Be prepared to annihilate an anti-Life straw man argument

By Iowans for Life

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Did you hear Iowans for LIFE’s director, Maggie DeWitte, on Iowa Public Radio on Monday? She beautifully defended the case for Life, while knocking down one anti-Life straw man argument after the other presented by the human abortion apologists on the show.

A ‘straw man’ is an:

“intentionally misrepresented proposition that is set up because it is easier to defeat than an opponent’s real argument.”

Proponents of human abortion, such as Planned Parenthood and most politicians on the Left, rely on these phony arguments in an attempt to deflect the unwary from an ugly Truth: every single Human Abortion ends the life of a unique human being.

Big Abortion trots out these typical straw men for their minions, and true to form, they came up yesterday on IPR’s River to River program:

Anti-Life straw man argument #1

You pro-lifers are imposing your religion on someone else. Actually, Maggie DeWitte didn’t even mention God, religion, or Catholicism on the show. She did invoke science. She exposed the lie presented by Big Abortion, that the object in the womb is merely a ‘clump of cells.’

What is a clump?

a “compacted mass or lump of something,” according to the dictionary.

On the other hand, the new person created at fertilization is far from a ‘lump of something.’

Mrs. DeWitte pointed out that science reveals the indisputable evidence that a unique human being is created at the instant of fertilization. As IFL’s Women’s Reproductive Health Resource Book states:

“FERTILIZATION is when a unique human life begins. This ‘conception’ process begins when a sperm penetrates an oocyte, creating a brand new human life.”

So when does human life begin? Embryologists are crystal clear:

“They say it is when the sperm and ovum, neither of which can sustain life or direct growth by itself, come together at fertilization.”

Why is this a human life?

“For the first time the new life has all chromosomes and all the directions (DNA) it needs for the rest of life. The sex of the baby, the color of the hair, everything is already fixed.”

Says who? Science. These quotes come from highly regarded embryologists, such as …

O’Rahilly R and Müller F, Human Embryology and Teratology (New York: Wiley-Liss, 1994).

Such as…

William J. Larsen, Human Embryology (New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1997).

Such as 

Carlson B, Human Embryology and Developmental Biology (St. Louis, MO: Mosby, 1994.)

The difference

The only difference between a human life at fertilization and a 99 year old man is the arc of life. The new human is perched at the beginning of the adventure that is his life, while the old man is at the tail end of the adventure.

Big Abortion claims science is the only acceptable tool for evaluating the dignity of life, even though the tools of theology and philosophy equally make the case.

So when a pro life proponent like Maggie Dewitte destroys the myth that the newly fertilized human being is a “mere clump of cells,” abortion advocates have little recourse other than to create a straw man and label her arguments ‘religious’ in nature.

They are not. They are grounded in science. Again, a unique human being is created at fertilization. Human abortion ends the life of a one-of-a-kind human being.

To believe anything else is anti-science.

Anti-Life straw man argument #2

Pro lifers don’t care about the baby after she is born. A caller to the River to River show made this tired claim yesterday. His beef rested on disagreements with Iowa Republican’s budget over their spending, or lack thereof, on various social safety net programs.

Again, this is a straw man argument. The pro life movement is not an arm of the Republican Party. Even more, honorable people can disagree over the scope of government programs.

However, if one wants to use political affiliation as a metric to gauge compassion, the liberal Huffington Post points out that Republicans (54%) are more likely than Democrats (45%) to donate money to charity. Even more, Republicans (33%) are more likely to volunteer their time for a cause than Democrats (24%).

The larger point, though, is that the pro life movement is a sprawling network of compassionate, non-profit organizations that conduct bottle and diaper drives for low-income moms. They help find them apartments and furniture. They connect them with churches and groups who take them under their wing.

The largest pro life group in the world

Here is a partial list of the active outreach provided by the largest pro life group in the world. They are …

√ Reducing infant mortality.

√ Boosting the number of kids with health coverage.

√ Increasing access to healthy food for the hungry.

√ Lessening the number of families and individuals forced to live in emergency shelters.

√ Expanding the quantity of affordable housing units.

√ Working to increase fathers’ involvement in families.

√ Expanding access to quality affordable early childhood education.

√ Increasing the rate of high school completion.

√ Raising the number of youth participating in postsecondary education or workforce training.

√ Adopting out more children than any other provider in the country.

I refer, of course, to Catholic Charities, a group for whom Maggie DeWitte once worked. And this is just the Catholics. It doesn’t even include the great work being down by the Lutherans, Evangelical Christians, and other outstanding faith-based and secular organizations. 

On what do abortion proponents base this straw man argument? Nothing. It is fabricated out of thin air to mask the moral shortcomings of their own position.

Anti-Life straw man argument #3

The same people who claim to be pro life are pro death penalty. This is the claim of a caller to the River to River show yesterday. He went on to suggest that a pro death penalty position negates one’s “so-called pro life position.”

In fact, he has created two straw men with these whoppers. For starters, many, maybe even most, who oppose human abortion also oppose human execution.

Even more, they are two different issues. He is not comparing apples to apples.

The difference between a million and 23 deaths

He fails to acknowledge the innocence of the human person in the womb, one million of whom were “executed” (aborted) for being unwanted in contrast to 23 people who were executed in 2017 for the crime of murder.

Does the caller not understand the difference between an innocent baby in the womb and a murderer?

Does the caller not understand the difference between a million innocent deaths and 23 just punishments?

Abortion proponents who raise this point DO know the difference. That is why this, like the previous arguments, is a straw man.

To reiterate:

a ‘straw man’ intentionally misrepresents a proposition that is set up because it is easier to defeat than an opponent’s real argument.

Big Abortion can’t win arguments based on science and fact. Misrepresentation is their only recourse.

[Thanks to Iowans for LIFE for permission to publish this blogpost on Quiner’s Diner. IFL depends on donations to continue educating Iowans on critical pro life issues. Support LIFE. Donate. Thank-you!]


  1. Oliver on March 31, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    “If God didn’t want us to make straw men, why did he make ‘em burn so pretty?”

    • quinersdiner on March 31, 2018 at 1:02 pm

      I think the answer is in your question. 🙂