Abortion is Murder?
Abortion is murder. That phrase is batted around by wings of the Pro-Life movement. As with any movement with a defined goal, language and actions matter. One has to examine and reexamine the efficacy of words and actions when weighed against the goal.
With the phrase “abortion is murder”, it seems to primarily effect three groups; the pro-abortion groups, the aforementioned elements of the pro-life side that use such phrasing and the men and women directly impacted by lost parenthood via abortion. Therefore, within the framework of efficacy, looking at how each group may align and/or respond to such verbiage is a worthwhile exercise.
If one were to approach a pro-abortion person or group and utter the phrase “abortion is murder” there are a few likely outcomes. The first is anger. They’ve heard that message for decades. A familiar debate will likely follow along lines of when life begins, viability, etc. That’s best-case. But that single phrase will most certainly cause them to shut down. They won’t truly hear another word and certainly won’t change their mind.
One can reasonably conclude that, when measuring language choices against the desired outcome, this phrase won’t elicit the prescribed response. In other words, no minds will change and the hearer will likely dig their heels in deeper.
That brings up the next group. The pro-life groups that utter “abortion is murder.” Now, not all groups use such phrasing, but some have from the beginning and continue to today. An informal poll was conducted and the respondents stated that such phrasing was necessary as it was the “truth of God” or some variation of that. In the strictest reading, abortion is taking an innocent life. But, again, we have to look at efficacy.
Another “truth of God” was spoken by Jesus in the Book of Matthew. He said, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” interesting that the God we claim to represent gives us clear direction on how to interact with people afflicted with various maladies. More on this later.
If one truth of God isn’t bringing people to God and another is by bringing healing then why use the former? A couple of possibilities come to mind. One is that the person is hiding their own pain or issues. Maybe not abortion-related but we know that the ones that exibit anger and then project that anger on others have unresolved pain. In recovery circles that is phrased as “hurt people, hurt people.”
In Scott Peck’s book “People of the Lie” he writes that the sickest among us hide in church. We take our pain and hurt and unresolved issues and hide behind a variant version of God. Then we suit up with righteous indignation and direct that energy at others that don’t meet our standard of Holy…whatever that actually means.
The other reason for the pro-life minded to use this phrasing is self-aggrandisement. A group of people slapping each other on the back and telling themselves that they’re fighting the good fight, battling for God, etc is powerful and dangerous. Again, if it is not reaching the main goal, why keep doing it?
Next we need to take a look at the moms and dads who have been directly impacted by abortion. With over 62,000,000 abortions performed in the US alone since 1973, this is by far the largest of the three groups and, arguably, the group with the most skin in the game.
Many who have had abortions express feelings of shame after…and the shame stays and often grows for years. Many also report feeling “something was wrong” moments after the abortion. When a person in this condition hears “abortion is murder” it opens wounds and deepens shame.
They often internalize it as “I am bad” or “God wants to punish me” or “God will never forgive me.” None of the above messages are true and so using wording, no matter it’s Biblical roots or perceived connection, that pushes people away from God is neither effective nor God-honoring.
The one thing all three groups above can likely agree on is healing. It is natural to see someone in pain and want healing for them…be they a stranger or friend. If the message is hope for the hurting and healing for the wounded then it becomes hard to argue against. If the end goal is to end abortion on demand, then healing has to be the center of the discussion.
The more people that are healed, the more will talk about their healing…just like the man by the pool whom Jesus healed. The more people that share about their pain and how they found peace and healing the more people will want the same. People that have hidden their abortion story and the pain and shame will begin to find freedom. This is how a movement gains momentum and how true change is made. And this is true because it is a heart change that happens person to person.
So we come back to the phrase “abortion is murder”. It provides no benefit to the three groups discussed, it causes pain for all involved and it moves us further away from the goal of ending abortion as well as the goal of healing those that are hurting and restoring relationships with God. I can see no use for such wording.
Published on: October 12, 2021