What the Average Person Can Do to Stop Abortion

By Scott Klusendorf

I think it is a two step process.

Number one, you need to equip yourself to argue persuasively for the pro-life view. You need to makesure that you can convince others. And the neat thing about the pro-life view is that it isn’t something that requires a doctorate degree to master or learn. It is a relatively simple issue to master.

What troubles me is that many pro-life groups are not going about training Christian thinkers on this issue. And as a result, we have a pro-life movement that does pretty well with marches and rallies, but we’re not doing so hot in terms of building Christian thinkers who can articulate a pro-life view.

We’ve got several resources at STR that help. I think of Dr. Frank Beckwith’s book Politically Correct Death. I think of Greg’s book Precious Unborn Human Persons. Both of these, which are available through STR, are excellent resources for mastering the pro-life view. Greg’s book gives you a very nice summary of fetal personhood and how to defend it. Frank’s book gives you a very nice strategy for arguing against all kinds of pro-abortion arguments that you are likely to hear in the public square. I think those two resources alone can help.

There’s another thing I think you can do. In addition to equipping yourself to think persuasively and argue persuasively on the pro-life issue, we need to begin acting as if we believe that abortion is a serious moral wrong. And here is where I think there is a serious breakdown in the pro-life movement.

You will find lots of people who say, I oppose abortion. I don’t think it’s a good thing. In fact, I’m appalled by it. But then when you ask the next question, What are you doing about it?, you find out they're doing very little. I don’t think that’s always a case of a lack of moral conviction. Sometimes it just has to do with the fact that people aren’t aware of the kinds of things they could be doing to make a difference.

Every pro-life convert needs to be prepared to speak publicly on this issue. I’ve heard people give all kinds of excuses: I’m not a public speaker. I can’t stand in front of a group. My response is usually to say, "Can you press the play button on a VCR machine? Well, if you can at least do that, you can show the video "Harder Truth" and perhaps answer a few questions. Everybody can do something.

Let me give you some things that I did when I first started on this issue. I started going to the leaders I knew of local Sunday-school classes and started asking those leaders to schedule me to come in and speak to their group. I asked for twenty minutes to make a presentation. I was surprised that there were people who would let me do that.

The other thing that I did was get rid of the basic working assumption that people are eager to call me up and have me deliver a lecture that could potentially be controversial. As my colleague Greg Cunningham points out, we sit around too often like the Maytag repairman, waiting for someone to call us. We have to take responsibility for inviting ourselves to go speak.

The third thing I started to do was target Christian schools. Go to the principals, to the people who make decisions, and say, Look, I’m concerned like you are that Christian students are heading off to the secular universities ill-equipped to defend their views persuasively on hostile turf. I’d like to do what I can to help you with that.

I've put together a chapel presentation that’s roughly 35 to 40 minutes, as well as a 2 hour senior class training on abortion where I not only teach students what to think on abortion, but how to think. I teach them how to argue persuasively. I teach them how to recognize logical fallacies. I teach them how to recognize things they are going to hear in the secular marketplace and then how to refute those things.

When I go to a school and position my services as someone who wants to help them equip their own students to withstand the onslaught of the secular culture, I do a lot better than when I show up and say, You are not doing enough on abortion. You are out of God’s will. And you are going to pay for this eternally." That generally hasn’t worked when I have tried that. So I recommend that pro-life people start approaching organizations locally that might get them a hearing.

There are going to be people that tell you no. You have to get over that and deal with it anyway.

Those are some things you can do right away to begin building a speaking reputation. Not everyone has to do a debate. I think a lot of pro-lifers are laboring under a false assumption that if you speak publicly on abortion that you are going to be on Oprah’s show next week debating the entire staff of the National Organization for Women, and that is simply not true.

The most effective speaking we can do right now is to people who are at least philosophically pre-disposed to believe our point of view. We need to activate the faithful, get them onboard, get them not only believing that abortion is morally wrong but them acting like they believe it.

That is something that you can do once you’ve equipped yourself to defend the pro-life view persuasively.

Scott Klusendorf is with Stand to Reason www.str.org

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