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How would one write a persuasive essay against abortion?

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William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I'm sure the above answers all contain valuable advice. I have seen questions similar to yours asked innumerable times. Pro-choice and pro-life advocates have been debating for decades. I don't know how effectively. I think if I were writing an essay from a pro-life standpoint I would not be too concerned about facts and reason but about the emotional aspect of abortion. It is an ugly business at best. It induces shame and guilt. For some people, even for the fathers involved, those painful emotions can last a lifetime. Then I would feel required to discuss alternatives. What else can a woman do if she is pregnant and doesn't want the baby? In order to be "persuasive" I think one needs to appeal to feelings rather than to research or reason, and part of the persuasion should consist of suggestions for alternatives to having an abortion and destroying a human life. 

The subject of abortion is prominent in at least two famous works of fiction by American authors. One is the short story "Hills Like White Elephants" by Ernest Hemingway. The other that comes to mind if Theodore Dreiser's great novel An American Tragedy. Both of these focus on the emotional side of the question.

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Stephen Holliday eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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If you are writing a persuasive essay (an argument) against abortion, your first task is to narrow the topic to fit the space you have available.  As a first step, I suggest you look at a website called (see link below), which sets out arguments for and against many current and controversial issues, including abortion.  Based on what you see there, and your own view on abortion, you can formulate a thesis.  In your case, because you are writing against abortion, you will focus on those arguments against abortion.  The thesis statement, which will guide your essay, must be a declarative statement--that is, it must state your position directly and forcefully, not in the form of a question.  The best thesis statements incorporate a general opposition argument, like this: "Although many people argue that free access to abortion services helps to keep unwanted births at a minimum, abortions have a much greater negative effect on society because [and here you state the reasons you will argue against abortion]." 

Many teachers ask you to put the thesis statement as the first sentence of the first paragraph.  I suggest. however,  that you place it at the end of the first paragraph, a technique that allows you to hook your reader's interest by using facts and statistics that support your overall argument.  Open the first paragraph with a list of statistics that overwhelms the reader: for example, statistics related to the number of unwanted births; the cost to society of raising an unwanted child; the financial and psychological cost to the birth parents, especially if they are below the age of 21.  Using statistics at the beginning is effective because statistics, if they are properly derived, cannot be argued with.  Someone who opposes you view has to argue other reasons for supporting abortions.

During your research, you will have identified a number of strong arguments against abortion.  Keeping in mind that abortion is a very broad topic, narrow your focus so that you can argue a few topics thoroughly rather than many topics shallowly.  Depending upon the assignment, you may have room to discuss only three or four arguments against abortion and, as you will see from looking at a site like, there are too many to handle in that space.  Your essay's body paragraphs will each focus one specific argument, and you will have as many paragraphs as you have arguments.

As an argument strategy, in addition to laying out your own arguments against abortion, you must acknowledge that two or three strong arguments against your point of view exist.  That can be handled in an early paragraph and will convince your readers that you understand the complexity of the topic and, more important, that you recognize that reasonable people can have radically different views on the same topic, especially one like abortion that appeals to emotions, religious beliefs, and to belief systems that are not religion-based.

When you write a good essay, you will often discover that, as you write, you may actually change your view of the topic slightly--this happens all the time to experienced writers and is a natural process.  In that case, you may actually modify your thesis to accommodate those changes in your view, so think of the thesis statement as a work-in-progress, not set in stone.

mchandrea | Student

Persuasive essay points the side of the writer and persuades the reader to think the same. The topics would usually have pros and cons and the writer would have to choose one side. In this case, your topic is abortion.  This is a very "hot" issue and should be addressed sensitively. 

To be able to support your opinion and defend your side, you must be knowledgeable  of the topic. Research about it. Know both sides of the argument first and don't be too rash in picking a side. In this case, you might automatically choose to stay against abortion simply because "Killing is bad." But, you can also choose to be pro-choice and state how unwanted pregnancies usually end up. 

Remember to mention first both sides of the argument and use supporting details. Then choose a side and stick to it. Do not sway back and forth. 

amysor | Student

To write a persuasive essay, you must outline your essay first.


  • Restate question
  • Answer + Thesis
  • State your reasons (usually 3)


  • Reason 1
  • Explain
  • Examples (text, statistics, history, etc.)


  • Reason 2
  • Explain
  • Examples (text, statistics, history, etc.)


  • Reason 3
  • Explain
  • Examples (text, statistics, history, etc.)


  • Conclude your reasons
  • Restate your response
  • Make a memorable last sentence


tyler-k | Student

To write the best paper possible, you need to be extremely educated on the topic. I would recommend looking at interest groups that are pro-life, like Right to Life. These types of groups have websites that will help you understand the topic. They will also give you good arguments to support your paper and make it stronger. 

An important part of a persuasive essay is the counter-point. Make sure to address the side of the argument that is pro-choice and try to counter any arguments that this side would make.

The most important thing to remember when writing your paper is that abortion is a really touchy topic with people right now, so you need to be fully aware of what you say and how other people might react to it. Be careful, but be sure to write a strong argument!

Wiggin42 | Student

When writing persuasive essays you have a list of tasks to accomplish: 1. research and acquire facts to back up and form your opinion

2. organize your arguments from strongest to weakest (There are several strategies for this. Some people like to start off with their strongest argument; others like to finish with a bang.) Remember ethos, pathos, and logos.

3. Write several rough drafts of your body paragraphs and save your introduction and conclusion for last.

CaitlynnReeves | Student

I would say the number one key to writing persuasive essays is doing research! Investigate the views of both (all) sides; visit blogs and chat rooms, talk to people about the topic. 

After you have a clear idea of the issues in question, write a list of your own views. If there are points of a specific arguement that you don't quite agree with highlight those; they will become your counter argument. In every persuasive essay or speech part of your goal is to identify and adress the opposing views. These come from finding gaps in your own arguements. It can be painful but it is worth it to get them out of the way early on. 

Abortion is a really hot topic right now so you should have no trouble finding articles, but I linked some below to get you started.