Promiscuity became “free love.”
Contraception became “birth control.”
Child murder became “abortion,” then became “choice.”
All the while, the truth became veiled.
Reality was ignored.
We have seen the liberals succeed over the past few decades in the “war on words.” Being able to choose which words are used shapes debates on important issues. I am afraid there remains a battlefront in the war on words that pro-lifers are losing, unbeknownst to them. It pertains to “expecting” a child.
Case In Point
After all, our opponents out there are calling the unborn child degrading things like, “a product of conception,” “a blob of tissue,” “uterine contents,” “the pregnancy,” “a clump of cells,” etc.
The Battle Is Before Us
Pro-lifers could do a better job of recognizing the humanity of the preborn by our speech about them.
If you hear a female friend or family member inform you she just learned she is “expecting,” it begs the question, “Expecting what?”
Is she expecting a package in the mail? Does she really think a stork will fly in at the end of nine months to deliver on her front porch her new bundle of joy?
The fact is, saying she is “expecting” a baby defies reality. She is not about to become a mother; she already is a mother.
The child already exists, upon the moment of conception. The child does not come alive only upon birth. She is his mother even before she births him.
Using phrases like, “You’re going to be a mother,” or “You’re going to have a child,” does little to recognize the humanity of the child in the womb.
Moreover, calling a child “it” does the unborn child no favors either. This is a dehumanizing word. “It” is a term to assign to an inanimate object, such as a fork you accidentally dropped on the floor. “It” should never be used as a pronoun to refer to a human person.
Do you call a newborn baby in his mother’s arms an “it,” when you see pictures? No, of course not. So why would that change when you can’t see the child in the womb?
A popular pronoun people use, from both sides of the abortion debate, is “fetus.” Fetus is actually a Latin word, meaning “little one.” This fact is lost on most people, especially the so-called “pro-choice” crowd.
I would recommend steering clear of the term fetus, and here is what I suggest…
How We Can Be More Effective
So what should we do?
Obviously, calling the unborn child, baby, child, boy, girl, him, her, he, she, etc. will witness to his or her humanity.
Next time a woman informs you she is “expecting,” you can subtly change the conversation. You can first congratulating her on becoming a mother, and then ask her about her child—not her “it.”
As Father Frank Pavone, of Priests for Life, suggested, you can ask the pregnant mother, especially when in public, “How are the two of you doing?” This will get her thinking about the humanity of her child and his wellbeing.
“Does he seem to prefer Bach or Beethoven?,” you could ask her. Or, “Does he seem to calm down when he hears his father’s voice?”
If you become pregnant, when in public, you should call the child by his or her name, if you have already chosen one. If you do not know what you will name the child or want it to be a surprise, then choosing a nickname for the child would be good.
This small step will help us be more consistent, and diligent in recognizing the humanity of the unborn. By doing this, we can each do a service to the unborn.
We recognize the inherent injustice in our opponents’ manner of speaking about the unborn, so let us not be guilty ourselves. We can slowly fight back in this war on words, and we do not need to concede this battlefront. Are you ready to keep fighting on?