts are on your side, you draw attention to them. When they’re not, you draw attention from them.
9. Be sensitive to the spiritual needs of your audience. (Look and pray for heart change, not just head change.)
10. Ask them questions that will make them think.
”You say you want to be called prochoice, not proabortion. Why? What’s wrong with abortion?” (The only good reason for feeling bad about abortion—that it kills an innocent child—should compel you to be against others doing it also. You should either say it’s fine or oppose it, but you can’t logically do both.)
”See this live intrauterine picture of an unborn at eight weeks (at the time of an early abortion)? What does that look like? (Eye) That? (Fingers) That? (Mouth) That? (Nose)” Don’t tell them. Let them answer. Then point out what they said.
”This baby has a measurable heartbeat at 21 days, and brainwaves at 40 days, before the earliest abortions. What do you call it when there is no longer a heartbeat or brainwaves? (Death.) What do you call it when there is a heartbeat and brainwaves? (Life.) What does abortion do? (Kills a living baby.)” PLA 3
”This unborn baby is to a born infant what a born infant is to a toddler (younger and smaller). Do you think it would be more legitimate to kill an unwanted infant than a toddler just because he’s younger and smaller?”
”If abortion isn’t fundamentally different than other surgeries, like root canals and tonsillectomies, why are there so many post-abortion support groups, and hundreds of thousands of women getting psychological counseling and grief therapy related to their abortions? Do you know of any post root canal counseling and support groups?” PLA 27
”Why do you think it bothers you to see pictures of an abortion more than pictures of root canals or open heart surgery? What’s the difference?”
”Which side in the debate is cruel? The one that shows pictures of dead babies while opposing their killing, or the one that opposes showing the pictures but defends their killing?” PLA 32
”You say the unborn is part of the mother’s body? If that’s true, then every pregnant woman has two hearts, two brains, two different genetic codes, two sets of fingers with different fingerprints, two heads, two noses, four eyes, two blood types, two circulatory systems, and two skeletal systems. And half the time she also has testicles and a penis.” (Location isn’t the issue. Are “test tube babies” part of the test tube?) PLA 2
”We all know the ‘fetus’ is a child.” PLA 8
”You say abortion is legal, so we shouldn’t oppose it? They said the same about slavery and the Holocaust.” PLA 16c.
”Abortion in the case of handicap? After they’re born we say they’re precious and the family learns so much from them. We cheer them on in the Special Olympics. Then before they’re born do we say, ‘we don’t want these monsters; let’s kill them while we can’?” PLA 30
”Abortion in the case of rape? Rape is never the fault of the child—why punish him? Don’t you believe a child is a child, regardless of any bad thing his father did to someone? Besides, abortion is not a therapy, it’s a trauma on a woman who has already undergone the trauma of rape. (If you found out your best friend was the ‘product of rape,’ would you think she deserved to live?)” PLA 31
”You say it’s men who are primarily opposed to abortion? Did you know polls consistently show many more women than men oppose abortion? That the single greatest proabortion group in society is young single men? That the great majority of prolife workers are women, not men? That of women who have had abortions, many more become prolife activists than prochoice activists?” PLA 34
”You say prolifers don’t really care about the women, or the children once they’re born? The fact is that prolife pregnancy centers providing free tests, care, classes, counseling, materials, and housing comprise the single largest grassroots volunteer movement in history. Countless prolifers adopt, open their homes, and volunteer to help children after they’re born.” (The other side gets rich by selling abortions—whose motives should be suspect?) PLA 33
”Will you read this carefully researched book? No? I was hoping you were open-minded. Are you choosing to censor this side of the debate from your own consideration? Why? I’ll be glad to read anything you have for me from the other side. I’m open-minded. Can you refute anything I’ve said? Show me. Let’s lay out all the evidence, and let the best position win. I’m not afraid of the truth. You’re not either, are you?”
(This article was originally published as Appendix J of ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments by Randy Alcorn.)
Browse more prolife articles and resources, as well as see Randy's books Pro-Choice or Pro-Life: Examining 15 Pro-Choice Claims, Why ProLife? and ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments.
Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.