Millersville Bible Church Apologetics Class Pro-Life 101

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1 Millersville Bible Church Apologetics Class Pro-Life 101 What would be communicated if you were to overhear a little boy ask his father the following question: Daddy, can I kill this? This question immediately brings the debate where it ought to be. If you were being asked this, immediately you would turn to see what it was, or ask what it was. What are you doing when you do this? You are making a judgment on what the living organism is and whether or not it has value. In reality, there is only one question to resolve in the abortion debate, what is the status of the unborn? In other words is the unborn a person? All other arguments fail miserably in their logic common sense would tell them so if they would only listen. *Illustration: If Pro-Life advocates are right about the humanity of the unborn, elective abortion is a clear moral wrong. If, on the other hand, abortion does not take the life of an innocent human being, it requires no more justification than having your tooth pulled. All arguments in the abortion debate truly center around one question: What is the unborn? Below are five pro-choice arguments that regularly enter the debate: 1. Abortion is a private matter between a woman and her God. Should we allow parents to abuse their children as long as they do it in the privacy of their own home? Clearly, privacy isn t the issue, but What is the unborn? 2. Many poor women cannot afford another child. When human beings get expensive, may we kill them? What would we think of a mother who killed a toddler who was taxing the family budget? That s different, you say, The unborn aren t human like those toddlers. But all you ve done is to prove my point: the relevant issue isn t economic hardship, but What is the unborn? 3. If abortion is restricted, women will die from back-alley abortions. If a human child is involved, why should the law be faulted for making it more risky for someone to kill an innocent human being? Should we legalize bank robbery so that it is safer for felons? 4. Women should not be forced to bear an unwanted child. The homeless are largely unwanted; may we kill them? The issue isn t unwantedness, but What is the unborn? 1

2 5. You shouldn t force your morality on women. But isn t the mother who aborts forcing her morality on her unborn child? That s not fair, you say. In each of these examples you are assuming the unborn are human like other children! And you are assuming they are not, is my reply. So you see, the issue is not forcing morality, economic hardship, back-alley abortions, privacy, or unwantedness, but simply, What is the unborn? That is the only question that matters. What if the person is unsure whether or not it is a human? Many abortion advocates say, No one knows when life begins, therefore abortion should remain legal through all nine months of pregnancy. If that s the case, killing the unborn should not be tolerated because it MAY take a human life. What would we think, for example, of a structural engineer who blew up an old building without first making sure no one was inside? Yet that is exactly what abortion advocates suggest we do. They are saying, We don t know if the unborn are human, but we are going to kill them anyway. Illustration: While at McDonalds one day last year (October 2003) with two of my children I overheard a conversation between a little girl and her mother. The little girl asked, Mom, was I ever this small? (She was using her index finger and thumb to indicate a size of about an inch). Her mom indicated to her that she was indeed that small at one time, when she was in mommy s tummy. Do you understand what took place in that conversation? The mother was indicating to her daughter that she was the same person she is now, but merely smaller and in the protected environment of the womb. Could you imagine the same conversation going something like this? Little girl: Mom, was I ever this small? Mom: No, you were never that small. When you, uh, I don t mean you, but when the thing that became you was in my womb it was a non-entity until either the time you, sorry again, I mean when it was born, or when it was able to function by itself outside of the womb, it became you. Does that make sense sweetie? Little girl: Mom, what in the world are you talking about! What is the Law of Biogenesis? Each living thing reproduces after its own kind. That is to say, dogs beget dogs, cats beget cats, etc To find out what something is, simply ask, What are its parents? According to the Law of Biogenesis, human parents can only produce human offspring. The unborn differs from the newborn in four ways, none of which are relevant to its status as a human being. You can use the acronym S L E D to remember these differences. 1. Size: The unborn are smaller that a newborn, but since when has size have anything to do with the rights people have. Women are generally smaller than men, does that mean women should have less rights than men? Cleary size is not the issue. 2

3 2. Level of development: The unborn are less developed than newborns, but this too is morally irrelevant. A toddler is less developed than a teen, a teen is less developed than an adult, yet none is more human than the other. Is a child of four, for example, less human because they have not yet developed sexually? Should we kill a handicapped person because their brain has not developed as fully as other people? You cannot define a person by WHAT they do, but rather, by WHAT they are. If robots could do all that persons do, they would still not be persons. So it is not the ability to perform a human function that makes someone human. 3. Environment: It is true that the unborn are in a different environment than a newborn, but does that make them any less a person? Does location determine whether someone is a person or not? If a man leaves his house and walks into restaurant, does that change what he is? I know of many babies who have been born premature. If one of these premature babies was resting comfortably in an incubator in a neonatal unit and the doctor came in and killed the baby we would consider it an outrage. Yet this same child could be killed legally if it were residing in the womb. Did environment change anything about this child? Of course not! 4. Degree of dependency: If the ability to survive unaided makes one a person, then all those dependent on dialysis, insulin shots, and heart pacemakers would have to be declared non-persons. Christopher Reeve (the quadriplegic actor who played Superman) would have to be declared a non-person because of his inability to survive unaided. Five Bad Ways to Argue that Abortion is Acceptable 1. Confuse objective claims with subjective ones: That s just your opinion. is the response often received to the statement, Abortion is morally wrong. The person who responds this way misses the point entirely. The pro-life advocate is not merely saying that they dislike abortion, but rather, it is a moral wrong for every person, regardless of one s opinion on the matter. It is a matter to be dealt with objectively and not subjectively. That is why the popular bumper sticker Don t like abortion, Don t have one! misses the point entirely. It confuses the two types of claims. Try this: Don t like slavery? Don t own a slave! When a person states, That s just your opinion. It is an attempt to dismiss the evidence rather than refute it. It is clear this is an argument that demands evidence and not intellectual suicide. If I were to say, Mint Chocolate Chip is the best ice-cream in the world, I would be making a subjective claim based on my personal opinion and preference. A person would be right to exclaim, That s just your opinion! But what if I were to say, There is a pink elephant over there in the corner. The difference is my claim can 3

4 be objectively verified or dismissed based on facts. All one would have to do is to look in the corner and express, You re evidence is lousy. There is no pink elephant in the corner. Whatever you do, do not allow the person you are having a discussion with to misunderstand the difference between an objective and subjective claim. 2. Attack the person rather than refute the argument: The pro-choice movement regularly attacks individual acts rather than deal with the argument. If an abortion doctor is killed, this is more fuel on the fire to them of why abortion should be legal. Let s say, for the sake of discussion, that pro-lifers are the most hideous creatures on the planet. Does this in any way negate or refute the reality of objective truth claim they are making. 3. Assume what you are trying to prove: Abortion advocates are often involved in the error of begging the question. A person begs the question when they assume what they are trying to prove. They assume only the life of the woman is involved in an abortion. Suppose federal prosecutors confronted you with this question, Have you stopped cheating on your taxes? Obviously the question is unfair. They have assumed guilt in their line of questioning. This is no different from presuming that the unborn is not a person. Arguing that abortion is justified because a woman has a right to control her own body, assumes that only one body is involved that of the woman. 4. Confuse functioning as a person with being a person: see Degree of Dependency on page Disguise your true position by appealing to the hard cases: Some people make the case that legal abortion protects the victims of rape. Pro-lifers are cruel and insensitive toward women suffering assault. This seems like a powerful objection. I can t imagine any person not recognizing the atrocity of rape, but does that negate the argument concerning the unborn? Why should we continue the violence by perpetuating a second crime against humanity. In a pregnancy that results from rape there are two victims (both the woman and the unborn child), not one. Why should that child give up his/her life so that her mother can feel better? Can you think of any other case where, having been victimized yourself, you can justly turn around and victimize another completely innocent person? Let s say that while you were away on vacation someone broke into your house and stole all your valuables. Is it acceptable for you to then wait for your neighbors to go on vacation, break into their house and steal all their valuables? Of course not! If a friend protests your actions, are they insensitive? The issue remains, What is the unborn? If the unborn is a child, he/she should not be killed in order to benefit the mother. Do parents have the right to kill toddlers that remind them of a painful experience? 4

5 A person who argues for the hard cases like rape can usually be exposed, the smokescreen lifted, unveiling his/her true feelings with one question: O.K., for the sake of discussion let s say that we keep abortion legal in the cases of rape. Will you join me in supporting legal restrictions on those abortions done for convenience which, as your own studies show 1, make up the overwhelming percentage of abortions? Note: The information (except some of the illustrations) on these five pages is material adapted from Scott Klusendorf s booklet, Pro-Life Warren Hern, Abortion Practice, pp. 10,39. Dr. Hern is America s leading abortionist and he writes, The impression of clinical staff is that all but a few women seek abortions for reasons that can broadly be defined as socioeconomic, and many cite strictly economic reasons. (Abortion Practice, p. 10) 5

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