Wed, 18 December 2013
Rebecca Hashke from Justice For All joins Josh Brahm and Gabi Vehrs to discuss a question that pro-lifers often struggle with.
After offering some thoughts on how pro-lifers should respond to this question, the discussion turns to another philosophical conundrum that pro-choice people often ask about: should the fact that abortion bans would be hard to enforce mean that we shouldn't try to make abortion illegal?
Tue, 10 December 2013
Our favorite Notre Dame Law grad John Gerardi joins us again, this time to discuss the Pope's recent confusing comments about abortion.
Note from Josh: We recorded this episode in October, 2013. I'm grateful that yesterday (December 9th) Pope Francis made a clear pro-life statement to the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, a pro-life group in Rome.
Thu, 14 November 2013
Steve Wagner from Justice For All joins Josh Brahm and Gabi Vehrs to discuss what Students for Life clubs should do with their events.
Steve argues that every event should create a debate about abortion that can be turned into a dialogue.
Here's the list of typical pro-life campus club activities that Steve assesses in this episode:
1: Cupcakes For Life.
2: Poll table event - Debate2Dialogue.org for pics.
3: Bringing speakers (pro-life apologetics, post-abortion, etc.) or hosting a debate.
4: Screening movies like "It's a Girl," "180," "October Baby" and "Bella."
5: Volunteering for the local Pregnancy Resource Center.
6: Diaper drives.
7: Traveling to the March for Life.
8: Bound4Life events. (Red tape over mouth.)
Thu, 17 October 2013
Steve Wagner from Justice For All joins Josh Brahm and Gabi Vehrs for a two-episode discussion about common terms and labels used in the abortion debate.
In this episode they focus on the labels that both sides of the debate call the entity killed in an abortion: unborn, preborn, zygote, embryo, fetus, fetal human, baby and child.
Steve uses the word "unborn" at the beginning of a dialogue with a pro-choice person so as not to add an unnecessary impediment to the conversation, and to avoid begging the question.
Steve responds to the following challenges to his approach:
"Aren't we humanizing the unborn by calling her a 'child' or by using male/female pronouns?"
"What about when we're writing? Do we always need to make a case for the humanity of the unborn before we start calling her a 'baby' or using male/female pronouns?"
Thu, 10 October 2013
Steve Wagner from Justice For All joins Josh Brahm and Gabi Vehrs for a two-episode discussion about common terms and labels used in the abortion debate. In this episode they focus on the labels that both sides of the debate call each other: pro-choice, pro-abortion. pro-abort. pro-abortion-choice. pro-life. anti-abortion. anti-choice.
Steve, Josh and Gabi explain why they are willing to use the term "pro-choice" when beginning a dialogue, even though many pro-life people see that as an inaccurate "weasel word."
Steve argues that he needs to ask the person in front of him a lot of questions to accurately understand what they think about abortion, and he doesn't want to create unnecessary impediments to the dialogue by using offensive terms that he doesn't even think accurately portrays most abortion advocates.
Steve also responds to the following challenges to his approach:
"But isn't 'pro-choice' the least accurate label for the other side?"
"What about when it's just pro-life people hanging out? Should we call them 'pro-aborts' then?"
"What if the entire pro-life movement decides to use gracious language while the other side uses rhetorically powerful labels? Are we giving up too much ground? What if unborn babies die because of this approach?"
"What should I do when I see other pro-life people using terms on Facebook that I think are mean or inaccurate? Should I confront the pro-life person, or just let it go?"
Finally, Steve, Josh and Gabi discuss the terms that pro-choice people often call pro-lifers: anti-abortion and anti-choice.
In the next episode, they will discuss the terms used for the unborn. (Zygote, embryo, fetus, unborn, preborn, baby, child.)
Fri, 27 September 2013
Megan Almon from Life Training Institute joins Josh Brahm and Gabi Vehrs to discuss strawman fallacies.
Josh starts the show by stating that both pro-life and pro-choice people strawman the other side all the time, and he shares several examples.
They then discuss how people can avoid making strawman arguments. How can we intentionally listen to people and ask a LOT of clarification questions to determine what they actually believe?
Wed, 18 September 2013
Josh Brahm and Gabi Vehrs have a candid conversation about the state of the pro-life movement, and some of the most important things we need to do in the next ten years to set ourselves up in a good trajectory towards victory.
Thu, 22 August 2013
Josh, Gabi and Megan Almon from Life Training Institute discuss how pro-lifers can best respond to pro-choice people who argue that abortion should be legal because the world is overpopulated or because women will die in back-alleys if abortion became illegal.
Note: Our strategy for responding to back-alley abortions relies heavily on the work of Steve Wagner from Justice For All.
Fri, 2 August 2013
The second part of Josh's interview with Brad Mattes, CEO of Life Issues Institute and host of the Emmy award-winning television show, "Facing Life Head-On." Brad answers the questions from the "Life Report Questionnaire" and more!
Thu, 18 July 2013
Josh interviews Brad Mattes, CEO of Life Issues Institute and host of the Emmy award-winning television show, "Facing Life Head-On." Check back in two weeks for the second part of this interview, where Brad answers the questions from the "Life Report Questionnaire" and more!
1:11 - How did you get involved in the pro-life movement?
2:15 - How early was Dr. Wilke publishing pro-life literature and media?
2:54 - How do you think the pro-life movement has changed in the last 40 years, especially as it relates to media?
5:04 - What have you learned about how abortion affects men?
6:45 - What resources are available at http://LifeIssues.org?
7:32 - Tell us about your TV show, "Facing Life Head-On."
9:01 - What are some of the common themes on your show?
9:37 - How do you get Emmy nominations doing pro-life work?
10:38 - What were you hoping to accomplish by going to Ethiopia?
11:57 - What happened with the Ethiopian abortion worker you spoke to?
13:20 - Can you tell our audience about the woman you met who is suffering from leprosy?
14:14 - How has your life changed since you came back?
16:09 - What was the most difficult interview you did on Facing Life Head-On?
18:33 - Do you have a few favorite episodes looking back?
19:26 - How can we overturn Roe vs. Wade?
20:38 - Looking ahead, what will be very important for the pro-life movement to do differently as we work towards overturning Roe vs. Wade?
21:52 - Is there anti-intellectualism in the pro-life movement, and if so, how do we combat that?
Check out the Life Issues Institute website and TV show:
Comment on this episode at:
Fri, 12 July 2013
I got a wonderful email from Andres in Santa Barbara who was in a dialogue about abortion and used an analogy about being hooked up to a machine in order to demonstrate that your personhood isn't based on your dependance. But the person he was talking to retorted, "Are you comparing a woman to a machine?!" Andres wants to know what I would suggest we do to avoid throwing people off when the analogies we use seem, at a surface level, to demean pregnant women.
In the video, I offer six tips for making clear analogies and responding to people who continue to misinterpret them.
1: Make sure you're communicating clearly.
2: Narrate the debate.
3: Suggest a golden rule for dialogue.
4: Explain that analogies are just that...analogies!
5: Explain that pro-choice people would be wise to not throw out all analogies.
6: Determine the right time to politely end the conversation.
Find more resources about bodily rights argument for abortion at:
Wed, 3 July 2013
Casey Vroman from Students for Life of America joins us in studio to talk about the free resources that SFLA offers to college students and now high schoolers. We believe it's important that all pro-life advocates know about these resources so that you can point students in your sphere of influence to them.
1:55 How did you get involved with Students for Life and the pro-life movement?
3:15 How would you explain what Students for Life does to somebody who hasn't heard of SFLA before?
4:22 What is SFLA's long-term goal with campus clubs?
5:35 What is SFLA doing with high school students now?
6:46 What has it been like working with high school students?
8:18 Is SFLA planning on working with junior high students in the future, and what would you say to concerned parents about that?
10:29 What are some of the initiatives you're doing on college campuses now?
13:23 What practical resources is SFLA offering to college students?
16:14 What are some common mistakes students can avoid when starting a campus club?
19:50 Should clubs embrace a "whole life" model where they're also talking about capital punishment, sex trafficking and adoption, or should they focus on talking about abortion?
23:35 Talk to us about the Wilberforce and Steven's Fellowships.
25:20 What would be your key piece of advice for a high school student who wants a career in the pro-life movement?
- Visit Students for Life's website: http://StudentsForLife.org.
- Read Scott Klusendorf's "reading list for smart pro-lifers" that Josh referenced: http://bit.ly/17RnCNS
- Visit Students for Life's career opportunities page Josh referenced: http://StudentsForLife.org/Internships
Thu, 20 June 2013
LISTENER MAIL: "What Do You Think of Pro-Life Bills that Could Be Ended with "and Then You Can Kill the Baby?"
Here's an outline of my main points in response to this question from Bobby: "Some pro-life people oppose 'incrementalist' pro-life laws because they always end with '... and then you can kill the baby.' What are your thoughts?
Note: Many of my arguments and thinking on these issues comes from conversations I had with Scott Klusendorf and Dr. Francis Beckwith, who both graciously spent time with me while I was working through these issues in 2007. I'm not sure now who said what and how many of these arguments are really my own, nor would I want to source any of these arguments directly to Scott or Frank without their permission. (These were all private conversations.) It's probably a fair assumption that the really smart talking points came from one of them though.
This was supposed to be a video but we had technical difficulties with the recorded video, so I'm posting the audio only.
Common ground: I agree that we don't want to communicate to people that we only care about babies that feel pain, are a certain age, not conceived in rape, etc.
I disagree that most forms of incremental legislation send that message. I think most people know how politics works.
It's one thing to endorse something, it's another thing to say what is allowed under the law. I offer a clear example of this from Gonzales vs. Carhart.
My argument is not that we should do evil that good may come. My argument is that when we pass incremental bills that will have a positive impact for the unborn, we are not actually doing evil. We are doing a good thing.
What's implicit in these bills is that we want to save all, but we know we can't, so we're going to save the most we can, and go from there. That's called graduated absolutism.
Why I'm not utilitarian: I'm not saying 'We'll kill one baby if you let another go.' It's more like if in a Japanese POW camp, the Japanese soldier tells a prisoner, 'We'll let you go, and you can either take two with you and we'll kill the other eight, or you can go alone and we'll kill all ten.' It seems like some pro-life people that support personhood amendments would say that by taking the two I'm implicitly saying you can kill the other eight. 'As long as you give me these two, THEN you can kill the POW's.' No, we value life, and we're trying to save as much as we can.
The Bible doesn't say that if you can't save all, you can't save any. The midwives in Exodus 1 weren't able to save all the babies, but they saved as many as they could, and they are praised for it. When the Pharaoh confronted them, they didn't make a pro-life argument or statement; they lied about it so that they could continue saving some! It could be argued that they were implicitly telling the leader of the land that it's okay to kill infants. They never to his face say 'You shouldn't do that.' They lied, and saved as many as they could.
William Wilberforce helped pass a bill, the Foreign Slave Trade Bill of 1806) that you could have ended with, 'and then you can sell the slave.'
Do you think it's more important to make an impact or to make a statement? I don't believe that passing a bill with a rape exception tacked onto it at the last minute sends a message to pro-choice people that we don't care about the babies conceived in rape that are sometimes killed in abortions.
Are there some pro-life bills that don't directly save many lives after they pass? Yes. (Parental notification with judicial bypass; the partial-birth abortion ban.) Yet both had educational value, especially the PBA ban.
Thu, 30 May 2013
After summarizing Abby Johnson's story, Josh asks 40 Days for Life co-founder Shawn Carney about his ministry as well as the state of the pro-life movement.
Wed, 22 May 2013
Josh, Tim and Gabi discuss what it actually means to be open-minded, (it does NOT mean being wishy-washy,) and whether pro-life people should be open-minded too.
Wed, 22 May 2013
After wrapping up four Life Report episodes, Josh, Tim and Gabi hung out to cover some material they didn't have time to get into earlier in the day. Those topics and questions for Tim include:
Fri, 17 May 2013
Megan Almon from Life Training Institute joins Josh and Gabi to discuss how pro-lifers can have productive conversations about Gosnell, as well as the common mistakes pro-lifers should avoid.
One of the most common questions we get is "how do you start non-weird conversations about abortion when you're not on campus next to a pro-life exhibit?" One of the easier methods is to use a story that's currently in the news. Josh thinks pro-life people can have good conversations about abortion starting with the controversy of what Gosnell did, but he doesn't think you should stop there. He uses several specific questions to lead the conversation into talking about the abortions that are less controversial to pro-choice people: abortions done on first-trimester babies that are in the womb, aren't viable, aren't conscious and don't feel pain.
After giving these questions and dialogue tips, the discussion turns to what pro-life people should NOT do when talking about Gosnell. What are the most common mistakes pro-lifers make regarding this story? Listen to the episode to find out.
Josh also briefly responds to the pro-choice argument that it's pro-lifers fault that women went to Gosnell's clinic in the first place.
Note from Josh: We shot this episode a week before Gosnell was finally convicted of murder, among other things. This content is still relevant, it just means you might change the first question from "Should Dr. Gosnell be in jail," to something like "do you think it's a good thing that Dr. Gosnell is serving a life sentence in prison?"
Fri, 10 May 2013
Last February we published two episodes with our favorite (nearly graduated) student from Notre Dame Law John Gerardi with an update on the HHS mandate lawsuits as well as answering the controversial question, "why did so many church-going Catholics vote for President Obama, again?!" After we recorded those two episodes, we spent another 20 minutes answering questions we hadn't talked about yet, and answered a good questions sent from a listener. This is the audio from that post-episode discussion.
Note from Josh: We try to get bonus audio published a lot closer to the original recording, but it wasn't as high of a priority as keeping our publishing schedule for TV and radio. As you listen to this, it'll be obvious that this was recorded before Pope Benedict stepped down.
Also, John said in this discussion that we're only "one Supreme Court justice away from overturning Roe vs. Wade." Based on some recent research that I plan on blogging about in the future, I now think this may be a bit optimistic. In other words, I think it's more likely that we have one or two justices that would overturn Roe, and a few others that we really don't know how they would rule on overturning Roe, even if they have pro-life beliefs. I hope history proves me wrong.
Tue, 7 May 2013
Josh, Tim and Gabi respond to fair questions that pro-choice people ask that we think pro-life people should be willing to answer.
In this episode, we discuss how a lot of pro-choice people believe that pro-lifers want to punish women for having premarital sex by forcing them to remain pregnant. This seems clear because we're not distributing condoms or encouraging the use of birth control, which could arguably lower the rate of unintended pregnancies and abortions. How should pro-lifers respond to this concern?
We also discuss the common conception (no pun intended) that pro-life activists are doing what they do because they're Christians. If so, is this just a ploy to force religion on people or win converts?
We end the episode by discussing a recent story of a teen who sued her parents who were trying to coerce her into having an abortion. We offer some tips for pro-life people to use this story in dialogues with their pro-choice friends.
Thu, 2 May 2013
Josh, Tim and Gabi spend the next two episodes responding to fair questions that pro-choice people ask that we think pro-life people should be willing to answer.
For example, when pro-lifers "trot out a toddler," does that mean we think women that have abortions are just as evil as mothers who kill their toddler?
They also discuss how pro-choice people are often confused when they see a picture of a six-day old embryo at implantation, and then see us point at that picture and call it a "person."
Tue, 16 April 2013
It’s the twelfth and final part of our popular “Responding to Pro-Life Lies Video” series! The video we're responding to lists 55 “pro-life lies” a woman named Kenna heard, and in this series we respond to them all.
This is the first of four episodes with Josh's brother Timothy, who is now a staff member at Justice For All.
After discussing the last six "lies," Josh, Tim and Gabi have a conversation about the need for pro-life people to get out of their "echo chamber," and the need to ultimately be known by their love. We also communicate a mutual desire for both sides to be more charitable, considering the best arguments from the opposing side as opposed to just trumpeting the worst they can find.
Here are the 8 “pro-life lies” we respond to in this episode:
Note from Josh: I reached out to Kenna to let her know we finished the series based on her video and offered her a chance to respond. She wrote, "It was great to meet people who could discuss abortion and present their point of view in a civil manner. YouTube was my main forum for political discussions and it doesn't have the greatest reputation. I'm not as active online anymore since I finished college and started working, but I really did enjoy your podcast. Congratulations on finishing your series." ~ Kenna
I told her I would always be open to discussing abortion with her further.
Wed, 3 April 2013
Mon, 25 March 2013
This is the recording of a sermon Josh preached on January 20, 2013 at Free Grace Church in Clovis.
Josh addresses two common reasons why Christians don't take a stand to make a difference on the issue of abortion: the concern of offending people, and the argument that pro-life advocates should be focused solely on Christian evangelism. Josh argues pragmatically that pro-life work has actually given him more opportunities for evangelism and than makes a principled argument that Christians should be doing both evangelism AND speaking up for the unborn.
Josh closes with some easy things that Christians can do to dip their toe in the waters of pro-life advocacy, and then takes a few questions that were texted in anonymously from the congregation.
Direct download: JoshBrahmSermon-AddressingChristianSilenceOnAbortion.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:02pm PST
Fri, 8 March 2013
Pro-choice people often accuse pro-life Christians of being hypocrites, charging that we don't really believe what we say we believe, evidenced by the fact that some Christians have abortions, among other things. Hypocrisy is a rhetorically powerful charge, effectively silencing many Christians from saying anything about the issue of abortion.
It's our view that some pro-choice accusations of pro-life hypocrisy are unfair, but that some of their charges are fair. In this episode, we discuss both categories.
Tue, 19 February 2013
We’re super excited about this episode, because we think it’s the best roundtable discussion we’ve recorded in a long time. Megan Almon from Life Training Institute joins us to discuss the recent Planned Parenthood ad that distances itself from the labels “pro-life” and “pro-choice.” While pro-life bloggers discussed the ad when it came out, I felt like we had some unique perspectives to contribute. Discussion topics include the main problems with the argument in the ad, the weaknesses of labels in general, the importance of not stereotyping people and the question of whether moral neutrality is possible on abortion. Josh closes the show with questions for both sides of the abortion debate to consider.
Fri, 15 February 2013
Our favorite (nearly graduated) student from Notre Dame Law John Gerardi is back to help the pro-life community understand why so many faithful Catholics that go to mass every week still voted for President Obama in the 2012 election. Gerardi explains the history of the Catholic church's relationship with the Democratic party and the increasingly uncomfortable position many bishops are in since the Democratic party is so openly pro-abortion rights and anti-religious liberty.
Note from Josh: Life Report has never been an anti-Catholic show, and that hasn't changed. Frankly, a lot of Protestants didn't even vote. But there's no way to have a frank dialogue about this issue without recognizing that the Catholic church in America has had a long relationship with the Democratic party and that relationship is clearly having an impact on elections that effect the rights of unborn babies. We welcomed the chance to have a Catholic expert on the subject explain what he has learned for the benefit of our audience.
Thu, 31 January 2013
Our favorite (nearly graduated) student from Notre Dame Law John Gerardi is back to give us an update on the current status of the different lawsuits against the HHS mandate. We talk about the kinds of entities that are suing and on what grounds, whether it's looking favorable or not and which religious groups have been exempted and why.
Tue, 22 January 2013
Published on the 40th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton decisions that made abortion legal in all 50 states through all nine months of pregnancy for virtually any reason, out interview with pro-life hero Fr. Frank Pavone from Priests for Life was focused on the current state of the pro-life movement.
Questions from Listeners:
Tue, 15 January 2013
Josh and Jonathan Keller finish their interview with Kristi Burkhart, Executive Director of the Fresno Pregnancy Care Center, focusing on the unique relationship our two organizations have and practical advice for people who want to help a girl who has an unplanned pregnancy.
Wed, 9 January 2013
We just filmed an interview with pro-life hero Fr. Frank Pavone from Priests for Life for our January 22nd episode. After we were finished, Fr. Pavone agreed to answer one more question geared toward pastors and priests as they prepare for Sanctity of Life Sunday. (January 20th.) Specifically I asked besides the obvious messages on imago dei and the sanctity of human life, what is the most important message for pastors to preach that Sunday morning. What should the congregation walk away with?
Please forward this video on to your pastor or priest!
Tune into ProLifePodcas.net for the full interview of Father Pavone on January 22nd, 2013.
Tue, 8 January 2013
Josh and Jonathan Keller interview Kristi Burkhart, Executive Director of the Fresno Pregnancy Care Center. This is not just a puff piece about PRC's. Most of our discussion is about the most common accusations leveled at PRC's by pro-abortion-choice people and organizations.
Mon, 31 December 2012
It's the eleventh part of our popular "Responding to Pro-Life Lies Video" series. The video lists 55 “pro-life lies” she’s heard, and in this series, we’re responding to them all.
This was easily the toughest episode in this series to record, because so many of the statements are blatantly hateful. These are the worst statements from that entire video. Josh ends the episode with a plea to pro-lifers be good ambassadors for Christ.
Here are the 8 "pro-life lies" we respond to in this episode:
Stay tuned for the final episode of this series coming soon!