Your Conversation Navigator

This guide will help you navigate the conversation with pointers of what to say and how to say it. But it is up to you to work it into a natural dialogue.

Conversations require at least two people. That means you have two different stories, possibly two different worldviews, and plenty of opportunities for confusion. But meaningful dialogue is still possible. Our team creates it every day, and so can you.

Click through the navigator below. Then hit “continue” to start the conversation.

Know the Case

To be effective, dialogue must be well-informed. Start with these three lines clarifying why abortion is wrong:

  1. It is wrong to intentionally kill innocent human beings.
  2. Elective abortion intentionally kills innocent human beings.
  3. Therefore, elective abortion is wrong.

In discussions about abortion, most pro-choice people ironically want to talk about everything except abortion. They prefer to talk about the mother’s circumstances or other related topics. But while those matter, it is not too much to ask that a conversation about abortion be about abortion.

To make that happen, you must have clarity on why abortion is wrong. That way when the conversation veers off course, you can identify it right away and get back on track.

Bring Photos

Good navigation requires good tools. The easiest way to keep dialogue on track is keeping visual evidence of abortion central. Download pictures from our gallery. Order handouts from our store. When you start to veer off course, point back to these pictures.

Remember: You are a whistleblower. That is an important role, but the victims of injustice provide the most powerful testimony against it. Abortion victims can’t speak. But when you let them be seen, they testify against abortion.

Find Common Ground

To find out where to take the conversation, start with where you agree.

Say, “Abortion is often seen as complex, so let’s start with a simple topic I’m sure we agree on. I believe it’s wrong to purposefully kill an innocent toddler. Would you agree?”

They will probably say, “Yes.”

Next say, “In the same way, I think it’s wrong to kill preborn babies. What do you think?”

then you agree it is wrong to purposefully kill innocent humans. You just disagree on whether the embryo is a human.

Continue under "Point to Truth" below.

then you know you agree it is wrong to purposefully kill people. You just disagree on whether preborn humans count as people.

Continue under "Point to Truth" below.

then you know your conversation should focus on the nature of parenthood—whether parents have obligations toward their children.

Continue under "Point to Truth" below.

Point to Truth

Now that you know where you disagree, you can chart a course pointing toward truth.

Ask: “Is the embryo growing?” They will likely say, “Yes.” (If not, show them pictures of the embryo’s growth.)

Then say, “Dead things don’t grow. So if the embryo is growing, she must be alive.”

Next, ask: “Are her parents human? If so, wouldn’t it make sense that what they create would belong to the same species?”

For more on this, check out our Questions about Abortion.

Ask: “What is the difference that makes the embryo less of a person?”

Their answer will fall into one of the following categories: Size, Level of development, Environment, Degree of dependency (remember the acronym SLED – See Scott Klusendorf, The Case for Life). Click each category below to see how to respond.

They say, “The embryo is so little. It can’t be a person like us.”

You say, “A toddler is smaller than both of us, but she’s still a person. So, size must be irrelevant to our personhood.”

They say, “The embryo isn’t self-aware, can’t communicate, have rational thought, etc.”

Ask, “Why does that matter? How do you know being self-aware/communicating/having rational thought/etc. gives humans value?”

Say, “A toddler is less self-aware than we are/can’t communicate like we can/etc. She’s less developed than we are. But she’s still a person. So, level of development must be irrelevant to our personhood.”

They say, “Being inside someone else means the embryo can’t be a unique person like us.”

You say, “Where you are doesn’t change who you are. When you leave your home to go to work or school, changing environments doesn’t change your value as a person or affect your human rights. The same is true for the preborn baby.”        

They say, “Because the embryo needs someone else, it can’t be a person.”

You say, “Children depend on their parents. That doesn’t make them non-persons or strip them of human rights. So, dependency must be irrelevant to personhood.”

Ask: “Why would it be different with younger babies? We agree parents are obligated to use their bodies to care for their born babies—whether it be by breastfeeding or using hands to bottle-feed. So shouldn’t we also expect parents to use their bodies to care for preborn babies?”

If they respond by saying the embryo isn’t really a baby, you need to alter your course. Now you know the real disagreement is on whether the embryo is a living human or whether she counts as a person. Check out how to respond to those ideas above.

Ask: “If parents deny nourishment to their born baby and she starves, did they do anything wrong?” Point to news stories of parents doing this and ask if those parents acted morally.

If they change their mind and agree that parents are obligated to use their bodies to provide for born children, go to “If they say, ‘Yes,’” above in this section.

She can make an adoption/foster care plan or kill the child. One of these is moral. The other is not. The same is true for pregnant mothers. There is an ethical way to sever the ties of parenthood, but it is not by severing the baby’s body limb from limb by abortion. The ethical option is adoption or foster care.”

Follow Their Ideas

Sometimes you will have to take a detour. That’s because many people won’t change their minds on something until they understand how bad their current thinking is.

So, follow their thinking for a bit to show where it would lead. As they present arguments or slogans supporting abortion, discuss the logical conclusions of their ideas. Here are some examples:

The embryo isn’t actually part of the mother, so the idea here is not that women have a right to do what they want with their bodies. Instead, the argument is women can do whatever they want no matter how it affects their children.

What is the logical conclusion? Women should be able to do anything no matter how it affects any children—born or preborn.

Expose this bad thinking. Ask: “Imagine a mother drowns her toddler in the bathtub and says, ‘I used my hands. My hands, my choice.’ Would that be moral?”

They’ll probably say, “No.” Then you ask, “What’s the difference?” and redirect your conversation based on how they respond. See “Find Common Ground” above.

The idea here is that when someone is unwanted, it is moral to kill them. Most people quickly back off this view once they understand the conclusions of what they’re saying.

Ask: “Do you really believe it’s okay to kill people who are unwanted? What about homeless people rejected by society? Would it be moral to kill them?”

Some people admit this is a bad idea but then come back with: “But the embryo isn’t a human like a homeless man.” If they do, then go back to “Find Common Ground” above.

More compassionate than what? Point to your pictures of aborted babies and ask, “Is that really compassionate?”

Then ask: “Is it more compassionate to alleviate suffering or eliminate sufferers?”

Watch Out for Pitfalls

There are some common obstacles on the path of conversations with pro-choice religious leaders. Watch out for these.

Ask, “What kind of a world would it create if no one judged actions as right and wrong? The result would be anarchy. Is that the kind of society you really think we should be building?”

Continue, “The law legislates right and wrong behavior. Are you suggesting Christians should not be involved in the process of legislating what is right and wrong? What kind of a world would that create, if we only allowed non-Christians to write the law?”

Say, “Let’s explore that idea. Imagine we knew a mother living in poverty who couldn’t handle caring for her newborn anymore. What if we knew she were planning to kill her newborn? If we kept quiet, allowing her to kill the child, would that be loving toward the mother?”

Continue, “Is it really loving someone to allow them to plan and execute a crime? What kind of world would it create if we made that our principle for all immoral behavior, not just abortion?”

Some people really want to know whether rape justifies abortion. But other times this is an emotional ploy to trap you.

To find out if it’s a trap, say: “Rape is abhorrent, but did you know it accounts for less than one-half of a percent of all abortions? What if, for the sake of argument, I said I approved of abortion in the case of rape? Would you then agree with me that the other 99.5% of abortions are wrong?”

If they say, “No, I wouldn’t agree,” then you know they’re using the emotional topic of sexual assault to hide their radical view that all abortion is okay. Say, “Well, let’s discuss the majority of abortions first, and then, once we agree, we can come back to the emotionally complex topic of rape.”

If they say, “Yes, rape is the only time abortion is okay,” check out our response to this specific question.

Sometimes the word “danger” is redefined not to mean the mother’s life is in jeopardy but that she might have a difficult pregnancy. Find out which they mean to avoid giving the wrong answer.

Ask: “Do you mean the mom might die? Or do you mean she’ll be on bedrest, require certain medication, etc.?”

If the pregnancy will be difficult, but will not threaten the mom’s life, ask, “What should parents do when taking care of kids is hard? Kill them? Or find other solutions which don’t involve killing?”

If they mean the pregnancy threatens the mother’s life, recall our position is that it is wrong to intentionally kill innocent humans. If a pregnant mother’s life is in danger, there are two humans at risk. It is possible that, to avoid both dying, action might be required which would foresee but not intend the death of the other one.

This is not elective abortion, however. If we could save both, we would. It is not our choice that one of them would die. Rather, inadequacies of current technology prevent us from saving both.

See our fuller response to this specific question.

One of the biggest pitfalls is wasting energy arguing whether pro-lifers are compassionate, whether men should have a say, etc. This is an ad hominem logical fallacy—meaning it attacks the pro-life person instead of the case being made. These issues are irrelevant to the moral question of abortion.

Whether pro-life people, for example, are willing to adopt babies does not change the fact that it is objectively immoral to kill those babies.