Incrementally ProLife

Jason recently linked to this post at the Evangelical Outpost. In it Joe Carter makes this delineation:
"There are two broad political camps in the pro-life community: the incrementalists and the absolutists.

The absolutists are political idealists. They want a "Human Life Amendment" and a Federal ban on all abortion. Some of them don't even want Roe overturned since it would give the power to the States.

Incremenatlists, on the other hand, are political realists. They know that the issue of abortion won't disappear when Roe is overturned. Their position is that the best that can be hoped for is that the issue be returned to the people and to the individual states...

I am a political realist, which is why I am an incrementalist."
I am also an incrementalist and think that we pro-lifers fight too much about the minutiae of 'life' amongst ourselves instead of banding together in our common beliefs and taking on pro-abortion forces in our country.


  1. I'm pro birth control, pro tougher laws on rape and incest. I want to see prosecution to the women who allow children to be hurt. I’m pro let’s stop it before it’s needed. How about we stop being so selfish when we find out a child is different and think of how many blessings that child is, and we do a better job at helping those parents of special needs so that they don't think of abortion.

    stepping off the box now.

  2. Ditto your sentiments Milly.. this blog's soapbox is always open for your use :)

  3. Who is pro-abortion in this county? Those who are pro-choice (myself included)? Being "pro-choice" just means one supports a woman's right to choose. It does NOT mean one wants a woman to have abortion after abortion after abortion. NO ONE is "pro-abortion".

    (If I seem a bit livid, it's because when I see the term "pro-abortion" used, I see lots and lots of red.)

    Check out sometime. I stumbled on it while searching for something else; and it turned out to be very insightful.

  4. Minor but important correction, Bob. There is no on who is pro-abortion. This is an unfortunate term that only divides us. I think people who are pro-life would do well to avoid using it. It's divisive (and I believe intentionally even though you may not have meant it that way).

    There are people who are pro-choice. But, I don't know of a single person who wants to see more abortions. What I'd like to see happen is both sides work together for solutions that would reduce the number of abortions (ideally to zero), without limiting a woman's right to choose. But, as long as we have the mentality that some people are pro-abortion, that is going to be a difficult task.

  5. Thanks Shelly and Brian for the push back. My perspective is that "choice" is a word that obscures the real issue and makes abortion about the rights of a woman and not about the rights of the unborn baby.

    For me I am pro-viable! How about you.. do you believe that babys who are viable outside of the mother have rights?

  6. Bob,

    Really whether you agree or disagree with a woman's right to choose, it doesn't change the fact that no one is pro-abortion and language like that, IMO, only muddies the waters. Using it causes people to spend time talking about silly stuff rather than focusing on the issue and reducing the number of abortions and unwanted pregnancies, which I'm sure both sides would like to do.

    I really don't want to get into a debate on viable and un-viable or what my personal opinions are on abortion or when life begins. I just wanted to point out there might be more constructive terminology you could use. Pro-choice people could call Pro-life people "anti-choice". But, where would that get us? While I am pro-choice, I bristle at the term pro-abortion. I am most certainly not pro-abortion.

    If, as you say, the real issue is about the rights of the unborn baby, I would hope you would be willing to work with people on both sides of the issue to reduce the number of abortions without inflaming the issue any more than it already is. But, at the risk of falling into this quagmire, the way you phrased it makes it seem the mother has no rights and the "baby's" rights are all that is important.


  7. Brian.. Hope I am not being a jerk here.. not my intention.. I like that you are advocating the way that you are.. it is helping me get a better understanding of why you find 'pro-abortion' so offensive.

    I guess, for me, I do think that some pro-choicers.. certainly a very small minority.. are pro-abortion.. how else can anyone explain the advocacy for late-term (3rd trimester) abortions. The government of China, I think, could be characterized as pro-abortion.

    Guess all this is why I'd prefer to switch the conversation to viability.. seems that most people can consense around viability.

    All that said.. I will refain from using the term 'pro-abortion' and possibly begin to use the phrase 'pro/anti-viability' ... seems a bit more precise.

    Would you find the term 'anti-viability' offensive?

    Peace to you too, Bob

  8. Bob,

    I think in our abortion debate in the U.S. bringing China into the discussion would be a "red herring". It's really got nothing to do with what a woman does as an individual. We don't have government mandated abortions in the U.S. (thank G-d). So why go there in the discussion? I don't think it advances the conversation.

    As for anyone in this country being pro-abortion. I'm sorry. I have to disagree with you. There are circumstances where women, for whatever reasons, wait until it's late in the pregnancy to make this most difficult and painful decision. Again, no one advocates late term abortions. No one is saying "Let's wait as wait as long aswe can. Preferably until the fetus is viable, then kill it!". Late term abortion advocates want to give women a chance to exercise their choice late. Again, let's do all we can to make this not something they choose to do.

    Again, I don't want to get into the details of the abortion debate. I have very mixed emotions on it and it's more than just theoretical. I've lived it. I hate abortion. But, I sometimes think it's the lesser of two evils.

    I just want you to understand the other side's perspective Bob. And, I'd like to promote productive dialog where we can reduce the number of abortions in this country which both sides agree are too many.

    Not to be picky. But, I find anti-viability just as divisive (maybe even more so) than pro-abortion. It makes it sound like people who want to make abortion a choice are against allowing viable fetuses to live. Why don't you allow pro-choice people to use their own terminology to describe their position? You didn't seem to like anti-choice as a description for your position? How about "no choice". Do you like that one better? I don't mean to be a smart-aleck. But, I think language is important.

    OK. I didn't mean to, but I got dragged in. I just couldn't remain silent on this.


  9. Hi Brian,

    Thanks again for the insightful dialog. Agree to leave China out.. brought it in because you affirmed that "There is no on who is pro-abortion."

    What does productive dialog look like to you Brian? I am very much in favor of discussing the things that contribute to women having abortions and the reasons that they do not make a conception choice before they have to consider abortion. Maybe you could host a dialog like this at your place.

    I do think that I better understand where you are coming from. Tell me if I am wrong in this: you are uncomfortable with the word abortion being used in the discussion.. you find it inflammatory. If I suggested that we used the terms "pro abortion choice" or "anti abortion choice' I think that you would reject them even though they better describe the debate.

    For me, I am not anti-choice because I cannot categorically say when life begins.. yet I think that being pro-choice means that I must support choice even in late term abortions.. I cannot do that.. I will not support the aborting of viable babies. I support the pro-viability position.

    Brian, it is obvious to me.. even though we are both anti-abortion.. we each have disparate views about choice. I don't know where the dialog can go from here but I am willing to listen some more but I am concerned about offending you. If I have already please accept my apology.. sometimes intent gets lost in blogdom.

    Grace and Peace, Bob

  10. Bob,

    Absolutely no offense taken by me. None. Zilch. Zip. Nada.

    I wouldn't say I'm uncomfortable with the word abortion being used in the discussion. Not at all. I find it necessary accurate. I'm not suggesting we use Orwellian language to sugar coat things. What I have a problem with is categorizing people as "pro-abortion". The connotation is that they would want to see more abortions or think abortion is a good thing. I literally don't know of a single person who thinks it's great to terminate a fetus. Most people who are pro-choice support a woman's right o make the tough decision. They generally do not encourage women to terminate or think it's a desirable thing to do.

    My point on China is discussing it in the context of U.S. law only muddies the water. It's so different in China and, IMO, not really relevant. Is the Chinese government pro-abortion? Probably. But, we have nothing like that going on in the U.S. and no one is advocating it.

    I don't think that being pro-choice means you have to support late term abortions. Who would say such a thing? I think you certainly have the right to say you don't feel comfortable with abortion beyond a certain time frame. And, viability seems like a reasonable line to draw. It's difficult to draw that line. But, I don't think anyone can tell you that if you're for choice early, you have to be for choice all the way through. Of course, that is just my opinion.

    Yes, I would say we are both anti-abortion. Abortion is a tough, painful choice. I think most people have strong emotions about it for the remainder of their lives after being involved in that situation. I'm all in favor of reducing the number as low as practical. Adoption, better birth control options, better sex education are all things I would love to see become better options for women. I'm not sure how disparate our views of choice are. If you support a woman's right to choose early in the pregnancy, you're closer to my position than someone who thinks that a woman's choice ends at conception (with many of those people being against things like the morning-after pill). I think just about everyone agrees there should be some restrictions on late term abortions. The question is what those restrictions will be. Generally speaking, I abhor hard and fast rules. I think there may be situations where late term abortions are necessary (as in the life of the mother being at stake). If my wife were carrying a fetus that was endangering her life, I'd want to be able to make the choice to keep her around.

    I hope I haven't offended you, Bob. I really just wanted to let you know the term pro-abortion is probably not a great choice of words. I didn't mean to hijack your board.

    I'll shut up now.


  11. Your hijack is welcome any time Brian. You are one of the most thoughtful people in Blogdom. I think that I have said this before, you and I have so much more in common than not. This dialog has been very helpful to me.. it helped me.. hope that I will remember your thoughts around being pro-choice.. they were excellent. Thank you so much for hanging in there with me.

    Blessings, Bob


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