Why I Don’t Favor ‘Strict’ Laws Banning Abortion or Dog-Fighting

By John Zmirak Published on May 14, 2018

Let’s not talk about abortion. At least not at first. Let’s talk about dog-fighting. This cruel, sadistic practice sees owners pit their dogs against each other. Such fights typically go to the death. Sometimes smaller, non-violent animals get tossed in as “bait.” That whets the bloodlust of dogs whose owners twisted them into killers. (I learned from a beagle rescue group that some people sell dogs on Craig’s List for this purpose.) People bet on the results. Money changes in bloodied hands. And the torn-up corpses of man’s best friend get tossed into a dumpster. Some of their bodies likely end up in cans of dog food, since the pet food business is almost as under-regulated as the U.S. abortion industry.

Don’t speak of “banning” abortions. Talk about “protecting unborn Americans.”

Let’s say you were talking about laws that banned this vicious practice. Would you call them “harsh”? Do you think you’d describe laws that imprison dog-fighting promoters as “restrictive”? Would reporters describe opponents of dog-fighting as “anti-sports” “zealots,” who favored “strict” bans on “animal owners’ leisure time rights”?

“Harsh” Laws Banning Spousal Rape

Of course not. Certainly mainstream reporters, who weren’t in the bag for criminal franchises that sponsor vicious dog-fights, wouldn’t use such language. Nor would we speak of “harsh” laws banning spousal rape, domestic violence, or child porn. A reporter who turned in a story that used language like that would not be long for his job. And rightly so.

But news organizations whose staff overwhelmingly favor legal abortion, from bottom to top, use such language about laws intended to protect unborn children. (See what I did there? I didn’t use any agitprop terms like “pro-choice.”) That shocks me but doesn’t surprise me. Not only do most journalists agree on abortion; most of them don’t even have any pro-life friends.

Would reporters describe opponents of dog-fighting as “anti-sports” “zealots,” who favored “strict” bans on “animal owners’ leisure time rights”?

What does drive me crazy is when pro-life people buy into the enemy’s language. Perhaps it’s in a futile attempt to sound neutral or fair. But the other side almost never returns the favor. More importantly, by doing it we’re being complicit in the long list of lies that underlie the case for legal abortion.

Words Should Reflect Truth

So, from now on, whenever you talk about the issue, remember to correct people who (wittingly or not) have adopted pro-abortion or pseudo-neutral language.  

Don’t speak of “banning” abortions. Talk about “protecting unborn Americans.” Hence we should say that a law “protects unborn Americans starting at 20 weeks after conception.” Or that a law “denies protection to unborn Americans conceived by rape.”

Don’t call a good law “harsh” or even “strict.” Call it “principled” and “comprehensive.” Don’t call a weak law “liberal” but “lax.” Describe our current situation, where a child may be aborted for any reason all through the nine months of pregnancy as “chaotic.” It’s a “Wild West,” “Darwinian” legal climate where women and doctors have “the power of life and death over every unborn American.”

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“Rhetoric” Isn’t a Dirty Word

In other words, use the same rhetorical tactics as the anti-gun lobby. And don’t be ashamed of it. They’re using such language because they think what they’re saying is true. They think they’re promoting the Good, and that their choice of words should reflect it. They may be wrong on the 2nd Amendment, but they’re right about rhetoric. It should reflect what we think is true and important. And we should use it as a tool to deprogram people who’ve been brainwashed to think otherwise.

As the great Christian scholar Richard Weaver wrote, rhetoric isn’t just the art of persuasion. Rightly defined, it’s the art of making the Good and the True attractive by highlighting their Beauty. In that sense, it makes words incarnate. It teaches via parable, anecdote, story, and choice of words. Good rhetoric, deployed in service of the Good, is not just important. It’s absolutely vital. It does all the work in the world that formal logical proofs cannot accomplish. For a highly useful guidebook on how to argue effectively, read the funny page-turner Thank You For Arguing.

Do you know how many logical syllogisms Jesus used in His preaching? Zero. Most of the words we have from His mouth would qualify as rhetoric. (Maybe now we can stop using the word itself pejoratively?) When George Washington spoke to his troops at Valley Forge, he didn’t stand up there and offer Socratic proofs. (They would have drifted away, one by one, into the woods.) Instead, he played on their heartstrings and roused their passions. And after the fighting ended, when an unpaid and angry Continental Army was about to march on Congress, Washington used simple, humble rhetoric to soothe them. If he’d just read them a civics lecture, the United States would have started out like most of the Latin American republics that broke free from Spain. And we’d have ended up like them, too.

Words Matter, and Names Carry Deep Meaning

In the Garden of Eden, one of Adam’s first tasks was giving the animals their names. At the Tower of Babel, God humbled man’s pride by confusing the names for things among different peoples with varied tongues. At Pentecost, the Spirit brought men together by letting the apostles preach to men of every nation, and be understood. St. John thought to call Christ “the Word,” which meant that He is the ordering principle of Creation.

Many theologians agree that the root of modern unbelief lay deep in the Middle Ages. The Nominalists (“name-ists” if you will) denied that man has any essence which unites me with my neighbor. In fact, nothing does. There is just a world of stuff, living or non-living. We give each thing we see (from pond to person) an arbitrary “name,” but it tells us nothing about what these things really are, or what they have in common. Follow that out through its implications, and you end up with modern nihilism, as Pope Benedict XVI warned at Regensburg.

Catholic novelist Walker Percy’s non-fiction masterpiece, Lost in the Cosmos, centers on language as the greatest proof for man’s uniqueness. And hence his status as a child of God, not an accident of genetics. Animals respond to signals. Gorillas can learn sign language. But no animal save man thinks that words refer to things. No other creature on earth has a realm of symbolic meaning. Biologists can’t explain that, and AI geeks can’t replicate it. The fact that we can use symbols to speak the truth, and name things that share an essence, sets us apart from dumb Creation.

It shows why our lives are unique, and uniquely worth protecting.

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  • Patmos

    What the proponents of eugenics have done is really rather remarkable, and hey give credit where credit is due. They’ve managed to not only turn killing unborn children into an acceptable thing, but they actually have people shouting about it! And all based on what reasoning? Well, none really, just some fancy word play. It’s like Edward Bernays and Margaret Sanger had a baby, but this baby they surely don’t want to kill!

  • Ray

    I don’t understand people who want more gun restrictions, but seem to be OK about terrorist nations having nuclear bombs, and even getting billions of dollars to boot, money that will have to be supplied by our taxes. Can anyone explain this? I would like to see every gun owning, constitution loving American keep his twenty round magazines. After all, he did not threaten his neighbor, or deny publicly his right to exist, did he? …..and it’s not even a nuclear bomb. Will a terrorist nation organize in an emergency to defend our constitution? Doesn’t look like it to me. Can’t count on that, can we?

  • Howard Rosenbaum

    Right. When citizens of the Kingdom of God adapt the vernacular of the kingdoms of this world we compromise truth in our promotion of His ( & our ) cause. You know its similar to that “let your yes be yes & your no be no ” sentiment that the Master warned us about.
    Kinda like being either light or darkness . Like being salt that hasn’t lost its savor or not.
    As both Mr Zmirak & scripture note, the words that we speak are not something to be trifled with.

  • SkyGirl315

    I think what animals actually can’t learn is grammar and abstract ideas. They can learn what words mean what items but can’t understand words that don’t refer to tangible items, and that’s what sets us apart.

    • What the Percy said (paraphrased by Zmirak above) is that animals can’t understand language. Words in an of themselves are just sounds. Animals recognize sounds and associate it with things.

    • Ineverleavecomments

      I forget the name of the researchers that debunked the gorilla sign language experiments… (they were not done in a controlled or repeatable way) or I would post it here. Maybe the internet can help fix this? (Clearly grad school was worth all that money!) The creatures may indeed have learned some signs but that is a very different thing than using them with a grammar, or in a way resembling language.

  • Bryan

    This brought back to mind the Cosmos Trilogy by C.S. Lewis. In the second book, the protagonist (a philologist interestingly enough), notices when he meets the Oyeresu of Mars and Venus, that there is distinct differences of masculine and feminine that have nothing to do with gender. Words do have meaning and the differences between words makes meaning either more plain or more hidden. I keep telling myself to improve my vocabulary. This is another reason to do so.

  • Concerned Christian

    “Words Should Reflect Truth”

    If words reflect truth then instead of Pro-Life the name should be Anti-Aborition.

    The reality is that the majority of Pro-Life people are Pro-Contraceptives.

    What’s the difference between abortion and contraceptives when it comes to the number of kids that will not be born? Far more will not be conceived because of contraceptives then killed via abortion.

    For the majority of “Pro-Lifers”, they don’t want any more kids than the “Pro-Choice” folks.

    It seems to me that Catholics who don’t believe in contraceptives or abortion can be called “Pro-Life”. However, the majority of Pro-Lifers are really against what they consider murder of the unborn but have no issue whatsoever if the child is never conceived.

    So if “Words Should Reflect Truth”, then is it truthful if you call yourself Pro-Life and you are Pro-Contraceptive? Should you be called Anti-Choice?

    • Howard Rosenbaum

      “Should you be called anti – choice?”
      No. You should be called practical . Though that word doesn’t appear in scripture.
      Perhaps then “ anti – abortion “ is the phrase of “choice” …?
      That is in consideration of how the “anti- life” folk have hijacked the integrity of that “choice” word ….

      • Concerned Christian

        I’ve never known anyone to be “anti-life”. I’ve known people who feel that deciding whether or not to reproduce is a choice. The majority of pro-choice folks either believe abortion is a sin or at least should be a very rare occurrence. But they believe it’s a “choice”.

        The integrity of the word choice has never changed. Like Pro-Choice folks, Pro-lifers believe that deciding whether or not to reproduce is a CHOICE. However, they believe abortion is not. But the terminology that Pro-lifers use, i.e. “Anti-life”, or no consequences for the act of producing a baby actually applies to them as well. So they’ll left with making an argument that at best is deliberately misleading.

        No one has hijacked the word choice. Choice has always been uncomfortable because it allows others to do things or have rights that you don’t think they deserve to have.

        • Howard Rosenbaum

          Of course abortion is a “choice”. It’s a choice that scripture condemns. Not that that seems to matter to those whose world view precludes the “choice” of the unborn were they capable of voicing an opinion on the matter. Just ask any rational person if they have regrets that mom didn’t chose to prevent their being born ..!
          The word “choice” hasn’t been hijacked by the advocates of ripping apart the unborn child in it’s mothers womb ..?! Sure & Planned Parenthood is not the modern liberals way of saying premeditated baby butchers ..! Should that make you uncomfortable ? Well, thats a choice too. One that has nothing to do w/rights that you say I don’t think others deserve ….

          • Concerned Christian

            “Just ask any rational person if they have regrets that mom didn’t choose to prevent their being born ..!”

            Not that this is justification but let’s go to prisons and foster care systems around the country. I read a study where some 80% of kids that grow up in the foster care system will go to prison. Let’s look at the number of abused kids in the country.

            Now take all of those kids who were born. Count up the murders, assaults, rapes, etc. committed by these people. This ask the victims of these people what they think about your “rational person” argument. Again, don’t take my words out of context as this being justification for abortion. I’m simply pointing out that this is not a zero sum game. The kids that you are concerned with saving, are you as concerned about the environments that they are growing up in?

            Again, prisons and foster care are full of kids that pro-lifers seems to believe don’t exist. That if you end abortion like magic, everyone that has an unwanted child will somehow become more rational.

            “Choice” is certainly applicable. The Proc-Life side is content with doing nothing to address the ramifications of so many kids being born to parents who are not capable of taking care of them. It’s easier to claim:

            “The word “choice” hasn’t been hijacked by the advocates of ripping apart the unborn child in it’s mothers womb ..”

            Since you only have to talk and condemn with no other action being required.

          • Howard Rosenbaum

            It is tragic that too many children are unwanted or not properly cared for in this & other societies world wide. However lm confident that in spite of the inequities & hardships facing these kids, they also would not trade their birth for the mothers “right “ so called to abort them.
            Ya think ….!

          • Concerned Christian

            What do “Ya think…!” about the victims of crimes committed by some of these individuals?

          • Howard Rosenbaum

            So are you advocating for the slaughter of babes conceived by societally challenged woman ‘cause there’s a statistical possibility that they may become future criminals ..?!
            Hmmm makes sense – if you’re psychotic . Perhaps the democrats can incorporate this concept in their 2020 platform. “ More abortion means less crime …! “ I don’t know ? It hasn’t worked too well in Chicago …..

          • Concerned Christian

            I figured you would take my words out of context but that’s fine.

            Like most conservatives, don’t deal with the real life consequences of your actions. Force everyone into your world and then turn a blind eye to the ramifications. We wouldn’t have an abortion problem in this country if we provided better support to pregnant moms.

            the reality is that the woman that goes to get an abortion is most often thinking about the financial ramifications. In some cases they are thinking about the financial cost to their existing children or the life that the child will have if they’re born into their current situation. You can twist my words anyway you like. But children born into this situation can face challenges.

            “So are you advocating for the slaughter of babes conceived by societally challenged woman ‘cause there’s a statistical possibility that they may become future criminals ..?!”

            yes, that’s exactly what I’m advocating. Hopefully, you can use my words to continue doing what conservatives do best about this situation. Nothing!

          • Howard Rosenbaum

            Are you sure you’re talking about conservatives when you reference “ better support for pregnant moms” being neglected..?!
            You mean support along the lines of Planned Patenthood is your idea of “better support” ..?!

          • Concerned Christian

            There are 600 Planned Parent clinics in the country. There are roughly 414,000 places of worship. The fact that Planned Parenthood has this much pull shows how bad the church has been in this area.

            if a girl/woman gets pregnant where will she run to first? The church or Planned Parenthood?

            If she runs to anything but the church then your answer is staring you right in the face. I’ve talked to young girls and it’s been somewhat surprising that for most the church doesn’t even come to mind. They feel that they can only get judgment and condemnation there.

            So you can say that Planned Parenthood is some evil organization. But at the end of the day, at least they are there. Where is the church? People don’t go to Planned Parenthood because it exist. They go there because for many the church doesn’t’!

          • Howard Rosenbaum

            Sad. However I’ve yet to meet or hear of any woman seeking an abortion at any of those roughly 414,000 churches you reference. For that she knows where she will go. “They feel they can only get judgement & condemnation ” from the church ..?!
            Which churches are you talking about. The is not the case from “life giving” churches . Not anywhere where the Gospel is preached. Come on. You ignore the thousands of churches that provide alternatives to abortion. W/out any “judgement or condemnation ” to make that claim ..!
            “At the end of the day at least they are there”. Sure they get millions of dollars from taxpayers ( that can;t continue ) to be there . Question is , what are they there for ..?
            The answer is more than statistically obvious …

          • Concerned Christian

            “. Question is , what are they there for ..? ”
            =====================================================
            Abortions accounted for 3 percent of the nearly 10.6 million total services provided by Planned Parenthood clinics in 2013, according to its annual report.

            Some services it provided in addition to abortions were:

            4.5 million tests and treatment for sexually transmitted infections
            3.6 million contraception related services
            935,573 cancer screenings including breast exams and Pap tests
            1.1 million pregnancy tests and prenatal services
            =====================================================

            apparently planned parenthood is the doing the job that the non:

            “life giving” churches . Not anywhere where the Gospel is preached.”

            churches aren’t doing.

            “You ignore the thousands of churches that provide alternatives to abortion. W/out any “judgement or condemnation ” to make that claim ”
            Contrary to popular conservative myths, abortion makes up a small number of their business. Also, if a girl, not affiliated with a church, get’s pregnant where does she go to first? Planned Parenthood, Crises Pregnancy Center, or the church?

            your argument is that geez, look at all the church is doing. My argument is that somehow there’s a disconnect. What’s the use in having a great product if no one knows it exist?

          • Howard Rosenbaum

            I recall a now infamous remark president Clinton made when trying to obfuscate during questioning regarding his dalliance w/that young lady in the blue dress. He replied ” it all depends on what your definition of is is ”
            Seems that PP has learned well from that former disgraced POTUS. It could be asked what the definition of “services” PP performs is. Their take on services includes everything & anything from handing out pamphlets to butchering babies in their mothers unwelcoming womb. ( unwelcome by choice not design btw )
            Even if that 3% number was accurate it’s a huge number given their popularity among misguided women. Sadly that 3% is far from accurate. Some critics of PP have the percentage as high as 95%. They may be less than impartial w/that number.
            However for every one adoption referral PP makes , 83 abortions are performed by this agency of death. I think they probably regret the one per 83 that “got away”..! Fully one third of all abortions performed in the USA are courtesy of PP. These are not made up stats like that 3% job. These are from PP’s own records.
            You Mr “Concerned Christian (?) are either woefully misinformed or you are a PP troll in disguise. I imagine if the taxpayers were permitted to choose where their “woman’s health services ” monies were to go, well there would be a lot more women not going to PP. They would have a clearer path to the many alternative “choices” available .
            Though I do agree w/your final sentiment regarding that “great product” you acknowledge …

          • Concerned Christian

            “Seems that PP has learned well from that former disgraced POTUS. ”

            yes, PP should take it’s lessons from trump? get involved with a porn star, pay the porn star to stay quiet, lie about the payment until it has to be disclosed and still have conservative Christians trashing Clinton. Yes Clinton is a mere amateur!

            “imagine if the taxpayers were permitted to choose where their “woman’s health services ” monies were to go, well there would be a lot more women not going to PP.”

            Church Giving Tops $50 Billion A Year In U.S.—And Its Future Is Not A Collection Plate
            https://www(dot)fastcompany(dot)com/3039328/church-giving-tops-50-billion-a-year-in-us-and-its-future-is-not-a-collection-plate

            PP gets 500 million from the federal government. So somewhere in that 50 billion dollar TAX free number, the church could provide all of the services provided by PP with the exception of abortion. But apparently that is really not a priority!

            “You Mr “Concerned Christian (?) are either woefully misinformed or you are a PP troll in disguise.”

            How can anyone be informed when it comes to conservatives? Unless it comes from a republican or fox news, if you don’t like it, it simply isn’t true. Let me try this:

            1. The Hyde Amendment prevents the use of federal dollars for abortion.
            2. PP has to release financial reports that are audited by an independent accounting firm.
            3. Since I use to be a CPA, i know the repercussions to both PP and the accounting firm for misrepresenting what they’re reporting.
            4. If they received $500 from the feds, then they have to show $500 going to some services outside of abortion.
            5. There’s no way that 80% of their services are abortion related. If they are then you should be pretty angry at the conservatives in congress since a simple audit will reveal it one way or the other.

            It’s like accusing them of selling body parts. Republicans in congress claim that they are investigating. Well, where’s the proof?

            Please prove how misinform I really am?

          • Alan

            This sounds like an argument between a Christian and a “Christian.” The “Christian” cannot resist resorting to defensive language and demeaning inferences to Christians. The premise of killing possible future criminals is weird and diabolical.

          • Howard Rosenbaum

            Yeah, just another example of the debilitating effects of liberalism on the mental faculties of the infected ones ….

    • Nunyadambizness

      “What’s the difference between abortion and contraceptives when it comes to the number of kids that will not be born?”

      Really? Do you think this is an honest question? There is a PLAIN and SIMPLE difference–PREVENTION of conception does not involve the MURDER of a living, unborn child. Maybe “pro life” people should be “anti unborn child murder” folks? Or, maybe “anti tortuous unborn child murder procedure” folks? Nah, that’s too long. Either way, I don’t remember anything in the Bible that states pregnancy prevention is a sin, but I do seem to remember something about not murdering people.

      Your equivalence shows your true colors. Planned Parenthood, is that you?

      • Concerned Christian

        “Maybe “pro life” people should be “anti unborn child murder” folks? Or, maybe “anti tortuous unborn child murder procedure” folks? Nah, that’s too long.”

        well you just made my point. You are not pro-life when it comes to contraceptives. Pregnancy is life. If you prevent pregnancy, you prevent life. Hence, while Catholics are the only ones that can truly call themselves Pro-life. You don’t care that the life was not created only that it was terminated via murder.

        My true colors are plain for all to see. I am pro-choice but I believe abortion is a sin. I believe people have a right to sin. I also believe that the thought process of using birth control is EXACTLY the same as getting an abortion “I don’t want a child”.

        The reality is that a lot of Pro-lifers love that name not because “the name is too long” but because it sounds more noble. The reality is that the majority of pro-lifers want to choose the number of kids they have as well. i.e. they are really pro-choice!

        Now those are the true colors of the pro-lifers.

        • Nunyadambizness

          Well, you can rationalize and equivocate as you wish as to abortion being “EXACTLY” like birth control, and you can advocate women’s “right” to “choose”, all you want. I am anti-abortion, and believe it to be the murder of innocents. I do not equivocate murder with the prevention of pregnancy -call me whatever you wish.
          We will BOTH be judged in the end.

          • Concerned Christian

            Amen!

    • Huh? Your logic does not follow. Contraception does not kill. At least in theory.

      • Concerned Christian

        US Births Hit a 30-year Low, Despite Good Economy
        https://stream(dot)org/us-births-hit-30-year-low-despite-good-economy/

        Babies are not being born and it’s not because of abortion. It’s because of contraceptives. Pro-Life means not to preventing life. Clearly very few pro-lifers have a problem with contraceptives.

        • That’s a separate issue. I don’t support contraception either but, unless you’re using abortifacient method, contraception is not murder.

          • Concerned Christian

            First I would say, that I believe you are consistent in your beliefs.

            I would also say that based on the following, using a contraceptive is to me in a figurative since killing a child:

            So Jeremiah 1:5:
            Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

            Ephesians 2:10
            For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

            Hebrews 7:10
            For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.

          • But no one was formed in the womb. So God couldn’t of have known a nobody. Even the last quote, if no one was formed, then he wasn’t in the loins of his father. At any given time there are a million sperm in the loins, but only one will become a person. I believe the concept is called telos, the end of a purpose. Look it up. It’s a philosophical term. Only the sperm that will end in its purpose is that human. The rest are just sperm.

          • Concerned Christian

            “Only the sperm that will end in its purpose is that human”

            regardless, if i prevent that 1 in a million from fertilizing the egg, then have I not stopped life?

          • No. Obviously if it doesn’t reach its end it was never intended.

          • Concerned Christian

            so prevent sperm/egg = not meant to happen. God is in control

            terminate pregnancy = Sin?

          • No both are sins but one is murder and one is not. I’m not going to repeat myself.

  • You had me with the title. I thought I was going to be angry with you. But I agree. Very good.

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