Tuesday, May 8, 2012

On Abortion

While I am a man of faith, and my commitment to follow Jesus Christ colors everything I do (at least, that is my desire), my firm pro-life (anti-abortion) stance is not dependent on my faith. There are solid, scientific, "secular" reasons that convince me that the yet-to-be-born entity is indeed a human being endowed with certain unalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

And make no mistake about it, this is the only question that matters: Is it human? If your 5-year-old son comes up behind you with a paper bag in his hand and says, "Can I kill this?" wouldn't your first thought be, "Well, that depends on what it is"? In the same way, we better be sure of what we're doing before we determine that terminating a pregnancy is a choice needing to be protected. If that "product of conception" is human, then killing it would be murder.

Not convinced that the preborn entity is a human? Think about this. There are basically four differences between the preborn and an infant. Those differences can be represented by the acrostic “SLED,” representing Size, Level of development, Environment, and Degree of dependency. (Are there any other significant differences between the preborn and the born?) I don’t think a person can honestly say any of those things determines whether something is human.

Let me explain. [Full Disclosure Note: This was first developed by Stephen Schwarz in his book The Moral Question of Abortion. This pro-life defense has since been adopted by prominent pro-life writers such as Francis Beckwith, Scott Klusendorf, and Stephen Wagner. In fact click here for a short clip of Scott Klusendorf explaining the acronym...the way I first heard it.]

SIZE: The preborn is obviously smaller than, say, a two-year-old child. But a two-year-old child is smaller than a 17-year-old. Does that mean the two-year-old is less human than the teenager? Most professional basketball players are taller than I am. Are members of the NBA more human than me? So you see, size has nothing to do with whether something is human.

LEVEL OF DEVELOPMENT: The preborn is obviously not as physically, emotionally, or mentally developed as a two-year-old child. But again, neither is that two-year-old as developed as a 10-year-old, or the 10-year-old as a teenager past puberty. But all of these people are still people. They are simply in different stages of their individual development. From the time an egg is fertilized, that entity has all the genetic make-up that will determine so many things about his/her life. All that is needed is time and nourishment. And the same can be said for the toddler and the teen. Degree of development has nothing to do with whether something is human.

ENVIRONMENT: The environment of the preborn is obviously different than the environment of those of us who have been born. But since when does our environment determine whether we are human? Am I more human when I am inside a house than when I am in my car? Does going from one store at the mall into another make a teenager more or less human than he/she was before changing location? It’s silly to even ask the question.

DEGREE OF  DEPENDENCYThe preborn is obviously completely dependent on the pregnant woman for his/her well-being and nourishment. But so is the 3-month-old baby, and no one has attempted to argue that a 3-month-old is not a human being. (So you see, talk about viability as determining when the fetus becomes a human is moot. Even a born human being, fully recognized as such, isn't independently viable for quite some time.) I am more independent and self-reliant than my 10-year-old niece. Does that make me more human than she is? Some people are physically disabled and dependent on others to clothe and feed them; some elderly people cannot take care of themselves; and yet, these people are no less human than you or me. Level of dependency has nothing to do with whether something is human.

Notice that I have not appealed to the Bible. I have not threatened damnation for any who have a differing view. I'm just saying that this makes sense. This is logical. This isn't sign-toting screamers (from either side).

Truth is...I am pro-choice. I am in favor of giving every human a choice.

1 comment:

  1. Great logical post! I totally agree with you on all points!! It's crazy to me that people still argue with this common sense logic for their "right" to abort preborn children anyways :(

    If you don't mind, here's a post I wrote about my own story concerning abortion and my views on it - http://watchingandpraying.com/2013/01/23/no-choice-only-life-and-death/