Rhetorical Analysis on Pro Life and Pro Choice Debate in Abortion

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The legality of abortion has been an ongoing conversation in America and it has heightened this year with the new controversial laws being passed. The debate has always been pro-choice v. pro-life, both having contrasting viewpoints and justifications for why abortion should or should not be legal. In an article advocating that abortion stay legal, authors M. Lee and Nancy Sprague, argue that abortion is a woman’s health issue and constitutional right thus it should be legal. Then in an opposing article, authors Lynn-nore Chittom and Heather Newton, claim that abortion should be illegal because of the damages (physically and mentally) the mother goes through after the procedure. M. Lee and Nancy Sprague utilizes ethos, logos, pathos, and inartistic proofs to make their argument seem more legitimate. Lynn-nore Chittom and Heather Newton rely heavily on pathos and inartistic proofs and also use ethos tom frame their stance on the subject..

Using ethos, Lee and Sprague use the word of two economists, Steve Levitt and John Donohue, when explaining about how women who are not financially capable of taking care of a child should have the option of abortion. They say that allowing these women get an abortion has shown to correlate to a lesser crime rate because women do not bring these children to environments where crime is prevalent and the only way to make money (Levitt & Donohue, 2019). The authors then bring the logos appeal by writing “…the fact remains that unwanted pregnancies place a greater burden on the poor” (Lee & Sprague, 2019) to convey that the poor would be further disadvantaged if abortion rights are taken from them or made more difficult to get.

One of their biggest points is that if abortion is outlawed, the practice in itself will still continue. Instead of a certified professional, abortions will be done illegally by untrained people that will most likely lead to unsafe procedures. There is a whole paragraph where various inartistic proofs is used. There is one to demonstrate how serious the fatality rate is of unsafe abortions. Lee and Sprague write, “…78,000 deaths occur each year as a result of the approximately 20 million illegal and unsafe abortion procedures that take place worldwide”. Another statistic is that because 60% of pregnancies are planned around the world, it would be more effective if accurate sex education and contraceptives were provided. They also add that there is data that shows a correlation rate between access to birth control and low abortion rates (Lee & Sprague, 2019). These statistics add validity to their argument because it gives the reader a bigger picture of how widespread and dangerous it is to take away abortion rights.

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Still staying on the topic of inartistic proofs, they merge the law into their argument. Roe v. Wade, the 1973 law that made abortion legal, is mentioned to connect that making abortion illegal is unconstitutional as it inhibits women’s right of privacy (Lee & Sprague, 2019). The authors’ use of the law and effective use of incorporating it into their argument, makes their stance seem more backed up by facts. Lee and Sprague then add some pathos by writing specifically how it should be a woman’s choice since she is the one going through the process that pregnancy brings. This use of rhetoric which speaks to women who can relate that pregnancy is a complicated process that comes with many changes others cannot relate too.

Shifting point of views, authors with a pro-life outlook had their own way of using the different rhetorics. Pathos was evident throughout the article when trying to appeal to women’s feelings. Chittom and Newton write that the best way to convert pro-choice women is to convey that abortion is taking life which should appeal to the women’s humilty (Chittom & Newton, 2019). They also write about the consequences women face after the abortion is done. They describe some psychological effects such as: sadness, depression, guilt, anxiety, numbness, and shame (Chittom & Newton, 2019). Pointing out these mental repercussions of abortions helps to keep their female/child-bearing audience that abortions will cause them problems if they get the procedure.

There was a section of the article where the appeal, ethos, was used. Chittom and Newton write about over the course of the years 1987 to 1996, five conferences (Meet the Abortion Providers) hosted by the Pro-Life Action League saw a growth in former abortion providers (doctors, nurses, entrepreneurs) converting to the anti-abortion side of the debate. The former abortion providers gave testimonies and with their occupations and status in society, it gave more weight to their testimonies. They even write, “ In one case it was only after an abortionist lost his own child that he realized he was actually killing other people’s babies with each abortion he performed” which can also be the pathos appeal because the phrase “killing other people’s babies” is used (Chittom and Newton, 2019). Along these same lines, they add in testimonies from the Bio-Ethical Reform of women who underwent abortions. Each woman talked about their experience and how they did not feel happy after receiving an abortion. Having these specific women speak add to the credibility of because they had first-hand experience.

After reading and analyzing the articles, the first article in support of pro-choice seems like a stronger piece of writing. Statistics are the best way to paint a picture of what is going on for the reader and this article effectively used them. The many examples presented covers all its bases because of the valid proof given. Also its use ethos was stronger because the economists they used have real names. The pro-life article did use ethos heavily focusing on the job position/status but all there were no names given which just makes it weaker in comparison to the pro-choice article. The pro-life article did do well at using pathos, the main rhetoric was littered throughout the article, but with the lack of inartistic proofs, it made it seem less legitimate than the pro-choice article.

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