Pro-life Language Dos and Don’ts

“The tongue has the power of life and death,” Proverbs 18:21 

Our words hold the power of life and death. That is why it is so important to consider the words that we use when speaking on the topic of pro-life. Some people unknowingly use words that are outdated or have become stigmatic. Others have a passion for the movement but don’t know the meanings of terminology and how to use them. Since the mission of the pro-life movement is not just to promote life but to speak life, we have compiled and defined terms that you should use and some terms that may not share the message of life. Or in other words, here are pro-life language dos and don’ts.

Instead of… 

“Crisis Pregnancy Center” 

Use…

“Pregnancy Resource Center” 

While the difference in these two terms might not be noticeable to many, the connotations of the word crisis do not communicate the safety that women should feel when seeking help in their decision for choosing life. Although facing an unplanned pregnancy is certainly challenging, women do not need to visit a center that suggests that they are in trouble or in danger. Pregnancy Resource Center better illustrates the mission of these centers; to be a place of support for women. A Pregnancy Resource Center is an organization that offers free pregnancy services to the community. 

Instead of…

“Crisis Pregnancy” 

Use…

“Unplanned or Unintended Pregnancy” 

The general rule when it comes to pro-life language is to avoid the use of the word “crisis” which promotes fear and shame toward women. Women facing unplanned pregnancies need to feel supported in our language and we want to approach them with compassion in every manner. When we refer to their pregnancy as a crisis, we define their situation for them. The smallest change in vocabulary to refer to the pregnancy as “unplanned” instead, communicates that the situation still has hope.

Instead of… 

“Abortion mill, Abortuary, Child butcher” 

Use…

“Abortion Clinic or Planned Parenthood” 

The topic of abortion is often one that is very emotionally charged, therefore some people use language that is motivated by their feelings rather than using correct terms. Throwing around words like these may seem like they are speaking the truth but phrases like “child butcher” or”abortion mill” lack the compassion and love that should be shown towards abortion-vulnerable women. Instead of promoting shame, we need to refer to these places as Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics. Although Planned Parenthood offers services besides abortions, sadly the company makes its largest profit off of abortion procedures and in certain states, they also perform late-term abortions.

Instead of… 

“Murder, killing, violence, baby murderers, baby killers”

Use…

“Ending a life” 

We want to be the antithesis of the pro-choice movement, this means using a level of sensitivity that is lacking on the other side. Instead of combating violence with more violence, our speech should show love and compassion towards everyone. Although the reality of abortion is not gentle, we must be kind with our words when referring to abortion. We don’t refrain from telling the truth in saying abortion ends life, but we must consider that many women already feel shame for their abortions and do not need to be spoken to with hate by the side that is meant to support them most. This is why we should not use any derogatory terms when referring to women who are considering abortion. We can refer to these women who feel their only option is abortion as “abortion-minded” or “abortion vulnerable”. 

Although it can be easy to join the pro-life movement and allow passion to drive our language we must remember that walking into every abortion clinic, is a real person. A woman who needs our love and support. The language we use toward anyone facing an unplanned pregnancy or facing the grief of a past abortion should communicate that same love and compassion. Our words have a great effect on people, so we have to be purposeful with how we use them and choose to speak LIFE.