- Choosing a topic.
The first, and sometimes, most challenging, part of writing a speech or essay is choosing what to write about. Fortunately, if your aim is to compose your paper on a pro-life topic, you have lots of great options.
There are a variety of life issues impacting our society today. Choosing to speak or write about one of these from the position that all life deserves dignity and respect is very admirable. Your paper is not just a homework assignment, but a chance for you to educate your fellow classmates (and teachers) about the facts surrounding life issues and even change their minds.
When choosing your topic, keep in mind that some are very specific and others are broader. How precise your topic is will determine how you outline your composition, what evidence you research, and what you choose to explain in further detail later on. Here are some examples of broad and specific topics:
- Healing after abortion
- Planned Parenthood
- Development of the unborn child/the science of Life
- Stem Cell Research
- In Vitro Fertilization
- Human dignity
- Physician assisted suicide
- Organ donation
- Abortion hurts women
- Abortion hurts men
- Abortion procedures
- Why do women have abortions
- Abortion around the world
- Abortion clinics in Illinois
- Is it a baby, or is it just tissue?
- When does life begin?
- Milestones in the first nine months of pregnancy
- The 20 week ban on abortion (when can a baby feel pain?)
- Pro-life is pro-woman
- A man’s role in the abortion debate
- Why Planned Parenthood should be defunded
- Alternatives to In Vitro Fertilization/Alternative solutions to fertility problems
- Healthcare directives
- How to choose the best hospice
- The dangers of physician assisted suicide
- Why are you pro-life?
- Knowing your audience.
Before even thinking about how you’re going to write your speech or essay, take a minute to think about who your audience will be. Will it be your fellow classmates? Your teacher? An organization or student group?
Knowing who you are talking or writing to can dramatically change how you present your information. Students in your class may have no background knowledge on the topic you are about to present, so more detailed information and explanations might be necessary. Your audience might also include some individuals who are pro-choice or indifferent on your topic. In this case, it would be helpful to spend some time reviewing common pro-choice arguments so you understand where they are coming from. On the other hand, a church group or pro-life club may be very receptive to your position and have some knowledge of your topic. This means you might adjust your presentation to focus only on information they will find new or helpful.
Also, when talking about topics such as abortion, don’t forget to be of the fact that there may be someone in your audience who has had an abortion or has been impacted by it in some way. Hence, the tone which you choose to take is extremely important. It can influence how well your audience responds to you and how open they are to listening to what you have to say.
In our experience as an educational organization, we recommend being very factual and realistic, but doing so with a loving and compassionate tone. It’s also helpful to bring along or provide a resource to those in your audience who may need healing, counselling, assistance, or more information – such as Illinois Right to Life.
- Gathering your sources.
Before you begin your research, it’s helpful to start gathering your sources first. Based on the subject or argument you choose, you are going to want to obtain your information from sources that have special expertise on your topic. For example, in researching the development of the unborn child, scientific and medical studies in the field of neonatology may be ideal. Information from those who specialize with pregnancy and birthing, such as Obstetricians and Gynecologists, could give tremendous credibility to your speech or essay as well.
Rest assured – all the information found at Illinois Right to Life (on our website or in our printed materials) is fact based and credible – so go ahead and use it! We only choose from the best sources when we research our information. Furthermore, our sources are intentionally linked or cited in all our articles and webpages, so you can refer to them directly.
Note: It is best practice to link or cite your information to the primary source (the study, article, or data report where the information came from) rather than a secondary source (the place where you found the link).
When researching information on life-related issues, here some suggested, credible sources you might find helpful:
- American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG)
- Physicians for Compassionate Care Education Foundation
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Illinois Department of Public Health
- Charlotte Lozier Institute
- Alliance Defending Freedom
- Facts, facts, and more facts.
One of your greatest tools when supporting your claims is science, because the reality is: science is pro-life! For example – the scientific and medical communities are both in agreement that life begins at fertilization. A human being, separate from the mother, is created, with its own unique set of DNA. Hair color, eye color, skin color, sex, and body type are already determined. All of this = scientific fact.
That’s why, don’t be afraid to embellish your speech or paper with facts, statistics, and studies. The truth is in the science.
- Tell a personal story.
There are many, many individuals who have come forward to share their personal stories and experiences with abortion, adoption, euthanasia, and other life-related issues. Some of these include people who have been hurt by abortion, survived abortions, chose life, were placed in adoptive homes, and more. Perhaps, you have a personal story or experience as well that you feel comfortable sharing.
Testimonies like these can be incredibly powerful and informative at the same time. Students and teachers alike can be captivated and moved by a real-life story (note: a story can make a great attention getter). Combining real-life experiences with facts is an extremely effective way to educate your audience.
- Researching the opposing arguments.
As we mentioned before in “Knowing your audience,” there may be students, teachers, or other individuals among those you are speaking or writing to that are pro-choice or indifferent on life issues. One strategy is to put yourself in their shoes, identify the key questions and arguments they may have, and address them in your presentation.
Regardless of who you are speaking to however, reviewing and refuting the common pro-choice arguments is a great practice that can really bolster the credibility and persuasiveness of what you present. Some common opposing questions and arguments are:
- It’s a woman’s body.
- It’s not a baby. It’s just tissue.
- No one can really know that human life begins before birth.
- I’m personally against abortion, but I’m still pro-choice.
- Everyone should have the right to choose.
- This is a religious issue.
Like we’ve said before, science and the facts are on your side. Check out our website for information and answers to arguments and questions just like these. “Our They Say, You Say” video series is also a great place to find pro-life responses to many common pro-choice claims.
- Being interactive.
There’s nothing better than listening to a presentation that’s both informative and engaging. To help your audience better understand what you’re presenting and get them involved at the same time, things like visual aids, props, games, and questions for the audience can be great additions to your presentation.
When deciding what to use, think outside the box. Visual aids and props can be multimedia presentations, pictures, handouts, or items. For example, you might use a fetal development model to show the development of the unborn child with actual, life size, representations that your classmates can see, touch, and hold.
In addition, games and questions to get your audience interacting with you can be both fun and educational. It’s often helpful to design your activity so that it conveys a specific scientific fact, concept, or statistic. For example, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that because of abortion, one-third of your generation is missing today. One way to help your audience understand this reality might be to have one-third of the class stand up and then ask the rest of the students how they would feel if their friends who are standing had never been born. Then, follow this up with an explanation that this is exactly what abortion has done to your generation – wiped out one-third of your friends and peers that could be in your class today.
So be creative! And have fun with it.
- Using Illinois Right to Life as a resource.
Through all your research, writing, and preparing, we want you to know that Illinois Right to Life is here to help! We have tons of information on several different pro-life topics and life-issues, published and made easily accessible on our website at IllinoisRightToLife.org. Also, don’t forget to check out the some of our neat handouts and brochures. You can be absolutely sure all our materials are 100% fact-based and credible.
If you have a specific question you’d like answered, feel free to email us at Info@IllinoisRightToLife.org or call 312.422.9300.
Thank you for sharing the pro-life message and helping us turn Illinois pro-life.