Pro-life
Overview

Opposition to the legalization of abortion is centered around the pro-life, or anti-abortion, movement, a social and political movement opposing elective abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

 on moral grounds and supporting its legal prohibition or restriction. The modern pro-life movement began as a countermovement
Countermovement
By definition, a countermovement in sociology means a social movement opposed to another social movement. Whenever one social movement starts up, another group establishes themselves to undermine the previous group. Many social movements start out as an affect of political activism towards issues...

 in response to the decriminalization and legalization of elective abortion in various states
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

, and it grew following the U.S.
Discussions
Encyclopedia

Opposition to the legalization of abortion is centered around the pro-life, or anti-abortion, movement, a social and political movement opposing elective abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

 on moral grounds and supporting its legal prohibition or restriction. The modern pro-life movement began as a countermovement
Countermovement
By definition, a countermovement in sociology means a social movement opposed to another social movement. Whenever one social movement starts up, another group establishes themselves to undermine the previous group. Many social movements start out as an affect of political activism towards issues...

 in response to the decriminalization and legalization of elective abortion in various states
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

, and it grew following the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade
Roe v. Wade
Roe v. Wade, , was a controversial landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion. The Court decided that a right to privacy under the due process clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution extends to a woman's decision to have an abortion,...

,
which struck down most state laws restricting abortion. In the United States this movement is frequently, but not exclusively, allied with the Republican Party
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

, and seeks to restrict abortion with legislation such as the Human Life Amendment
Human Life Amendment
The Human Life Amendment is the name for any amendment to the United States Constitution that would have the effect of overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that denied states the authority to prohibit abortion. Although all of these amendments are intended to overturn Roe v...

. Advocates generally maintain that the human fetus
Fetus
A fetus is a developing mammal or other viviparous vertebrate after the embryonic stage and before birth.In humans, the fetal stage of prenatal development starts at the beginning of the 11th week in gestational age, which is the 9th week after fertilization.-Etymology and spelling variations:The...

 (and in most cases the human embryo
Embryo
An embryo is a multicellular diploid eukaryote in its earliest stage of development, from the time of first cell division until birth, hatching, or germination...

) is a person
Person
A person is a human being, or an entity that has certain capacities or attributes strongly associated with being human , for example in a particular moral or legal context...

 and therefore has a right to life.

On the other side of the abortion debate
Abortion debate
The abortion debate refers to discussion and controversy surrounding the moral and legal status of abortion. The two main groups involved in the abortion debate are the self-described "pro-choice" movement and the "pro-life" movement...

 is the pro-choice movement. Subscribing to different moral grounds than the pro-life movement, pro-choicers hold the view that a woman should have the right to terminate her pregnancy; they also advocate legal abortion as an important facet of women's reproductive rights
Reproductive rights
Reproductive rights are legal rights and freedoms relating to reproduction and reproductive health. The World Health Organization defines reproductive rights as follows:...

.

The "pro-life" concept is sometimes broadened to include positions on other issues, such as opposition to euthanasia
Euthanasia
Euthanasia refers to the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering....

 and embryonic stem-cell research.

History

The term "pro-life" was coined by U.S. leaders of the right-to-life
Right to life
Right to life is a phrase that describes the belief that a human being has an essential right to live, particularly that a human being has the right not to be killed by another human being...

 (anti-abortion) movement following the January 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade
Roe v. Wade
Roe v. Wade, , was a controversial landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion. The Court decided that a right to privacy under the due process clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution extends to a woman's decision to have an abortion,...

, which held that a mother may abort her pregnancy in the first trimester, and may also abort "subsequent to viability ... for the preservation of the life or health of the mother." The term "pro-life" was adopted instead of "anti-abortion" to highlight the belief that they consider abortion the taking of a human life, rather than an issue concerning the restriction of women's reproductive rights
Reproductive rights
Reproductive rights are legal rights and freedoms relating to reproduction and reproductive health. The World Health Organization defines reproductive rights as follows:...

. The first organized action was initiated by U.S. Catholic bishops who recommended in 1973 that the U.S. Constitution should be amended to ban abortion.

Roe v. Wade led to the growth of a largely religious-based anti-abortion movement even as Americans became, in the 1970s and 80s, increasingly pro-choice. The first major pro-life success came in 1976 with the passing of the Hyde Amendment
Hyde Amendment
In U.S. politics, the Hyde Amendment is a legislative provision barring the use of certain federal funds to pay for abortions. It is not a permanent law, rather it is a "rider" that, in various forms, has been routinely attached to annual appropriations bills since 1976...

 prohibiting the use of certain federal funds for abortions. In Harris v. McRae
Harris v. McRae
Harris v. McRae, 448 U.S. 297 , was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that States that participated in Medicaid were not required to fund medically necessary abortions for which federal reimbursement was unavailable as a result of the Hyde Amendment, which restricted the...

, pro-life advocates won a 1980 challenge to the Hyde Amendment. That same year, the pro-life movement gained control of the Republican Party's platform
Party platform
A party platform, or platform sometimes also referred to as a manifesto, is a list of the actions which a political party, individual candidate, or other organization supports in order to appeal to the general public for the purpose of having said peoples' candidates voted into political office or...

 committee, adding pro-life planks to the Republican position, and calling for a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, banning abortion. Two pro-life U.S. Presidents – Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 and George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

 – were elected, although according to M. McKeegan, the majority of Reagan voters were pro-choice.

Some in the media have noted a revitalization of the pro-life movement in the 21st century. In 2011, Fred Barnes
Fred Barnes
Fred Barnes may refer to:*Fred Barnes , English music hall artist*Fred Barnes , American journalist and political commentator*Fred N. Barnes, American gunsmith...

 of The Weekly Standard
The Weekly Standard
The Weekly Standard is an American neoconservative opinion magazine published 48 times per year. Its founding publisher, News Corporation, debuted the title September 18, 1995. Currently edited by founder William Kristol and Fred Barnes, the Standard has been described as a "redoubt of...

wrote:
Barnes also discussed the rise in opposition to abortion among the younger generations, especially the millennials
Generation Y
Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation , Generation Next, Net Generation, or Echo Boomers, describes the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates for when the Millennial generation starts and ends, and commentators have used birth dates ranging somewhere...

, the prevalence of crisis pregnancy centers, and the rejuvenation of old pro-life groups, such as Students for Life, and the rise of new ones, such as 40 Days for Life
40 Days For Life
40 Days for Life is a pro-life campaign that was begun in 2004 by a local group in Bryan-College Station, Texas, led by David Bereit. The campaign is active in the fall and spring of each year, though local campaigns may continue it year-round...

 and Live Action
Live Action (organization)
Live Action is an American pro-life non-profit organization founded by Lila Rose in 2004. According to their website, they are a "youth led movement dedicated to building a culture of life and ending abortion." They are known for controversial stings against Planned Parenthood clinics, the largest...

. Lisa Miller of The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

wrote about the younger, more feminine face of the pro-life movement with the rise of leaders such as Lila Rose
Lila Rose
Lila Grace Rose is an American pro-life activist and the founder of the pro-life group Live Action. She is known for a series of campaigns against affiliated facilities of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.-Biography:...

 of Live Action, Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List
Susan B. Anthony List
The Susan B. Anthony List, or simply SBA List, is a 501 non-profit, non-partisan organization that seeks to eliminate abortion in the U.S. by supporting pro-life politicians, primarily women, through its SBA List Candidate Fund political action committee...

, Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life
Americans United for Life
Americans United for Life is an American pro-life public interest law firm and advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1971, the group advocates protection of human life at all stages of life, from conception to death, and is involved in related issues of health and biotechnology...

, Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America
Concerned Women for America
Concerned Women for America is a conservative Christian public policy group active in the United States best known for its stance against abortion...

, and Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life, all "youngish Christian working mothers with children at home" who offer a pro-life perspective on the women's rights aspect of the abortion issue instead of focusing exclusively on the fetus.

The pro-life movement has been highly successful in recent years in advancing new laws against abortion within the states. The Guttmacher Institute
Guttmacher Institute
The Guttmacher Institute is a non-profit organization which works to advance sexual and reproductive health. The institute operates in the United States and globally "through an interrelated program of social science research, policy analysis and public education." According to their mission...

 said eighty laws restricting abortion were passed in the first six months of 2011, "more than double the previous record of 34 abortion restrictions enacted in 2005—and more than triple the 23 enacted in 2010".

Roman Catholics

Before the Roe v. Wade decision, the right-to-life movement in the U.S. consisted of lawyers, politicians, and doctors, almost all of whom were Catholic. The only coordinated opposition to abortion during the early 1970s came from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is the episcopal conference of the Catholic Church in the United States. Founded in 1966 as the joint National Conference of Catholic Bishops and United States Catholic Conference, it is composed of all active and retired members of the Catholic...

 and the Family Life Bureau, also a Catholic organization. Mobilization of a wide-scale pro-life movement among Catholics began quickly after the Roe v. Wade decision with the creation of the National Right to Life Committee
National Right to Life Committee
The National Right to Life Committee is the oldest and largest pro-life organization in the United States with affiliates in all 50 states and over 3,000 local chapters nationwide. The group works through legislation and education to work against abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted...

 (NRLC). The NRLC also organized non-Catholics, eventually becoming the largest pro-life organization in the United States.

Evangelicals

Randall Herbert Balmer
Randall Balmer
Randall Herbert Balmer is an American author, professor of American religious history at Barnard College, Columbia University, an editor for Christianity Today and an Episcopal priest. He earned the Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1985...

, Ph.D., argues in his book, Thy Kingdom Come, that despite the popular belief that pro-life sentiments galvanized the fundamentalist evangelical movement, what actually galvanized the movement was evangelical opposition to the American Internal Revenue Service
Internal Revenue Service
The Internal Revenue Service is the revenue service of the United States federal government. The agency is a bureau of the Department of the Treasury, and is under the immediate direction of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue...

 (IRS). The IRS stripped evangelical universities, like Bob Jones University
Bob Jones University
Bob Jones University is a private, for-profit, non-denominational Protestant university in Greenville, South Carolina.The university was founded in 1927 by Bob Jones, Sr. , an evangelist and contemporary of Billy Sunday...

, from their tax-exempt status for remaining racially segregated
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

.

Before 1980, the Southern Baptist Convention
Southern Baptist Convention
The Southern Baptist Convention is a United States-based Christian denomination. It is the world's largest Baptist denomination and the largest Protestant body in the United States, with over 16 million members...

 officially advocated for loosening of abortion restrictions. During the 1971 and 1974 Southern Baptist Conventions, Southern Baptists were called upon "to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother." W. Barry Garrett wrote in the Baptist Press
Baptist Press
Baptist Press is the official news service of the American Southern Baptist Convention based at the headquarters of the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.- Origins and bureaus :...

, "Religious liberty, human equality and justice are advanced by the [Roe v. Wade] Supreme Court Decision."

By 1980, conservative Protestant leaders became vocal in their opposition to legalized abortion, and by the early 1990s Pat Robertson
Pat Robertson
Marion Gordon "Pat" Robertson is a media mogul, television evangelist, ex-Baptist minister and businessman who is politically aligned with the Christian Right in the United States....

's Christian Coalition of America became a significant pro-life organization. In 2005, Richard Land
Richard Land
Dr. Richard D. Land, aka Chief Red Bull, is the president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission , the moral and ethics concern entity of the Southern Baptist Convention in the United States, a post he has held since 1988...

, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is the public policy agency of the Southern Baptist Convention. It is headed by Richard Land and is headquartered in Nashville, TN with an office in Washington, DC.The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission...

, said that making abortion illegal is more important than any other issue.

Overview

Pro-life individuals generally believe that human life should be valued either from fertilization or implantation until natural death. The contemporary pro-life movement is typically, but not exclusively, influenced by Conservative Christian beliefs, especially in the United States, and has influenced certain strains of bioethical utilitarianism. From that viewpoint, any action which destroys an embryo
Embryo
An embryo is a multicellular diploid eukaryote in its earliest stage of development, from the time of first cell division until birth, hatching, or germination...

 or fetus
Fetus
A fetus is a developing mammal or other viviparous vertebrate after the embryonic stage and before birth.In humans, the fetal stage of prenatal development starts at the beginning of the 11th week in gestational age, which is the 9th week after fertilization.-Etymology and spelling variations:The...

 kills a person
Person
A person is a human being, or an entity that has certain capacities or attributes strongly associated with being human , for example in a particular moral or legal context...

. Any deliberate destruction of human life is considered ethically or morally wrong and is not considered to be mitigated by any benefits to others, as such benefits are coming at the expense of the life of what they believe to be a person. In some cases, this belief extends to opposing abortion of fetuses that would almost certainly expire within a short time after birth, such as anencephalic
Anencephaly
Anencephaly is a cephalic disorder that results from a neural tube defect that occurs when the cephalic end of the neural tube fails to close, usually between the 23rd and 26th day of pregnancy, resulting in the absence of a major portion of the brain, skull, and scalp...

 fetuses.

Some pro-life advocates oppose certain forms of birth control
Birth control
Birth control is an umbrella term for several techniques and methods used to prevent fertilization or to interrupt pregnancy at various stages. Birth control techniques and methods include contraception , contragestion and abortion...

, particularly hormonal contraception
Hormonal contraception
Hormonal contraception refers to birth control methods that act on the endocrine system. Almost all methods are composed of steroid hormones, although in India one selective estrogen receptor modulator is marketed as a contraceptive. The original hormonal method—the combined oral contraceptive...

 such as emergency contraception
Emergency contraception
Emergency contraception , or emergency postcoital contraception, refers to birth control measures that, if taken after sexual intercourse, may prevent pregnancy.Forms of EC include:...

 (ECPs), and copper IUDs which prevent the implantation of an embryo. Because they believe that the term "pregnancy
Beginning of pregnancy controversy
Controversy over the beginning of pregnancy usually occurs in the context of the abortion debate. Depending on where pregnancy is considered to begin, some methods of birth control or infertility treatment might be considered abortifacient...

" should be defined so as to begin at fertilization, they refer to these contraceptives as abortifacients. The Catholic Church endorses this view, but the possibility that hormonal contraception has post-fertilization effects is disputed within the scientific community, including some pro-life physicians.

Attachment to a pro-life position is often but not exclusively connected to religious beliefs about the sanctity of life (see also culture of life
Culture of life
The phrase "culture of life" is a term used in discussion of moral theology, especially of the Catholic Church. Its proponents describe it as a way of life based upon the theological truth that human life at all stages from conception through natural death is sacred...

). Exclusively secular-humanist
Secular humanism
Secular Humanism, alternatively known as Humanism , is a secular philosophy that embraces human reason, ethics, justice, and the search for human fulfillment...

 positions against abortion tend to be a minority viewpoint among pro-life advocates. Many holding the pro-life position also tend toward a complementarian view of gender roles, though there is also a self-described feminist
Feminism
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights...

 element inside the movement.

Moreover, conservative publications, such as American Thinker, cite studies, such a comprehensive review of literature, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry
British Journal of Psychiatry
The British Journal of Psychiatry is a peer-reviewed medical journal published monthly by the Royal College of Psychiatrists containing original research, systematic reviews, commentaries on contentious articles, short reports, a comprehensive book review section, and a correspondence column...

, which suggests that among women, "there is a significant increase in mental health problems after abortion." However, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is a professional association based in the UK. Its members, including people with and without medical degrees, work in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology, that is, pregnancy, childbirth, and female sexual and reproductive health...

 responded to the review with a position statement in which they said that three previously published systematic reviews and the RCOG guideline development group (who reviewed all available literature up to February 2011) have concluded that women who have an abortion are not at increased risk of mental health problems when compared with women who continue an unintended pregnancy. Furthermore, they questioned the fact that while the paper’s findings pointed to increased substance misuse and suicidal behaviors among the groups of women, the research did not fully examine if these women had pre-existing mental health complications such as dependency issues and mood disorders before the abortion.

Religion and pro-life movements

The variety in opinion on the issue of abortion is reflected in the diverse views of religious groups. For example, the Roman Catholic Church condemns every procured abortion as morally evil, while traditional Jewish teachings allow abortion as a means of safeguarding the life and well-being of the pregnant woman.

Christianity

Much of the pro-life movement in the United States and around the world finds support in the Roman Catholic Church
Catholicism and abortion
The Roman Catholic Church opposes all forms of abortion procedures whose direct purpose is to destroy an embryo, blastocyst, zygote or fetus, since it holds that "human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception...

, Christian right
Christian right
Christian right is a term used predominantly in the United States to describe "right-wing" Christian political groups that are characterized by their strong support of socially conservative policies...

, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod is a North American Confessional Lutheran denomination of Christianity. Characterized as theologically conservative, it was founded in 1850 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As of 2008, it had a baptized membership of over 389,364 in more than 1,290 congregations,...

, the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

, the Anglican Church in North America, the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). However, the pro-life teachings of these denominations vary considerably. The Eastern Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church consider abortion to be immoral in all cases, but permit acts which indirectly result in the death of the fetus in the case where the mother's life is threatened. In Pope John Paul II's Letter to Families he simply stated the Roman Catholic Church's view on abortion and euthanasia: "Laws which legitimize the direct killing of innocent human beings through abortion or euthanasia are in complete opposition to the inviolable right to life proper to every individual; they thus deny the equality of everyone before the law."

The National Association of Evangelicals
National Association of Evangelicals
The National Association of Evangelicals is a fellowship of member denominations, churches, organizations, and individuals. Its goal is to honor God by connecting and representing evangelicals in the United States. Today it works in four main areas: Church & Faith Partners, Government Relations,...

 and the LDS Church oppose abortion on demand; however, the NAE considers abortion allowable in cases with clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, dire threat to the life/physical health of the pregnant woman, or when a pregnancy results from rape or incest. The Taskforce of United Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality
Taskforce of United Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality
The Taskforce of United Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality is a pro-life organization within the United Methodist Church, founded in 1987. The organization publishes a quarterly newsletter titled Lifewatch and is a part of the National Pro-Life Religious Council...

 (TUMAS) was formed in 1987 to further the pro-life ministry in The United Methodist Church. The Southern Baptist Convention
Southern Baptist Convention
The Southern Baptist Convention is a United States-based Christian denomination. It is the world's largest Baptist denomination and the largest Protestant body in the United States, with over 16 million members...

 believes that abortion is allowable only in cases where there is a direct threat to the life of the woman. Other mainstream Protestant denominations in the United States, such as the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a mainline Protestant denomination headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The ELCA officially came into existence on January 1, 1988, by the merging of three churches. As of December 31, 2009, it had 4,543,037 baptized members, with 2,527,941 of them...

, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
The Presbyterian Church , or PC, is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination in the United States. Part of the Reformed tradition, it is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the U.S...

, and the United Church of Christ
United Church of Christ
The United Church of Christ is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination primarily in the Reformed tradition but also historically influenced by Lutheranism. The Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches united in 1957 to form the UCC...

, are pro-choice.

Islam

There is very little discussion about the abortion debate
Abortion debate
The abortion debate refers to discussion and controversy surrounding the moral and legal status of abortion. The two main groups involved in the abortion debate are the self-described "pro-choice" movement and the "pro-life" movement...

 in Islamic countries. In many Muslim countries, women must gain consent (medical, religious, state or spousal) for an abortion. Although there are different opinions among Muslim scholars on the topic of Islam and abortion, most agree that the termination of a pregnancy after four months—the point at which, in Islam, a fetus is thought to become a living soul—is not permissible. Many Islamic thinkers contend that in cases prior to four months of gestation, abortion should be permissible only in instances in which a mother's life is in danger or in cases of rape.

Hinduism

Although traditional Hindu texts and teachings have opposed elective abortions, a vocal pro-life movement is limited in India, the nation with the largest Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 population. Most abortions in India are done for sex selection, with boys being favored. As a result, activists who argue against abortion in India are typically women's rights activists. Recently, these pro-life activists took Google
Google
Google Inc. is an American multinational public corporation invested in Internet search, cloud computing, and advertising technologies. Google hosts and develops a number of Internet-based services and products, and generates profit primarily from advertising through its AdWords program...

, Yahoo, and Microsoft
Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

 to court, suing to remove web ads that sell products that enable parents to determine the sex of a fetus. Some Hindu institutions oppose abortion, and teach that abortion prevents a soul in its karmic
Karma
Karma in Indian religions is the concept of "action" or "deed", understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect originating in ancient India and treated in Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh philosophies....

 progress toward God. Other Hindu theologians believe personhood begins at 3 months and develops through to 5 months of gestation, possibly implying permitting abortion in extenuating circumstances up to the third month and considering any abortion past the third month to be destruction of the soul's current incarnate body.

Judaism

In Judaism, views on abortion draw primarily upon the legal and ethical teachings of the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

, the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

, the case-by-case decisions of responsa
Responsa
Responsa comprise a body of written decisions and rulings given by legal scholars in response to questions addressed to them.-In the Roman Empire:Roman law recognised responsa prudentium, i.e...

, and other rabbinic literature. In the modern period, moreover, Jewish thinking on abortion has responded both to liberal
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

 understandings of personal autonomy as well as Christian opposition to abortion. Polls of Jews in America report that 88% of American Jews are pro-choice. Prominent Jewish pro-life activist Michael Medved
Michael Medved
Michael Medved is an American radio host, author, political commentator and film critic. His Seattle, Washington-based nationally syndicated talk show, The Michael Medved Show, airs throughout the U.S...

 has said, "Jewish law for millennia has been extremely clear, that abortion is only permitted when the life of the mother is directly threatened... To link Jewish tradition to the pro-choice position is 'ludicrous and ignorant'." In Israel, the major pro-life organization is Efrat
Efrat (organization)
Efrat is an Israeli pro-life group which tries to convince Jewish women not to perform an abortion. To this end, the organization distributes explanatory materials and offers economic aid to pregnant women considering abortion....

, which primarily raises funds to relieve the "financial and social pressures" on pregnant women so that they will not terminate their pregnancies.

In the United States

The pro-life movement in the U.S. includes a variety of organizations, with no single centralized decision-making body. There are diverse arguments and rationales for the pro-life stance. American Catholics generally agree that the right to life extends to the unborn child; this belief is in line with Catholic opposition to capital punishment
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

. Pro-life American Protestants and Jews do not all agree on the death penalty, and their opposition to abortion is typically on moral, economic or legal grounds.

Major organizations in the U.S. that support the pro-life movement include Focus on the Family
Focus on the Family
Focus on the Family is an American evangelical Christian tax-exempt non-profit organization founded in 1977 by psychologist James Dobson, and is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Focus on the Family is one of a number of evangelical parachurch organizations that rose to prominence in the 1980s...

, Concerned Women for America
Concerned Women for America
Concerned Women for America is a conservative Christian public policy group active in the United States best known for its stance against abortion...

, Family Research Institute
Family Research Institute
The Family Research Institute , originally known as the Institute for the Scientific Investigation of Sexuality , is an American non-profit organization based in Colorado Springs, Colorado which states that it has "...one overriding mission: to generate empirical research on issues that threaten...

, National Right to Life Committee
National Right to Life Committee
The National Right to Life Committee is the oldest and largest pro-life organization in the United States with affiliates in all 50 states and over 3,000 local chapters nationwide. The group works through legislation and education to work against abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted...

, American Family Association
American Family Association
The American Family Association is a 501 non-profit organization that promotes conservative Christian values, such as opposition to same-sex marriage, pornography, and abortion, as well as other public policy goals such as deregulation of the oil industry and lobbying against the Employee Free...

, and Live Action.

In Europe

Contrary to the United States, in Europe abortion has been legalized through parliamentary acts. In Western Europe this has had the effect at once of both more closely regulating the use of abortion, and at the same time mediating and reducing the impact pro-life campaigns have had on the law.
  • In France
    France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

    , the first specifically pro-life organization, Laissez-les-vivre-SOS futures mères, was created in 1971 during the debate that was to lead to the Veil Law in 1975. Its main spokesman was the geneticist Jérôme Lejeune
    Jérôme Lejeune
    Servant of God Jérôme Jean Louis Marie Lejeune was a French Catholic pro-life paediatrician and geneticist, best known for his discovery of the link of diseases to chromosome abnormalities...

    . Since 2005, the French pro-life movement has organized an annual March for Life in Paris
    Paris
    Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

     attracting several thousand demonstrators.
  • In the United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

    , the most prominent pro-life organization is the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.
  • In Spain
    Spain
    Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

    , over one million demonstrators took part in a march in Madrid
    Madrid
    Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

     in October 2009 to protest plans by the government of José Luis Zapatero
    José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
    José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is a member of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party . He was elected for two terms as Prime Minister of Spain, in the 2004 and 2008 general elections. On 2 April 2011 he announced he will not stand for re-election in 2012...

     to legalize elective abortions and eliminate parental consent restrictions.

In Israel

In Israel, the major pro-life organization is Efrat
Efrat (organization)
Efrat is an Israeli pro-life group which tries to convince Jewish women not to perform an abortion. To this end, the organization distributes explanatory materials and offers economic aid to pregnant women considering abortion....

. Efrat activists primarily raise funds to relieve the "financial and social pressures" on pregnant women so that they will not terminate their pregnancies. Efrat is not known to do any other kind of activism.

"Consistent Life Ethic"

A major stated goal within the pro-life movement is to "restore legal protection to innocent human life." This protection would include fetuses and embryos, persons who cannot communicate their wishes due to physical or mental incapacitation, and those who are too weak to resist being euthanized.

Some pro-life advocates, such as those subscribing to the philosophy of a Consistent Life Ethic
Consistent Life Ethic
The consistent life ethic, or the consistent ethic of life, was a term coined in 1983 by Joseph Cardinal Bernardin to express an ethical, religious, and political ideology based on the premise that all human life was sacred and should be protected by law. The ideology opposes legal abortion,...

 (formerly known as the Seamless Garment), oppose virtually all acts that end human life. They would argue that abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

, euthanasia
Euthanasia
Euthanasia refers to the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering....

, capital punishment
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

, and unjust war are all wrong. Prominent organizations advocating a Consistent Life Ethic include Democrats For Life of America
Democrats for Life of America
Democrats for Life of America is an advocacy group in the United States attempting to reshape the political left, primarily the Democratic Party, into taking a pro-life position. Usually this involves political opposition to abortion, but the DFLA also opposes capital punishment and euthanasia...

 (which includes dozens of Congressmen), Sojourners Magazine, and Priests for Life
Priests for Life
Priests for Life is a Roman Catholic pro-life organization based in New York. It functions as a network to promote and coordinate pro-life activism with the primary strategic goal of ending abortion and euthanasia and to spread the Gospel of Life according to the encyclical of the same name...

.

Others argue that the death penalty can be a fair punishment for murder
Murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

, justifiably inflicted by lawful authority, whereas abortion is an attack on an innocent. The increasing attention paid to this controversial position may result from the large Roman Catholic membership of the pro-life movement, striving to adhere to Catholic Church teachings on the death penalty.

The debate


In some countries, the abortion issue remains one of the broader and more controversial societal issues. A broad spectrum of positions exists on this issue, from those who advocate abortion-on-demand at any point during a pregnancy until birth on the one end, to those who oppose every form of abortion on the other. Between these two there is a considerable range of positions. Some oppose abortion, but are content to work at reducing the number of abortions through prevention of unwanted pregnancies, a task they accomplish through encouraging abstinence, targeted sex education
Sex education
Sex education refers to formal programs of instruction on a wide range of issues relating to human sexuality, including human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual intercourse, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive rights and responsibilities, abstinence, contraception, and...

 and/or increased availability of contraception
Contraception
Contraception is the prevention of the fusion of gametes during or after sexual activity. The term contraception is a contraction of contra, which means against, and the word conception, meaning fertilization...

. Current legislation in United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

, the Pregnant Women Support Act
Pregnant Women Support Act
The Pregnant Women Support Act was created by the Democrats for Life of America and by Representative Lincoln Davis of Tennessee.It is, according to Democrats for Life, "a comprehensive package of federal legislation and policy proposals that will reduce the number of abortions.....

, seeks to reduce the abortion rate in the U.S. without making any procedure illegal and without overturning Roe v. Wade. There are many who support legal abortion within the first trimesters but oppose late-term abortion
Late-term abortion
Late termination of pregnancy or late-term abortions are abortions which are performed during a later stage of pregnancy. Late-term abortions are more controversial than abortion in general because the fetus is more developed and sometimes viable.-Definition:A late-term abortion often refers to an...

s. Those who oppose late-term abortions usually take the view that once a fetus has reached the point where it could live independently from the woman, the balance of rights swings in favour of the fetus. Some oppose most abortions but make exception for cases where the woman's life is in serious risk. In this category, some likewise make an exception for severe fetal deformities. Others make exceptions when the pregnancy was not caused by consensual sexual activity or may violate social taboos, as in cases of rape
Rape
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...

 and incest
Incest
Incest is sexual intercourse between close relatives that is usually illegal in the jurisdiction where it takes place and/or is conventionally considered a taboo. The term may apply to sexual activities between: individuals of close "blood relationship"; members of the same household; step...

. Some allow for all these exceptions, but stop short of abortion-on-demand.

Another issue is that of mandatory notification and consent. Some believe that a pregnant minor should not be allowed to abort her pregnancy without notifying her parent or guardian because of the risks and possible medical complications. Likewise, some believe that notifying the woman's husband should be required because of parental rights. In a 2003 Gallup poll in the United States, 72% of respondents were in favour of spousal notification, with 26% opposed; of those polled. In many states, such restrictions are mandated by law, though often with the right of judicial oversight. Others believe that the child's biological father must be notified.

Generally speaking, the pro-life position regards abortion as a form of infanticide
Infanticide
Infanticide or infant homicide is the killing of a human infant. Neonaticide, a killing within 24 hours of a baby's birth, is most commonly done by the mother.In many past societies, certain forms of infanticide were considered permissible...

, and thus seeks legal restrictions on abortions. Pro-life advocates typically argue that if a pregnant woman is unable or unwilling to raise the child, there is the option of placing the child up for adoption
Adoption
Adoption is a process whereby a person assumes the parenting for another and, in so doing, permanently transfers all rights and responsibilities from the original parent or parents...

.

One analysis suggests that, since pro-life families may be expected to have fewer abortions (and more children) than their pro-choice counterparts and they may pass their beliefs on to their children, this will change the voter demographic of future generations. In this way, legal abortion-on-demand may also serve to increase the dominance of the pro-life position in society. This hypothesis has been called the "Roe effect
Roe effect
The Roe effect is a theory about the long-term effect of abortion on the political balance of the United States, which suggests that since supporters of abortion rights cause the erosion of their own political base, the practice of abortion will eventually lead to the restriction or illegalization...

," and may explain the trend towards more widespread support of the pro-life movement.

The debate is often presented as between those who believe fetuses are persons and should therefore have rights, vs. those who believe fetuses are not persons but "future persons" or "potential persons". However, not all pro-choice advocates claim that fetuses are non-persons; there are also those who say that even if fetuses are persons, their position inside the body of another person entitles that other person to kill them anyway. This is sometimes called the "Body-Ownership Argument" or the "Abortion-As-Justifiable-Homicide Argument". It need not be based only on the fetus' location; it can also be justified by citing the fact that the fetus is taking nutrients from the mother's bloodstream, and injecting metabolic end-products into her bloodstream, and preparing to subject her to a major medical/surgical trauma (childbirth), all of which she is entitled to prevent, even by means of deadly force.

Some pro-choice advocates also point out that, while they too would prefer to see abortion not happen, when abortion is illegal, women who want abortions seek unsafe abortion
Unsafe abortion
An unsafe abortion is the termination of an unwanted pregnancy by persons lacking the necessary skills, or in an environment lacking minimal medical standards, or both...

s, placing their own lives at risk.

Legal and political aspects

The United States Republican Party
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 platform advocates a pro-life position, though there are some pro-choice Republicans. The Republican group The Wish List
The Wish List (political organization)
The Wish List is a political action committee devoted to electing pro-choice Republican women to the House of Representatives and Senate. The Wish List was founded in 1992. The acronym "WISH" stands for Women In the Senate and House. It can be considered a counterpart to another organization:...

 supports pro-choice Republican women just as EMILY's List
EMILY's List
EMILY's List is a political action committee in the United States that aims to help elect female candidates to office. It was founded by Ellen Malcolm in 1984....

 supports pro-choice Democratic women. The Susan B. Anthony List
Susan B. Anthony List
The Susan B. Anthony List, or simply SBA List, is a 501 non-profit, non-partisan organization that seeks to eliminate abortion in the U.S. by supporting pro-life politicians, primarily women, through its SBA List Candidate Fund political action committee...

 (SBA List) is dedicated to "increasing the percentage of pro-life women in Congress and high public office," and seeks to eliminate abortion in the U.S. The Democrats for Life of America
Democrats for Life of America
Democrats for Life of America is an advocacy group in the United States attempting to reshape the political left, primarily the Democratic Party, into taking a pro-life position. Usually this involves political opposition to abortion, but the DFLA also opposes capital punishment and euthanasia...

 are a group of pro-life Democrats on the political left
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

 who advocate for a pro-life plank in the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

's platform and for pro-life Democratic candidates. Former vice-presidential candidate Sargent Shriver
Sargent Shriver
Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr., known as Sargent Shriver, R. Sargent Shriver, or, from childhood, Sarge, was an American statesman and activist. As the husband of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, he was part of the Kennedy family, serving in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations...

, the late Robert Casey
Robert P. Casey
Robert Patrick "Bob" Casey, Sr. was an American politician from Pennsylvania. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as the 42nd Governor of Pennsylvania from 1987 to 1995...

, a former two-term governor of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, and former Rep. Bart Stupak
Bart Stupak
Bartholomew Thomas "Bart" Stupak is a lobbyist and American politician of the Democratic Party. He served as the U.S. Representative from from 1993 to 2011....

 (D-Mich), a vocal pro-life proponent and leader of the Democratic pro-life caucus in the United States House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

, have been among the most well-known pro-life Democrats. However, following his vote in favor of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a United States federal statute signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. The law is the principal health care reform legislation of the 111th United States Congress...

, Marjorie Dannenfelser of the SBA List reported that her organization was revoking a pro-life award it had been planning to give to Stupak, and pro-life organizations accused Stupak of having betrayed the pro-life movement.

Controversies over terminology

Pro-life and pro-choice individuals often use political framing to convey their perspective on the issues and, in some cases, to discredit opposing views. Pro-life advocates tend to use terms such as "unborn baby", "unborn child", or "pre-born child", while some pro-choice advocates use scientific terminology (often distinguishing between a zygote
Zygote
A zygote , or zygocyte, is the initial cell formed when two gamete cells are joined by means of sexual reproduction. In multicellular organisms, it is the earliest developmental stage of the embryo...

, a blastula
Blastula
The blastula is a hollow sphere of cells formed during an early stage of embryonic development in animals . The blastula is created when the zygote undergoes the cell division process known as cleavage. The blastula is preceded by the morula and is followed by the gastrula in the developmental...

, an embryo
Embryo
An embryo is a multicellular diploid eukaryote in its earliest stage of development, from the time of first cell division until birth, hatching, or germination...

, and a fetus
Fetus
A fetus is a developing mammal or other viviparous vertebrate after the embryonic stage and before birth.In humans, the fetal stage of prenatal development starts at the beginning of the 11th week in gestational age, which is the 9th week after fertilization.-Etymology and spelling variations:The...

, and objecting to "fetus" as a blanket term). Pro-life individuals may also prefer to refer to the pregnant woman as a "mother", while some pro-choice individuals consider this inappropriate, and some in the medical community may see its usage as insensitive and biased in certain narrowly defined contexts.

Both "pro-choice" and "pro-life" are examples of terms labeled as political framing
Framing (social sciences)
A frame in social theory consists of a schema of interpretation — that is, a collection of anecdotes and stereotypes—that individuals rely on to understand and respond to events. In simpler terms, people build a series of mental filters through biological and cultural influences. They use these...

: they are terms which purposely try to define their philosophies in the best possible light, while by definition attempting to describe their opposition in the worst possible light. "Pro-choice" implies that the alternative viewpoint is "anti-choice", while "pro-life" implies the alternative viewpoint is "pro-death" or "anti-life". Similarly each side's use of the term "rights" ("reproductive rights", "right to life of the unborn") implies a validity in their stance, given that the presumption in language is that rights are inherently a good thing and so implies an invalidity in the viewpoint of their opponents.

The Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 encourages journalists to use the terms "abortion rights" and "anti-abortion". In a 2009 Gallup Poll, a majority of U.S. adults (51%) called themselves "pro-life" on the issue of abortion—for the first time since Gallup began asking the question in 1995—while 42% identified themselves as "pro-choice", although pro-choice groups noted that acceptance of the "pro-life" label did not in all cases indicate opposition to legalized abortion, and that another recent poll had indicated that a plurality were pro-choice. A March 2011 Rasmussen Reports
Rasmussen Reports
Rasmussen Reports is an American media company that publishes and distributes information based on public opinion polling. Founded by pollster Scott Rasmussen in 2003, the company updates daily indexes including the President's job approval rating, and provides public opinion data, analysis, and...

 poll concluded that Americans are "closely divided between those who call themselves pro-life" and those who consider themselves as "pro-choice". In a February 2011 Rasmussen Reports poll of "Likely U.S. Voters", fifty percent view themselves as
"pro-choice" and forty percent "say they are pro-life".

Types of advocacy

Pro-life advocacy involves a variety of activities, from promoting the pro-life position to the public in general, lobbying public officials, or attempting to dissuade individual women to forgo abortions. Some efforts involve distributing literature, providing counseling services, conducting public demonstrations or protests and private or public prayer.

Demonstrations and protests

  • Mass demonstrations: every year, American pro-life advocates hold a March for Life
    March for Life
    March for Life is an annual pro-life rally protesting abortion, held in Washington, D.C., on or around the anniversary of the United States Supreme Court's decision legalizing abortion in the case Roe v. Wade. The march is organized by the March for Life Education and Defense Fund. The overall goal...

     in Washington, D.C., on 22 January, the anniversary date of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the United States. Similar events take place on a smaller scale in other U.S. cities, such as the Walk for Life
    Walk for Life West Coast
    The Walk for Life West Coast is an annual pro-life event protesting abortion, held in San Francisco, California. It is held on a Saturday on or near January 22, the anniversary date of the decision in the United States Supreme Court case, Roe v. Wade....

     in San Francisco, California. In Spain, over a million people took part in a demonstration on 17 October 2009 protesting the legalization of abortion. On a lesser scale, the Paris March for Life gathers thousands of French pro-life marchers every year in January. Also, thousands of Pro Life supporters hold a march for life in Ottawa, Canada every May, the anniversary of R v. Morgertaller
  • The life chain
    Life Chain
    The Life Chain is a pro-life social movement organization, one of the largest in the country. It was started in 1987 in Yuba City and Marysville by a small California-based pro-life ministry called Please Let Me Live...

    :
    The "Life Chain" is a public demonstration technique that involves standing in a row on sidewalks holding signs bearing pro-life messages. Messages include "Abortion Kills Children", "Abortion stops a beating heart" or "Abortion Hurts Women". Participants, as an official policy, do not yell or chant slogans and do not block pedestrians or roadways. Many Right to Life
    Right to life
    Right to life is a phrase that describes the belief that a human being has an essential right to live, particularly that a human being has the right not to be killed by another human being...

     chapters hold Life Chain events yearly and the annual worldwide 40 Days for Life
    40 Days For Life
    40 Days for Life is a pro-life campaign that was begun in 2004 by a local group in Bryan-College Station, Texas, led by David Bereit. The campaign is active in the fall and spring of each year, though local campaigns may continue it year-round...

     campaigns also use this technique.
  • The rescue: A "rescue operation" involves pro-life activists blocking the entrances to an abortion clinic
    Abortion clinic
    An abortion clinic is a medical facility that primarily performs or specializes in abortions. Such clinics may be public medical centers or private medical practices.-Canada:*There were 197 abortion providers in Canada in 2001....

     in order to prevent anyone from entering. The stated goal of this practice is to force the clinic to shut down for the day. Often, the protesters are removed by law enforcement. Some clinics were protested so heavily in this fashion that they closed down permanently. "The rescue" was first attempted by Operation Rescue
    Operation Save America
    Operation Save America is an organization based in Dallas, Texas, that opposes human induced abortion and its legality. In 1994, Flip Benham became the director of the organization, then called Operation Rescue National. Benham replaced Keith Tucci, who had replaced Randall Terry...

    . Ever since President Bill Clinton
    Bill Clinton
    William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

     signed the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act
    Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act
    The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act is a United States law that was signed by President Bill Clinton in May of 1994, which prohibits the following three things: the use of physical force, threat of physical force, or physical obstruction to intentionally injure, intimidate, interfere...

     into law, the rescue has become prohibitively expensive, and has rarely been attempted.


  • The truth display: In conducting a "truth display", protesters publicly display highly-magnified pictures of aborted fetuses. Some pro-life groups believe that publicizing the graphic results of abortion is an effective way of making their case. The Pro-Life Action League
    Pro-Life Action League
    The Pro-Life Action League is an American pro-life organization founded by Joseph M. Scheidler in Chicago in 1980. It describes its type of activism as "non-violent direct action".It was prominently involved in the NOW v. Scheidler 2006 Supreme Court decision....

     has used this form of activism in its Face the Truth displays. Members of one group, Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, have been jailed numerous times for these types of displays which they set up both legally and illegally on university
    University
    A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

     campuses. "Truth displays" are a controversial tactic, including within the pro-life movement.
  • Picketing: The majority of the facilities that perform abortions in the United States experience some form of protest from pro-life demonstrators every year, of which the most common form is picketing. Besides the clinics themselves, other sites for right-to-life picketing include abortion workers' homes, churches, and second-job workplaces, and abortion workers' children's schools. Most facilities that perform abortions experience picketing at least 20 times a year; in 2007, 11,113 instances of picketing were either reported to, or obtained by, the National Abortion Federation
    National Abortion Federation
    The National Abortion Federation is an organization of abortion providers. Though originally a U.S. group, NAF has expanded to include practitioners in Canada and Australia as well as many European countries and Mexico...

    .

Counseling

  • Sidewalk counseling
    Sidewalk counseling
    Sidewalk counseling is a form of pro-life activism which is conducted outside of abortion clinics. Activists seek to communicate with those entering the building, or with passersby in general, in an effort to persuade them not to have an abortion or to reconsider their position on the morality of...

    : "Sidewalk counseling" is a form of pro-life advocacy which is conducted outside of abortion clinic
    Abortion clinic
    An abortion clinic is a medical facility that primarily performs or specializes in abortions. Such clinics may be public medical centers or private medical practices.-Canada:*There were 197 abortion providers in Canada in 2001....

    s. Activists seek to communicate with those entering the building, or with passersby in general, in an effort to persuade them not to have an abortion
    Abortion
    Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

     or to reconsider their position on the morality of abortion
    Abortion debate
    The abortion debate refers to discussion and controversy surrounding the moral and legal status of abortion. The two main groups involved in the abortion debate are the self-described "pro-choice" movement and the "pro-life" movement...

    . They do so by trying to engage in conversation, displaying signs, distributing literature
    Pamphlet
    A pamphlet is an unbound booklet . It may consist of a single sheet of paper that is printed on both sides and folded in half, in thirds, or in fourths , or it may consist of a few pages that are folded in half and saddle stapled at the crease to make a simple book...

    , or giving directions to a nearby crisis pregnancy center
    Crisis pregnancy center
    A crisis pregnancy center , sometimes called a pregnancy resource center , is a non-profit organization established to counsel pregnant women against having an abortion....

    . The "Chicago Method" is an approach to sidewalk counseling that involves giving those about to enter an abortion facility copies of lawsuit
    Lawsuit
    A lawsuit or "suit in law" is a civil action brought in a court of law in which a plaintiff, a party who claims to have incurred loss as a result of a defendant's actions, demands a legal or equitable remedy. The defendant is required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint...

    s filed against the facility or its physician
    Physician
    A physician is a health care provider who practices the profession of medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury and other physical and mental impairments...

    s. The name comes from the fact that it was first used by Pro-Life Action League
    Pro-Life Action League
    The Pro-Life Action League is an American pro-life organization founded by Joseph M. Scheidler in Chicago in 1980. It describes its type of activism as "non-violent direct action".It was prominently involved in the NOW v. Scheidler 2006 Supreme Court decision....

     in Chicago
    Chicago
    Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

    . The intent of the Chicago Method is to turn the woman away from a facility that the protesters deem "unsafe", thus giving her time to reconsider her choice to abort.
  • Crisis pregnancy center
    Crisis pregnancy center
    A crisis pregnancy center , sometimes called a pregnancy resource center , is a non-profit organization established to counsel pregnant women against having an abortion....

    s:
    "Crisis pregnancy centers" are non-profit organizations, mainly in the United States, usually established with the goal of presenting pregnant women with alternatives to abortion. Though many CPCs refrain from engaging in the public debate on abortion, they are nearly always staffed by supporters of the pro-life movement. The total number of CPCs has been estimated at several thousand in the U.S. The Care Net
    Care Net
    Care Net is a conservative Christian crisis pregnancy center network operating primarily in the United States. Its centers provide Christian, pro-life approaches to women facing unplanned pregnancies. Care Net centers do not perform, recommend, or refer clients for abortions...

     network as well as the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates each claim over a thousand affiliated centers, Heartbeat International 900 and Birthright International
    Birthright International
    Birthright International is an international organization of crisis pregnancy centers. It offers a range of services designed to "help support a woman's desire not to have an abortion," including referrals to legal, medical and psychological services, as well as a range of community support...

     several hundred. While originally these centers concentrated on providing direct material support or information on available social help, a growing number have more recently acquired medical and paramedical equipment: an estimated one CPC in four offers free sonograms in the hope of convincing pregnant women not to abort. Critics have claimed that many CPCs engage in deceptive tactics to attract and persuade women contemplating abortion. Some CPCs have been court ordered to stop representing themselves as providing a complete range of health services, including abortion.

Specialty license plates

In the United States, some states issue specialty license plates that have a pro-life theme. Choose Life, an advocacy group founded in 1997, was successful in securing a pro-life automobile tag in Florida. Subsequently, the organization has been actively helping groups in other states pursue "Choose Life" license plates.

Against abortion providers

Violent incidents directed against abortion providers range from the murder
Murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

s and attempted murder
Attempted murder
Attempted murder is a crime in England and Wales and Northern Ireland.-Today:In English criminal law, attempted murder is the crime of more than merely preparing to commit unlawful killing and at the same time having a specific intention to cause the death of human being under the Queen's Peace...

s of physicians and clinic staff to arson
Arson
Arson is the crime of intentionally or maliciously setting fire to structures or wildland areas. It may be distinguished from other causes such as spontaneous combustion and natural wildfires...

 and bomb
Bomb
A bomb is any of a range of explosive weapons that only rely on the exothermic reaction of an explosive material to provide an extremely sudden and violent release of energy...

ings of abortion clinic
Abortion clinic
An abortion clinic is a medical facility that primarily performs or specializes in abortions. Such clinics may be public medical centers or private medical practices.-Canada:*There were 197 abortion providers in Canada in 2001....

s, to ordinary fisticuffs. G. Davidson Smith of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service
Canadian Security Intelligence Service
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service is Canada's national intelligence service. It is responsible for collecting, analyzing, reporting and disseminating intelligence on threats to Canada's national security, and conducting operations, covert and overt, within Canada and abroad.Its...

 (CSIS) defined violence related to abortion extremism, animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

, and environmentalism
Eco-terrorism
Eco-terrorism usually refers to acts of violence or sabotage committed in support of ecological, environmental, or animal rights causes against persons or their property....

 as "single issue terrorism". Acts of violence against abortion providers and facilities in North America have largely subsided following a peak in the mid-1990s. The National Clinic Violence Survey, conducted by the pro-choice Feminist Majority Foundation
Feminist Majority Foundation
The Feminist Majority Foundation is a non-profit organization in the United States dedicated to Women's Equality, Reproductive Health and Non-Violence, headquartered in Arlington County, Virginia. The name Feminist Majority comes from a 1986 Newsweek/Gallup public opinion poll in which 56 percent...

, reported in 2006 that severe violence affected 18.4% of abortion providers and facilities in the preceding year, 2005. This figure is lower than at any time since 1994, which is consistent with statistics from the National Abortion Federation
National Abortion Federation
The National Abortion Federation is an organization of abortion providers. Though originally a U.S. group, NAF has expanded to include practitioners in Canada and Australia as well as many European countries and Mexico...

 that show violence against abortion clinics or providers has steadily decreased since 2001.

A notable example of anti-abortion violence in the United States is the murder of Dr. George Tiller
George Tiller
George Richard Tiller, MD was an American physician from Wichita, Kansas. He was the medical director of a clinic in Wichita, Women's Health Care Services, one of only three nationwide which provided abortions after the 21st week of pregnancy .Pro-life group Operation Rescue kept a daily vigil...

, a physician who provided late term abortions as part of his practice. He was shot and killed in the foyer of the church where he was a member. A large number of pro-life leaders and groups condemned the killing. The National Right to Life Committee
National Right to Life Committee
The National Right to Life Committee is the oldest and largest pro-life organization in the United States with affiliates in all 50 states and over 3,000 local chapters nationwide. The group works through legislation and education to work against abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted...

, the largest pro-life organization in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, has stated that it "unequivocally condemns any acts of violence used by individuals regardless of their motivation". The American Life League
American Life League
The American Life League is one of the largest pro-life organizations in the United States. The organization opposes abortion under any circumstance, contraception, embryonic stem cell research, and euthanasia...

 has issued a "Pro-life Proclamation Against Violence".

Nearly all pro-life leaders condemned the use of violence in the movement even before Tiller's death, describing violence as an aberration and saying that no one in their organizations was associated with acts of violence. In the 1990s, the Revered Patrick Mahoney addressed the issue of violence, saying, "I think that extremists opposed to abortion got frustrated, felt they were losing the battle and felt it was incumbent upon themselves to resort to violence." In the same era, the Flip Benham
Flip Benham
Philip "Flip" Benham is an evangelical Christian minister and the national leader of Concord, North Carolina-based Operation Save America.-Pro-life ministry:...

, director of Operation Save America
Operation Save America
Operation Save America is an organization based in Dallas, Texas, that opposes human induced abortion and its legality. In 1994, Flip Benham became the director of the organization, then called Operation Rescue National. Benham replaced Keith Tucci, who had replaced Randall Terry...

, also addressed the issue, saying "This whole thing isn't about violence. It's all about silence – silencing the Christian message. That's what they want." He also stated, "They screech and scream about us crying fire in a crowded theater. And I agree it is wrong, unless there is a fire. If there's a fire in that theater, we better call it that. Our inflammatory rhetoric is only revealing a far more inflammatory truth."

Against pro-life people

On September 11, 2009, pro-life activist James Pouillon was shot and killed
Murder of Jim Pouillon
The murder of Jim Pouillon occurred on September 11, 2009, when pro-life activist James Pouillon was shot dead while protesting abortion in front of Owosso High School in Owosso, Michigan. Soon after, police were alerted to another murder, that of local businessman Michael Fuoss, which they linked...

 as he was displaying pictures of aborted fetuses in front of a school in Owosso
Owosso, Michigan
Owosso is a city in Shiawassee County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 15,713 at the 2000 census. The city is located on the eastern side of Owosso Township, but is politically independent...

, Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

. Harlan James Drake was charged with two murders: Pouillon's murder and the murder of a gravel pit contractor against whom Drake bore a grudge. Drake reportedly "didn't like Pouillon's graphic antiabortion signs". Two days after the murder, president Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

issued a statement saying that "[w]hichever side of a public debate you're on, violence is never the right answer".

External links

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