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Abortion by a Different Name

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  The line made famous by Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” teaches a simple truth.  The truth is it does not matter what you call a thing, but rather what it is.  To a degree this is true.  Things are what they are, whether we call them something different or not.  To another degree it is not true, because what we call things is able to change the perception of them.

The practice of calling something by a different name is common.  If what the thing being called actually is is bad or distasteful, or from a Christian perspective sinful, then to call in by a different name blunts the impact of the practice.  We see this when we call sin by other names.  It isn’t sin, but a mistake.  It isn’t sin, but a slip-up.  It doesn’t change the fact of what it is, but it does blunt how we feel about it.

Another area where semantics is played is in the discussion of abortion.  Those who are for abortion do not frame the discussion in that way.  Instead they are not pro-abortion, but rather pro-choice.   Everyone likes choice.  We have been raised from a young age in this country to value our freedoms.  We have been taught of how men and women fought to ensure we have those freedoms.  We are leery of anything that restricts them.  So, what better way to champion a pro-abortion agenda, then to call it pro choice!

Those who are pro-abortion have continued this path with a new word.  It is called “reduction.”  You see when a woman is expecting more than one child, they can have the “choice” to reduce the number of children they are carrying.  Or to put it more clearly they can “abort” one child.  Once again doesn’t reduction sound so much better.  It sounds less onerous then I’m having an abortion and choosing which child in my womb I want to keep.  Or I’ve decided to kill one of my children today.  No, reduction makes it seem okay.  It makes it seem that it wasn’t that big of a deal.

You can call it pro-choice, you can refer to it as having a reduction, but either way it is the same.  Changing the names doesn’t change the act.  Just like calling a rose by a different name doesn’t change the rose.  Calling abortion by a different name doesn’t change what has occurred.

Shakespeare was right and wrong.  He was right that changing the name of something, doesn’t change its character.  But he was wrong in that names matter, because many times they can frame our perspectives on an issue.  When it comes to abortion, let’s understand what it is.  It is taking a life of another.  No matter the name it is horrific.



  1. Great thoughts. I wish people would see through such deceptions. My wife and I have noticed whenever we go in for ultrasounds or prenatal check-ups they refer to the baby as a “fetus” or a “pregnancy.” Turns out they do this to de-humanize unborn children. It is easier for them to end lives when they don’t think of them as people.

  2. George A. Sinkie

    August 17, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Another way that “reduction” takes place is when a woman (I would like to say a husband and wife,but that isn’t always the case)goes to a fertility clinic. They give her hormones so she will produce multiple eggs, then they introduce the sperm, and multiple eggs are fertilized. Each one of them is now a person in God’s sight. The next step is for the doctor to examine the growing babies and decide which ones he thinks are strongest and most viable. The rest are disgarded like trash. Just because they are not in the woman’s body does not mean they are not people and it does not mean they are not being killed. Another sad thing is that the woman is excited she is pregnant, not realizing she just had more of her children killled than she probably will ever have to care for in her life.
    Another misnomer is to talk about wanting birth control. Abortion usually stops the birth, and therefore is birth control. However what we should want as God’s people is conception control, not just birth control.

  3. The problem is by calling it “abortion,” you’ve already acquiesced to the opposition’s terminology. Look up “abortion” and “miscarriage” in any dictionary. A miscarriage is an abortion. What doctors do to infants in the womb is infanticide. Had Roe v. Wade been waged over infanticide rather than abortion, it would have never made it to the court room.

    Christians need to stop using the non-Christians’ watered-down, politically correct terms such as “abortion” and “gay.” It’s infanticide and sodomite. There is no power in the former terms against evil and we will get nowhere in our battle against wickedness by acquiescing to the ungodly’s terminology. See Part 1 of “Word Wars & Captive Thoughts” at

  4. Wesley

    August 18, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    You know Ted I’ve never thought about that. You are right even calling it an abortion softens what it is.

  5. Missionary James

    August 18, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Abortion is just another FLOWERY WORD for M-U-R-D-E-R….


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