Practical Apologetics: Annihilating A-B-O-R-T-I-O-N Arguments


Hank Hanegraaff

Article ID:



Jul 31, 2022


Mar 30, 2009

“The most merciful thing a large family can do for one of its infants is to kill it.” (Margaret Sanger, Founder, Planned Parenthood)

“We have yet to beat our drums for birth control in the way we beat them for polio vaccine, we are still unable to put babies in the class of dangerous epidemics, even though this is the exact truth.” (Dr. Mary S. Calderone, Sex Information and Education Council of the United States SIECUS)


Make no mistake — “pro-choice” advocates are not friends of women or babies. America’s unthinking submission to the lies and twisted arguments of the so-called pro-choice movement will move us inexorably toward social genocide of a magnitude eclipsing that of Hitler, Stalin, Somalia, the Serb-Croate conflict, or any other massacre openly denounced in our media.

The movement’s own label — “pro-choice” — is a twisted deception, covering up for a social genocide where the “right” to choose to kill one’s preborn baby reigns supreme over that baby’s human rights; over the rights of the mother to receive accurate information about fetal development and the dangerous consequences to herself from abortion; over the rights of the parents of a pregnant minor; over the rights of the preborn’s father; and over the rights of a human society to protect all its members — no matter what their social status, economic independence, physical limitations, or acceptance by their families. Those who continue to fight legislation restricting abortion are not “pro-choice,” they are “pro-abortion,” or more accurately, “pro-murder.”

Abortion is in reality the painful killing of an innocent human being. It is painful because the methods employed to snuff the life involve burning, smothering, dismembering, or crushing. There’s no doubt that it is killing because the zygote — which fulfills the criteria needed to establish the existence of biological life (including metabolism, development, the ability to react to stimuli, and cell reproduction) — is terminated. The life taken is innocent simply because he or she has done nothing worthy of capital punishment. Finally, being a product of human parents and having a unique genetic code makes the unborn life unquestionably human. In fact, Dr. Micheline Matthew-Roth, a principal research associate in the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, stated, “It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception, when egg and sperm join to form the zygote, and this developing human always is a member of our species in all stages of its life.”

Recently on the Bible Answer Man program, I interviewed Dr. Francis J. Beckwith in order to demolish some of the most common pro-abortion arguments. Dr. Beckwith is the author of what I consider to be one of the best Christian resources responding to the pro-abortion movement, Politically Correct Death: Answering Arguments for Abortion Rights (Baker, 1993).

To help equip you to annihilate the arguments of pro-abortion advocates, I’ve developed the acronym A-B-O-R-T-I-O-N.

A = Ad Hominem. Ad hominem arguments (i.e., arguments that appeal to the personal rather than to reason) are a trick designed to distract you from the real issue — namely, that abortion is the killing of an innocent human being. Comedienne Whoopie Goldberg, a master of the ad hominem attack, recently said she would take pro-lifers’ arguments more seriously if they were willing to adopt the babies they tried to save from abortion. What her argument amounts to is, if you won’t adopt a baby, you can’t tell me not to kill one! That, of course, makes as much sense as protesting an abolitionist because he doesn’t hire all ex-slaves, or forbidding me from intervening when I see my neighbor sexually abusing a child unless I am willing to adopt that child. The argument about adoption has nothing to do with the basic morality or immorality of abortion.

B = Biblical Pretexts. Biblical pretexts are used by pro-abortionists who want to retain some semblance of religiosity while they espouse the radical planks of the abortion movement. The most common argument is that the Bible nowhere specifically condemns abortion or identifies it as the killing of an innocent human life. Such an argument, however, hides the real biblical position, which is that the preborn are fully human and alive (Ps. 139:13-16) and that killing an innocent human being (murder) is sin — a violation of the Seventh Commandment (Exod. 20:13).

O = Opium. Opium dulls the senses chemically. In much the same way, the term-twisting tactics of the pro-abortionists are an “opium of the masses” designed to mentally dull the senses of an unquestioning public that would otherwise reject legalized murder. Pro-abortion is repositioned as pro-choice; babies become products of conception; killing an unwanted child becomes exercising freedom of choice; and committed pro-lifers become social terrorists. The list of terms camouflaged by the pro-abortionists is seemingly endless. Unless we scale the language barrier of the pro-abortion lobby, the masses will continue to overdose on the opium of clever code words.

R = Rape and Incest. Rape and incest are the hard-case “what-ifs” pro-abortionists raise in almost every public forum: “How can you deny a hurting young girl safe medical care and freedom from the terror of rape or incest by forcing her to maintain a pregnancy resulting from the cruel and criminal invasion of her body?” The emotion of the argument often deflects serious examination of its merits, or how it is used as a pretext for unlimited abortion for any woman, for any reason, and at any time throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy, and regardless of the condition under which she became pregnant.

It is important to note that the incidence of pregnancy as a result of rape is extremely small (one study put it at 0.06 percent). If we had legislation restricting abortion for all reasons other than rape or incest, we would still save the vast majority of the 1.8 million preborn babies who die annually in America through abortion.

It should be patently obvious that one does not obviate the real pain of rape or incest by compounding it with the murder of an innocent preborn child. Moreover, as Dr. Beckwith points out, “To argue for abortion on demand from the hard cases of rape and incest is like trying to argue for the elimination of traffic laws from the fact that one might have to violate some of them in rare instances, such as when one’s spouse or child needs to be rushed to the hospital.”

T = Toleration. Toleration is the “great commandment” the pro-abortion movement levels against its opponents. “We’re not making you have an abortion; just be tolerant of those who choose to.” Frequently, this false tolerance commandment is supported by an appeal to religious pluralism, the American separation of church and state, or the alleged impropriety of imposing one’s morality on another.

Ironically, the pro-abortionists fail to perceive their own violation of this ridiculous standard — they’re intolerant of those of us who think tolerance is less important than preserving innocent human lives! One of the characteristics inherent in every society is the obligation to impose universal morals on its members. Toleration works in the world of expressing opinions, not in a crowded movie theater when someone chooses to yell “Fire!” We may be tolerant of one’s religious views, but not if they include enslaving grandmothers or cannibalizing teenagers. Toleration between church and state does not extend to divorcing all moral values from the state, else we would need to eliminate all legislation that has anything in common with any religious viewpoint — including the very idea of social law itself.

I = Inequality. Inequality between the sexes is one of the most bizarre arguments put forth by the pro-abortion movement. “Women who are forced to be pregnant,” they say, “can’t compete in employment with men and so cannot be truly equal unless they have an escape from unwanted pregnancy.” Translation: Women can’t be equal to men without surgery! How much more sexist can an argument become? This false equality could be stretched to include custody of born children (women usually have custody) so that a woman “encumbered” by her born children could abandon them with impunity. It could extend to government subsidies for addictive drugs so even poor addicts have equal access to them. Women will not truly be “equal” in society to men until they are accepted fully as women, with all their female potentials and attributes, not simply as an imitation of surgically constructed men.

O = Operation Rescue. Operation Rescue, the most tenaciously visible faction of the pro-life movement, has been unfairly condemned for using the same lines of argument and social protest popularized by the much-applauded civil rights movement. Moreover, it has been grossly misrepresented to dismiss any pro-life argument or activity as “extremist.” Just as abolitionists harbored escaped slaves in defiance of the laws before the Civil War; compassionate Europeans hid Jews from the legally sanctioned extermination of the Nazis; and civil rights marchers violated segregation laws; so Operation Rescue members believe their nonviolent, peaceful interventions to protect preborn babies are “obeying God rather than man.”

N = Nonpersonhood. Nonpersonhood is perhaps the trickiest of the contemporary pro-abortion arguments. Pro-abortionists once argued that the preborn baby was not fully human, or not human life. Now most concede that the “product of conception” is human life. Their argument, however, has become more sophisticated: “It may be human life, but it doesn’t possess personhood.” Even President Clinton has argued that, since learned theologians and scientists can’t agree on when “personhood” begins, abortion should remain unrestricted.

Dr. Beckwith exploded this myth when he wrote, “From a strictly scientific point of view, there is no doubt that the development of an individual human life begins at conception. Consequently, it is vital that the reader understand that she did not come from a zygote, she once was a zygote; she did not come from an embryo, she once was an embryo; she did not come from a fetus, she once was a fetus; she did not come from an adolescent, she once was an adolescent.”

Abortion, rampant in America today, is the tragic consequence of a society that no longer values individual human worth, that worships at the feet of the idol Self, and that replaces the Word of God with social relativism. One-third of the children conceived in America this year will be murdered before they are born. And yet this brutal, widespread slaughter can be stopped if those of us who value human life, who worship the true God, and who obey His Word become informed, committed, and involved.

— Hank Hanegraaff 

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