FAQs about Abortion
Where can I get help for a friend who's facing an unplanned pregnancy or who's struggling with the trauma from a previous abortion?
Please refer your friend to the organizations and toll-free numbers below.
Why do you oppose abortion?
Our argument can be summarized this way:
- It is wrong to intentionally kill innocent human beings.
- Elective abortion intentionally kills innocent human beings.
- Thus, elective abortion is wrong.
Most people agree with our first claim—that it’s wrong to purposefully kill innocent humans. That’s why we oppose school shootings, terrorist attacks, and other violent acts—because someone is intentionally killing innocent human beings, which is wrong.
The critical question, then, is: Does elective abortion intentionally kill innocent human beings?
Even abortion supporters admit that the embryo is human. For example, pro-abortion bioethicist Peter Singer writes, “It is possible to give ‘human being’ a precise meaning. We can use it as the equivalent to ‘member of the species homo sapiens.’ . . . In this sense, there is no doubt that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm and eggs is a human being.”¹
Clearly, then, the embryo killed in abortion is a human being.
Still, some say that this young human is not a person—because she differs too much from us. But there are only four differences between an embryo or fetus and a born human: Size, Level of development, Environment, Dependency. These differences do not justify stripping personhood from humans.
We know this because newborns, compared to adult humans, differ in the same four ways: they are smaller, less developed, generally occupy different environments, and are more dependent on other people. But a newborn is no less of a person than her parents. In the same way, an embryo or fetus is no less of a person than her parents.
Therefore, elective abortion is the intentional killing of an innocent human being—a human who is no less of a person than the rest of us.
That is why we oppose abortion. Indeed, to oppose other acts of purposefully killing innocent humans while accepting abortion is inconsistent at best and bigotry at worst.
1. Peter Singer, Practical Ethics, 3rd ed. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 73.
No one really knows when life begins, so how can you say abortion is wrong?
The assertion that “no one knows when life begins” disregards modern science. Leading embryologists, such as Drs. Keith L. Moore and T. V. N. Persaud in their embryology textbook The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, confirm that the life of a human being begins at fertilization. Moore and Persaud write, ““Human development begins at fertilization when a sperm fuses with an oocyte to form a single cell, the zygote. This highly specialized totipotent cell (capable of giving rise to any cell type) marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.””¹ (Read statements by other embryologists.)
This is not a controversial statement based on ideology. It is merely good science to state that at fertilization a distinct, living, whole human is created. The zygote (entity formed by sperm-egg fusion) is distinct because it is not a part of mother or father. Both sperm and egg donated their genetic material to give rise to something genetically unique. The fact that the preborn are living is evidenced by growth, cellular reproduction, metabolism, reaction to stimuli. Further, because living things reproduce after their own kind, the preborn are human. And, they are not merely parts, like sperm or egg—whose capacity to do anything is defined by their role as parts of a greater body—but are entire (though immature) human beings.
1. Keith L.Moore, T.V.N. (Vid) Persaud, Mark G. Torchia, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 10th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2015. p. 11.
Isn't abortion illegal after the first trimester?
This is a common misconception. Many are familiar with Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling of 1973 that made abortion legal in the United States. This ruling divided pregnancy into three trimesters, declaring that states have no right to restrict abortion in the first six months of pregnancy, but that in the final trimester a state would have a right, though not an obligation, to restrict abortion to cases in which the mother’s health is jeopardized. However, far fewer Americans are familiar with Roe’s companion case, Doe v. Bolton, handed down on the same day, which defined the mother’s “health” so broadly that abortion became permissible throughout the duration of pregnancy. In Bolton, the court clarified that “health” must be defined “in light of all factors—physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age—relevant to the well-being of the patient. All these factors relate to health.”¹
Following the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, federal law trumps state law. By federal mandate, then, in the United States a woman is guaranteed access to abortion for virtually any reason throughout all nine months of pregnancy.
1. Doe v. Bolton 410 U.S. 179, 192 (1973).
If the fetus can't feel pain, isn’t abortion okay?
Is it wrong to kill you because you feel pain or because you’re human? Consider the situation of Gabby Gingras, an American teenager with a rare condition (hereditary sensory autonomic neuropathy, Type 5) that prevents her from feeling any pain. As a child, she scratched her eyes and chewed on her fingers, never feeling the warning signal of pain.
In spite of the fact that Gabby cannot feel pain, it would still be wrong to kill her because she is a human being. If the preborn are also human, then inability to feel pain is not adequate to justify killing them since we would never treat born humans, like Gabby, that way. The only true difference between Gabby and a preborn child is age—which is reflected by their relative size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency. This prejudice against the preborn is nothing more than ageism–discrimination against the very young.
If the fetus isn’t viable, why do you think it is valuable?
The fetus is declared viable when current technology can support her outside of her mother’s womb. But our value is not tied to technology. It is rooted in our common humanity.
In developing nations, the fetus is not considered viable until later in pregnancy than in the United States due to lack of certain technologies. It would be absurd (and ethnocentric) to conclude from this that fetuses in America are valuable while those at the same age in developing nations are not.
All humans are created equal—born and preborn—regardless of the state of technology.
If the child will face a life of suffering, isn’t abortion the more compassionate choice?
The question is not will people face suffering, but how will we respond when they do? Many suffer daily due to poverty, but we don’t kill poor people to end their suffering. Why not? Because they’re human. If the preborn are also human, then no amount of potential suffering is adequate justification for killing them—to treat them differently is to be guided by blatant ageism.
We seek to alleviate suffering, not to eliminate sufferers.
Isn't your view too simplistic? What about all the other circumstances where abortion is necessary?
The circumstances surrounding an unplanned pregnancy can be extremely complicated with new emotional, financial, and professional challenges. However, since we would not permit the killing of born children because of these difficult circumstances, they also fail as justification for killing a preborn child.
Just as we can recognize the difficult circumstances surrounding an event of child abuse while also condemning the action of abuse, we can recognize the difficult circumstances in which parents find themselves while condemning the action of killing their preborn babies. The moral question is simple, even though the circumstances and ensuing resolution may not be.
Additionally, abortion does not in any way provide a solution to the true problem. It does not make a woman in poverty wealthy, provide her with a career, or keep her safe from an abusive partner. We need real solutions. Killing innocent babies is not the answer.
What about rape?
The act of rape is reprehensible, and all rapists should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Those who hold to a truly pro-life ethic recognize this and do not seek to minimize the injustice done upon the woman. However, to oppose the killing of the child is not to diminish the violence of the rape; rather, it is to prevent a secondary crime from occurring. The injustice of rape does not justify a second injustice.
Imagine a situation in which a woman is raped a day after she has sex with her husband. She later discovers that she is pregnant and doesn’t get an abortion for fear she will abort her husband’s child. She continues with the pregnancy, and after birth, a paternity test is performed. It is determined the baby’s biological father is the rapist.
Should it be lawful for the mother to kill the newborn child because of the biological father’s crime? No. Why not? Because the newborn is human. But the preborn baby is no less human than older (born) children.
Additionally, if it’s wrong to kill children conceived in love, then it must also be wrong to kill children conceived in violence because, in both cases, there are children involved. The value of a human isn’t determined by how she is conceived but instead by who is conceived—namely, a unique human being.
As a side note, abortion does not “unrape” a woman or erase her trauma. It could add further pain and certainly makes another victim.
What if the mother's life is in danger?
When pregnancy endangers the life of the mother, a moral crisis occurs because the lives of two people are at risk (by “life of the mother” we do not merely mean she will be inconvenienced but that her very life is threatened). The goal should be to save the lives of both mother and child, as the pro-life ethic has always been to save as many lives as possible. If the life of the mother is endangered after fetal viability¹, when the baby can survive outside the mother’s body with the help of current technology, then the solution is to try to save both lives by inducing labor or performing an emergency C-section.
However, if the mother’s life is endangered before fetal viability, then the child will die if the mother dies. Ectopic pregnancies are the most common example of this, wherein the embryo implants someplace other than in the uterus—usually in the fallopian tube. When the tube ruptures, the baby dies and the mother could hemorrhage and die as well. In this case, we should save the mother’s life, but by means other than abortion, since that is the intentional killing of a preborn child.
In the case of an ectopic pregnancy, a physician would perform a salpingectomy to remove the part of the fallopian tube in which the child has implanted, thereby saving the mother’s life. The embryo will die as a result of this procedure, but the intention is to save a life—not take one. In other words, the baby’s death is foreseen, but it is not intended. The only reason she dies is because we currently lack technology to keep her living once we remove her from the environment in which she cannot survive.
This moral crisis would be like carrying one person out of a burning building and then looking back, seeing other people who are about to die. You foresee that they will die, but it is the fire, not you, causing their deaths. You are not guilty of their loss. Rather, your duty is to save as many lives as you can—even if it is just one person.
1. It should be noted that the age of viability changes with advances in medical technology and also varies with geographical access to current technology. If it were medically possible to keep the youngest of preborn humans alive outside the womb, this question would lose its relevance as there would be this obvious solution.
Isn’t abortion necessary to help address overpopulation?
While there is evidence to doubt the common claim of overpopulation, for the sake of argument, let’s assume it’s legitimate. How would it follow that the proper course of action would be to kill preborn children? What if, for example, instead of targeting the preborn, we elected to kill all children under two years of age in order to reduce population? Would this be permissible? Or why not kill everyone over the age of 65 to make room for the younger ones? Perhaps that would solve the problem, but it is inconceivable because we recognize the humanity of toddlers and the elderly. Since the preborn are no less human the born, we know it would be immoral to kill them, too, because of potentially limited resources.
You cannot legislate morality. Who are you to force your views on a pregnant woman?
Is it good for the law to tell a woman she may not drown her child in the bathtub? This is a clear example of society legislating morality. However, no one finds fault with such a law because we recognize that innocent children should be protected from violence. In fact, all law—including criminalizing rape, murder, theft or any other harmful acts to other humans—is legislating morality.
Thus, the question is not whether society should force views on its people, but which views will it enforce? The law tells women they may not kill their children. However, we are terribly inconsistent when we enforce this only with children old enough to be born. Once again, we return to this question: are the preborn equal to the born? The only difference between these two groups of people is age, and to allow humans which are younger to be killed because of their age is unjust.
It's the woman's body and her choice, isn't it?
The claim that preborn children are part of women’s bodies flies in the face of modern science. Preborn children are dependent upon their mothers, but they are not part of them. They have their own blood type, bone structure, and genetic code. In fact, the notion that the preborn is part of the mother would result in inane conclusions—such as the mother having four arms, four legs, and, in the case of a preborn boy, even male genitalia.
We also know there are limits to “choice.” The autonomy of any one person does not permit her to infringe on the rights of, or endanger, another. For example, the right of a man to do what he wants with his body does not permit him to rape women. And a woman’s right to do what she wants with her hands ends when she uses them to drown her children.
Choice, then, is not absolute. Indeed, some choices are wrong: rape, murder, abuse, etc. Since we would not allow a mother to kill her born children by choice, we must not permit her to kill her preborn children for the same reason. Once a woman is pregnant, the baby already exists. The question is, what will she do with this baby? Parent her? Place her for adoption? Or kill her?
If abortion were illegal, wouldn't women be forced to return to dangerous back alley abortions?
First of all, the statistics and language usually used to describe “back alley” abortions is inaccurate. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, former abortionist and co-founder of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (now NARAL Pro-Choice America), has confessed that the figures often used were utter fiction. He states, “[I]t was always ‘5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year.’ I confess that I knew the figures were totally false, and I suppose the others did too if they stopped to think of it.”¹ According to the U.S. Bureau of Vital Statistics, 39 women died from illegal abortions in 1972, the year prior to Roe v. Wade—a far cry from the “thousands per year” figure.² Dr. Mary Calderone, while medical director for Planned Parenthood in the 1960s, claimed that 90% of illegal abortions taking place in the states at that time were being performed by licensed physicians in good standing.³ Thus, claims that women were dying by the thousands prior to Roe v. Wade are false. While “back alley” imagery may be a clever rhetorical device, it’s not factual.
Secondly, however, the question of whether or not abortion is wrong does not depend upon whether abortion is safe for the mother. For example, it is clear that bank robbery is dangerous for the bank robber since he could be hurt or even killed by law enforcement officers seeking to stop him. Society could make robbery safe by making it legal, but we know that such a proposal would be readily rejected. Why? Because bank robbery is wrong. The question, therefore, is not whether abortion is dangerous but whether it kills a baby.
Lastly, in order to change public policy, we must first change public opinion. We believe that by educating the public about the reality of abortion, we can make it unthinkable in the same way as other injustices of the past. Abortion must become unthinkable to become unlawful.
1. Nathanson, Bernard. Aborting America. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1979. P. 193.
2. From the U.S. Bureau of Vital Statistics Center for Disease Control, as cited by Dr. and Mrs. J. C. Wilke. Abortion: Questions and Answers. Rev. Ed. Cincinnatti: Hayes Publishing, 1988. P. 101-2.
3. Calderone, Mary. “Illegal Abortion as a Public Health Problem.” American Journal of Health 50. July 1960. P. 949.
Haven’t studies shown that legalized abortion has lowered the crime rate?
This idea (sometimes referred to as the Donahue-Levitt hypothesis) begs the question—that is, it assumes what it has not yet proven. This hypothesis assumes the preborn are not human but presents no scientific evidence to substantiate that conclusion. If the preborn are in fact human, then far from lowering the crime rate, legalized abortion has caused that crime rate to skyrocket since 1973. Now more than one million additional innocent human beings are killed each year.
Are you going to adopt all of these unwanted children?
There are unwanted born children in America right now—children living in poverty, orphanages, and abusive environments. What if someone devised a plan to kill all of them to solve the problem? Would it be justified for you to oppose this evil plot even if you did not intend to adopt all of the unwanted children? Yes, it would—because the objective humanity of the unwanted children stands apart from your subjective interest in adopting them.
Prior to passage of the 13th amendment to the US Constitution, critics of slavery’s abolition asked, “Who will take care of these unwanted people newly freed from slavery?” While this question could lead to a worthy discussion, it had no bearing upon the objective truth that human slavery was morally wrong. Similarly, while we should discuss and work toward improvements to foster care and adoption systems, this is irrelevant to the objective immorality of killing preborn children.
Finally, what should a civil society do with those who are “unwanted”? Kill them? No. We should reject that idea and find actual solutions to the problems faced by society.
Do you care about the fetus after it is born or are you just pro-birth?
Injustices are wrong because they violate objective moral principles. Thus, abortion is wrong whether those who oppose it are willing to help babies after birth or not.
For comparison, even if opponents of human slavery had no interest in helping slaves who have been set free, human slavery would still be wrong. Child abuse would still be immoral even if those who oppose it had no interest in adopting the abused children.
Human slavery, child abuse, and abortion are wrong because these actions involve intentionally harming (or killing) innocent human beings. That is wrong regardless of the attitudes or behavior of those on either side of the issue.
As for our team, because we believe all humans are created equal, we do care about babies before and after birth. Members of our team have adopted, provided foster care, and given ongoing assistance to mothers who choose not to kill their babies. However, we know this does not make abortion more wrong.
Abortion is always wrong because it is always the purposeful killing of an innocent human.
What about babies will die in utero or shortly after they are born?
We should alleviate suffering, not eliminate sufferers.
This is our principle when taking care of born humans with a terminal prognosis. We do not kill cancer patients with little hope of survival. If treatment fails, we seek to make them comfortable in their remaining days.
Because embryos and fetuses are no less human than the cancer patient, we should treat them the same—seek to alleviate suffering but not eliminate the sufferer.
When time is short with a loved one, it becomes even more precious. Parents who know their baby will not survive after birth should be supported so they can make the most of the time they have with their child. But we should not tell them to kill their child just because the time is short.
If one embryo can divide into two identical twins, doesn’t that mean life must begin later than fertilization? How could two humans come from one?
While the process of twinning may be mysterious, it does not follow that because two human beings result from the division of an embryo that there was not a distinct human being in existence prior to the split. If you cut a flatworm in half, the result is two flatworms. How this happens is indeed fascinating. But would anyone argue that prior to the split there was not a distinct flatworm? Of course not. It does not follow that because one organism may split into more than one it is not a whole organism prior to splitting.
Moreover, this question is generally irrelevant because the division into identical twins occurs within the first two weeks after fertilization. Most women, however, do not know they are pregnant until well after this. Thus, by the time they would pursue abortion, any potential for future twinning would be complete.
If an acorn isn’t an oak tree, does that mean a fetus isn’t a human?
While an acorn is not an oak tree, it is still a member of the oak family. There are many phases of development for members of the oak family: acorn, sapling, full grown tree. Similarly, there are many stages of development for members of the human family: zygote, embryo, fetus, newborn, toddler, adolescent, teenager, adult. Humans and members of the oak family look and act differently as they pass through these respective stages, but what they are—their human or oak nature—remains consistent throughout their lives.
An acorn is to a tree as a human female fetus is to an adult woman. It is unfair to ask a fetus to exercise capacities fulfilled by more mature members of her species (e.g., self-awareness). Her developmental maturity is irrelevant to the kind of entity she is. Who we are does not depend upon how developed we are.
Isn’t it better to be pro-choice and let people decide for themselves if abortion is okay?
Neutrality is impossible on abortion. The government either recognizes and protects a particular group of humans or it does not and permits killing them. By removing protections and allowing parents to choose to kill their preborn children, the United States government is stripping basic human rights from this class of humans. This is far from neutral.
What if we decriminalized killing toddlers? Would this be neutrality? Not for the toddlers who would be dying daily. What really matters is: are the preborn equal to us in their humanity? If so, then the government should recognize and protect them.
This is a woman’s issue. Men can’t get pregnant. Why should they have a say?
Why do men who favor abortion get to have an opinion but those opposed to it do not? If men shouldn’t have an opinion on abortion, then Roe v. Wade should be reversed. Not only was the majority decision written by a man (Justice Harry Blackmun), but not a single woman sat on the Supreme Court at the time.
As Francis Beckwith has said, arguments don’t have genders; people do. What matters is not the gender of the person making an argument but the validity of their position. To attack a pro-life individual because he is male is an ad hominem logical fallacy and avoids what really matters: his case for the personhood of the preborn.
How can an embryo or fetus who isn’t self-aware be a human?
It’s true that human embryos and fetuses are not self-aware; however, abortion advocate and Princeton University bioethicist Peter Singer has noted that neither are newborns. According to Singer, then, if fetuses aren’t human persons because they aren’t self-aware, neither are newborns.
Self-awareness is one of many capacities humans exhibit throughout their lives. These do not define our humanity, rather they describe our stage of development. A fetus cannot immediately exercise self-awareness in the same way that a female newborn cannot yet get pregnant. These development markers do not negate their humanity; rather, the newborn and fetus are exhibiting the exact characteristics of humans in those respective stages of development.
To select any characteristic humans exhibit, such as self-awareness, and make it the benchmark for human personhood is prejudicial and destroys human equality. If our value is tied to our self-awareness, then it would follow that those who are more self-aware are more valuable and deserving of more rights than those who are less self-aware. The only way to establish veritable equality is to recognize that as soon as a human begins to exist—which is at fertilization—she is inherently equal to every other human regardless of varying stages of development (or skin color, sex, etc).
Embryonic stem cell research saves lives. Aren’t you anti-science if you oppose it?
This argument begs the question. To conclude embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) saves lives, one must prove that the preborn entity killed in the process is not a human. If preborn embryos destroyed by ESCR are human, then this process actively kills humans in order to benefit other humans. It would be akin to saying that if you are in need of a kidney transplant, you are justified in killing your neighbor so you can take his kidney. No matter the age of the person you are killing, this is still wrong.
Note: In addition to the immorality of ESCR, it is interesting to note that it has been far less effective in actually treating medical conditions than adult stem cell research, which poses no threat to the individual from which the stem cells are taken and therefore crosses no ethical lines.
Are you saying women should go to jail if they have an abortion?
If abortion were criminalized, women who had abortions previously would not face legal consequences because there was no state-respected law in place at the time. However, if a law were put in place, punishment would vary depending upon culpability—just as it does for other crimes. Not all women who kill their born children face the same punishment. Some are imprisoned, while others receive lesser judgments based on the circumstances.
In the same way that a court of law determines culpability and appropriate consequences for women who kill their born children, consequences for abortions would be determined on a case by case basis. Nevertheless, once there is a law recognizing and protecting the personhood of the preborn, it is entirely consistent to hold that those who break this law should be held responsible. But just as there is first, second, and third degree murder, so there would be varying levels of culpability for those who commit an abortion—from mothers and fathers to abortionists and their staff.
What about birth control?
True contraceptives prevent fertilization from taking place, which is different from the larger category of “birth control”. While all contraceptives are considered a method of birth control, not all types of birth control are contraceptives. Some types of birth control act as abortifacients, in which the primary role may be to prevent conception while a backup early abortion results in case that fails.
These methods vary in frequency and likelihood to cause abortions, and the research is somewhat debatable. We urge erring on the side of caution since it is wrong to kill a preborn child surgically or chemically.
If you can’t be forced to donate an organ, how can you force a woman to allow the fetus to use her body?
Parents are not required to donate their organs to their children, but they are required to give basic care (i.e., nourishment and protection). Thus, while it might be unreasonable to expect parents to donate a kidney, it is not unreasonable to expect them to provide security and sustenance for their children.
So is pregnancy an organ donation? No. When an organ is donated, it is kept by the receiver. It does not return to the donor. Throughout and after pregnancy, the mother retains her own uterus.
Rather, in pregnancy, the mother provides basic care to her baby with the use of her own body. This is similar to a breastfeeding mother supporting her child with her body. Neither the uterus nor the breast is donated to the child. They remain with the mother.
Because all humans are equal, the baby in the womb has as much right to parental care as the one outside. Neither may have a right to their parents’ kidneys, but both have a right to basic care. This may mean the parents have to work to provide financially. They may have to stay up late with a bottle for nutrition. And, when the babies are younger still, mothers will need to provide support in utero.
Parental responsibility may look different in various stages, but it begins when children do—at fertilization.
Since fetuses don’t have a right to use women’s bodies without their consent, don’t women have the right to get an abortion and withhold support from the fetus?
Do newborn babies have a right to expect their parents to feed and protect them? Yes. The government recognizes that parents do have responsibilities toward their children. While they’re not liable if their neighbor’s children are neglected, they are held responsible if their own children starve. Younger (preborn) children deserve the same protections as older (born) children.
Furthermore, abortion is not merely “withholding support.” It is direct and intentional killing. The abortionist dismembers, decapitates, and disembowels the preborn baby. If an individual no longer wishes to serve in the parental role, they may place their child for adoption–but they should not kill that child.
If you were in a burning fertility clinic, would you save a toddler or a hundred embryos?
What someone would do in a situation does not change the facts of that situation. Whether one would choose to save the toddler or the embryos does not change the fact that they are all human beings.
Imagine a similar situation in which a man is in a classroom with his own daughter and 25 other children. If the room is on fire, the father would most likely save his own daughter before the other children. But this does not mean the 25 other children are not human. What it tells us is something about the father’s psychology—that he is more attached to his daughter than the other children. It is totally unrelated to the humanity of the other 25 kids.
Similarly, if someone were to save the toddler before the embryos, this would tell us something about the person doing the rescuing. But it would have no bearing on the objective humanity of the human embryos left behind.
Thus, while this question is interesting psychologically, it is irrelevant to the humanity of preborn humans. Regardless of what any one person would do in any situation, the preborn are human beings we should not purposefully kill.
FAQs about Created Equal
Why use abortion images? Can't we have a discussion without seeing those grisly photos?
It is possible to have a conversation about abortion without showing photos. However, this would be an incomplete presentation of the evidence. The images are not examples of exceptional barbarity, but of common, everyday abortion.
In his celebrated “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. writes,
Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.¹
Dr. King was intentional in having media present at his demonstrations against racism so that the brutality of black citizens being beaten and shot with water hoses would be caught on film. He found this kind of exposure critical to the process of ending bigotry.
We seek to expose the injustice of abortion to the same light of human conscience and air of national opinion as did King, because our society has advanced the lie that the preborn are not human. Words alone are inadequate to describe the brutal deaths preborn babies experience every day.
1. King, Martin Luther, Jr. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Viewed online at: http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html on 7 January 2011.
What evidence do you have to support the claim that your images are real?
Those who claim our images are fake are making a claim which must be defended. Yet in our experience, those who denounce our pictures fail to provide evidence for their claim.
Furthermore, images of preborn children have long been available and are not contested. Diagrams of abortion procedures in both the first and second trimesters are also available from medical imaging companies. What happens when those procedures are performed on growing babies seen in the pictures? The result is what is seen on our signs.
Why not just use positive pictures of living babies to make your point?
Fetal development imagery—especially with new technologies, such as 3D and 4D ultrasound—serve a valuable role in educating the public about the nature of the preborn, and we include them in our outreach display. However, while these convey the humanity of preborn children, they fail to convey the horror of abortion. It’s not enough for people to simply hold positive feelings about human life, but they must have negative feelings about abortion as well.
Consider which of the following would be a more successful campaign against racism: a photo of a black family at a picnic or the picture of a black man who was lynched? We know from history that the positive image may indeed convey the humanness of black people, but it would fail to portray the atrocity of lynching. In order to do this, we must expose the actual act in all of its grisly detail.
Isn't it disrespectful to show these images of dead children? It violates their dignity.
Abortion images do not disrespect preborn children—their victimization does. Organizations against poverty use images of malnourished children. Media present footage of dead civilians in war-torn countries. Holocaust memorials display photographs of Jewish people killed during World War II. These images obviously do not disrespect the dead/suffering. Further, images of injustice are irreplaceable in seeking to end atrocities and ensure that they never happen again.
The dignity of preborn children is not violated by showing the images; rather, the violation happens when they are dismembered, disemboweled, and discarded. Those who use these images value and respect preborn children so much that they expose the injustice in spite of public backlash. The greatest respect we can show millions of dead preborn children is to prevent others from falling prey to abortion, as well. We have not forgotten them, nor will we allow them to fade from the memories of citizens who perpetuate the injustice, whether by action or inaction.
Isn't abortion victim imagery a form of child pornography?
During Seth Drayer’s 2017 debate against Purdue University professor David Sanders, Sanders raised the notion that victim images of abortion are like pornography. But Pornography (or obscene photos or video) is created to stimulate the prurient interest which is defined as a lewd and lascivious focus on genitalia to illicit a sexual response.
This is why images of naked bodies of Jewish people in concentration camps do not amount to pornography. The nakedness is evidence of brutality and the state in which the victims were left, not an attempt to provide sexual stimulation. The same is true for images of aborted babies.
Accusations that abortion victim images amount to child pornography thus say more about the accuser than they do about the photos themselves. No reasonable person sees pictures of victims of abortion, genocide, or other crimes against humanity as having any kind of sexual intent. Victim photos are protected political speech used to reform culture and discourage the acts portrayed.
Why don't you hold your presentations in an assembly room where people can choose to receive the message?
We do. However, those who attend are almost always pro-life, and we have found this method ineffective in educating the culture as a whole. If we rely solely upon consensual methods of education, we will not reach fence-sitters, thus never being successful in changing public attitudes on abortion.
A society enmeshed in injustice does not willingly or easily admit its own wrongdoing. People rarely acknowledge their own complicity in, or complacency toward, injustice. Even fewer will seek out evidence thereof. Those who need to see the truth (images of abortion) will not go out of their way to view it in large enough numbers to forge a consensus against it. It is incumbent, therefore, upon us to go out of our way to bring it to them via non-consensual methods.
What about those who’ve had abortions? Don't your images cause them pain?"
We do not deny the emotional anguish experienced by post-abortive individuals when they see abortion images. However, these images are not the actual source of the anguish–they are merely reminders of the reason for the pain, which is the abortion itself. In fact, abortion images are one of many possible reminders faced by post-abortive parents. Seeing a pregnant woman, watching an infant, hearing a sound similar to a suction machine: all of these have been cited by post-abortive parents as painful reminders of their abortion. The goal ought not to be to remove all reminders of abortion; rather, it should be to help men and women find true forgiveness and healing.
While it is possible to oppose abortion and not be a Christian, we believe the Christian Gospel is the only source of true forgiveness. God does not overlook man’s sin, but the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ can atone for all that we’ve done. For more on this, please email Contact@CreatedEqual.org.
Also, it should be noted that in the United States half of women who undergo abortions have had a prior abortion.¹ Until we reach these post-abortive women with the truth, they may repeat the behavior. We must prevent women and their children from experiencing future suffering by presenting all the evidence.
1. Finer, Lawrence B. et al. Repeat Abortion in the United States. Guttmacher Occasional Report No. 29. November 2006. Viewed online at: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/2006/11/21/or29.pdf on 23 December 2010.
Your signs just make people angry. How is that going to achieve your goal?
First, while anger is sometimes a response to our images, it is in no way the only reaction we see. Some are shocked into silence, others express horror that these images are real, and others are struck by deep sadness. Many confess that they had “no idea abortion looked like that.”
Furthermore, when tension occurs, it is not actually the images themselves which create that tension. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in his famous “Letter From a Birmingham Jail”:
Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with.¹
The tension present at Dr. King’s demonstrations was a result of racism, not the tactic of nonviolent disobedience. Likewise, the tension present at Created Equal’s activities is a result of the ageism that lies under the surface. When we bring this grisly truth out into the open, the tension that has long been ignored is finally revealed.
1. King, Martin Luther, Jr. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Viewed online at: http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html on 7 January 2011.
Why don’t you fight back when people attack your equipment?
When faced with violence, we seek to deescalate the situation as best we can. We then pursue legal measures to bring perpetrators to justice and receive restitution, if applicable.
To fight back would be counterproductive to our mission.
What about children seeing your pictures?
We do not target areas with children. Nevertheless, there are sometimes children on college campuses and in downtown squares where we take our signs, and it is possible that a child could see the images. However, it is a certainty that preborn children will continue to die so long as abortion is covered up. When weighing the feelings of born children against the lives of preborn children, the latter should be the priority.
Furthermore, our experience has been that children are not traumatized by the images. They respond with questions like, “Why did that happen to the baby?” We’ve only seen children become upset when their mother or father responded angrily as this upsets them far more than the abortion images.
Who gives you the right to be here?
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees freedom of speech.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (emphasis added)
Bringing our signs to the public square is an exercise of this freedom.
How can you call yourself loving when you shove those pictures in others’ faces?
Who are we loving if we hide the truth that abortion kills young human beings? Allowing the crime to continue unseen certainly is not loving to the thousands of children killed daily in America. If you witness one man harming another, it is wrong to “love” the victimizer so much that you allow him to continue harming his victim. We must love both. Furthermore, permitting the man to continue the crime is not even an act of love toward him, since stopping him would prevent harmful consequences of the act.
We cannot focus so much on our affection for born humans that we lose our love for preborn humans.
What about individuals who have had miscarriages? Don't your images cause them pain?
We encourage parents who experience the pain of a miscarriage to grieve their children and try to find healing. The pain of those unintentionally lost, however, should not slow efforts to save those intentionally killed. While our images are only of children killed by abortion, it is possible our signs could upset those who have experienced a miscarriage.
However, there are many situations that could potentially cause pain for a parent who has lost a child this way, such as seeing an infant or watching young children play at a park. We cannot remove all potential reminders of painful experiences from society in order to avoid the possibility of upsetting a person who has suffered this loss. Additionally, we encourage those grieving to look beyond personal pain to the plight of the aborted children shown in our photos.
What do you think about capital punishment?
As an organization, Created Equal takes no position on capital punishment. We are made up of individuals with diverse positions on issues such as capital punishment, war, etc.; however, we are all united in our opposition to abortion because we ardently oppose the direct, intentional killing of innocent human beings.
This same principle would of course lead us to oppose the execution of an innocent person by capital punishment. However, while we are neutral on the issue of capital punishment, we do not think that affirmation of all humans’ right to life—including the right to life of the preborn—is prima facie incompatible with support for capital punishment. In cases of the latter, the person being executed has been found guilty in a court of law and has likely had that conviction upheld while abortion brutally kills an innocent preborn child.
Why don’t you teach sex ed or hand out birth control?
Our outreach provides a critical piece of education lacking in so-called “comprehensive sex ed.” Indeed, sexual education is not a mere matter of mechanics. It should also explore personal responsibility and morality, including choices faced by pregnant teenagers. Our signs provide an education on one of those choices: abortion. We are thus educating individuals about a topic central to sexuality.
Regarding birth control, liberal dispensation thereof implies acceptance of a sexual ethic damaging to born humans. Our call to individual responsibility is consistent with a sexual ethic rooted in the value of all human beings and the immorality of using people for personal pleasure.
What are the Justice Rides?
Our Justice Rides are modeled after the Freedom Rides of the Civil Rights movement, during which students, both black and white, fought for basic human rights. On our Justice Rides we visit colleges and major cities, using images of abortion victims and dialogue to change hearts and minds on the issue of abortion. For more, visit JusticeRide.org.
How can I join a Justice Ride?
Send an email to our Outreach Coordinator, Ian Spencer, at Ian@CreatedEqual.org asking for more information.
Why reach out to high schools?
In short, because high school students are having abortions.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, “Twelve percent of U.S. abortion patients in 2014 were teenagers.” If students are old enough to have an abortion, then they are old enough to see an abortion. If we can reach these students with the truth, we think they will be less likely to have abortions not only during their high school years but also in the future.
In the classroom, many high school students are taking sex education classes, learning about “safe sex,” and watching demonstrations of how to use condoms. Interestingly, despite so-called “comprehensive” sex education, Guttmacher reports, “Fifty-one percent of abortion patients had used a contraceptive method in the month they got pregnant, most commonly condoms (27%) or a hormonal method (17%).” It is imperative that, as part of their education, high school students learn what abortion is and what it does to preborn children. Since this education will not be done in the classroom, it will have to be done outside the schools.
Do you shout at students or break the law?
When we conduct outreach at high schools, our goal is to create educational, civil discourse on the topic of abortion. We do not yell at students or force them to engage with us in conversation. We do not trespass on school property, but stay on the public right of way and abide by all applicable laws.
How do you select schools?
For maximum impact, it is our practice to choose large public high schools. We seek to avoid schools directly adjacent to elementary or middle schools.
What about parents’ discretion over their children’s education?
The young adults we’re reaching are in the age bracket seeking abortions and should have all of the facts made available to them; however, we do utilize “warning signs” so passersby and vehicular traffic can avert their gaze or avoid us altogether if they wish. Since support for abortion is the public policy of the National Education Association, the suffering of preborn children needs to be made public to the students as well.
Aren’t your pictures disgusting and designed only for shock value?
The abortion victim images we use are graphic because abortion itself is graphic. The images have not been photoshopped or altered in any way, and while they may be shocking, they are no more so than other images used in history classes to show the horrors of the Jewish Holocaust, American slavery, etc. Being disturbing does not mean a photo is not educational. Furthermore, we believe that, to some degree, shock is an appropriate reaction to the realization that almost 3,000 innocent preborn children are legally killed every day in the United States.
What about younger children? Won’t they see your signs as well and be traumatized?
We avoid high schools directly adjacent to middle or elementary schools. Despite this, it is possible that a child could see the images and be affected; however, it is a certainty that preborn children will die so long as abortion is covered up. When weighing the feelings of born children against the lives of preborn children, the latter should take priority.
Furthermore, our experience has been that children are not “traumatized” by the images. They respond with questions like, “Why did that happen to the baby?” The child’s reaction will be determined in no small measure by the reaction of their parents. We’ve only seen children become upset if their mother or father responded angrily. Seeing their parents’ anger upsets them, not the abortion images.