Archive for the ‘Josh Brahm Articles’ Category

posted by Josh Brahm, July 5, 2012 @ 7:34 am

Postscript to My “After-Birth Abortion” Article

Last March I wrote a piece bout the now infamous “after-birth abortion” article by philosophers Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva. Instead of merely emoting about the evil of infanticide, I sought to understand the philosophers’ argument, and refute it with illustrations that expose its counter-intuitive implications. I primarily argued against Giubilini and Minerva’s bizarre view of what “harm” is, demonstrating that their definition of harm cripples their other arguments.

After more thinking on the subject, I now realize that a few of my illustrations toward the end of the article didn’t respond to their precise view of harm. This postscript is an attempt to explain why.

Read the rest of this article at Live Action’s blog.

posted by Josh Brahm, June 16, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

Pro-Lifers Need to Be Factually Accurate about Fetal Development

by Josh Brahm

If you’ve followed my work, you know that one of my main passions is helping pro-life people to use the best arguments and talking points for the pro-life position. I know there are some pro-choice advocates who are not open-minded enough to listen to what we have to say, but if you’re talking to one and he does end the conversation prematurely, I want it to be because he is being intellectual dishonest. In other words, we shouldn’t give such people one good reason to stop listening to what we have to say. Unfortunately, I see pro-lifers legitimately lose credibility with pro-choice people all the time, sometimes by using faulty arguments (yes, there are commonly used faulty pro-life arguments) and sometimes by sharing things that are blatantly false. There are several popular ones going around Facebook right now that make me wince, but I don’t have time to get into all of them right now. I’ll save them for future posts.

Read the rest of this article at Live Action’s blog.

posted by Josh Brahm, March 21, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

Refuting Those “After-Birth Abortion” Philosophers

by Josh Brahm

Bioethicists Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva have caused a firestorm by publishing an article in the Journal of Medical Ethics stating that fetuses and newborns “do not have the same moral status as actual persons.”

While the arguments are not new, I think it’s a good thing that some people who had no idea that some philosophers believe that infanticide is permissible have seen this story and are talking about it. This is a good opportunity for pro-life people to ask their pro-choice friends what they think about the “after-birth abortion” article to start a conversation about abortion.

I want to briefly explain why Giubilini and Minerva believe what they do, and then I’ll offer brief refutations to their arguments.

Read the rest of this article at Live Action’s blog.

posted by Josh Brahm, March 1, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

Pro-Lifers Need to Defend Their Views Too

by Josh Brahm

Don’t you hate it when pro-choice advocates refuse to defend their views past one or two levels of argument?  This has happened to me many times, and it’s aggravating because the topic of abortion is so serious.  Lives are literally on the line, yet some people are too intellectually lazy to spend more than two minutes attempting to ground their views in something deeper than bumper sticker slogans.

Yet for some reason, I’m more annoyed when pro-lifers do the same thing.

Read the rest of this article at Live Action’s blog.

posted by Josh Brahm, March 8, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

Response to Pro-Choice Blogger: You’re Begging the Question

by Josh Brahm

Somebody emailed me this blog post by someone who goes by the name “uncloseyourmind.” I want to offer a brief response to get him or her thinking more about the issue.

Personhood Criteria
Uncloseyourmind asserts that a person can be identified by asking these four questions:

1. Can the entity act in the world and respond to its environment?

2. Is the entity aware of its own existence?

3. Does the entity possess rights and duties?

4. If it can claim the right to live, does it live independently?

Read more

posted by Josh Brahm, August 9, 2009 @ 11:16 am

Reflections on the Term ‘Pro-Choice’

Many pro-life people are instantly annoyed when they hear the term “pro-choice” used to describe those on the other side of this debate. So why do I use this term? Here are a few thoughts.


First of all, after having talked at length with hundreds of pro-abortion-choice people, I think that the majority of them would be mischaracterized by being called “pro-abortion.”


The term “pro-abortion” implies, whether intentional or not, that the person is in favor of the issue in question. Most pro-abortion-choice people I’ve talked to don’t like abortion, but they feel it’s a necessary evil. They are “pro-the choice to have a legal abortion,” so I think the term pro-abortion-choice is a very fair term. They do too. (For this same reason, I think the term “pro-war” is too vague to accurately describe the view of those that agree with “just war” theory. It’s too simplistic and should be avoided if attempting to choose words carefully. No one really thinks war is a wonderful thing.)


A fair point could probably be made that some abortionists and lobbyists are actually pro-abortion, but I usually refer to them as “abortion advocates,” so as not to accidently mis-characterize their views unfairly. Usually, on Life Report, we’re talking about people at the grassroots level that hold to a pro-abortion-choice view, not the professionals advocating for abortion rights. It’s those people on the grassroots level I’m most interested in engaging on this issue.
Secondly, there’s an issue with both of the terms “pro-choice” and “pro-life:” they’re too vague.


Steve Wagner makes an excellent point in the introduction of his book, “Common Ground Without Compromise:”
“The terms ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-life’ fail to accurately capture the differing positions of people who are for or against abortion. Everyone believes in promoting choices, and everyone believes in promoting life. The terms ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-life’ are too vague to be accurate. As I wrote the book, however, I found that attempting to use more accurate titles complicated things unnecessarily. In the end, I settled for the classic terms many people on both sides prefer to call themselves: ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-life.’


In this book, then, a ‘pro-choice advocate’ is someone who believes that, generally, abortion should be legal in many cases. A ‘pro-life advocate’ is someone who believes that, generally, abortion should be illegal in most cases.


I realize that very few people characterize their positions exactly this way. Real people don’t fit easily into categories and stereotypes. Each person has a unique set of beliefs and a unique way of discussing them. In order to keep this dialogue tool readable, however, I placed people into these two categories. My descriptions of the two categories are general enough that most people fit into one or the other. Read with his in mind, knowing that everyone is going to cash out their pro-life and pro-choice beliefs a little differently. That’s the value of listening and attempting to build common ground. You never know how you might find it, or with whom.”


I knew when I started this podcast that I would annoy some pro-lifers by referring to abortion advocates as “pro-choice.” Similarly, I knew that I would offend some abortion advocates by referring to our side as “pro-life,” which implies that abortion advocates are not pro-life for those human beings they believe are full persons. I actually spent some time talking about this in episode 1 for that reason.


Obviously the term “pro-choice” greatly oversimplifies the reality of the views of abortion advocates. A point I make when opening in a formal debate setting is something I borrowed from Scott Klusendorf:


“Let me be clear: The issue that divides us is not that [my opponent] is pro-choice and I am anti-choice. Truth is, I am vigorously “pro-choice” when it comes to women choosing a number of moral goods. I support a woman’s right to choose her own health care provider, to choose her own school, to choose her own husband, to choose her own job, to choose her own religion, and to choose her own career, to name a few. These are among the many choices that I fully support for the women of our country. But some choices are wrong, like killing innocent human beings simply because they are in the way and cannot defend themselves. No, we shouldn’t be allowed to choose that.”


I had three choices when starting the podcast as to how to refer to those that support abortion rights:


  1. I could refer to them as “pro-abortion,” which even I feel over-simplifies their position in a needlessly negative way.
  2. I could use my favorite terms, “pro-abortion-choice” and “pro-life-rights,” but as you can imagine, that’s very cumbersome to say over and over when hosting an informal show.
  3. I could sometimes refer to the other side sometimes as “pro-choice,” making clear every once in a while that those terms are too vague, meanwhile hoping that abortion advocates will be open to listening to what I have to say when it comes to the real issue, as opposed to just arguing about the terms and never getting anywhere.


I went with #3, and here are my results: I actually know abortion advocates that listen to the show!


Take for example a young lady who made the “pro-life lies” video that we’ve been commenting on for some time now. She enjoys the show, and she and I have had wonderful interactions in private emails since we started that series. She is listening to the content of what we have to say and agreed with many of the points we’ve made in the series.


Another example is Matt, a pro-abortion-choice listener in Maryland who  took our podcast survey last year. Matt had listened to 12 episodes, and said this:


“I’m actually pro-choice, but I think you guys are the most intelligent and affable pro-lifers on the air.”


Mary is pro-abortion-choice and has listened to about two-thirds of our episodes, and started an email to me with this:


“Although I’m pro-choice, I’m a frequent listener of your show, and have listened to about two thirds of your show’s archives.  On a personal note, compared to most pro-lifers I see in the media, I find you and your radio show to be far more knowledgeable (not to mention cordial).”


One of our first YouTube commenters named John said this:


“I’m pro-choice, but the way that this clip portrays your show I think you’re doing a very good job. No bashing going on, I think a civil discussion is great. And you can actually be entertaining.”


So while we can all agree that “pro-choice” is an overly-simplified term, I’m unconvinced that using it specifically on this podcast is hurting the pro-life-rights cause. I’m not making people that are already pro-life-rights less passionate about their beliefs, but I DO have pro-abortion-choice people listening to our show. They’re not just listening because it’s entertaining and honest, but because we at Life Report assume the best about people on both sides of the debate, and want to move the dialogue further than an argument over the terms.

posted by Josh Brahm, March 15, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

Responding to a Thoughtful Critique of My Relay for Life Show

by Josh Brahm

Last month I published an episode of Life Report on a complicated moral question that is very practical for pro-life advocates: should we boycott companies that support human embryonic stem cell research? (HESCR) Human embryonic stem cell research is when scientists take a living human embryo in the first two weeks of life, and kill her for her stem cells, with the hope to use them to help treat a disease. For some stem cell 101, check out this article. If you’re interested in reading other article I’ve written on stem cell research, click here.

We certainly didn’t cover all the ground that could be covered on the question of boycotting companies that participate or finance HESCR, but it at least started a discussion, which also turned out to be the most hotly debated topic among our cast in the 2011 season of Life Report. I had previously written articles on the boycott subject here and here.

Read more

posted by Josh Brahm, April 18, 2011 @ 11:04 am

Responding to Criticism Over Pro-Life Concerns on American Cancer Society

by Josh Brahm

I was recently asked by a pro-choice friend, “What is the worst thing you’ve been called by someone on the other side of the abortion issue?” I was able to respond that I really haven’t had too many people scream at me or write angry emails or comments. I ruffle some pro-life feathers every once in a while by talking about faulty pro-life arguments on my netcast, but I’m happy to say that I get along with most pro-choice people, and we’re able to have some great dialogues.

I now have some new words I can tell my pro-choice friend I’ve been called.

A few weeks ago I wrote an article, published by, explaining why I don’t think pro-lifers should support the American Cancer Society.

“Rmuse” is an opinion columnist at PoliticusUSA. According to his bio, he’s a married audio engineer, previously a former minister, and a fellow musician. In an article entitled “Christian Conservatives Declare War On The American Cancer Society,” Rmuse manages to call me a “religious fundamentalist,” a “hateful provocateur of death,” says I have a “pro-death agenda” and I’m a “killer.”

This article is posted at Click here to read it in full.

posted by Josh Brahm, April 2, 2011 @ 11:07 am

Don’t Support American Cancer Society Relay for Life

by Josh Brahm

Its springtime and Relays for Life, the American Cancer Society’s main fundraiser, are happening in cities all across the country over the next several months. It can be difficult for pro-life advocates to decide exactly how involved to be in events like this, as we can all agree that curing cancer is an important goal, even something worth supporting.

Unfortunately the American Cancer Society is not an organization I can support, as they have been linked to organizations that support abortion, human cloning and Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research (HESCR).

A friend of mine and strong pro-life advocate, Clinton, found himself in an awkward situation last week. His Christian band had agreed to play at a Relay For Life not knowing that some of the money goes to HESCR. While meeting with Clinton, this question came up: “which is worse, giving up a ministry opportunity where Christian music could be heard by non-believers, or supporting something contrary to one’s beliefs?”

This article is posted at Click here to read it in full.

posted by Josh Brahm, November 17, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

Modern Warfare 3 Unashamedly Preaches Moral Relativism to Impressionable Teens

by Josh Brahm

Whether you’re a gamer or not, you probably know of the recent release of the latest game in the Call of Duty franchise, “Modern Warfare 3.”

Activision revealed last week that MW3 set sales records, selling more than 6.5 million units, just in North America and the UK.

Oh yeah, and that was just on opening day.

Read more