5 Myths about the Pro-Life Movement

This article is part of the 5 Myths series.

​Myth #1: The pro-life movement has won now that Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey have been struck down by the Supreme Court.

The good news is that with Roe and Casey out of the way, nine unelected judges on the Supreme Court no longer have sole legal authority to determine abortion policy. Rather, the individual states will now decide how the practice is governed. Put simply, the American people—your friends, your classmates, your coworkers, and your family members—will now decide if unborn humans enjoy the same legal protections as you and me. The bad news is that the worldview assumptions that make abortion plausible to millions of our fellow citizens are deeply entrenched in the culture and aren’t going away anytime soon. Reversing bad Supreme Court decisions, while necessary, is not sufficient for winning the day. If you think I’m kidding, consider that since Roe and Casey were struck in June 2022 (a good thing), pro-lifers have lost every single time the abortion issue has been put directly to the public for a vote. Even in a red state like Montana, voters rejected a modest ballot measure that did not ban abortion outright, but only protected children who survive abortion procedures and are born alive. A larger March for Life isn’t going to fix the problem at the ballot box. More pregnancy centers won’t fix it. To position ourselves for eventual political victory, the kind that results in legal protection for unborn humans, we must engage the public with a persuasive case for life that confronts abortion at the worldview level. That means all pro-life Christians must learn to persuasively make a case for life—at school, the university, and the workplace.

The Case for Life

Scott Klusendorf

The pro-life message can compete in the marketplace of ideas, provided Christians properly understand and articulate that message. Featuring additional content, this second edition helps pro-life Christians make a persuasive case for the lives of the unborn. 

Myth #2: The pro-life movement should be about reducing abortion rather than political action to ban it.

This myth presents a false choice. Why can’t we do both? All pro-lifers rejoice when abortion numbers drop. But merely reducing abortion is not enough. For example, a society that reduces spousal abuse but leaves it legal for men to beat their wives remains a deeply immoral society that rejects the intrinsic dignity of women as fellow image bearers. Make no mistake: pro-life victory is not achieved because pregnant women have their felt needs met or people come to dislike abortion, though we hope both happen. It is achieved when unborn humans enjoy the same protections in law as you and I do. Put simply, in a constitutional republic like ours, the people are the sovereign. God holds human sovereigns responsible for upholding justice for the weak and vulnerable (Psalm 82:1–4; 58:1–11; Romans 13:1–7). Therefore, God holds us responsible to do what we can to legally protect the weak and vulnerable, including the unborn.

All pro-life Christians must learn to persuasively make a case for life—at school, the university, and the workplace.

Myth #3: Pro-life advocates should refrain from using abortion pictures in public presentations.

It’s bad enough when pro-abortionists cover up the evil they want to enshrine. It’s counter-productive to the cause when our side helps them do it. When we refuse to use abortion victim imagery in pro-life presentations, we are stripping ourselves of our most effective tool both in terms of persuading critics and inspiring our own people to greater sacrifice. Visual depictions of abortion are controversial, but they reawaken moral intuitions and convey truths in ways that words alone cannot. As pro-life veteran Gregg Cunningham points out, “When we show pictures of abortion, abortion protests itself.” The pictures, Cunningham argues, change how people feel about abortion as a predicate to changing how they think and ultimately behave.

I realize that some may object to abortion victim images on grounds that they substitute emotion for reason and therefore should not be used in public presentations. But this objection misses the point entirely. The question is not, Are the pictures emotional? They are. The real question is, Are the pictures true? If so, they ought to be admitted as evidence. We ought to avoid empty appeals to emotion—those offered in place of good reasons. If, however, the pictures substantiate the reasons being offered and do not obscure them, they serve a vital purpose. Truth is the issue. The pro-life movement must stop apologizing for exposing what is being done to unborn humans. Effective pro-lifers can use pictures to reframe the debate and reawaken the moral conscience of the nation. Although the pictures are difficult to look at, they convey truth in a way that words never can.

Myth #4: The pro-life movement hates women.

Pro-life laws, so the argument goes, prevent women from getting life-saving surgeries needed to fix ectopic pregnancy and other threats. At the same time, pro-life laws mean that women who suffer miscarriage will be prosecuted for murder. These are outright lies. As reported in a state-by-state analysis by Secular Pro-life, “Nowhere in the entire United States is it illegal to perform triage on a pregnant woman, whether or not such treatment results in the death of the unborn child. Anyone claiming such treatment is an induced abortion is either ignorant or is lying.” The study further warns, “Be wary of supposed anecdotes on the internet that vaguely claim some unnamed physician at a ‘Catholic hospital’ in some state where induced abortions are banned had to stop emergency treatment to consult an attorney on legalities. In an emergency, no physician is going to desert a patient to wait for a phone call.” Meanwhile, no state law says women will be prosecuted for miscarriage. In fact, most laws expressly state women will not be!

Myth #5: The pro-life movement should be about love rather than engaging in political activism.

Let’s face it. Abortion debates can get ugly real fast. It’s no surprise that many of our fellow citizens want the controversy to just go away. As one piece that circulates during election cycles states, “It’s easy to forget that Jesus said the greatest commandments are to love God and each other. I wish we loved enough to stop demonizing.” Fair enough. But does “we” and “other” include the unborn? And if so, does “love” stand aside politically while he’s legally murdered? Pro-lifers stand alone in our calling to save children. How can we not act like it?


  1. https://secularprolife.org/2022/12/do-prolife-laws-endanger-womens-lives/

Scott Klusendorf is the author of The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture.

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