May/June, 1997 Volume XII Number 6 - DEPARTMENTS

Pro-Life's Semantics Cost Lives
by Kenneth Kogut

Why say "Life begins at conception" when it is just as easy to say "Life begins at fertilization"? Why do we have "clinics" instead of "Killing Centers"? Why do we use the term "sex-ed" when "sex-ed" is mostly "promiscuity education"? When we use the wrong terms, we kill the babies we are trying to save.
Pro-life must change the answer we give to the question, "When does life begin?" Our answer is almost always "Conception." It should always be "Fertilization."
Judie Brown (president and founder of American Life League), Bogomir Kuhar (founder of Pharmacists for Life, International), and Dr. Bernard Nathanson agree 100%.
The conception answer previously was correct. Biology hasn't changed, but semantics have. Perhaps to trap pro-lifers and the public into promoting contraceptives which kill, pro-abortion changed* the definition of conception from being the same as fertilization to being implantation. Thus, the following is the situation:


Old Definition
Sperm enters egg.
Sperm enters egg.

New (1965) Definition
Sperm enters egg.
Baby implants.

The IUD always works by preventing conception (implantation), and the Pill works this way approximately two to ten percent of the time. Depo-Provera and Norplant work this way even more than the pill. Thus, by answering "conception," we unwittingly promote abortion.
I am not addressing the issue of whether contraception is Biblical. I am addressing the issue of what our short, concise answer should be to a secularaudience when asked "When does life begin?" For example, we might be having an interview for radio, television, or other media.
If our answer is "conception," we are saying there is nothing wrong with contraception. After all, if life hasn't begun, then life isn't killed by contraception.
It is just as easy to answer "fertilization."
I also strongly object to the terms "clinic," "abortion mill," "abortitorium," and the like. These make abortion sound too innocuous and clean. If abortion is killing, let's call it what it is. We should only use the term "Killing Center." Note the capitalization.
If we have a "clinic," then we can have a "Clinic Killing Center." If we have a hospital which kills babies or adults, then we can call it a "Hospital Killing Center."
For the short term, this language will be considered inflammatory rhetoric. And it is inflammatory rhetoric. After all, killing is inflammatory! For the short term and the long term, using the term "Killing Center" will save a lot of lives. Consider just one possibility: A girl who would now readily go to a "clinic" for an IUD or to choose to restart her menstrual cycle might instead not go at all because some people would be calling the "clinic" a "Killing Center."
About "sex ed," most of us realize there are two types of "sex ed": promiscuity education and abstinence education. The great mass of the public holds the opinion that the cure to the pregnancy and abortion problem is more "sex ed." How different that could be if another well known term for "sex-ed" was "promiscuity education," that is, programs to teach our children how to be promiscuous and to be promiscuous! In these courses, our children learn to kill their babies (whose lives did NOT begin at conception) with the IUD and the pill, and they learn that if they get pregnant they should abort. Many fewer school boards would approve these programs if the public and the boards were aware of the term "promiscuity education."

* Terminology Bulletin, No. 1, September 1965, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Kogut is founder and president of Life Research Institue.

Copyright © 1997 AFLM