If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use the pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack.
– Popularly attributed to Sir Winston Churchill
Many pro-aborts strain to avoid the word “abortion” like the plague, substituting in euphemisms like “choice,” “women’s health,” “reproductive freedom,” “bodily autonomy,” “family planning,” etc. When your PR efforts operate on the premise that you shouldn’t use your product’s name, it might be time to rethink what you’re selling.
Even so, “abortion” is just abstract and clinical-sounding enough to make it seem palatable to a significant portion of the public. Well, “abort” means end something, and ending a pregnancy doesn’t sound so bad…pregnancies are tough, so of course somebody should be able to end hers if she wants.
Because it doesn’t explicitly describe the procedure or reference its victim – keeping the violence and death out of immediate view – we can delude ourselves into thinking it’s something harmless, that there’s nobody involved in it other than the woman who wants one (or at least that if it’s wrong, it’s wrong only for some hazy moralizing reason). Hence the all-too-common spectacles of media talking heads dispassionately discussing abortion’s politics like they’re talking about the NFL draft, or politicians and activists enthusiastically celebrating and demanding it without a hint of guilt.
Thanks to this thin rhetorical veil, pro-aborts get to advocate the literal execution of our defenseless young while still being able to show their faces in public, while the more timid of center-right politicians can get through obligatory halfhearted statements about the humanitarian crisis of our generation without ruffling too many feathers.
Sorry, but that’s not good enough. Killing something every single honest participant in the debate knows is a living human being? For any reason? A million times a year? This is the very last issue in the country where we should indulge even the slightest sterilizing of truth for the sake of “civility,” or accept anything less than total frankness.
In the interest of a more honest debate that properly emphasizes the real issue, allow me to propose a deceptively simple rhetorical change: pro-lifers should stop calling it “abortion,” too.
Just don’t use the word anymore. Aside from when it’s absolutely necessary for technical purposes, such as clarification or relaying a direct quote, make a concerted effort to exclusively refer to the act as what it really is: killing a baby.
Make the conversation as overt, as intuitively straightforward as possible. Refuse to let abortion’s true nature fade into the background. Leave no ambiguity whatsoever as to what we’re talking about or why we object to it. Use language that conveys the proper, terrible visuals in the listener’s mind.
Our foes understand that persuasion isn’t simply a matter of having the right arguments, but of giving something a certain feel through the repetition of certain buzzwords. Constant generalized blather about “choice” and “women’s health” and “reproductive freedom” reinforce the feeling of something that would clearly be nobody’s business but the woman’s.
But by relentlessly reinforcing more honest labels, we can set a truer tone. Just listen to how radically different these pro-abortion odes come across when we simply swap out the euphemisms for factual descriptions.
And for nearly a century now, one core principle has guided everything all of you do — that women should be allowed to make their own decisions about whether to kill their babies. It’s a simple principle […] there’s nothing conservative about the government injecting itself into decisions about baby-killing best made between a woman and her doctor […] Forty years after the Supreme Court affirmed a woman’s constitutional right to privacy, including the right to kill her daughter, we shouldn’t have to remind people that when it comes to a woman’s ability to kill her son, no politician should get to decide what’s best for you.
As a practicing and respectful Catholic, this is sacred ground to me when we talk about killing your baby. I don’t think it should have anything to do with politics […] What was done in Philadelphia was reprehensible and everybody condemned it. For them to decide to disrespect a judgment a woman makes about killing her daughter is reprehensible. Next question.
In Wisconsin, Texas, North Carolina, and elsewhere, we are seeing an unprecedented wave of attacks on women’s ability to kill their sons, and people are fed up with it. These attacks have enraged and engaged a whole new generation of young women and men who are absolutely not willing to go back to a time when women didn’t have access to the ability to kill their daughters in America.
They wouldn’t dare put that in writing or say it in front of a camera. But it’s exactly what they mean.
Pro-lifers need to redouble our efforts to remind them – and everyone else – of that with our every breath.