What is the most compelling defense for the sanctity of life?

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What is the most compelling defense for the sanctity of life?

January 21, 2020 -

The abortion debate in our country continues to escalate and divide people. While the science we have about the unborn is clear and uncomplicated, the circumstances and emotions surrounding abortion are anything but simple. 

If you need convincing, just take a lap around social media, where posts and articles about abortion have multiplied and intensified exponentially.

Are we the experts on the matter? Far from it. 

What we can say is that we were strongly encouraged to abort our son Abel back in 2015, and the families we support through Abel Speaks are consistently pushed to terminate their pregnancies as well. For that reason, we have put a significant amount of time, energy, and effort into equipping ourselves on the topic of abortion over the past few years. 

Since you clicked on the title of this article, we’d venture to guess you are invested in the life conversation and eager to do what you can to defend the unborn. So, what if we could settle this controversial debate once and for all? Wouldn’t it be nice if there were an indisputable approach to the abortion conversation? 

We’d like to propose a solution. Well, sort of.

A pro-life argument with no rebuttal

In our experience, there is one single approach we’ve used to engage others in this discussion that really has no rebuttal or counterargument, one particular method that has been most impactful in upholding the value of every life, regardless of whom we’re sharing with. What is this approach, you ask? 

It boils down to two words: personal stories.

We believe the most effective “argument” for the sanctity of life isn’t actually an argument at all. It’s authentic personal stories shared humbly, winsomely, and honestly. Real stories of people choosing life and choosing love. Stories that move people from seeing a “fetus” to meeting a cherished baby with a name, and a birthday, and a picture. Stories that bear witness to the fact that a parent can adore and delight in the child whom they may or may not have planned for. 

This is not to say that it’s unnecessary to equip yourself intellectually and prepare to engage and appeal to the mind in a respectful, knowledgeable way. For ideas on how to navigate the abortion conversation, see “Abortion: Four Foundational Questions.” We intentionally wrote it without any references to Scripture so that it may be useful in engaging with folks of any worldview. 

We’re simply saying that we have found so much more fruit in changing minds through, first and foremost, changing hearts. Regardless of the intent (and we like to assume the best), it just seems like long posts and aggressive arguments seem to have a habit of hardening hearts rather than capturing them. 

When the dust settles, the two parties comprising the pro-life movement and the pro-choice movement typically have not moved toward one another at all but seem even more settled into their separate stances—only slightly angrier than before. In the words of author Jefferson Bethke, “[The digital age] breaks us up into tiny tribes, and then we yell at each other online. Since we’re not engaging with actual people but with technology, we don’t have to disagree in a thoughtful and relationship-keeping way. Because the relationship doesn’t matter, the disagreement can be toxic, mean, and harsh. It’s clear: it’s a gloves-off culture we are now living in, which is pretty much the opposite of empathy.” 

If we want to show the value of every life, born and unborn, then nothing holds a candle to offering a personal story. There is no more attractive apologetic than putting love, joy, beauty, and redemption on display. The challenges faced as someone chooses to carry and cherish an unexpected child only make these stories more powerful and more beautiful. 

Why are pro-life stories so effective?

We’ve watched dozens of parents considering abortion reconsider and change their minds after reading or hearing someone’s story and seeing that they can do this. The following video shows three such stories:

We’ve also found that those in the medical community will often have their eyes opened to a new perspective whenever they get to witness families choose life and experience joy even in the midst of great hardship. 

Finally, from close personal connections to distant Facebook friends, there are no shortage of opportunities to humbly engage with people who think differently than you do.

Consider what one pregnant mama wrote to us:

I was 16 weeks pregnant when my son received a life-limiting diagnosis. I remember being so afraid… Afraid to lose him. Afraid to love him. Afraid OF him. I cried thinking about all of my dreams slipping out of my hands… One night while searching for answers I came across Abel Speaks. I can remember the first time I saw a picture of Abel. I can still so clearly remember that moment. Seeing his face changed my perspective… It was the first time I wasn’t afraid of my son. God used his story to give me hope, and finally a breath of air, and I wasn’t afraid. I was hopeful. We knew our baby boy was being knit together perfectly by his Creator for a purpose (emphasis added).

What if you don’t have a personal story to share?

The good news is that this approach is not limited to any particular people. In other words, it doesn’t have to be your personal story. 

You can support and champion organizations who are regularly sharing personal stories connected to the life conversation, such as Abel Speaks, Stand For Life, Brave Love, Hope Story, and other organizations. 

You can raise awareness of these stories by sharing them through your own channels and spheres of influence, whether verbally or electronically.

Ultimately, whether you’re connected to the life conversation or not, we hope you will simply begin to share your story! 

Every person has been entrusted with a personal story of highs and lows and lessons learned. God has a habit of using these testimonies to bring comfort and perspective to others who find themselves right where you were. 

Whoever you are and wherever you’ve been, we hope you will be bold, be vulnerable, and be willing to let your story challenge or encourage others. This truly is the most attractive apologetic in showing and upholding the value of every child, born and unborn.

Daniel and Kelly Crawford operate a nonprofit called Abel Speaks. Their son Abel was born on January 22, 2016, before passing away fifteen days later with Trisomy-18. They’ve since had two more kids—Mayfield and Deacon—who were also born on January 22, which happens to be Sanctity of Life day.

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