Language in the Abortion Debate: Should We Use Unborn vs. Fetus or Baby?

Opinion   |   Josh Brahm   |   Oct 24, 2013   |   1:32PM   |   Washington, DC

Steve Wagner from Justice For All joins Gabi Vehrs and me for a two-episode discussion about common terms and labels used in the abortion debate. In this episode we 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.

In this episode we 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?”

Related Links:

Watch the first part of this series on language in the abortion debate: “Pro-Choice vs. Pro-Abortion:”

Check out the Endowment for Human Development website:

See video from the last JFA training that Josh Brahm facilitated:



Get Steve Wagner’s book, “Common Ground Without Compromise:”

Learn more about Justice For All: Note: Josh Brahm is the educational director for Right to Life of Central California and the host of Life Report, also a LifeNews pro-life video feature. Find more episodes of Life Report at