Bringing Reason to the Atrocity of Abortion!
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You don't win people over by being argumentative. You win people over by listening to what they say and responding in a thoughtful and caring manner. Nevertheless, it is still important to know what you're talking about, and if someone throws an argument at you that you are not ready for it can be difficult to come up with one on the spur of the moment. Therefore it pays to be prepared. Here are my answers to many of the common arguments that you are likely to hear.
(Note: Some of the following answers apply specifically to the United States. If you are from a different country you will, of course, have to modify them to suit your nationality.)
MEN VS. WOMEN
Abortion laws are just an example of men trying to control women.
Of course we are trying to control women! We are trying to control everybody! We have thousands of laws that control what people can and can't do. Would you prefer to live in a society without such controls? I don't believe any of us would. We try to control people to prevent them from doing harm to others. We control men to prevent them from killing children. Should we not also control women to the same extent? Therefore we wish to control women, as well as men, and prevent them from killing children. Would you prefer that we do not do so?
Abortion laws are just an example of men trying to control women.
In fact, there is only a small difference between men's versus women's views on abortion in the United States. Gallup found that "Within various age and partisan categories, men and women are mostly similar in their views. (last paragraph)" Women, as well as men, want to "control" the killing of preborn human beings.
"If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament." [A common "catch-phrase" among pro-abortionists.]
Of course, if a man could get pregnant he would not be a man, since, by definition, the female of the (mammalian) species is the one that carries the young, so the statement, literally as you put it, simply doesn't make any sense. However, I assume that what you are trying to say is that you view the difference over abortion as being that of men versus women. In fact, there is only a small difference between men's versus women's views on abortion in the United States. Gallup found that "Within various age and partisan categories, men and women are mostly similar in their views." (last paragraph).
Men should not tell a woman what she can do with her own body.
No one can do whatever he or she wants with her or her own body. I cannot swing my fists through the air if your face happens to be in the path where they are swinging. No one is allowed to use his or her body to damage, steal or hurt others. However, that doesn't really matter in this case. In this case it is someone else's body that she is doing something with. When an abortion is performed it is not the woman's body that is being destroyed. The fetus is a separate human being and is being killed when an abortion is performed. Do you honestly think that we shouldn't tell a person not to kill another person?
Men cannot get pregnant, therefore they have no business saying anything about abortion.
An abortion is the killing of a human being. Do you really think that men should just "look the other way" when people are being killed?
Most people who oppose abortion will never become pregnant.
The proportions of men vs. women who oppose abortion are not very different. (Reference (last paragraph)) Abortion is opposed rather evenly by men and women both. But even if a person will never face pregnancy, does that mean has no say in protecting other people's lives? Most people who opposed slavery would never have been in the position to own slaves. Does that mean they should have just kept their mouths shut?
WHAT IS IN THE WOMB?
Human life begins [at some point of their choosing].
Actually, human life doesn't begin at all. The sperm is alive, the ovum is alive, they come together to form a zygote which is alive. At no point in this scenario is there a beginning or an end to "life" (and this was one of the errors, though not the major one, of the Supreme Court in the Roe v. Wade decision), but rather a beginning of an individual's life or existence. This may seem like "splitting hairs", but it is important to be accurate when talking about an issue as volatile as abortion.
An individual human being comes into existence [at some point of their choosing].
On what do you base that conclusion? What is it that makes an embryo/fetus a human being after this point but not before? Do you really believe that?
Fetuses are not persons.
The Supreme Court got a lot of mileage out of the concept of "personhood" in its Roe v. Wade decision that effectively legalized abortion, and went to great lengths to try to prove that preborn humans were not "persons". We can argue all day long about what constitutes a "person" if we want to. Can we not simply agree that all human beings are persons and deserve the protection of the law? Don't you think it is rather ludicrous to try to define some human beings as "persons" and others as "non-persons"? Isn't that the kind of thinking that has engendered slavery, genocide and other gross human rights violations?
Fetuses are not human beings.
Have you seen a fetus, either alive or killed by an abortion? [Show them pictures from an embryology textbook.] Is the fetus alive? Is the fetus human? When it comes out you accept is as a human being. If a human being comes out, then it must be a human being that is in there, right? Else, how could a human being come out? Is a human being suddenly "manufactured" at the time of birth?
Fetuses are not human beings until they are viable?
Why does viability make someone a human being? Viability is simply a measure of dependence. No human being is able to live on its own until years after its birth. Should we say that a one- or two-year old baby is not a human being because it is still dependent on someone providing and caring for it?
Fetuses are not human beings early in pregnancy?
Okay. At what point do you say that "human-beingness" is conferred? [Whatever point they choose, ask "Why that point? Does that really make the difference between whether it is a being a human being or not?"]
Fetuses are not human beings because they cannot feel pain.
How do you know that fetuses cannot feel pain? There is no consensus on when a developing human being can first feel pain, but do you honestly believe that such ability just suddenly happens when the baby is born? And why would you use the criteria of pain as determining whether someone is a human being. Dogs, cats and zebras feel pain, but they are not human. It is not the ability to feel pain, then, that makes us human, is it?
Fetuses are not human beings because they do not yet have a consciousness.
Does a newborn baby have a consciousness? I think it does, but not as broad a consciousness as you or I. Consciousness develops as as we mature. A newborn baby is conscious of its mother holding it, but not conscious of the person on the other side of the room. A toddler is more conscious of its surroundings, but still not conscious of the fact that there are billions of people spread all over the globe. As we mature to adulthood, our consciousnesses increase in awareness, but does it make us more "human" than the little baby? We are learning more and more about how much consciousness a preborn human being has, such as being able to recognize its mother's voice. Like the rest of development, consciousness develops along a continuum. Even if consciousness were a legitimate criteria for being a human being or not, which I am not saying that it is, I don't see how we could use it to determine "humanness".
We cannot know for sure when a human being comes into existence, so how can you say that abortion is killing a human being?
Let's assume that you are correct and we cannot know when is the beginning of a human being's life. Can we then proceed to kill whatever is inside the womb? Do you think it is okay to kill something that may or may not be a human being? Is it okay for a hunter (assuming you approve of hunting) to shoot at something if he or she is not sure whether it is a human being or not? What if you happened to be the thing he/she sees moving in the bushes?
Abortion is legal.
So were all the things that Hitler did.
Abortion is legal.
Actually, abortion is not legal in the U.S. The Constitution guarantees the right to life for all people. The Supreme Court does not have the authority to override the Constitution. Abortion is only effectively legal because our legal system accepts the supremacy of the Supreme Court's opinions, as they did when the Supreme Court upheld slavery with the Dred Scott decision in 1857. The Supreme Court was not right then, and it is not right now. Additionally, there are homocide laws in every state of the union. Do you honestly think that it is legal to kill a small child?
Abortion is only allowed early in pregnancy, except in emergencies.
How do you know this? [A good response to keep in mind, in general.]
Abortion is only allowed early in pregnancy, except in emergencies.
The Roe v. Wade decision that had the effect of legalizing abortion in the U.S. divided pregnancy into three "trimesters". During the first trimester abortion was allowed without any conditions whatsoever. During the second trimester the only restrictions allowed were those necessary to protect the life of the mother - abortion could not be prohibited. During the final trimester states could prohibit abortion, if they chose to, but only if they allowed an exception for the life and health of the mother. The companion decision to Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton, went on to define a woman's health to include both physical and mental health, and that the medical judgment should be made "in the light of all factors -- physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age". Who decides a woman's mental, emotional or psychological health? All a woman had to do was find a doctor who would decide that her emotional or psychological health would be impaired by carrying the child to term and she could have an abortion right up until the day of birth. And, of course, a state did not have to have any restrictions on abortion whatsoever. A state can allow abortion right up until the day of birth without even requiring damage to the woman's health to justify it. The Roe v. Wade decision placed no safeguards whatsoever on the lives of preborn human beings at any stage of their development. The trimester framework has been superseded by the "undue burden" test of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which says that any abortion law cannot place an "undue burden" on a woman seeking an abortion, but the Casey decision upheld the "essential holdings" of Roe v. Wade. It may be more difficult or expensive to obtain one later in pregnancy, but abortion is allowed in our society right up until the moment of birth! The only real obstacle in a woman's path is that when it gets very late in pregnancy even "hard-core" abortionists will sometimes get "squeamish", and so it may be difficult to find one who is willing to perform the killing.
We need to keep abortion legal, because sometimes it is necessary to save a woman's life.
"We've come a long way since my mother's time - The idea of abortion to save the mother's life is something that people cling to because it sounds noble and pure - but medically speaking, it probably doesn't exist. It's a real stretch of our thinking." -Don Sloan, abortion provider
Late term abortions are only done in emergencies.
In testimony admitted into the Congressional Record, Martin Haskell, one of the practitioners of the procedure known as "partial-birth abortion", stated: "And I'll be quite frank: most of my abortions are elective in that 20-24 week range ... In my particular case, probably 20% are for genetic reasons. And the other 80% are purely elective." (See Clinic Quotes and House of Representatives Report.) According to the March 3, 1997 edition of American Medical News, and the February 26, 1997 edition of the (pro-abortion) New York Times, Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, admitted that the vast majority of partial-birth abortions are performed in the 20-plus week range on healthy fetuses and healthy mothers.
If we make abortion illegal or difficult to obtain, it will take women longer to obtain abortions. Isn't it better to do abortions earlier in pregnancy when it is less objectionable?
No. Do you really think that it is "more" or "less" objectionable to kill someone based on how old or well-developed he or she is? Is it less objectionable to kill a one-year-old than a five-year-old? Is it less objectionable to kill an adolescent than an adult?
If we make abortion illegal women will resort to "back-alley" abortionists and thousands of women will die.
Do you know how many women died from illegal abortions in the U.S. in 1972, the year before Roe v. Wade? [Give them a chance to answer.] 39 women died that year from illegal abortion, along with 24 from "legal" abortion. (Table 25). Of course, that is 39 too many, but don't believe the pro-abortionists when they try to tell you that thousands of women were dying in "back-alley" abortions before abortion was "legalized". It used to be like that, yes, but even before abortion was legalized those numbers had already declined precipitously. (Of course, the pro-abortionists won't tell you that part.) Also consider Chile. Chile made abortion illegal in 1989. Has there been a spate of "coat-hanger" deaths in Chile? No. In fact maternal mortality has decreased. In the scientific journal PLoS One, Dr. Eland S. Koch found that "making abortion illegal does not increase maternal deaths: it is a matter of scientific fact in our study." ("Ditto" for Poland.) We live in a very different world from that prior to Roe v. Wade. We were just starting to learn the realities about preborn human life in the 60's and 70's. Now we know a whole lot more and the knowledge is out there about the humanity of the preborn human. We will have to include education with laws prohibiting abortion, but, when informed, women in general will not try to kill their babies, and therefore will not die from trying to procure illegal abortions. Learning from history means that we don't have to repeat it; we can, and will, do better than we did in the past.
If abortion is murder, should we imprison women who have abortions?
I am not sure on this one. We already have laws that address what is to be done with someone who kills or attempts to kill his or her child. I do not propose changing these laws, but would consider the possibility of some changes to those laws in the case of this situation. At any rate, anyone attempting to kill his or her own child should face whatever penalty we deem to be appropriate for that crime.
Abortion has been deemed acceptable by the legal process of our country. Who are you to say otherwise?
The "legal process" of our country approved of slavery before the civil war. The "legal process" of Nazi Germany approved of genocide. Do you believe we should just accept what the "legal process" has decided if it means the suffering and killing of innocent people?
Abortion has been legalized through the democratic process. Do you not believe in democracy?
Abortion was "legalized" in the United States by a Supreme Court decision (Roe v. Wade, 1973). No vote was taken. There was no general discussion among the populace. It was not debated in the Congress. Seven men decided for all of the United States that abortion would be allowed virtually without restriction. Does that really sound democratic to you? The Supreme Court did not just rule on the case in front of it and let that stand as a precedent. The Court went on to completely invalidate every abortion law in the entire country, giving a complete pronouncement that dictated how abortion was to be treated for every person in every case in every situation throughout the country. They essentially passed legislation without the benefit of the participation of the representatives of the people of the states of the U.S. Do you really think that was a democratic process?
The right to have an abortion is a (U.S.) Constitutional right.
The U.S. Constitution says nothing explicitly about abortion. The basis for the Supreme Court's 1973 decision "legalizing" abortion was a supposed "right to privacy", the "roots" or "penumbras" of which existed in various amendments to the Constitution. On the other hand, the right to life unambiguously exists in the Constitution, being clearly stated in both the 5th and 14th amendments. The Supreme Court completely disregarded the Constitutionally stated rights of one group of individuals in favor of an unstated, presumed right of another group of individuals.
Making abortion illegal will not stop abortions, it will only make them more dangerous.
Making theft illegal will not stop thieves, it will only make stealing more dangerous. Therefore should we should legalize stealing?
A woman has a right to choose whether to be pregnant or not.
I agree - as long as she does not kill her child.
A woman has a right to control her fertility. If you take away a woman's right to control her own bodily functions, then what will be next? You will soon be taking away her right to hold a job, her right to travel freely, or who knows what other rights you can take away.
Prohibiting abortion is based squarely on the most fundamental human right - the right to life. Protecting people's lives is no basis whatsoever for taking away anyone's right to hold a job, travel freely, or any other such right. The real "slippery slope", such as you suggest here, is in exactly the opposite direction. If we allow people to kill their children while living in the womb, then who else will we allow people to kill? Will we allow them to kill their children within the first 24 hours after they are born? Within the first year? Will we allow the killing of those who are mentally retarded or handicapped? There are already some who are seriously contending that we allow "after-birth" abortions. If we do not protect the lives of the most vulnerable among us, then the lives of the rest of us are not secure either. Do you honestly believe that insisting on the right to life for everyone will lead to a woman losing her right to hold a job? It is not necessary to have the right to kill in order to protect your other rights.
Men cannot be forced to carry a baby, so women should not be forced to carry a baby.
Women can choose not to be mothers, so men can choose not to be fathers. Do you believe that a man can choose to have a woman's pregnancy ended because he does not want to be a father? A woman can kill her fetus, so a man can kill his fetus, right?
Women are not men, and cannot expect to be men, any more than a man can expect to be a woman. Nature has created us as sexual creatures and there is a difference between the two sexes - the primary difference being that women are the sex that carries the baby. We have to, on the one hand, accept that there is this difference - women cannot expect to be men, and vice-versa. On the other hand we then have to move on to provide for those who have the responsibility for carrying children. But not by allowing them to kill them.
The government has no right to stick its nose into a woman's private affairs.
When an action affects another person it is no longer a private affair. If abortion only involved the woman then a woman would have an absolute right to have an abortion if she chose. Unfortunately, that is not the case. In the case of an abortion there is another person involved - her developing child. The state has not just a right, but a responsibility, to ensure that people do not hurt or kill each other.
I am personally against abortion, but I don't believe I have the right to impose my morality on others.
We have thousands of laws that "impose morality", i.e., tell people what is wrong and what is right in the eyes of society. That is what laws do. Would you like to live in a society that does not try to tell people that certain things are "wrong" and therefore not allowed?
Even if abortion does kill a human being, it is still not right to force someone to be "hooked up" to someone in order to keep that person alive.
Oh, this is the famous "famous violinist" argument. [Continue with the answer to the next question...]
[The famous "famous violinist" argument goes like this:] If you were to wake up one morning and find a world famous violinist hooked up to you for life support and were told that he/she must remain hooked up to you for nine months or he/she will die, would you be obligated to remain hooked up to the violinist?
No, I would not feel obligated to remain hooked up to that person (although I am quite sure that I would remain hooked up if it were my own child!). There are, however, two important differences here. First, I had no choice in whether to be hooked up to the violinist in the first place. This situation, then, does not apply to more than 99 percent of unwanted pregnancies, in which the woman (and the man) took part willingly in producing this situation. More importantly, though, you are talking about someone who is dying, and what steps are required to be taken to save the person's life. In the case of a preborn human being, the child is not dying (again, with a very few exceptions) and we are not asking what to do to save its life, but rather what we can or cannot do to end its life which would continue if we took no action. It is a legitimate question to ask what steps a person should feel obligated to go to in order to save another person's life who is dying or in danger, but do we really want to start asking under what circumstances it is okay to kill another person who is an inconvenience to one's life?
How can you force a woman to carry a pregnancy after she has been raped?
If a woman has been raped it does not change the fact that there is a human being growing inside her, and to kill it would be to kill a human being. Since when do we kill children because of the crimes of their fathers? A woman in such a situation needs loving and thoughtful solutions to her problem, not violent ones. Do you think that taking the victim of a violent crime and turning her into the perpetrator of a violent act is honestly going to help her?
What if the woman's life or health are threatened?
Of course, we should always do whatever we need to do to protect the woman involved. If an abortion needs to be performed to save the life of a woman or prevent serious injury, then we do what we have to do. Do be aware, however, that this is an extremely rare situation in today's world (at least in developed countries with decent health care systems), except possibly for the case of a tubal pregnancy [be prepared to explain this if necessary], in which case it is not possible to save the child's life no matter what you do. This does not apply to the vast majority of abortions.
What if the baby will be born deformed or handicapped?
Would you kill a three-year-old child that was deformed? An eight-year-old that was handicapped? Then how can you kill a three-month-old in the womb because he or she is deformed or handicapped?
How can you force a woman into carrying a baby and being saddled by that burden for another 18 years?
The same way we "force" a father to pay child support. We are not willing to let children grow up unsupported. We insist that those who brought them into this world provide for them. In the same way we "force" a woman to carry a child to term, because the only other option is to kill it.
Can you honestly expect a woman to go through nine months of pregnancy and then simply give the child away to be adopted?
Yes. This can obviously be a difficult decision, but do you really think it is better to have her kill her child?
It's not right to bring an unwanted child into a world where it will likely be unloved and even abused.
So it is better to kill it?
There are too many people on this earth. We should promote all methods of reducing population, including abortion.
Then shall we start with killing off all [any classification the person you are addressing fits into: brown-eyed people, black-skinned people, red-haired people, unemployed people, short people, etc.]? Killing people off is not an acceptable way of dealing with overpopulation. We need smarter and more compassionate ways to deal with this.
BAD ANTI-ABORTIONINSTS:[Note: This is the standard tactic of pro-abortionists. They have no real arguments that stand up to any kind of intelligent scrutiny, so they resort to attacking the character of the other side. In some cases, they have some good reasons to take the view that they do. However, we do not let them divert the question. It makes no difference what the people on one "side" or the other are like. We could be the worst people on earth, but that doesn't change the facts of the situation. What matters is how the person you are dealing with is going to make up his/her mind about abortion. Don't let them sideline you into talking about people. Always bring the discussion back around to the facts of abortion.]
People who oppose abortion are women-haters.
There are people of all different motivations on both sides of this issue. What do you think of the person who, when asked about abortion, said to me, "I say, Rape her and scrape her!"? On the other hand there are people who oppose abortion all over the country who are volunteering much of their lives to helping and supporting women who face unintended pregnancies, with no compensation other than that of seeing a young woman get through a difficult time and a young life saved. If you think those who support abortion are doing so out of love for women and those who oppose abortion are doing so out of hate, then you have a distorted view. In general, people who oppose abortion love women just as much as they love young children and want to do their best to protect and support both.
Showing pictures of dead fetuses is cruel and/or immoral?
Do you really think it is cruel to stand up for those who are being killed and make the reality of their suffering known? Would it not be more cruel to remain silent or cover up the reality while people are being brutalized?
Anti-abortionists are not pro-life. They support war, capital punishment, etc.
Even the best of people are not always consistent. Yes, there are some people who will take a loving and peaceful view on some issues and then take a seemingly violent or uncaring view on others. Unfortunately, it is human nature to sometimes be inconsistent or conflicted. But what does that matter about abortion? How someone else feels about some other issue is really irrelevant. What matters is how you are going to decide the question of abortion. If you are going to base your viewpoint on the conflictedness or inconsistencies of other people, then I don't believe you will ever come up with a satisfactory answer. Base you views on the facts of what is happening, and then apply your own values based on the reality of the situation.
Anti-abortionists are violent. They kill doctors and blow up health clinics. People who are violent cannot care about babies.
Actually, the anti-abortion movement has been incredibly peaceful. In the 40 years that abortion-on-demand has been the practice throughout the United States eight doctors or other clinic workers have been killed. I doubt there is any other human rights movement that can claim such a low casualty rate. [See Gregg Cunningham's article at abortionno.com, p.12.] (And, of course, that is the casualty rate from one "side" of this conflict. The casualty rate among those on the other side numbers in the tens of millions.) But, [once again,] it is still rather irrelevant as to what you will do about the question of abortion. Will you continue to let innocent children be killed in abortion facilities [please don't use the word "mills" when talking to the public] across the country, or will you take a stand to end this violence?
Anti-abortionists are a bunch of religious zealots who wish to impose their religious beliefs on all the rest of us.
[Note: Recognize that this is one that we have given them plenty of evidence to support, but the answer is still the same...] Yes, there are a lot of religious people involved in the anti-abortion [or, pro-life] movement, but what difference does that make? Should we strike down all our other laws against murder because the Bible says, "Thou shalt not kill"? Just because a religious group or doctrine takes a particular stand on a question, does that mean that we suddenly drop laws protecting people's lives? It doesn't matter other peoples' motives or reasonings. The important question is, What about you? How will you decide whether we shall allow abortion or not?
Anti-abortionists are [bad in some other way].
Okay. Let's go ahead and assume that people who oppose abortion are bad people. You can even assume that I am Adolph Hitler reincarnated, if you wish. Is that going to influence how you make up your mind about the question of abortion? Are you going to base your opinion on what you think of the personalities of the people on one side of the issue or the other, or are you going to base it on the facts of the matter? I think you are intelligent enough to make up your own mind without just accepting or rejecting what certain people have to say because you like them or not. (I might add that if you pay close attention you will see that people who support abortion continuously try to base their arguments on the character of the people on the other side of the issue. What does this say about the validity of their position if they have to resort to trying to malign the integrity of their opponents rather than talking about the facts of the issue at hand?)
Abortion is religious issue.
Abortion is not a religious issue. There are plenty of religious people who approve of abortion, and non-religious people who oppose abortion. Abortion involves the killing of a young human being. We have universal principles that protect the rights and lives of all people. It is a simple matter of human rights. Do you really think it matters what a person's religion is in order to recognize that killing someone is wrong? Religious texts, such as the Bible, say that we should not murder or steal. Do you think that we should throw out all laws punishing murder and stealing because they also occur in religious texts or doctrines?
Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy.
Abortion is not the termination of a pregnancy, although it usually results in the termination of a pregnancy. Pregnancies are terminated without abortion, and abortions are performed that do not terminate a pregnancy. Indeed, there has never been a pregnancy in the history of humankind that has not been terminated, unless it started within the last nine months. Normally they are terminated by giving birth. Neither is the artificial termination of a pregnancy necessarily an abortion. C-sections are performed every day with no abortion taking place. There are also abortions that do not end pregnancies; they are known as "selective reduction" abortions, where one or more embryos or fetuses are killed and removed from a multiple pregnancy, while allowing one or more to remain, and therefore allowing the pregnancy to continue. It is not the pregnancy that is being aborted in an abortion, but rather it is that which is contained within the pregnant woman that is being killed - a young human being. [Note: This really is important. Pro-abortionists want to keep the argument focused on the woman and her situation, but it is not women who are being killed in abortions (although half of them are developing women). We need to keep the discussion focused on those who are being killed by abortion. (Although, granted, women are victims of abortion also.)]
Americans overwhelmingly support abortion.
Not only has the U.S. population become more "pro-life", but in every year that Gallup has polled, the majority of Americans have opposed most abortions.
Abortion is a safe medical procedure.
Abortion is never, ever safe for the one being aborted.
I am not pro-abortion; I am pro-choice
If you're truly pro-choice, then you would say I have the right to do I want with my body. Therefore if I choose to rape a woman that is my choice and my right. Right? Every law that exists in our society takes away somebody's choice to do something. But if we were to live in a society without laws you would find that you had far fewer choices than you do now. Let's put away the empty rhetoric and talk about the issue. The issue is not choice -- it is abortion.
NOT EXACTLY ABORTION, BUT RELATED:
We need to provide contraception to prevent pregnancies from happening in the first place.
Yes, I agree.
We need comprehensive sexual education.
Absolutely! And in order to be comprehensive it needs to include a detailed understanding of prenatal development (the natural result of sexual relations) and clear, unambiguous portrayal of abortion as it really is. Otherwise, it is certainly not comprehensive.
FINALLY, there are two questions/arguments that I am aware of that I cannot answer, or cannot answer very well. I welcome responses from anyone out there who can give a better answer then the answers I have attempted to give here:
An embryo can split in two and form twins during approximately the first two weeks of development. If a fertilized egg and the very early embryo during this time period is a unique human being, then how did it become two people. That is, if we call the embryo "Jane", then which half of the embryo is now "Jane"? Or does Jane not exist anymore and we now have two new human beings? In either case, where did the other person(s) come from? Also, the divided embryo can, instead of going on to form twins, join back together to form one embryo again. In this case, if we call the two separate embryos "Jane" and "Joan", which one is the resultant embryo? If it is "Jane", then what happened to Joan? Did she die? But there was no death. Everything is just as much alive as before.
I do not know the answer to this one. However, I do not hold strongly to the view that conception necessarily constitutes the existence of a new human being. I believe most people who oppose abortion do put the beginning of an individual's existence at the point of conception. It is, after all, the point at which a new and unique genome is present, and there is no other point at which (as far as I can see) a transformation takes place. Conception involves the transformation of two haploid cells (having only a half complement of chromosomes), which, by themselves, will never be anything more than two haploid cells, into a diploid cell (having a full set of chromosomes) which, if allowed to do so, will naturally develop in a continuous process into a mature human being, so it does make sense to think this way. Perhaps there is another point at which an "identifiable" human being first comes into existence; I do not know. However, I cannot, with the amount of knowledge that I have, find any point at which that happens, other than conception. Therefore, to be safe we must protect the human being from the very beginning of its development, until we are able to definitively identify that point. If we are not sure whether it is a human being, can we just go ahead and kill it?
People who say abortion is murder don't really mean it. They don't act like it is murder. If abortion is murder then the woman having the abortion is guilty of murder (or contracting for murder), but do those who oppose abortion actually support treating the woman as a murderer and sentencing her to life in prison? Also, abortion pickets and protests are very peaceful. If any other children were being taken into a facility and being killed, people would not just stand peacefully and protest. They would take all kinds of direct action to save the kids being killed. It is clear by their actions that people who claim abortion is murder don't really believe what they are saying. If the people who say that abortion is murder don't even believe their own words, how am I supposed to believe them?
You are right that people who oppose abortion are not necessarily consistent in their actions. However, there are people all over the world who are fighting various human rights and human life issues. Most all of these people are peaceful and do not get involved in taking forceful or violent action, even if they feel strongly about their issue. Why do you feel that those who oppose abortion should be different? However, the important point here is that even if you discount the sincerity of the people who oppose abortion, you are still left with how it is that you yourself are going to decide the question. How are you going to decide whether abortion is okay or not - based on the actions of some group of people on one side of the issue, or based on the facts of the issue? Don't let people's foibles or shortcomings guide your decision in one way or the other. Determine what the facts of the matter are and then apply your own values to those facts.
Of course, it is impossible to anticipate every question or argument that a person might throw at you, so some general guidance for those situations is in order. First, give a straight answer. There will undoubtedly be questions that you are uncomfortable with. Do not take the "politician's tactic" of evading the question by answering some other question designed to distract the questioner from his or hers. First of all, it doesn't work, and, secondly, it makes you look deceitful and afraid to face the truth. Always be honest and straight with people, even if it means saying "I don't know".
Don't be afraid to say "I don't know" to any question that you do not honestly know how to answer. This should be followed by something to the effect of, "I will think more about that", or, "I will get back to you on that question." And don't be afraid to agree partially with anything that the person says that does make sense. Finding some common ground is always a good place to start. If you're not sure a good response is, "You know, you may be right about that point. I will have to give that some more thought."
The overall answer to all arguments is that there is simply no argument that justifies killing a little human child. Remind them that just because you cannot answer a given question or respond adequately to a given argument is not justification for killing.
If the person asks you a question, turn the question around and ask them the same or a similar question (after giving them a direct answer, of course). You may notice that many of my responses above end with a question (after directly addressing their question, if they ask one). It is more important to get people to challenge their assumptions than it is to give a perfect answer. It is not only up to you to defend your viewpoint, but you must challenge theirs as well. Only remember that these questions should not be posed in a huffy, "so-take-that" attitude, but in a thoughtful, meek attitude that invites the other person to give an honest, thoughtful answer in response.
If the person is making a statement, ask "How do you know that?" Again, it is more important to get people to challenge their assumptions than it is to give a perfect answer. If they say abortion doesn't kill a baby, how do they know that? If they say that most people favor abortion, how do they know that? (After all, you do want to know if what they are saying is true, right?) And, of course, always be ready to answer how you know something when somebody asks how you know about something that you claim.
Also, when talking about abortion I would avoid arguments based on such things as: abortion causes cancer, or, abortion is more dangerous to the woman than continuing the pregnancy. First of all, I don't believe there is any solid proof of these claims. They may be true, but it is better not to introduce a question that you cannot be totally sure of. Second, even if these things are true, they are no reason why a woman shouldn't have the choice to have an abortion. If the only danger is to herself, then she has every right to make that decision. Finally, such arguments direct attention away from the real horror of abortion. If we have to resort to other arguments to support why abortion should not be allowed, it is almost as if saying that the killing of children is not enough of a reason. Although is is not overt, that subtle message may lodge in the back of their minds. Keep the focus on the fact that we are killing little human beings (babies, children, fetuses - what stage of life they wish to call it doesn't matter), and that is an absolutely horrible and unacceptable thing to do. That is the basis upon which we need to end abortion.
Also, don't forget that, with 4 out of 10 American women having at least one abortion during her lifetime, it is very likely that you will encounter people who have either had abortions or had some part in an abortion. You will reach these people by being sensitive and considerate of the circumstances that they have been through. (Of course, you will rarely know who these people are, so be sensitive and considerate to all.)
"Pro-choice" arguments are so outrageous! I just couldn't resist answering these!
Here are some other sites that have answers to pro-abortion arguments: