Questions To Ask Those Who Are Against Abortion ‘And’ Pro-Choice

322395_life_7_to_12_weeksIn case you have not heard the news yet, North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple has signed legislation that would ban most abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected, something that can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

With the signing of this legislation, North Dakota is now thrust into the national spotlight and social media pages are full of dialog on this issue. Some individuals are posting on social media websites that they are, “Proud to be a North Dakotan,” whereas others are, “Grateful that they are not living in that backwards state!” Obviously there are very strong opinions on this issue of abortion, life, and the women’s right to choose.

The ethos of the people who are against North Dakota’s new anti-abortion laws is best captured by this person’s comments, “The time when women can no longer choose, that day is a day of degradation and shame. Through Governor Dalrymple’s signature women have lost their right of choice. Enough said!” With that said, what is this issue mainly about? It seems from the dialog and talking points flooding the internet that this issue is ‘solely’ about a ‘woman’s right to choose?’ Is this the case? Actually it is not solely about a women’s choice, for there is an undeniable relationship between choice and abortion/life. Let me explain.

One of the common stances on the abortion/life issue is that individuals are indifferent towards abortion (or possibly against it) and at the same time pro-choice. They may even say,

“I’m against abortion and will never have one. If one of my friends gets pregnant and wants an abortion, I will do everything I can to talk her out of it. But I don’t want the government involved in taking away a woman’s choice. I guess that’s why I’m against abortion and am pro-choice.”[1]

It may even be argued that there is a false cause between ‘freedom of choice’ and ‘abortions’ (i.e., that the two are unrelated), but the reality is that this is not the case. If there was a false cause relationship between freedom of choice and abortion, then there would be no reason for individuals to be upset by North Dakota banning the majority of abortions. Otherwise stated, the very fact that there are concerns about a woman’s choice due to legislation in North Dakota on abortion, shows that there ‘is’ a relationship between choice (i.e. antecedent) and abortion (i.e., consequent).

As I previously stated though, many individuals want to deny the implications of choice on abortion. They want to embrace choice while denying that it has any bearing or implications on abortion. The problem with this rationale is that it is an example of a basic logical fallacy of contradiction. Let me explain.

Since there is an obvious relationship between choice and abortion we can state:

Choice = Abortion

However, in order to be pro-choice and to simultaneously be against abortion, the equation will need to look like:

Choice ≠ Abortion

Obviously, it is difficult to reconcile how one can hold to ‘Choice=Abortion’ and to ‘Choice≠Abortion’ at the same time. The opposition of two different ideas will surely bring about cognitive dissonance.

In order to graciously help surface this apparent cognitive dissonance, I do not believe it is wise to resort to ad hominem attacks, name calling, or disrespect. Rather, I would suggest asking the following questions in order to surface the cognitive dissonance, show the relationship between choice and abortion, and challenge individuals to think about the source and basis of their ethics:

  1. When someone says they are pro-choice, ask them, “You are for choosing what?” The person’s sentence of saying that they are pro-choice needs to be completed. What will exactly be chosen?[2]
  2. Once the choice is identified, there needs to be a completely ‘different’ set of questions. These different questions are, “What are the implications of that choice and are the implications of that choice right or wrong?” Keep in mind that choices do contain in themselves ramifications, ramifications that happen as a result of particular actions or set conditions. Choices are not neutral, but typically result in a consequent.
  3. The final questions are, “How do we know that the consequent of the choice is right or wrong? What do we base our ethic upon to answer whether or not the result of the choice is morally just or morally wrong?” Ethics need to be derived and founded in and upon something. An ethic that merely appeals to popular opinion commits a bandwagon logical fallacy and an ethic that appeals to personal experience also commits an anecdotal logical fallacy.

While many rejoice in the work done by the North Dakota legislature, I believe that there is still work to be done and this work is to be done with compassionate conversations, humility, and integrity. Therefore, God bless you as you compassionately dialog and ask questions, like the ones stated above, with neighbors, friends, and acquaintances on this important subject; a subject not merely about women’s choice, but a subject that pertains directly to the issues of life.

[1] Scott Klusendor, “Why Your Friends Are ‘Pro-Choice’ (And What To Do About it)” (26 March 2013).

[2] Ibid.

About Pastor Matt Richard

Rev. Dr. Matthew Richard is the pastor at Zion Lutheran Church of Gwinner, ND. He was previously a Senior Pastor in Sidney, Montana, an Associate Pastor of Spiritual Care and Youth Ministries in Williston, North Dakota, and an Associate Pastor of Children and Youth in Rancho Cucamonga, California. He received his undergraduate degree from Minot State University, ND and his M.Div. from Lutheran Brethren Seminary, MN. His doctor of ministry thesis, from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO, was on exploring the journey of American Evangelicals into Confessional Lutheran thought. Pastor Richard is married to Serenity and they have two children. He enjoys fishing, pheasant hunting, watching movies, blogging, golfing, spending time with his family and a good book with a warm latte! To check out more articles by Pastor Matt you can visit his personal blog at:


Questions To Ask Those Who Are Against Abortion ‘And’ Pro-Choice — 35 Comments

  1. The objective criterion of a heartbeat is an interesting legal threshold. It seems many arguments could be made that would also apply to euthanasia. By using the heartbeat as the criterion, the legal issues may be very difficult to sidestep. This could get very interesting.

  2. According to “Fetal heart rate in early pregnancy” (van Heeswijk M, Nijhuis JG, Hollanders HMG. 1990, Early Hum Dev. 22(3), 1990, 151-156), the fetal heartbeat was detected at around 28 days after conception. A later source indicates the heartbeat occurs around Day 22. The unborn person is about the size of a pencil tip. As instrumentation techniques improve, detection will occur closer and closer to when the heartbeat actually starts.

  3. @Carl Vehse #3

    Even so, the leftist and feminist reprobates will keep supporting abortion until the very end:

    You just know that all the Daystar and OWN folk support “abortion rights”. We even have some abortion supporters who comment here at BJS, such as “#4 Kitty.”

  4. Leftists and feminazi organizations like Planned Parenthood not only continue to support murder-by-abortion; they are now discussing the concept of “post-birth abortions.” If you can stomach the video at this link, a Planned Parenthood lobbyist, Alisa LaPolt Snow, tapdances about whether an infant who is born alive from a botched abortion should live or die: “That decision should be between the patient and the health care provider.”

    When asked, “I think that at that point the patient would be the child struggling on the table, wouldn’t you agree?”, the lobbyist answered, “That’s a very good question. I really don’t know how to answer that.” Yeah, especially since any sane answer would be an admission that what was just aborted was a living human being.

    Later, Snow said she was concerned about some logistic issues about the distant to “the closest trauma center or emergency room.” That Snow considers a medical center specializing in treating trama as an appropriate place to treat a human victim of a botched abortion speaks volumes. One also wonders if the child would actually want to be medically treated by an abortion doctor who a few minutes earlier was trying to murder him.

    And to top off the demonic evil of pro-abortionist lobbyists, Alisa Snow is on the Board of Directors of the Tallahassee Regional Office of the (Roman) Catholic Charities (p. 13). In comparison to Alisa LaPolt Snow, Josef Mengele (also a Romanist) seems more like Florence Nightingale.

  5. Carl Vehse :
    And to top off the demonic evil of pro-abortionist lobbyists, Alisa Snow is on the Board of Directors of the Tallahassee Regional Office of the (Roman) Catholic Charities (p. 13). In comparison to Alisa LaPolt Snow, Josef Mengele (also a Romanist) seems more like Florence Nightingale.

    For all the talk from “conservative” RC apologists about how the RCC is leading the fight against abortion and sodomy, the RCC is as apostate as any of the liberal mainline “protestant” denominations. The RCC absolutely refuses to excommunicate abortionist and pro-sodomite clergy, laypeople, and seminary faculty. Rather, the pope and cardinal Dolan serve them “communion” instead, knowing full well what their positions are.

    Likewise, the RCC *officially* promotes higher criticism of the Bible these days:

  6. Another fallacy I find common is the accusation that those who are against abortion are against women’s “reproductive rights”. My response is that no one is limiting the right to reproduce. Once conception occurs, REPRODUCTION HAS ALREADY HAPPENED! The debate is then what you can or can’t do with the result of your reproduction, i.e. another human life.

  7. @Rev. Michael Piper #1
    I’m a “lump of tissue,” and I have a heartbeat. Lumps of living, genetically distinct, human tissue should have the right to life!

    @Nicholas #6
    Can you name any LC-MS politicians excommunicated for abortionist and pro-sodomite positions? I can say that Sen Paul Simon died a member in good standing of Our Savior Lutheran Church, Carbondale, Ill., (LC-MS). A lot of the rocks you toss hit us just as hard as the RCC.

  8. Another pro-abortion politician, Jesse Ventura (Minnesota governor, 1999-2003), was a member, along with his family, at St. John’s Lutheran Church (LCMS), Maple Grove, MN, up through December 21, 2000, according to the pastor, Rev. Steven Briel.

    At least for two years prior to that, Ventura had been advocating abortion, legalized prostitution, legalization of drugs, homosexual ‘rights,’ and it was over a year after his Playboy interview in which Jesse said, “Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers.” Governor Ventura declared June, 2002, as “Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Month.”

    But what may have booted Jesse off the LCMS conference guest speaker list was his remark that he would like to be reincarnated as a size 38-DD bra.

    In an April 5, 2011, interview with Howard Stern, Jesse Ventura stated, “I am an atheist.”

  9. Then there are a lot of apostate churches that need to be disfellowshipped from the LCMS, or at least apostate clergy that need to be removed.

  10. In my large metropolitan city, there have been more deaths from abortion over the past 12 years, save one, than from any other cause. When I first heard those statistics I could hardly believe them. Choice ends when the woman chooses to perform that act that results in pregnancy.

  11. There is one “pro-choice” position that is not mentioned in quietist Lutheran discussions, and that is the choice of Lutherans as citizens (both government/governed) to commit to bringing the politicians, judges, doctors, businessmen, and other abortion leaders to justice under the First Use of the Law.

    Bringing abortionist leaders to justice will not be an easy or quick effort, but unless there is a commitment to such an effort, unless it is taught in Lutheran homes and schools, unless our children and grandchildren are regularly reminded of that commitment, then the Lutheran opposition against the choice of abortion will be more like opposition against the choice of a particular pair of socks.

  12. Prosecuting pro-choice people (“Bringing them to justice”) is not a reasonable approach. We cannot legislate this problem away. Hearts must be changed, not simply laws. Abortions were happening before Roe and today one can go anywhere in the world and have one. Where do we start? Seems to me that we elevate adoptions/foster care, educate more thoroughly, better access to contraception, and economic policy. The latter as the driving force for the reduction in the rate of abortions during a pro-choice presidency (Clinton) vs. a pro-life presidency (Bush 43).

  13. @Paul #13

    Spoken like a true pro-choicer. Actually, we do not support contraception around here:

    And if there is ever a Constantinian turnaround in this country (by God’s grace), then we will outlaw abortion, and we will prosecute the politicians, judges, businessmen, activists, and other abortion leaders who ever supported abortion. We will prosecute abortion doctors, nurses, and others who ever carried out abortions (these folk would likely receive capital punishment). And women who ever had abortions (and men who enabled them) will be prosecuted as well.

  14. @Nicholas #14
    Well that will be just fantastic. Our jails will have tens of millions of people, we’ll live in state that will require 95% tax rates to support our prisons (or, as you suggest, we could just execute them – spoken like a true pro-lifer) and, abortions will still be happening in Canada, Mexico, Europe, and around the world. Change won’t happen unless people – all people – find the behavior reprehensible.

    Curious, did our current LCMS President comment on contraception vs. abortion? Or just the conservatives? Did he equate them as the same?

    Pro-choice? Please..

  15. @Paul #13: “Prosecuting pro-choice people (“Bringing them to justice”) is not a reasonable approach.”

    Despite attitudes like that, it is certainly reasonable, not easy, but reasonable. And of course, it is the right thing to do.

    “We cannot legislate this problem away. Hearts must be changed, not simply laws.”

    Red herring. No one has claimed the problem can be legislated away, or that, even if 10,000 murder-by-abortion leaders are tried, convicted and sentenced, abortions would be eliminated.

  16. @Carl Vehse #16
    OK, so no one used the words “the problem can be legislated away” except all you talk about is prosecution, bringing those to justice, etc. So what are you suggesting?

  17. It occurs to me that some might simply be interested in punishing people involved instead of actually stopping the behavior. So, if its the position of punisher-in-chief you’re after, then its a different argument. If you want to stop the practice/behavior, completely different.

  18. Obviously, for the “Constantinian turnaround” that I mentioned to even occur, God would have to grant repentance and conversion en masse in America or the West in general. If that happened, then abortion and other social ills would be legislated against.

    Paul :
    @Nicholas #14
    (or, as you suggest, we could just execute them – spoken like a true pro-lifer)

    It is offensive for Paul to compare the just execution of mass murderers (abortionists) by the state to the torture and murder of unborn children (abortion). How dare you make such perverse, wretched comparison? This is the kind of talk we hear from reprobate Leftists who are pro-abortion and anti-capital punishment.

  19. When abortion is outlawed, those who commit abortions will be brought to justice, just like other murderers and mass murderers are. Did we ever say that we will be able to stop all illegal abortions? Abortion and all other evils will be permanently ended when Christ returns. Nobody here argued against doing all we can to prevent abortions, and one of those many things is to outlaw it! The First Use the Law requires it. You are not truly committed to stopping abortions if you support those other things but stop short at supporting the recriminalization of abortion.

    Carl is right, Paul is throwing out the usual red herrings of the pro-choice movement and is trying to create a false dilemma.

  20. I guess that’s where I differ from the Leftists – I’m anti-abortion and anti-capital punishment. But, I am curious to know how I compared them? You were the one suggesting capital punishement. (“We will prosecute abortion doctors, nurses, and others who ever carried out abortions (these folk would likely receive capital punishment”)

    So please, don’t project that nonesense on me or others. I don’t compare them, equate them, or in any way suggest they are they same. What’s offensive is your suggesting otherwise. My belief is all life has value. And capital punishment has been an utter failure as a deterrent – so why continue it?

  21. @Paul #21

    Once again you repeat the lies of the Left. I’ve never seen that claim substantiated, but it is irrelevant. The reason to execute certain criminals is because their crime warrants it. It doesn’t matter if it is a deterrent or not.

    Capital punishment prevents the executed offender from ever raping, torturing, or murdering again. That is most definitely a deterrent. The problem is that it is not done enough, and that it is not done for crimes like rape and child molesting.

  22. Ok here’s some substantiation for you – since 1960 the violent crime rate in the US has gone from 160.9/100,000 to 386.3/100,000 inhabitants. Roughly 1,000 people have been executed in that time. If its so effective, why is violent crime rate increasing so significantly? It is because we don’t do them publically? Or should we return to the days of burning people? Tell me why is SO effective that you’d suggest doing more of it?

    Texas, our capital punishement leader has seen a violent crime rate increase of 161/100,000 to over 408/100,000 inhabitants.

    It simply doesn’t work and its more expensive. Your logic reminds me of the recent arguments for MORE GUNS as the answer to gun violence. If only someone would suggest I should eat more Big Macs for my problem.

  23. @Paul #23

    You clearly did not read my whole comment. It is irrelevant as to whether or not capital punishment is a “deterrent.” Murderers, rapists, and pedophiles should be executed because their crimes warrant it. It is the right thing to do.

  24. I think everyone is missing something in the whole abortion vs. capital punishment argument. One of the two is allowed in God’s Word (even encouraged/commanded), one is condemned. Abortion is a fifth commandment issue. Capital Punishment is a fourth commandment issue.

  25. And yet, we’ve seen fit to not consider capital punishment for certain acts. So, if consistent with Scripture, where is the indignation and insistence of the application of capital punishment for cursing your parents? Exodus 21:17

    According to Scripture, those people should be put to death, yes? Not just mudrerers, rapists, etc.

  26. @Paul #28

    It would not be unjust to do so according to Scripture. But post-OT secular governments are not required to enact capital punishment for all the crimes for which it was required in OT Israel.

    This is another distraction. You have no Scriptural grounds to argue that capital punishment is wrong. The state (Kingdom of the Left Hand) has the responsibility to “bear the sword” (Romans 13:3-4).

  27. @Paul #30

    Romans 13:1-6

    “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.”

    Here St. Paul recognizes the authority of the state to bear the sword, and refers to the secular authorities as “ministers of God” and “avengers who carry out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.” The phrase “bear the sword” also implies the authority to use capital punishment if necessary. St. Paul recognized that all secular governments, including pagan ones, had this authority. This authority can be abused, but it doesn’t mean the state doesn’t have the authority.

    Opposition to capital punishment does not come from Confessional Lutheranism or any kind of Confessional Protestantism. It comes from Anabaptism and Pietism.

  28. According to the LCMS FAQ:

    In 1967, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod stated its position “that capital punishment is in accord with the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions.” Resolution 2-38 of the New York convention of the Synod reads as follows:

    “Whereas, Various church bodies have condemned capital punishment in recent years; and

    “Whereas, God’s Word supports capital punishment (Gen. 9:6; Lev. 24:17; Ex. 21:12; Num. 35:21; Deut. 19:11; Rom. 13:4; Acts 25:11; and

    “Whereas, The Lutheran Confessions support capital punishment:

    “Therefore neither God nor the government is included in this commandment, yet their right to take human life is not abrogated. God has delegated His authority of punishing evil-doers to civil magistrates in place of parents; in early times, as we read in Moses, parents had to bring their own children to judgment and sentence them to death. Therefore what is forbidden here applies to private individuals, not to governments. (Large Catechism I, 180 to 181 [Tappert, p. 389])

    “Therefore be it Resolved, That The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod declare that capital punishment is in accord with the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions.”

  29. While it is not called “capital deterrence,” capital punishment (or the death penalty) does deter the executed person from murdering again. Whether, additionally, the threat of capital punishment deters other people from committing murder has been investigated.

    In his paper, “The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: A Question of Life and Death” (The American Economic Review, Vol. 65, No. 3. (Jun., 1975), pp. 397-417), Isaac Ehrlich, using a statistical analysis model, concluded:

    “Although in principle the negative effect of capital punishment on the incentive to commit murder may be partly offset, for example, by an added incentive to eliminate witnesses, the results of the empirical investigation are not inconsistent with the hypothesis that, on balance, capital punishment reduces the murder rate.”

    In their article, “The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: Evidence from a ‘Judicial Experiment’” (Economic Inquiry, Oxford University Press, Vol. 44(3), July, 2006, pages 512-535), Hashem Dezhbakhsh and Joanna M. Shepherd conclude:

    “We perform before-and-after moratorium comparisons and regressions using both national time-series data and state-level panel data for 1960-2000. The results are boldly clear: executions deter murders and murder rates increase substantially during moratoriums. The results are consistent across before-and-after comparisons and regressions regardless of the data’s aggregation level, the time period, or the specific variable used to measure executions.”

    Of course, the deranged or religiously motivated to commit murder will not likely be deterred by the threat of capital punishment, except after it is carried out.

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