Abortion Speeches – Comparative Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Abortion Speeches – Comparative Rhetorical Analysis

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Pro-life Senator Sam Brownback is clearly not as popular as Hillary Clinton.  In “’Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation’ Revisited,” Brownback is discussing the subject of Clinton’s speech, called “Women’s Rights.”  Both political figures, nevertheless, approach the subject of abortion with a strong focus on different rhetorical appeals.

     For the reason that Brownback is not as popular as Hillary, he begins his speech expecting an emotional response from the audience (that is, all people on the Internet where the speech is published, and especially those who heard his speech at the time it was given) by discussing the death of former president Ronald Reagan.  After this, the Senator is prepared to introduce his subject, i.e. why abortion is bad, by referring the answer to Reagan, the honorable former president of America and his understanding of abortion.  The author similarly mentions 9/11, Mother Theresa, and Thomas Jefferson.  His concentration on the use of pathos is clear, although the Senator is wise to add the strong emotional appeals to logical appeals later on.  The fact that Brownback is a real Senator, no doubt, grants him full points on ethos.

     As far as Hillary’s speech is concerned, it is clear that she is reliant on ethos to win support in favor of her argument – that, indeed, it is best to counter the pain of abortion through better contraception.  Running for president, Clinton is confident that her husband’s former ex-president status does not require her to make too many emotional appeals.  Rather, she finds it simple to start off with logos before she introduces pathos later down the text.  Even though Clinton is receiving an award at the time she is making the speech in front of women only – she does not address her audience (including the audience on the Internet, where the speech has been published) with very many emotional appeals.

Instead, she uses her persona most effectively, and more abundantly than does Brownback.  Thus, both politicians present their similar argument in a different manner, essentially depending upon the audience’s acquaintanceship/familiarity with each speaker.


Brownback, Sam. (2007). “Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation,” Revisited.


            Clinton, Hillary. (2006, June 13). Women’s Rights. http://www.hillaryclinton.com/news/speech/view/?id=1235.

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