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Monday, October 29, 2007


Marcel LeJeune

Nice piece.

Ed Peters

Yeah, I mean, this is simple. The egg after fertilization is either a human being, or it's not. I'm reminded of Flannery O'Connor's quip about the Eucharist: "If it's not the Body of Christ, to hell with it."


Bravo. It'd be nice to to see the NY Times or LA times, rather than the Waco Tribune-Herald, run a piece like this.


Good article, says all that needs saying.


We must start large study groups, teach influential people, work with the world’s most effective pro-life organizations, and (in general) vigorously teach people the clear and sophisticated pro-life arguments our absolutely brilliant thinkers have given us. We have reached a point in history where we can make a gigantic difference for intrinsically valuable unborn human beings!!! Eminent Catholic philosopher Francis Beckwith writes, “Scott Klusendorf is the best public advocate of the pro-life position I have ever seen…” Fr. Frank Pavone writes, “I have studied Scott’s materials and can assert with full confidence that he is among the best pro-life presenters…” I highly, highly recommend an extraordinarily clear pro-life communicator (Scott Klusendorf) at the Life Training Institute. His main page The LTI blog Another educational webpage A good LTI article Scott Klusendorf products are available at Stand to Reason. Try learning from these products: Making Abortion Unthinkable: The Art of Pro-Life Persuasion and Pro-Life 101: A Step-by-Step Guide to Making Your Case Persuasively. I also highly recommend Beckwith's Defending Life: A Legal and Moral Case Against Abortion Choice (Cambridge, 2007). If we should work together against things like slavery, we should work together against the abortion holocaust.


Below I put together some parts primarily from the Stand to Reason Interactive series Making Abortion Unthinkable The Art of Pro-life Persuasion. Here are prenatal pictures. If you don’t want to, don’t look at them.
Here are abortion pictures Here is an abortion video
Graphic visuals are a standard means to good education with other moral issues (such as the Holocaust, the Civil Rights movement, and other issues). Graphic visuals are not manipulative if the images clarify truth rather than distort it. Graphic visuals are used to support our argument, not replace it. Tell people that they don’t have to look at the pictures or videos if they don’t want to.
Scientific evidence supports the argument that abortion kills a real human being. Leading embryology books confirm this See T.W. Sadler, Langman’s Embryology, 5th ed. (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders, 1993) p. 3; Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (Toronto: B.C. Decker, 1988) p. 2; O’Rahilly, Ronand and Muller, Pabiola, Human Embryology and Teratology, 2nd ed. (New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996) pp. 8, 29. It simply isn’t true that no one knows when life begins. Here’s why. The unborn is alive from the moment of conception. No period of non-life exists in the sequence of events from mating to birth. An unbroken continuum of life stretches from beginning to end: A living sperm unites with a living egg to form a living zygote. Biological growth begins at the moment of conception, which proves the unborn is alive. The unborn possesses each of the biological criteria for life.
2)Growth (reproduction)
3)Reaction to stimuli
The distinct life of an individual being begins at its conception (fertilization). It is the second image on that link. The aforementioned images are from the Justice For All Exhibit pro-life webpage. Images are an absolutely crucial aspect of the pro-life cause.
The individual’s unique genetic fingerprint originates at conception, which any biology textbook makes clear. An egg with 23 of the mother’s chromosomes unites with a sperm with 23 of the father’s chromosomes, creating an individual living thing. The zygote is different from every other cell in the mother’s body because it has its own unique chromosomal “fingerprint.” The unborn rapidly develops physically into a composite of different kinds of cells, which never happens with any other kind of human cell.
Given that the unborn is alive, what kind of living thing is it? Is it a plant or an animal? Is it a tomato or a rutabaga, or some kind of bacteria? Is it a bird, reptile, fish, amphibian, or mammal? What kind of mammal is it? A cat? Rabbit? The unborn is a Homo Sapiens, a human being. First, the DNA Genetic signature proves the unborn is a human being. If you had 10 zygotes in a row, how would you know which one was human if they all looked alike to the naked eye? You’d know by the DNA. The principle of biogenesis proves the unborn is a human being. The principle of biogenesis states two things. First, all life comes from pre-existent life. Second, each being reproduces after its own kind. Since every being reproduces after its own kind, human beings can only reproduce other human beings. Dogs make puppies, fish make guppies, and humans make yuppies. If this principle is denied, it must be explained how two human beings can create a separate being that is not human-in clear violation of the principle of biogenesis-but later becomes one. The individual, living offspring of two other human beings must always be another human being.
They say the unborn is human, but not a person. When confronted with this statement, always ask this question: What’s the difference? What’s the difference between a human and a person? If they permit the killing of a human being who’s not a person, but not the killing of a human who is, then they must be clear on the difference between the two. What are the specific reasons for disqualifying some humans from protection? Why should we accept the notion that some humans are not persons? The distinction seems arbitrary. Humans are personal kinds of beings.
Human beings have intrinsic value. They are valuable in themselves. Intrinsic value means that our value is tied to what we are, not to what we can do. We need nothing more than our shared humanity to have equal value and to deserve equal protection. Anything that can be functionally defined-valuable because of some condition, such as size, level of development, location, or degree of dependency-can be functionally defined away-no longer valuable because the ability is lost. What if we had no legs or our bodies were terribly misshapen, like the Elephant Man’s? Would we be any less ourselves? Would we be any less a person? Pro-life advocates believe that no human being-regardless of size, level of development, race, gender, or place of residence-should be excluded from the community of human persons. Our view of humanity is inclusive, wide open to all-especially to those who are small, vulnerable, and defenseless. Gregory Koukl writes, “When the Founders wrote that all men are created equal, they were not referring to males of a certain age, but to all human beings. Further, the thing that made men equal was not some physical quality that each shared. Therefore, no argument could ever be given to disqualify any human for life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness based on any physical characteristics (skin color, in Lincoln’s case)…The point the Founders were making is that rights accrue to men simply by virtue of the fact that they are human. Therefore, all human beings have those unalienable rights regardless of their levels of physical development or their capabilities.”


Every pro-life advocate should know this key illustration. Teach it to as many people as you can. There are a variety of different ways to teach this information (one can get creative). I frequently start with this illustration:
If your child comes up behind you while you’re working and asks, “Mommy/Daddy, can I kill this?’ what one question must you ask before you can answer his question? Before you answer the question “Can I kill this? You must first ask the question “What is it? If it’s a spider or a cockroach, he can smash it. If it’s the funny-looking boy down the street, he’ll need to sit down for a long talk with you. Abortion kills something that’s alive. Whether it’s right or wrong depends entirely upon the answer to one question: What is being killed? Or, What is the unborn?

Some other interesting things:
Elective abortion kills the unborn (doing so is the purpose of the abortion), and only something alive can be killed. The unborn can be a different gender from the mother. The unborn develops a separate brain and central nervous system. The unborn can have a different blood type. The DNA fingerprint is widely used in forensics, especially by the government and the military, to determine the identity of particular human beings. The DNA fingerprint allows investigators to connect certain biological remains (such as blood and hair) to specific individuals. Dr. Landrum Shettles, the first scientist to achieve conception in a test tube, writes that conception not only confers life, but “defines” life. Prior to his abortion advocacy, former Planned Parenthood president Dr. Alan Guttmacher was perplexed that anyone, much less a medical doctor, would question that life begins at conception. “This all seems so simple and evident that it is difficult to picture a time when it wasn’t part of the common knowledge,” he wrote in his book Life In the Making.

The pro-life rationale is clear:
1) Intentionally killing an innocent human person is a moral wrong.
2) Elective abortion is the killing of an innocent human person.
3) Therefore, elective abortion is a moral wrong.

We are not talking about killing cockroaches. The key question is “what is the unborn?” Gregory Koukl writes, “If the unborn is not a human person, no justification for abortion is necessary. However, if the unborn is a human person, no justification for abortion is adequate.” An abortion shouldn’t be allowed unless the unborn poses a significant threat to the mother’s life. However, Scott Klusendorf writes, “The Court in Roe struck down the abortion laws of all 50 states and concluded that a woman may obtain an abortion for any reason she deems fit through all nine months of pregnancy. That is, the Court mandated a policy of abortion-on-demand that no state anticipated prior to the ruling.” There are even atheists and secular libertarians that are pro-life and


Gregory Koukl writes, “But what I don't want anybody to do is to mistakenly frame this issue as one of choice. It is not an issue of choice any more than slavery was an issue of choice. It's not an issue of what a woman can do with her body. Frankly, a woman can't do what she wants with her own body and neither can men. Laws restrict those freedoms given the right set of circumstances. The issue to be considered here is the issue of human rights. It's unfortunate that the press and certain people arguing for one position have framed the question differently because they have missed the entire point. During the slavery debate, both in this country and at the turn of the century in England, the issues were framed in the same way: choice, the government shouldn't be in the position of legislating morality, the government shouldn't tell us how to run our private lives. Yet there a human being clearly was at issue. Even then when you had a living, breathing human being standing there staring back, they still could argue that way. I'm not a bit surprised that it could be done with an unseen infant that is growing out of sight in the womb of its mother.” Keep the abortion-choice advocates on the key question “What is the unborn?”

Here are some parts from Scott Klusendorf’s writing: Now, it may be the case that the unborn are not fully human and abortion is therefore justified. But this must be argued with evidence, not merely assumed by one's rhetoric. Suppose, for example, that a friend justifies elective abortion this way: “Women have a right to make their own private decisions. What goes on in the bedroom is their business and no one else’s.” When you hear this, don’t panic. Trot out a toddler: Pro-lifer: Okay, you say that privacy is the issue. Pretend that I have a two-year old in front of me (hold out your hand at waist level to illustrate this). May I kill him as long as I do it in the privacy of the bedroom?
Abortion-advocate: That’s silly--of course not!
Pro-lifer: Why not?
Abortion-advocate: Because he’s a human being.
Pro-lifer: Ah. If the unborn are human, like the toddler, we shouldn’t kill the unborn in the name of privacy anymore than we’d kill a toddler for that reason.
Abortion-advocate: You’re comparing apples with oranges, two things that are completely unrelated. Look, killing toddlers is one thing. Killing a fetus that is not a human being is quite another.
Pro-Lifer: Ah. That’s the issue, isn’t it? Are the unborn human beings, like toddlers? That is the one issue that matters.
Staying Focused
Notice that you’ve not yet argued for the humanity of the unborn. You’ll do that in a moment. For now, all you are doing is framing the issue around the question, What is the unborn? That is the crux of the debate.
As the conversation continues, keep trotting out the toddler each time your friend assumes the unborn are not human. That will keep the discussion focused on the one question that really matters: the status of the unborn.
Abortion-advocate: But many poor women cannot afford to raise another child.
Pro-lifer: When human beings get expensive, may we kill them? Getting back to my toddler example, suppose a large family collectively decides to quietly dispose of its three youngest children to help ease the family budget. Would this be okay?
Abortion-advocate: But you're being too simplistic. This is a very complex issue involving women who must make agonizing decisions.
Pro-lifer: The decision may be psychologically complex for the mother, but morally it is not complex at all. When black children are denied schooling and other community services, do we spin a tale about complex and agonizing decisions for the white people in power or do we condemn the evil of racism?
Abortion-advocate: Aborting a fetus that is not human is one thing; discriminating against a black person is quite another.
Pro-lifer: So we’re agreed: If abortion kills a defenseless human being, then the issue wouldn’t be complex at all. The question remains: What is the unborn? Admittedly, one conversation is seldom enough to convert people on the spot. That’s okay. Sometimes clarifying the issue is enough to get friends and critics thinking. Once that happens, you’ll have opportunity to engage them again. To use a baseball example, you don’t have to hit a home run with every conversation. Sometimes just getting on base is enough. And you’ll certainly do just that when you trot out your toddler.


Abortion-choice advocates can no longer act as if the pro-life position is a big joke. Many of the leading intellectuals in the world are pro-life. For example, Francis Beckwith, Peter Kreeft, William Lane Craig, Patrick Lee, Robert P. George, Scott B. Rae, J.P. Moreland, and countless others are advocates of the pro-life view. I want to emphasize that there is convincing academic work on our pro-life side!

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