Category Archives: Thanksgiving

A pro-life conversation guide for the holidays

NRL News Today

A pro-life conversation guide for the holidays

By Paul Stark

Editor’s note. Yes, it is amazing. Thanksgiving is this Thursday, yet  you already see Christmas decorations and ideas for presents. The following remains my favorite advice how to promote the cause of life in an effective and non-offensive manner. My only suggestion might be to move (7) up to (1).


thanksgiving4The holiday dinner table offers a natural forum for congenial (hopefully!) conversation about current events and issues. Defenders of unborn human life should be prepared to take advantage of opportunities when they arise. Here are some suggestions to help you effectively discuss abortion with family members and friends who may not share the pro-life view.

(1) Know how to clarify the issue

When faced with an argument or reason for abortion, ask yourself whether it works to justify killing obvious examples of rights-bearing human beings, such as newborn babies, toddlers, teenagers and adults. If not, it assumes that the being killed by abortion, the unborn (i.e., the human embryo or “fetus”), is not an intrinsically valuable human being, like toddlers and teenagers–that is, it simply assumes the very conclusion it must defend.

For example, a woman should not have a “right to choose” to drown her toddler in the bathtub. The question at hand is whether the unborn, like a toddler, deserves full moral respect and ought not to be killed for the convenience or benefit of others. If so, killing the unborn by abortion, like killing a toddler for the same reasons, is a serious moral wrong.

(2) Know how to articulate the pro-life argument

The pro-life position is that elective abortion unjustly takes the life of an innocent human being. This position is supported by modern science (showing that what abortion kills is a human being, a member of our species) together with a foundational moral principle (the equal fundamental dignity and right to life of every member of the human family).

The science of embryology tells us that the unborn from conception is a distinct, living and whole human organism–a member of the species Homo sapiens, the same kind of being as each of us, only at a much earlier stage of development. This fact is uniformly affirmed by embryology textbooks and leading experts.

Morally, no relevant difference exists between human beings before and after birth. Unborn humans differ from older humans, such as newborns, in their size, level of development, environment and degree of dependency–remember the helpful acronym SLED–but none of those differences are significant in a way that would justify killing the former. For example, a five-year-old child lacks the physical and mental abilities of a 10-year-old, but she is no less valuable and deserving of respect and protection.

Each of us has a right to life by virtue of what (i.e., the kind of being) we are, rather than because of acquired characteristics or abilities that only some human beings have and others do not. So all human beings, including the unborn, are equal in having basic dignity and a right not to be killed without just cause.

(3) Know how to respond to common objections

Claims by abortion advocates about the number of women who died from illegal abortions are wildly overstated, as NARAL co-founder Dr. Bernard Nathanson frankly admitted. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 39 women died from illegal abortion in 1972, the year before Roe v. Wade, while 24 died from legal abortion (abortion had been legalized in some circumstances in some states). Maternal mortality improved in the decades preceding Roe as a result of advances in modern medicine having nothing to do with legal abortion.

If you cannot answer a challenge, don’t let it fluster you. Be honest and say you will get back to the challenger after thinking and reading more about the issue.

(4) Know facts about fetal development

In addition to knowing that the life of a human organism, a human being, begins at conception (see above), it is useful to know some details about the development of human beings in the womb. These facts bring home for many people the humanity of the unborn child. For example, the heart begins to beat about three weeks after conception, before many women even know they are pregnant. At about six weeks, brain waves can be detected. By 20 weeks, a wealth of evidence indicates that unborn children can experience excruciating pain.

The stunning complexity of prenatal human development is “beyond any comprehension of any existing mathematics today,” says renowned medical imaging expert and mathematician Alexander Tsiaras.

(5) Know how abortion can hurt women

The health risks of abortion, both physical and psychological, are very well documented. Familiarize yourself with a few facts.

For example, many studies suggest that abortion can increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Moreover, while no one ultimately regrets not having an abortion, many, many (though of course not all) women now deeply regret their decision in favor of abortion. A 2011 meta-analysis published in the prestigious British Journal of Psychiatry–“the largest quantitative estimate of mental health risks associated with abortion available in the world literature”–found an 81 percent increased risk of mental health problems among women who have had abortions.

(6) Know about alternatives to abortion and compassionate support for women

Both motherhood and adoption are ethical, life-affirming options. Some 3,000 pro-life pregnancy care centers across the United States stand ready to help pregnant women in need. Many programs are available to help women and others deal with the aftermath of abortion.

(7) Be winsome

Pro-lifers must be kind, respectful, fair-minded and willing to listen and respond thoughtfully to those who disagree. Don’t call someone “pro-abortion” in conversation, since it is usually inconsistent with how he sees his position and can turn him off to productive dialogue. Show compassion toward pregnant women facing difficult circumstances and women who have undergone abortions.

(8) Ask questions

Instead of relying just on blunt assertions–and putting the burden of proof on yourself–ask strategic questions to poke holes in someone’s position and get him thinking. Make him defend his claims. For example, if he says a baby becomes a person after birth, ask how a mere trip through the birth canal, a shift in location, can change who/what someone is or whether or not she has a right to life. If a pro-choice advocate says he is personally opposed to abortion but thinks it should remain legal, ask why he is opposed; note that the reason for personal opposition (abortion kills a human being) is precisely the reason abortion should not be permitted under law. (I recommend the “tactical approach” developed by Greg Koukl and used in Ch. 9 of Scott Klusendorf’s The Case for Life.)

You probably won’t change someone’s mind on the spot. But you can have a friendly conversation and give him or her something to think about. That should be your goal.


This appeared on the blog of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), National Right to Life’s state affiliate. Paul Stark is MCCL communications associate.


Every Life Update – Giving Thanks

“O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.” – Psalm 107


Friends for Life:

This Thursday for Thanksgiving many of us will gather around the table with family and friends to celebrate and give thanks. Let us remember to give thanks first and foremost to God: the Author, Redeemer and Sustainer of all life. It is through His blood and now sustained by His Spirit that we are able to proclaim that the Lord “is good” and that “his steadfast love endures forever.” We thank you Abba, Father!!

Secondly, let us give thanks for those family members we will be missing this Thanksgiving: moms, dads, sons, daughters, aunts and uncles. The fact we yearn for their presence speaks to the love we encountered through them while they were here on earth. Let us give thanks that our God has not forgotten them, and that through our God they remain with us, alive, for our God is “not the God of the dead, but the living.” (Matthew 22:32)

Finally, let us give thanks for each other – all of us in the body of Christ who work for justice, who fight for life, and work to build a Kingdom centered around the One who came to set us free! So know of my thanks for you, and for your enduring commitment to the Gospel of Life!

In that spirit of thanks please continue to read below about some upcoming and continuing work for the Kingdom of God! For all you do, and for who you are: THANK YOU!

Peter Range


Upcoming and Current Events:

Give Thanks for Life: Vigil to End Abortion – Wednesday November 30th 5:30 p.m. – Capital Care Abortion Facility, 1160 W. Sylvania Ave., Toledo Ohio. Join us as we quietly pray for an hour to give thanks for the gift of life and pray for the end of abortion at Toledo’s last remaining abortion facility.

March for Life in Washington D.C. – Friday January 27th 1:30 p.m. – The Supreme Court of the United States, Washington D.C. Join College Students, Young Adults, and the young at Heart for this year’s March for Life. Our busses will leave from St. Thomas More University Parish in Bowling Green on Thursday January 26 and return Saturday January 28th. For more information please see flyer, itinerary and bulletin attached. Registration payments due December 15th!

 Restore Culture with the Culture Project – December through May – At your church, parish, or home. Join us as we seek to restore culture by addressing human dignity and sexual integrity through the missionaries from the Culture Project. It’s not too late to schedule them, go to today to invite them to help transform the way our young people look at the world, and themselves!

Pornography Task Force – We continue to meet monthly to address the issue of pornography in our area. We are submitting a grant to bring in a speaker for the fall of 2017 and hope to be a catalyst for change for many who are struggling in Northwest Ohio. If you would like to learn more or to join our task force email me at:

Peter Range

Director of Office for Life and Justice

Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo

1933 Spielbusch Ave.

Toledo, OH 43604

419-244-6711, ext. 4933

440-821-1533 (cell)