Rhetorical Sandpaper

We all know that language plays a crucial role in the battle over abortion. And it is no secret that the American abortion lobby is extraordinarily talented in the manipulation and distortion of rhetoric. It is also true that their loyal little lapdogs in the media have memorized and employed all the verbal gymnastics their masters taught them.

Of course, those of us in the pro-life movement cannot control the language these people use to market this holocaust. But the bigger problem is that their deceptions are often so subtle that we don't pick up on them and, therefore, don't expose them. To make matters even worse, sometimes we actually use them in our own conversations. I recently saw a textbook example of this on a Christian talk show. The host is a pastor I know to be unapologetically pro-life and he was introducing a new guest to his studio audience. He gave her name and then described her as having become pregnant at the age of fourteen which then forced her to decide whether to "have the baby" or not.

My jaw dropped at least a foot. Here was a pro-life minister on a national television show speaking about abortion as if someone from Planned Parenthood or the National Abortion Federation was whispering in his ear. This man, though well-intentioned, was oblivious to the fact that this "have-the-baby / not-have-the-baby" jibberish is nothing more than a diversionary scam being run by the abortion lobby.

Let's set the record straight here and now. By the time a woman is pregnant, it is too late for her to decide whether she wants to have the baby or not. She is going to have the baby! The only unresolved issue is whether she will have a live baby or a dead one. That is precisely what this "have-the-baby / not-have-the-baby" nonsense was designed to keep the public from thinking about. It was also designed to dull the consciences of the moms who might be contemplating an abortion. After all, abortion is much more palatable if these women can be deceived into believing that they are not really killing their babies; they're just choosing not to have them.

Unfortunately, the trap this minister fell into is just one of many from the vast catalogue of mindless word games the abortion lobby has assembled. They accuse us of trying to deny women their right to have "pregnancy terminations" when, in fact, it is physically impossible to prevent pregnancy terminations. All pregnancies terminate; our mission is to keep them from terminating with a corpse.

They label abortion as "reproductive health care" despite the biological reality that by the time abortion is a consideration, reproduction has already taken place. In addition, "health care" relates to the prevention or treatment of disease, abnormality, injury or illness. Since pregnancy does not fit into any of these categories, by definition, abortion cannot be "health care."

Let's also not forget that anytime the subject turns to abortions for teenagers, these people are quick to describe abortion as an unfortunate necessity in a nation full of "babies having babies." Amazingly, however, at the moment someone mentions laws requiring parental involvement for minor girls to have abortions, the rhetoric changes. Those same teenagers are never referred to as "babies having abortions." Instead, by some mystical and unexplained force of nature, when these "babies" decide they want to buy an abortion, they instantly become "young women exercising their Constitutional rights."

The list of such rhetorical flim-flams goes on and on and, ironically, I think the public actually sees through most of them. The problem is, the public has also trained itself to look the other way. It may be that they are motivated to do this by the fact that they are living with a wrenching internal conflict. On one hand, the American people see abortion for the crime against humanity that it is and they are growing increasingly queasy about its legality. On the other hand, they have still not mustered the courage to stand up and say it will not be tolerated. To reconcile this conflict, they have chosen to accept a certain level of rhetorical self-deception in the hope that these delusions will sand off a few of abortion's rougher edges. In effect, the public needs to be lied to and the abortion lobby is willing to lie to them.

In the mean time, our job is to hold everyone's feet to the fires of truth.

Comments (Comment Moderation is enabled. Your comment will not appear until approved.)

It is amazing how much everyone buys into this double-talk in one way or another. I see so many news articles labeling us "anti-choice" instead of Pro-Life. I took birth control pills for 17 years and just realized a few years ago that I could've aborted many babies without realizing it. All because the pill pamphlet states that in the event an egg is fertilized, the fertilized egg won't implant. It doesn't come right out and say that you could kill your baby. Wow...
# Posted By Melissa | 7/6/10 7:37 PM
Look who's talking about manipulating language ! If anything,it's the anti-choice movement that's guilty of doing this.
You people call uyourselves "pro-life" when you're really anti-choice and anti-abortion.
You talk about the supposed "right to life" and the "sanctity of life" but you don't give a you-know-what about the unborn after they're born. Right to life? What about the right to decent food,shelter,education and medical care?
As long as pregnant women can't provide these for their children, there will be abortions.
And you demand that pregnant women give birth no matter what the adverse circumstances,and yet you anti-choicers
consistently support and vote for anti-choice politicians in Washington and elsewhere who always vote to gut or eliminate programs to help the poor and poor pregnant women.
Both you and these politicians are nothing but hypocrites ! And you use manipulative language to inflame the emotions of the public such as "killing babies","holocaust", "slaughter", etc, and you use doctored photographs of miscarried and stillborn fetuses which were not the result of abortions to fan the flames of anti-choice hysteria.
The anti-choice movement and Catholicism represents the real culture of death, not the pro-choice movement.
# Posted By Robert | 7/7/10 3:43 PM
Robert, you can call me anti-choice, but using the word choice at all in the abortion debate can be misleading. I find you to be quite uneducated about what pro-life is really about. How many abortion clinics are actually giving women "choices"? Crisis pregnancy centers give women REAL choices. They offer financial, spiritual, and emotional help- practical help, so they don't feel that they have no choice and must kill their child. Over 60% of women who've had an abortion, say they felt like they had no choice, many have been bullied or threatened into abortion. I think you''ll find that pro-lifers are not always religious (secularprolife.com, plagal.org), and the church, made up of Catholics and Protestants alike, are more than willing to step up and help these women find a path to a better life, above and beyond the pregnancy they're facing. Abortion just turns a crisis into a wound, appearing to be a cheap, quick fix for a government or an abusive man, but a haunting life-long ache to a woman and a society. Pro-Life is more than anti-abortion. We want to see children alive, of course, but we also want to see lives of men and women transformed. We want to see people rise out of their circumstance into LIFE!
# Posted By Jocelyn | 7/9/10 6:04 PM
Robert: It is a human life and abortion kills that human life. Period. Planned Parenthood's own research branch the Guttmacher Institute states that 46 million human lives are killed by abortion each year. You mock the word holocaust, but what would you call that?? 46 million a year doesn't sound like a holocaust to you? Perhaps the term genocide would fit better?

I agree with you that it is very difficult for women to gain support should they choose to not abort. You complain about programs being cut that help those women. I agree that's infuriating. But then you must also find it infuriating that the people pro-aborts vote into Washington funnel billions of dollars towards JUST abortion?? How is that helping pregnant women who don't want to abort? How is that any better? It's hypocritical to call us hypocritical.

As far as your assumption that those images are doctored, I feel sad for you that you are in such denial. You have a great passion that would be better directed at helping to save babies and protecting women.

Yes, protecting women. Abortion further denigrates women in making them more vulnerable to the exploitation of men who want to use them for sex and then shirk their fathering responsibilities.

You mention that we are anti-choice and anti-abortion. You are right. I am anti-choice if it includes killing a human life. And I am anti-abortion. I don't see calling me that as derogatory in the least. No matter the circumstance it is never justifiable to kill another human being.
# Posted By Kristen | 7/9/10 9:56 PM
There's one big thing that you missed: we aren't just opposed to abortion. We're also opposed to hormonal contraception, IVF, and stem cell research. So talking about "abortion" or describing ourselves as being "anti-abortion" doesn't really describe our position.
# Posted By Austin | 7/10/10 5:53 AM
@ Robert (aka: annoying crow)

Oh, Robert, Robert. You've gotta come up with something original. "Doctored photographs"? For real? There are plenty of real photographs, not counting 3D and 4D untrasounds, that will make our point. We can inflame plenty using real evidences in the real world.

And my eyes are tearing up over your comment about us "hypocrites" voting for "anti-choice" politicians who "gut" (cute word in a abortion blog, by the way) "programs to help the poor and poor pregnant women." Christians do far more to help "poor and poor pregnant women" than any other group. On the planet. Including governmental entitlement programs. Using this argument once again betrays your ignorance. Besides, charity begins at home. My family gives to "help poor and poor pregnant women" from our funds. Do you? Personally, I don't care what you do with your money. I DO care, however, about what other people try to do with MY money. The primary purpose of government is NOT to rape us of our tax dollars to be used to support whatever cause YOU agree with. Hypocrite back at you.

You are like the annoying crows in my front yard. I get up in the morning, step outside to smell the fresh air (come to Mark's blog in the hopes that he has a post up), I read the blog (which I always get much from and wish he would publish more), then invariably step in a big pile of doggy doo (yet another Robert comment).

I realize that not everyone who reads his blog will agree with his posts, but, like the pesky crows who caw over and over again, sounding the same old irritating note but saying nothing new, so do you rehash all your previous talking points. Can't you come up with anything new?

So, again, why are you here? Could it be because you think you can sharpen your rhetorical claws on Mark's sandpaper? Or maybe because you really do hate pro-lifers and take whatever opportunities you can find to snipe write. Maybe you think you can educate and convert us unwashed, uncouth, uneducated troglodytes. Could it be that you are defending abortion in your own family? Perhaps you are trying to crowd out the last vestiges of conscience by using any number of rationalizations to justify abortions, like, "as long as women can't provide these [medical care, education, etc.] for their children, there will be abortions."

There will be abortions whether or not women think they can afford their offspring. Just in case you forgot, let me remind you... most abortions in this country are not done in the throes of a "conscience crisis" over whether or not the mother can afford to raise the kid. Most of the time, the reasons are far more selfish than that.

Besides that, how do you know that the woman who cannot seemingly afford her child right now will not be in a better financial position a few years down the road? Earnings potential peaks in the 40s (late 40s for men, around 44 for women), well past the years most women have children. Ergo, in the U.S., women generally are BETTER able to afford children as they get older. You would be amazed at just what people could afford. Give up the smokes, alcohol, restaurant eating out, cable and satellite entertainment, and all the other junkets we think we have to have in our modern culture, and one would be surprised at what one could afford.

You inflame, but get on others for inflaming. So let me spell it out for you...

Yes, our language can inflame. So what? It's not gratuitous with us. We don't inflame intentionally, but the fact is that no matter what language we use, our goals, our mission, drives people like you crazy because of what we are trying to do, not the language we are using. THAT is what pro aborts hate pro lifers for. NOT the language. "It's the ideology, stupid." (Apologies to James Carville, who I should never have to apologize to.) Besides, there is a fundamental difference in using language that we use to aptly describe what abortionists do and the equivocation that pro-aborts use. We don't apologize for using terms like "abortion mills," "pro aborts," "holocaust," "slaughter," and so on. It IS what it is. We are not at all confused or confusing about what we teach and preach. We mean what we say and say what we mean. We don't need to use "code" terms to try to fool people. You know EXACTLY where we stand. Of course some of the terms are emotional. One cannot really separate emotion from moral issues. WE, at least, are honest about it. Pro aborts, though, try to hide behind the Oz curtain of education, science, rational thinking, "family planning" [cough] and sterile, neutral speech. But behind that curtain is a fetid mix of eugenics, logical contradictions, greed (it's mostly about showing them the money), lust for power, and hatred of God.

It is YOUR side that equivocates. Pro aborts use terms that undermine the true meaning of what they are really saying. "Fetus" is used to dehumanize the child in order to make abortion more palatable. "Reproductive rights" is code for "right to get an abortion. So is "reproductive health care" as used by the abortion lobby. A hundred terms are re-engineered to convey something other than what they really mean.

Every one of their terms is designed to lessen a negative emotional impact. Make abortion nothing more than a sterile, clinical procedure, like getting the ear wax flushed from your ear canals.

Don't like our use of the term "slaughter"? Well, I guess we could use "kill" or "destroy" or "annihilate" or "disembowel" or "put to death" or "reverse the process of living (that one is pretty neutral)" or "chop to pieces" or "tear apart from limb to limb" or "deprive of life" or "cause to go to a very early grave" or whatever. You tell us. What do you want us to say? That we buy into your nihilistic, self-absorbed world view? Dream on.

You are the real hypocrite. And as long as you keep being annoying, your posts won't convince anybody.
# Posted By Ron | 7/10/10 5:49 PM
Odd that pro-aborts throw about the term anti-choice, or anti-abortion as if that is supposed to be somehow offensive in some way.

I'm pro-life, of course I am anti-abortion. I am certainly against the choice of abortion. No one has any business making the choice of abortion.

Abortion kills an unborn child in the womb.
# Posted By Brian | 7/18/10 10:49 AM
Pro-choicers are not "pro-aborts" or pro-abortion. They are for CHOICE. They don't want to force any woman to have an abortion, but they are smart enough to realize that women MUST have this choice available to them or the results will be catastrophic for US society, as they are in every country where abortion is illegal.
Saying that you contribute so much to charities is nothing but a cop out. While charities are a good thing and I'm all for them,you must realize that they cannot even come remotely close to providing enough to provide a decent life for poor all poor children, born or unborn.
We already have too many poor children in America growing up without decent food,shelter, eduication and medicare. We cannot afford to bring massive numbers more of them into the world. That is why governent support of poor pregnant women is absolutely essential.
And being opposed to contraceptives if you are opposed to abortion is unbelievably stupid. Contraceptives have prevented countless surgical abortions. And any one who is both anti-choice and wants the uS government tomake contraceptives illegal again is an imbecile.
Doing this would only greatly increase the number of abortions and create a black market in contraceptives.
Like all pro-choicers,I don't like abortion and don't want them to happen, but I realize that making abortion illegal,as well as eliminating government help for the poor and making contraceptives illegal are not only totally counterproductive, but deadly.
# Posted By Robert | 7/20/10 10:10 AM
If the "pro-choice" crowd were pro-choice, they would be willing to choose themselves for abortion. But they don't want to be vivisected and dismembered, so they never follow their own doctrine. This reveals the fact that "pro-choice" advocates are merely lying murderous hypocrites. And it isn't the "woman's body" that is involved. The baby isn't part of the woman's body, as proved by the fact the baby wasn't there when the woman was born in the first place. The baby is targeted specifically because the baby is human AND the baby isn't part of the woman's body. None of these babykillers are willing to cut even a cubic inch out of their own arm, or leg, or any body part that is truly part of their own body.
# Posted By Randy | 8/9/10 6:01 PM
Pro-life people are not responsible for taking care of abortion survivors-- any more than abortionists are responsible for coming to my house to do my dishes or mow my lawn. Do they take care of my kids or my household needs? Not at all. And I am not responsible for someone else's kids or the fact that someone else chose to act in a way that made them. The parents are responsible for their own children. The children are not responsible for their own existence, and I am not responsible for their existence. The parents are, and representations to the contrary are merely transparent weaseling lies.
# Posted By Randy | 8/9/10 6:04 PM

Mark Crutcher of Life Dynamics