I’ll be speaking at a Fresno FCA event in November, and I’ve been given permission to share the information in case you would like to come. I’ll be talking about the biblical case for the pro-life position, my favorite secular argument against abortion, and how to respond to the rape question with appropriate sensitivity. There will be time for Q&A afterwards.

For the precise location, click here to access the interactive Fresno State map, and then click on the “Duncan Athletic” checkbox in the “Select a Building” menu.

Date: November 2, 2015
Time: 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Event: Fresno County Fellowship of Christian Athletes
Topic: The Most Undervalued Argument in the Pro-Life Movement
Sponsor: Fresno County Fellowship of Christian Athletes
Lorne Bell: (805) 795-9116
Venue: Fresno State University - Duncan Athletic Building
Location: Fresno, CA
Public: Public

Want me to speak to your group? Click here to check my availability!

Recognizing the Root Problem


A few weeks ago I wrote about the importance of pro-life advocates being open to letting their conversation change topics. I gave the examples of religion and same-sex marriage and described how it might be more important for a given person to talk about one of those issues than to talk about abortion. Good dialogue requires the ability to listen well to the other person, as opposed to stubbornly sticking to your flowchart. [Tweet that!]

There’s another common reason that I change topics from abortion to something else: I discover that there is something more seriously wrong with their view than that they are pro-choice about abortion. Sometimes you can’t realistically make progress on abortion unless you deal with something else first.

Moral Relativism

Probably the most obvious example of a time to stop talking about abortion is if the person you’re talking to is not only pro-choice, they’re a moral relativist. If a person doesn’t think any action is morally wrong, even an obvious case like rape or child abuse, convincing them of the wrongness of killing a fetus is pretty hopeless. People tend to relate much better to victims of child abuse and survivors of rape much better than they relate to human fetuses. In order to consider defending fetuses they don’t emotionally connect to, they need to at least be able to see something like rape as evil.

I’m very much looking forward to speaking for the Pregnancy Centers of Central Virginia for a second year in a row! I will be talking about the Equal Rights Argument and why I think pro-life advocates should become friends with pro-choice people.

Date: October 17, 2015
Time: 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Event: Orange Fall Fundraising Barbecue
Topic: The Most Undervalued Argument in the Pro-Life Movement
Sponsor: The Pregnancy Centers of Central Virginia
(434) 960-8497
Venue: Orange County High School
Location: 201 Selma Road
Orange, VA 22960
Registration: Click here to register.

Want me to speak to your group? Click here to check my availability!

I’m looking forward to giving a three-hour seminar on making a compelling case for the pro-life position and responding to common objections at Oregon Right to Life’s Camp Caleb event!

Other speakers include Terri Nordone on post-abortive healing, Dr. Check Bentz on palliative and end of life care, and Genevieve Plaster, a research assistant with the Charlotte Lozier Institute who has researched Obamacare and Planned Parenthood’s trafficking of fetal body parts.

Cost is $60 per person or $100 per married couple. Includes accommodations for the night plus all meals. Scholarships are available for those who may need one. Use the Application Questionnaire form for scholarships.

Click the links below for more information and online registration.

Date: November 13, 2015—November 14, 2015
Event: Camp Caleb
Topic: Answering the Critics
Sponsor: Oregon Right to Life
Location: Salem, OR
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.

Want me to speak to your group? Click here to check my availability!

Check Out Our New Website!


Our website just got a huge redesign! Beyond incorporating a more contemporary look, here are a few of the main changes you may notice:

New Logo

We finally have a real logo! When we launched ERI I created a basic website and logo so that we could focus on more urgent tasks like developing our training materials. We knew they wouldn’t be permanent. Any good businessman knows the importance of clearly communicating who you are to your audience. Figuring out how to connect to current college students about abortion is one of our greatest strengths, so it’s important for us to communicate with our branding that we are forward-thinking.

ERI Lt-Dk 400

Our new branding will also help us show that we’re a pro-life training organization worthy of speaking at a national level. It will establish trust with potential donors who want to see that we’re professionals who aren’t going anywhere, and who can accomplish our goals.

Expanded Staff Page

Our staff page not only features our office staff, but also our Board of Directors and our Board of Advisors now. 

My Conversation with “Mark” on Personhood and Apathy

We will be featuring dialogue stories from our outreach at the University of Michigan over the next few weeks. This is one of them.



I talked to a student I’ll call “Mark” at the University of Michigan who was pro-choice. He thought personhood began in the 2nd trimester, but he wasn’t sure why. I told him my concern was that I wanted an explanation of personhood that would make sense of the idea that all human adults should have an equal right to life. I’ve never seen someone understand where that logic leads so fast. He immediately said, “Oh, if we’re trying to give everyone an equal right to life than personhood would start here” and he pointed to the fertilization picture.

Abortion Images: A Case for Disagreement without Division

We at Equal Rights Institute hardly ever talk publicly about the topic of abortion images. This isn’t because we don’t have opinions; it’s because there is almost no other topic that is as effective at dividing well-intentioned pro-life advocates. But saying nothing at all can also create division of a different sort. I’ll give an analogy.

I’m not Catholic, so discussing Catholic theology with my Catholic friends is risky. When I lived in Wichita, I became good friends with three Catholics named Rebecca, Catherine, and Anthony, and we talked about theology a great deal. We argued, wrestled, and disagreed, but we became closer friends as a result, and I think we all benefited from those conversations.

I’m also not a Calvinist. Some people say “it’s not worth Christians dividing over questions about free will and predestination.” I agree that it’s not worth dividing, but it is worth discussing, and I’m much closer with my Calvinist friends like Jacob and Brit because we can talk about controversial issues in a respectful way. But if after having one of those conversations, we couldn’t pray together because we were upset with each other, something seriously wrong happened.

My hope is that this post will bring us into closer fellowship with our pro-life friends. I will be very sad indeed if this post means there are fewer people I can pray with. I hope the discussions that follow from this post will be charitable. I hope people from both sides of the debate will be charitable to each other, and part of charity is taking people at their word, and not making assumptions about what their “real” motivation is.[Tweet that]

Be Open to Letting the Conversation Change Topics

Learning to defend your deeply held beliefs is really important, but it’s easy to get into the wrong mindset. Sometimes we get so focused on supporting the arguments for our view and defeating the arguments for the other view that we get…well, weird. We can get into the kind of focus where we are so oblivious to the person in front of us, we might as well be arguing with a robot.

Apologetics is not an end in itself, it’s a means to an end. The end for which we use apologetics is loving people by seeking their best interest.[Tweet that!] Sometimes that means our dutifully studied arguments become unnecessary.

One of the traps that comes along with the territory of studying apologetics is getting into a “flow-chart mindset.” If she says A, you say X, if she says B, you say Y, and so on.


But the times I go on autopilot and I’m thinking too much about the argument, I lose track of the person, and often the point. This is why it’s important to respond to people, not merely their statements.

And this is why I’ve learned to let the conversation turn away from abortion.


I believe it's a sign of maturity

A Simple Change That Instantly Communicates a Nuanced Approach to the Abortion Debate

It was only two months after launching Equal Rights Institute last year before we facilitated our first outreach. We had our training seminar developed by then, but we hadn’t yet had the opportunity to design our own outreach tools. So we utilized our favorite poll table option that we learned during our work with one of our favorite pro-life organizations, Justice For All. The sign on the table asks “Should Abortion Remain Legal?” This sign always stops a good number of people who see it, giving us a chance to engage them in productive dialogue.

On September 26th, 2014, Equal Rights Institute trained a group of Biola University students. Then on September 30th we brought them to CSU Fullerton so they could put what they learned about dialogues about abortion into practice. We set up the "Should Abortion Remain Legal" poll table the way we have for years.

On September 26th, 2014, Equal Rights Institute trained a group of Biola University students. Then on September 30th we brought them to CSU Fullerton so they could put what they learned about dialogues about abortion into practice. We set up the “Should Abortion Remain Legal” poll table the way we have for years.

This spring my friend Dr. Charles Camosy reached out to me to ask me to preview his upcoming book,
Beyond the Abortion Wars. It has now come out, and I would highly recommend reading it. We don’t always agree with his conclusions, but even the places where we disagree are well-researched, well-argued, and well-explained, and they help me to think more clearly about my own beliefs. Charles Camosy is a very unusual, very interesting voice in the pro-life movement and any pro-life advocate would benefit from wrestling with him.

While reading it I came across this section. These are excerpts from pages 26-29: (emphasis mine)