Why language matters

A common theme in my posts is my sensitivity (some would say over-sensitivity) to the language used by both “sides” in the battle over what an abortionist does to a human being. (see https://jptryan.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/language-that-betrays/).

It seems the language of those of us on the front lines runs afoul of professional standards for reporting such happenings. In that world, abortionists are instead called “abortion providers”; the places where abortionists dismember, decapitate, crush, poison and otherwise kill innocent human beings are called “clinics” (not mills). And the brutal attack I just described is a “procedure” which is “provided” (not committed).

While writing this I got a tweet from an unknown twitter friend sharing her frustration that so many who know better have their heads buried in the sand. That hit a nerve. And then it came to me. There is still hope. They haven’t buried their ears, otherwise they wouldn’t be complaining about the language we use.

I cut my pro-life teeth on Dr. William Brennan’s research on the essential role of language in such injustices. Research which led to books such as “Exposing the language of the Culture of death”.

But it really only confirmed what I learned as a child.

Then I was sensitized to language by listening to some of my peers and the derogatory language they used about human beings who happen to not share their skin pigment. And watching the evil of racial injustice play itself out on the evening news.

I was horrified by what I saw.

And heard.

As a family we had many dinner table discussions about such evils in the world. It became apparent to me that my peers needed such dehumanizing language so they could continue to discriminate.

Sages such as Burke, St.Thomas Moore, and even our family friend Dr. Brennan simply reinforced what I learned from listening to my peers.

The bottom line is that as much as it offends me to hear abortionists and their apologists manipulate language to disguise and even justify what they do to human beings; I cringe,

literally cringe,

when I hear people I respect using the words of abortionists.

In speech. In print. On Facebook. In conversation.






There’s a reason bigots like those peers of mine as I grew up and in today’s world the abortionists cling to their language  manipulations. But those who know better, whom themselves are undoubtedly pro-life using the same words? It’s mind numbing.

Today I am most sensitized to such language by being on the front lines of the abortion holocaust.

I met Cassandra and her “ex” Stephen at Planned Barrenhood this morning. I’ve met many Cassandras and Stephens in the past 34 years at abortion mills.

if you aren’t already sensitized to language, you will be once you speak with the horror of abortion face to face.

Not as an issue.

Nor an opinion.

Not a debate.

The stark reality of near death conversations.

It changes you to stand in the breach seeking to rescue human beings whose scheduled executions are only moments away.

I’ve held in my hands the appointment slip of an abortion bound mom. I can’t begin to explain how chilling it was to look at that slip and know that I was looking at the execution date of an innocent human being. Sadly, in spite of our best efforts that child did die a most brutal death. Those kind of experiences tend to reform a person.

As will holding in your hand the perfectly formed arm of a 12  week old human being which had been ripped from her chest wall by an abortionist only hours earlier. That was over three decades ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. Experiences like that tend to change the way one views, as well as talks about what an abortionist does to a human being.

So Cassandra, who was “showing”, had to wait until Planned Barrenhood could get its circuit riding abortionist Crist in town.

Crist is an aging modern-day “gunslinger”, who hires his knife out to the highest bidder.

You see Crist specializes in killing the older children. He ruthlessly dismembers them limb by limb, only to have a nurse reassemble the parts to make sure no body parts are left behind.

Are you as sick as I am reading this?

And yet how else to describe it? 

What professional standards apply? Do we really do justice to call this bloodletting,  “a procedure?”

When simply describing what an abortionist does to a human  being  is too hard to stomach, how can we call such a perpetrator a “provider”?

“Provider…pro-choice(sic)…clinic…perform…procedure”: if these are the options professional standards leave us with, then it’s well past time that we change those standards. After all the standards should reflect reality, instead of forcing reality to fit the standards.

Cassandra looked to be 20 years old.  She sprang from the car, smiled and patted her protruding belly when I asked her the due date.  She scooted inside to have her child killed while Steven so identified himself as he came to the fence to talk.

Stephen volunteered, “I know I’m participating in a killing”, admitted as the driver he was directly implicated in that killing, and stated he was “totally against this, I hope God will forgive me”. He said “she’s done this before” and noted he wasn’t the father. We talked just inches apart. My heart was pounding. Mind racing. An innocent human being’s life hung in the balance.  I pointed out the Thrive van across the street and begged him to go inside, tell the abortionist he wasn’t willing to drive and see if he could get Cassandra to come out. He finally agreed to go in. I ran to the prayer warriors and asked them to pray for Steven’s success and for Cassandra and her child. They did not come out.

A few minutes later there was a mother who confirmed her daughter was “a few months pregnant” and asked with a tear-stained face “What do they do with the bodies?”.  I explained. I also had a life-sized model of a 12 week old unborn child, the age of her grandchild. Her young son also seemed distraught, and agreed that it was his niece or nephew who was in danger of being killed. He extended his hand and I gave him a model as well and encouraged him to be “a good uncle”. He joined his family as they went inside.  They also did not return.

It seems it was grandparents’ day at the mill as yet another mother pulled up with her daughter in tow. Her daughtre wore the familiar “loose-fitting clothing”. But this grandmother did not respond to my pleas, instead hurrying inside with her daughter to have her grandchild killed.

A family secret of unimaginable horror in the making.

And that’s just 15 minutes on the front lines.

It is emotionally, spiritually and psychologically exhausting.

No words can do justice to the abject horror we encounter at abortion mills nor what abortionists do to human beings. The callous disregard for human life we encounter there. The death, despair and raw evil that permeates that terrible place.

But some words can and do betray that horror.  And the victims of that injustice.

Those would be the words of the abortionists coming out of the mouths and media of those who oppose what an abortionist does to a human being.

We have to end this madness.


3 thoughts on “Why language matters

  1. Dionne

    It is grievous to me to realize that a few of those words had once drifted into my vocabulary–simply from being involved in the cause and hearing the terminology. Thank you for shedding light on this topic. From this point on, I plan to make a concerted effort to choose my words differently, to be more diligent about calling things as they are! I’m no longer guilty of biting my tongue about the horrific actions that take place in the KILLinic, but I plan to be even more mindful not to let their masking terminology become part of my lingo!
    Additionally, how very grievous are the stories you mentioned above. It boggles my mind that hearts are pricked out on the grounds of the mill, yet the feet of those involved run swift to destruction of life. My good gracious! When these people stand before God one day, they will want and expect mercy from the God that they refused to have on these poor preborn babies. I pray they repent before it is too late.
    Thanks so much for all your hard work, John! I have learned and continue to learn much from your labor of love for the poorest amongst us.

  2. jptryan Post author

    Dionne, your presence on the front lines SPEAKS volumes. Thanks Forrest your faithful witness. I hope and pray all of us bring our language in line with what we say we believe.


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