One of the speakers at our TeenSpeak 2008 conference was Scott Klusendorf, who is one of the best pro-life speakers I’ve ever heard. The main reason why he’s so good is that he’s able to explain why abortion is wrong in a simple, convincing, and logical way by focusing on just one single question. In an article titled “A Short Defense of the Pro-Life Position”, Scott writes:
Pro-life advocates contend that elective abortion unjustly takes the life of a defenseless human being. This simplifies the abortion debate by focusing public attention on just one question: Is the unborn a member of the human family? If so, killing him or her to benefit others is a serious moral wrong. Conversely, if the unborn are not human, elective abortion requires no more justification than having a tooth pulled. This is not a debate about privacy or trusting women to make their own responsible choices. For example, does the right to make oneâ€™s own responsible choices include the rights of parents to abuse children in the privacy of the home? Therefore, if the unborn are human like other children…killing them in the name of privacy is a clear moral wrong. Hence, the abortion debate is really about one question: What is the unborn? Is he or she a member of the human family? Everything comes back to that one question.
When talking about abortion with someone who is “pro-choice”, pro-lifers must always bring the discussion back to this question, because it’s painfully obvious that:
- life begins at conception; and, therefore:
- an unborn children is just as much of a human being as you or me.
Usually, when “pro-choice” public figures are asked about the humanity of the unborn child, they try to dance as fast they can around the question and say something ridiculous about “potential life”, like this: Sometimes, though, some “pro-choicers” actually try to argue that unborn children really aren’t human beings (in spite of science, reason, and the fact that honest abortion supporters openly admit that abortion really does take a baby’s life). One example of just such a “pro-choicer” is a commenter on JivinJ’s blog named Selina, who attended a debate at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) on Wednesday night between Scott and Nadine Strossen, the president of the ACLU. About the debate, Scott writes:
I made the case both scientifically and philosophically that the unborn are human. I also made it clear I would concede the debate if Nadine could demonstrate, using good scientific reasoning, that the unborn were not human. Nadine never took the challenge, but instead simply kept reasserting (without a shred of evidence) that the unborn were “potential” humans, not actual ones. Well, if the unborn are only potential humans, what are they actually? A potential X must be an actual Y. So, again, what are these alleged ‘potential’ humans? Fish? Dogs? Rats? Here’s the problem: Abortion choicers must explain how two human parents can create offspring that is not human but later becomes human. Inventing a story just won’t do. The explanation must be persuasive and have scientific evidence to back it up. During the debate, no such explanation came from the abortion-choice side.
Selina wasn’t convinced:
But how can she [Strossen] give “scientific reasoning” to the concept of “human”? According to the Princeton dictionary a human is “any living or extinct member of the family Hominidae characterized by superior intelligence, articulate speech, and erect carriage”. Does a zygote display any of these attributes?
At this point, I jumped in, using a technique Scott calls “trotting out the toddler”: Our one-year old son can’t yet walk (heck, he can barely crawl). I can count the number of words he knows on one hand. And no one would seriously try to make the case that he possesses “superior intelligence”. Is he a human? Are all persons with low IQs human since they do not possess so-called “superior intelligence”? How about people who stutter? When I was a kid, I had a terrible stuttering problem. Was humanity conferred on me only when my speech became “articulate” after three years of speech therapy? What about individuals who suffer severe paralysis such that they are unable to walk? Since they cannot be characterized by “erect carriage”, have they given up their humanity? If you find yourself in a similar situation when discussing abortion with someone who is “pro-choice” who tries to claim unborn children are not human beings, listen very carefully to him or her explain exactly why they are not, according to their definition of what a “human” is. Listen for those descriptions of an unborn child that also apply to other human beings who are already born and point out that according to whatever their definition of “human” is, they would also have to say that certain other human beings who are already born should also be allowed to be killed.