Friday, October 17, 2014

Book Review: Persuasive Pro-Life by Trent Horn [Clinton Wilcox]

Special thanks to Trent Horn for the free copy to review.

Trent Horn used to work for Justice for All, and it really shows in this book. If you've ever been through a JFA seminar, this book is a terrific supplement to the seminar. It's basically the JFA seminar in print form.

Trent begins by explaining what's at stake in the issue, then turns to how to have more productive conversations on abortion. Instead of having conversations that devolve into shouting matches and name-calling, or even having civil conversations where both people talk past each other, Trent discusses skills to develop that will help you be more convincing in your conversations to be able to change hearts and minds on this issue.

After the conversation skill, Trent discusses the many different kinds of people you may encounter when you talk about this issue, and the best ways to respond to their concerns.

When I first heard that Trent was writing a book, I was told that the book would be similar to Scott Klusendorf's The Case for Life, only geared more toward Catholics. While Trent does quote many Catholic fathers and popes, this is not a book just for Catholics. Non-Catholics will get much out of the book, and the vast majority of information in this book can be accepted and used by non-Catholics. There are only two places in the book that I can recall that may not be specifically helpful to non-Catholics, but it is still very helpful to at least hear where Catholics are coming from on this issue, especially since they're the largest pro-life group of people in the world.

There was really only one misstep in the book that I can recall, but it's a minor one, as far as I'm concerned. In his discussion of abortions in the case of rape on page 207, Trent (in the mouth of a pro-life advocate) makes the statement that "rape is a tragic crime that men will never understand." But some men *are* raped. It's important to understand that while women are the vast majority of victims, there are still men who are raped, and may even be working for the pro-life field and can use that as a bit of common ground with the pro-choice advocate.

Trent's book is simply one of the better books you can own on the abortion issue. It will help you present a much more persuasive case for the pro-life position, not just because it presents good, compelling arguments, but also because it will help you be a much more persuasive arguer by treating the person you're talking to with respect, listening to their concerns, and finding common ground without compromising your pro-life convictions.


  1. "then turns to how to have more productive conversations on abortion."

    Thanks for this review. I may read the book based upon your recommendation. But I still think productive conversations with our opponents range from very difficult to impossible. There is a wide chasm between the 2 groups, and it extends beyond the moral status of the unborn. As 1 example, pro-lifers view pregnancy as something that is healthy, normal, natural, and beautiful. However, when I hear our opponents talk about pregnancies in anything other than ideal circumstances (where the mother is married, financially secure, has an established career, etc), you'd think they were describing Sigourney Weaver's impregnated shipmate from the movie Alien.

    1. It's true that conversations with *some* pro-choice people is very difficult to impossible. But what we have to remember is that not all people are the same. I have had many great conversations with pro-choice people in which I've caused them to re-think their views. We will likely not be able to convince rock-solid pro-choicers, but then again we might. They might simply be pro-choice because they've never taken a serious look at pro-life arguments, and once they meet a reasonable pro-life person, that will cause them to re-think their position. And then there are people who are pro-choice but just haven't given the issue much thought and would be a lot easier to have a conversation with.


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