Giving a speech on abortion


In my public speaking class on friday, my professor told us that next week we will be giving an impromptu speech. He will assign us a topic, and we will have to give a speech about it with only a few minutes to prepare. The topics will be issues that we’re facing today, including abortion, gay marriage, etc. The problem I’m having is that not only will he assign us the topic, but he will also assign us whether to be for or against.

I’m worried that if I get assigned the topic of abortion, that I may also have to give a speech in favor it.

I absolutely refuse to do that. On a dogmatic point of view, what should I do? Should I tell him I refuse?


Could you say something like, “Someone in favor of legalized abortion would tell you that … [and give a few points you can easily refute]. But the truth is that [and give your own arguments].” Of course, given the one-minute limit, you would have to be very concise.

I don’t think it would be fair of your professor to expect you to convincingly defend a cause you find morally offensive. You might ask him what to do if the situation arises.


He said to his disciples, “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the person through whom they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.” (Luke 17:1)

These words of Jesus are very direct. (And by “little ones” He does not just mean children; it could mean anyone who is ignorant, simple, or humble, and He calls all of us to be like children.)

It occurred to me that if you did too good a job of defending abortion in your talk, that might be just what one of your classmates need to justify in their mind having an abortion (or assisting someone else to have one). You would be partly responsible for their action.

Tell your professor that God forbids you from defending that position, and ask for a different topic or position.


If a teacher ever requires you to do or say something that you feel puts you in direct option to the teachings of Holy Mother Church, then definitely refuse. Hopefully in such a situation you would be able to work out something with the teacher, but if not that’s exactly what bearing your cross can mean.

Pray that you are given an appropriate topic and stance - or that if given an inappropriate one the instructor will allow you to change the topic or stance of your speech - but if the instructor is unwilling to allow for such changes, then you could just give a speech supporting the Church’s teaching on the topic anyways (that is, if he assigns the pro-abortion side to you, then just give a speech against abortion anyway).

While being stalwart can - and does - have negative consequences, no consequence is as dire as the loss of any soul, especially if it could lead to the death of a precious little baby. :frowning:

In Christ’s Love.


I know in my public speaking classes, we were required to at least mention the other side of the argument because it makes you more credible. What you might be able to do is use that tactic to turn it around. For instance, talk about the reasons why many women get abortions (financial issues, scared, feel alone, etc.) and then talk about programs or services the community offers to help these mothers overcome these issues (WIC, financial aid, counseling, donated blankets and bottles, etc.). You’d be arguing against abortion, but in a roundabout way that doesn’t negate the reasons women get them, which are often used to support abortion. It’s roundabout, but it might work.

Ugh. I hope that was easy enough to understand. My brainstorming tends to come out jumbled.

Anyway, I think it’s ridiculous that, on an impromptu speech, your teacher would be using such charged topics like abortion or gay marriage. I had two public speaking classes and both had an impromptu day. The topics were things like, “If you were an animal, what would you be?” or “Convince us that your homework is harmful to your health.” Charged topics should be used for full-length speeches, the students should be allowed to pick their position, and they should be allowed weeks of time to prepare for it. Any less is asking for trouble.


I would talk in the third person. It’s ashame the way the education system has gone.

closed #7

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