Frank Pavone

Guest Post by Pro-life Leader Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life

It happened again, so predictably. In the debate the other night between Gavin Newsom and Ron DeSantis, Newsom obediently echoed the Democrat talking points on abortion, and in doing so, once again demonstrated how his party abandons both reason and compassion on this issue.

Sean Hannity asked him, “Do you support any restrictions at all on abortion, especially in months seven, eight and nine?”

In his non-answer, Newsom invoked the terms “fetal anomaly,” “life of the mother,” and “rare.”

Here’s my first challenge to the Democrats. Use numbers rather than adjectives. Stop trying to create the impression that late term abortions happen only once in a blue moon.

You don’t need to use pro-life sources. Go to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which tracks abortion numbers in the United States. You’ll see that abortions at 21 weeks or later number approximately 46,000 each year in our country.

That’s hardly “rare.”

Nor are they done primarily for fetal anomalies or the life of the mother. There are many reasons for late term abortion, including denial about one’s pregnancy, prolonged ambivalence about the abortion decision, and sudden changes during the final stages of pregnancy in one’s relationships or financial status.

We at Priests for Life know this both through our communication with practicing and former abortionists and our work overseeing the world’s largest ministry for healing after abortion, Rachel’s Vineyard and its partner ministry Silent No More.

But neither the frequency nor the reasons behind late term abortion answer the question that is rightly posed to these Democrats: Do you support any restrictions at all on abortion?

The American people certainly do, as poll after poll show strong majorities favoring restrictions after the first trimester.

But my challenge to the Democrats goes further.

They want to make abortion a central issue in the elections, because they think they can win on it.

I say, “Be my guest!” I’ve always favored making abortion the central issue. Nothing is more fundamental than the right to life.

But my challenge is this: If you’re going to make abortion the issue, then talk about abortion.

That’s actually the last thing that Gavin Newsom and the Democrats want to do.

We pretend to talk about abortion in this country. The debate is make-believe. Because we never get past the fundamental starting point for any discussion, presentation or debate: define your terms.

We always break that first rule.

Republicans and all pro-life Americans can and must take the lead here in calling for an honest debate on abortion.

We should start insisting that the first question of the discussion, even before “Do you support any restrictions?” should be, “What is an abortion?”

If you defend abortion, describe what you defend.

And again, no need to use pro-life sources. Go to the medical textbooks on abortion, like Abortion Practice by Dr. Warren Hern. Or go to the sworn court testimony in which practicing abortionists describe the procedure.

In the medical texts, you’ll find quotes like this: “A long curved Mayo scissors may be necessary to decapitate and dismember the fetus…” (Abortion Practice, p.154).

Governor Newsom, when you say the word abortion, is that what you mean?

As long as we keep skipping that basic question, we’re going to keep talking past each other in the make-believe debate on abortion in America.

When we in the pro-life community use the word “abortion,” we are thinking of decapitation and dismemberment.

When those who call themselves “pro-choice” use the same word, they are thinking of women’s health and freedom.

It’s time to insist on an honest debate on abortion. Let’s define the terms. Let’s read the medical descriptions. Let’s show the photos and videos.

Let’s do this for elections. Let’s do it for state ballot initiatives. Let’s do it in courtrooms and legislative hearings and private discussions.

Don’t jump so quickly to the idea that people “know what it is” and will support it anyway. The number of those who will be enlightened, persuaded and horrified will be far greater than those whose hearts are so hardened that they don’t care.

And if that’s not the case, we won’t be any worse off than we are now, but at least we’ll know we’re talking about the same thing.

The American people value both freedom and life. They also value honesty. They don’t like being lied to or manipulated. Yet the abortion lobby does that to us every single day – in every ad, bill, debate, ballot initiative, testimony, and conversation.

We have a choice. Either we’re going to resolve the abortion debate in this country, or it will continue to tear us apart. There’s only one way forward: to honestly face what an abortion is.

To stand up and insist on an honest debate would be a tremendous step of political leadership – and a winning one.

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