My Speech at the Students for Life Conference: “I’m Pro-Life, But…”

I was asked to give an apologetics speech at the Students for Life of America 2014 West Coast National Conference. I was given a title, “I’m Pro-Life, But…” that I was allowed to do anything I wanted with, so I chose to respond to these four common statements and questions:

  1. “I’m pro-life, but people tell me I come across like a jerk. What can I do about that?”
  2. “I’m pro-life, but I don’t know how to convince people that abortion is wrong.”
  3. “I’m pro-life, but I think it should be legal.”
  4. “I’m pro-life, but what about rape?”

Download Audio MP3 | 00:49:02

Thanks to Secular Pro-Life for providing their video to me.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • Deanna Young

    I really liked the part where you talked about how you want the other person to think about and answer your questions themselves instead of the PL person assuming they know what the other persons answer will be. It’s like inception!

    • Josh Brahm

      Steve Wagner has this awesome story about watching his toddler put together a puzzle. He said he offered her advice like, “Find the corner pieces, now the edges,” but didn’t physically help her. And it was really difficult! He sat and coached her as she put together the puzzle for over an hour.

      Steve thinks that should be how we dialogue. Let the other person put the puzzle together for themselves, which will be more persuasive in the long-term then if they just watch someone else make their own case.

      • Deanna Young

        That is a really good analogy! I actually have found that I’m not doing that enough when I talk to PL people. I’ll start by giving a version of Thomsons violinist thought experiment and at the end I’ll ask the person if they think it should be legal to unplug from the violinist and I’d just assume they would say yes. That’s led me to some pragmatic issues because I’d be completely thrown off by their answer because it screws up the debate that I was reciting in my head while I was supposed to be listening to them. Plus, I was treating them just as a mind to be changed which is objectifying and, I think, immoral.

        • Deanna Young

          Such a good speech Josh. I really hope we get the opportunity to talk to people together about this stuff soon. I kind of want to be able to reach my side with the relational stuff as well. PC people can be really mean to people who disagree with them as well.

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  • Purple Slurpy

    Though I disagree with you, you are a highly entertaining speaker, a great observer of human behavior, intelligent and sincere.

    That being said, I think I see why I disagree with you. I’m an atheist who donates blood, cares about my fellow human being, the earth, the trees, the whales, and LGBT rights (me not gay). I love my children and family, and babies in general. I think that much we could agree with, well, don’t know if you support LGBT marriage equality, but anyway, I think the fundamental disagreement I have with you is your human exceptionalism. I don’t see humans as particularly special in the grand scheme of things. I care about humanity and hate watching injustice and suffering, but I don’t put animals above humans. I suspect that if your dog (if you own one) and a stranger were trapped in a burning building and you could only save one, you would save the stranger because he is human. I would save my dog. (If it were any old dog and a human, I might save the human.)

    Your points on abortion, yes, I also disagree with late term abortions when fetuses begin to actually feel pain, but when they’re very small, I just don’t care. They are “human”, but unfeeling, clumps of cells. I don’t think I could really care about them ever unless I accept Jesus and start believing we are made in the image of God, which I can’t because I am incapable of having faith in the religious sense because I think religious faith is actually a mental disorder. No offense. I suspect a lot of people are like me, and these people are probably completely incapable of understanding your pro-life rationale.