Most of us know the use of language plays a hugely important role in shifting and shaping public opinion. The use of gentle sounding euphemisms for distasteful, even horrendous realities has duped societies into accepting them several times throughout history.
The pro-abortion movement has been extremely successful in getting the majority of Canadians to buy their product using crafty, deceptive language. They call themselves "pro-choice" instead of pro-abortion. Who isn't for "choice"? They call the killing of an unborn baby a "medical procedure," a "termination," or "health care." They refer to the non-existent right to abortion as a "woman's right to choose," "freedom of choice," or "reproductive rights" (all phrases found nowhere in our constitutional documents).
All their flowery, high-sounding rhetoric has played a key role in getting us to where we are today: open season on unborn child-killing throughout all nine months of pregnancy for any or no reason at all. So how do we counter their rhetorical success and gain some ground for ourselves? Here are 4 ways:
First, stop using the word "perform" when talking about abortion. Perform has positive connotations to it. Symphonies, Broadway plays, beneficial surgeries, magic tricks, rescues and other entertaining or beneficial acts are performed. We shouldn't be using it to describe what one does when they kill a child in the womb. The word we should be using is "commit." We commit sin, murder, adultery and other crimes and harmful or distasteful acts. Abortion belongs in the latter group, not the former.
Second, use "unborn" or "pre-born" baby instead of "fetus," at least when first referencing him or her in debate. It isn't incorrect or unscientific to use fetus, because that is exactly what is being killed in an abortion; however, the other side has been so successful in using the word as a tactic to dehumanize the child in the womb, much of society has come to see a fetus as some sort of non-human, non-person entity. If you are going to use fetus, be prepared to explain that it is a Latin word for "little one" or "offspring." We use it to describe a human being in the pre-natal stage of development, much like "adolescent" is used for a person in the pre-adult stage of development. It lets the listener know where a being is on the life span, not what kind of being it is.
Third, don't say a pregnant woman is "expecting" or "going to have a baby." She already has her baby, alive and kicking in her womb. Such language implies she isn't mother yet, or doesn't have her baby yet, and by default implies the child isn't a child yet. Instead, refer to her as "with child," "carrying a baby," or even "having a baby." These terms better describe the reality of pregnancy and acknowledge the existence of her living, growing unborn baby.
Finally, don't use their term "terminate a pregnancy." Pregnancy is going to terminate all on its own, usually with birth, tragically sometimes with miscarriage. To use terminating a pregnancy for abortion is akin to using "terminating a marriage" in place of killing your wife. It may be true in effect, but it leaves out a pretty important detail.
There are more examples of pro-abortion language pro-lifers have accidentally or ignorantly used from time to time in writings, debates, and other situations. If we are to make progress in our fight for legal protection for unborn children, the use of language is a vitally important area we need to master. Be careful with your word choice. Don't let the other side frame the debate, and don't help them out by using their language.