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The pro-life community has its own lexicon.

It’s interesting to see how certain terms evolve and then how leaders in the pro-life movement begin to use them, and then how others who support pro-life organizations begin to use them.

For example, a phrase you will hear used often nowadays is “make abortion unthinkable.”

I’m not a fan of the phrase because I don’t think we know exactly what we mean when we say it.

Clarity is essential, and I think this phrase is more a slogan than actionable.

And is anything really “unthinkable?”

In addition, the phrase “make abortion unthinkable” focuses more on the defense of the preborn baby than on the needs of the woman facing an unexpected pregnancy.

This is not unusual as the pro-life lexicon tends to lean strongly in the direction of defending the life of the preborn.

As you know by now if you follow my writings, I believe we would have much more success at reducing abortion numbers if we focused obsessively on how to empower women facing unexpected pregnancies.

So in place of “make abortion unthinkable,” I would prefer phrases like, “make choosing life more desirable,” which focuses on the woman.

Another term commonly used in the pro-life community is “life-affirming.”

This term is often used when describing frontline women’s healthcare clinics that do not provide abortions.

I think this term also focuses more on the preborn baby than on the woman.

In other words, if you were offering a woman a product or service that you wanted her to choose over your competitor’s offering, and you said to her, “Well, our service is life-affirming,” I don’t think she would even know what you were talking about.

I prefer a term that speaks to the woman’s mind and heart and is aspirational.

I like the term “life-empowering.”

If you said to a woman, “Well, our service is life-empowering,” I guarantee you will grab her attention and interest.

Yes, you will then have to explain how your “life-empowering” service benefits her, but at least you will have established that your focus is on her needs and wants.

Language is powerful and we should choose very carefully the words we use when we communicate with young women.

After all, they are the ones who will choose life, or choose abortion.


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