Abortion Argument
by Jenny Barsky

PERSUADE 2018  Defense of Pro-Life Position    We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their CREATOR, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  The declaration of Independence set forth this founding principle for the United States. We all embrace these beliefs, but when do we receive these rights? The answer to this question is at the heart of the abortion debate. According to Thomas Jefferson, we get them at creation, yet we still allow abortions, so are these rights somehow earned? Or, again as Jefferson put it: naturally endowed.  And if life from creation is one of the founding principles of our republic, then why is the government not protecting this right? If it seems to be a question of the ages, you are right, the issue of abortion has divided our country for centuries. Yet, as we unfold the issue, you may be surprised to find out that both sides actually share a lot of common ground.     Pro Lifers and Pro Choicers believe that all human persons possess certain inalienable rights irrespective of whether or not the government protects such rights.This is why both sides appeal to what they believe to be a fundamental right, Life and Liberty. The pro-life Advocate  appeals to “life”, while the Pro Choice Advocate appeals to “liberty”. The Pro Choice advocate does not deny that human beings have a fundamental right to life. He just believes that this right to life is not extended to The Unborn. The pro-life Advocate does not forgo Liberty; but, he believes that all human Liberty is limited by another person’s right to life.  So the principal dispute in the abortion debate is not one of differing values, but in the application of these values and the truth of certain important facts. Since there is common ground on the values in play, the question as to which position is correct rests on which one is best established by the facts and is most consistent with our shared values.  And while, I believe a theological argument could be made against abortion,  our focus here tonight will be on the Pro Life position and its defense solely based on science and philosophy. First let me go through abortion statistics and laws.    January of this year marked 45 years of federally legalized abortion. Since that time there have been roughly 60 million babies aborted. That number is staggering when compared to other statistics relative to the loss of life. For example, we have lost 1.1 million soldiers in combat in the 241 years since the Declaration of Independence. That’s nearly 55 babies killed in the last 45 years for each soldier lost in combat since our country’s inception. Another example to help put the number in perspective is the Holocaust.  Which is said to have claimed the lives of 6 million Jews, making abortion 10 times more effective -so far-  than the Nazis at eliminating a people. And while we construct monuments and museums for those 6 million who died during the holocaust, nearly 1 million babies continue to be aborted EACH YEAR!  ** [stats combined CDC w AGI] How did we arrive here legally?    As I researched the actual laws relative to abortion, I was shocked by my misunderstanding and the widespread misconception of the law. I was also shocked to find out what little criteria needs to be met for a woman to have an abortion and how late into the pregnancy the mother can choose to abort her baby.  The Federal right to have an abortion was established through the Supreme Court’s ruling on two cases in 1973. The first, and most well-known case is Roe vs. Wade. The Court in their decision established that The state has no  right to restrict abortion in the first 6 months of pregnancy. A woman can have an abortion during her first six  months of pregnancy for any reason she deems fit.  However during the last trimester after fetal viability (24-28 then, 20-24 now) the state has a right, although not an obligation, to restrict abortions to only those cases in which the mother’s “health” is jeopardized. However, the Court’s ruling clearly stated that any proposed legislation must not interfere with the woman’s “health.” The vagueness of “health” quickly brought forth another case Doe v Bolton that stated “health” must be defined “in light of all factors–physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age–relevant to the well-being of the patient. All these factors relate to health” (Doe v. Bolton, 410 at 179, 192). Given all pregnancies impact a woman’s emotional and family situation, the court’s “health provision” has the practical effect of legalizing abortion up until birth. Indeed, a 1983 U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee concluded that “no significant legal barriers of any kind whatsoever exist today in the United States for a woman to obtain an abortion for any reason during any stage of her pregnancy.” * Simply put a mother can choose to abort at anytime before birth, for any reason including, but not limited to:  pregnancy outside of wedlock, rape, incest, birth control, failed contraception, sex selection, bone marrow harvesting, financial hardship, undue stress, and even eugenic reasons. Thus, the cases have stripped the right to life from the unborn and have truly created an abortion on-demand system in the US.  Relevant statistics are provided in YOUR HANDOUT [A].  Now that we have some  historical perspective, legal background and statistical comparatives, let’s review the facts and the values that have brought us here; our right to LIFE.  *(Report, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, on Senate Resolution 3, 98th Congress, 98- 149, 7 June 1983, p. 6.)   (MerriamW) defines Homicide as the killing of one human being by another.    

  1. With few exceptions homicide is unjustified and morally wrong.  
  1. From the earliest stages of development the Unborn are living, distinct, whole human beings with a right to life. 
  1. Abortion is the killing of one human being by another.  
  1. Therefore, Abortion  (in almost every case) is unjustified homicide and morally wrong.  

 

  1. Let me clarify what I mean by “few exceptions’. We can agree that it is unjust to take someone’s life. However, there are examples of justifiable homicide. For example, when one has a duty to a greater good we often consider homicide to be justified; like in the case of self-defense or someone being killed by law enforcement who is threatening the life of another. Here intent is not on killing someone but in saving the life of the would-be victim. These are situations where there is a duty to the “greater good”.  Outside of this kind of killing our society regards homicide to be unjust and immoral. 

2 is next, but if you’ll afford me the leeway I will address 3 briefly first. Provided that I adequately prove that the unborn are human beings, then clearly this premise is true.      Since I will establish the unborn are living human beings from conception, any act of abortion is killing that human being. What else could you characterize it by?? Some prochoicers want to present abortion simply as the withholding of support. This is an unfair characterization. Frank Beckwith says “Abortion merely as the act of withholding support is like smothering someone to death with a pillow and calling it the withholding of oxygen”     

  1. Next is the biological facts, so let’s review a little about the birds and the bees….HANDOUT [B] 

  The science of embryology is clear. Embryos are human beings in the earliest stages of their natural development. They differ from more mature members of the human species not in virtue of the kind of thing they are (the way a cat differs from a tree), but only in their degree of development. From the earliest stages of development, the unborn are distinct, living, whole human beings. True, they have yet to grow and mature, but they are whole human beings nonetheless.  Leading embryology textbooks affirm this:  For example,     Keith L. Moore wrote: “A human zygote is the beginning of a new human being. Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm…unites with a female gamete or oocyte…to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”  1    T.W. Sadler’s Langman’s Embryology, states: “The development of a human begins with fertilization, a process by which the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote.” 2    Embryologists Ronan O’Rahilly and Fabiola Müller write, “Although life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed….The combination of 23 chromosomes present in each pronucleus results in 46 chromosomes in the zygote. Thus the diploid number is restored and the embryonic genome is formed. The embryo now exists as a genetic unity.” 3  More on unity later…    We’ve known these facts for years.     As early as 1868, Dr. Horatio Storer, the head of the American Medical Association’s Committee on Criminal Abortion, along with co-author Franklin F. Heard, confidently stated that “Physicians have now arrived at the unanimous opinion that the foetus in utero is alive from the very moment of conception…[The willful killing of a human being at any stage of its existence is murder.” 5    Prior to advocating elective abortion, former Planned Parenthood President Dr. Alan Guttmacher was perplexed that anyone, much less a medical doctor, would question them. In his 1933 book Life in the Making.  he writes “This all seems so simple and evident that it is difficult to picture a time when it wasn’t part of the common knowledge,” 4    In 1981, a U.S. Senate judiciary subcommittee heard expert testimony on when human life begins. Professor Micheline Matthews-Roth of Harvard University Medical School told the subcommittee, “It is incorrect to say that biological data cannot be decisive…It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception.” Dr. Watson A. Bowes of the University of Colorado Medical School stated, “The beginning of a single human life is from a biological point of view a simple and straightforward matter–the beginning is conception.” The subcommittee report concludes: “Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being—a being that is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings.”6  1 K. Moore & T.V.N. Persaud, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (Philadelphia: Saunders/Elsevier, 2008), p. 15.   2 T.W. Sadler, Langman’s Embryology, 5th ed. (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders, 1993), p.   3 O’Rahilly, Ronan and Müller, Fabiola. Human Embryology & Teratology. 2nd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996, pp. 8, 29.   4 A. Guttmacher, Life in the Making: the Story of Human Procreation (New York: Viking Press, 1933) p. 3   5 H. Storer and F. Heard, Criminal Abortion: Its Nature, Its Evidence & Its Law (out of print); cited in Stephen Krason, Abortion: Politics, Morality, and the Constitution (Lanham,MD: University Press in America, 1984) p. 171.   6 Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, Report, 97th Congress, 1st Session, 1981.     You might say, 1981 was nearly 40 years ago, surely we have come a long way since then… but even today our government agrees.     According to the National Institutes of Health in 2013, says ‘fertilization’ is the process of union of two gametes (i.e., ovum and sperm) ‘whereby the somatic chromosome number is restored and the development of a new individual is initiated.’” ?-Steven Ertelt”Undisputed Scientific Fact: Human Life Begins at Conception, or Fertilization” LifeNews.com 11/18/13  The Department of Health and Human Services in OCT 2017 ?”HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception” ?  Perhaps the famous Nobel prize winning Dr. Jerome LeJeune said it best in his report to Congress from the Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee in 1981:    he says      “After fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being…[this] is no longer a matter of taste or opinion, it is not a metaphysical contention, it is plain experimental evidence….”   Eberl JT. The beginning of personhood: A Thomistic biological analysis. Bioethics. 2000;14(2):134-157.  Quote is from page 135  In short, you didn’t come from a zygote. You once were a zygote. At no point in your prenatal development did you undergo a substantial change of nature. You began as a human being and will remain so until death.     Scientifically, it is fact that the unborn are living, distinct, and fully human.     So, having established that scientifically, why would the unborn not be afforded the right to life; Thus, it is the philosophical question of “Being” which must be addressed now.    This is a more sophisticated discussion. Science has brought us this far, but fails us now. Science can’t help us here- any more than it can determine who someone loves as its impossible get empirical evidence of metaphysical things. So we must turn to philosophy for the answer.  Or Dr Seuss as Peter suggests “makes it so simple…” “A person is a person no matter how small…” if this isn’t strong enough evidence for you, then we ontology we will go…. The branch of philosophy that deals with these matters is called Ontology: is the philosophical study of the nature of being, becoming, existence, or reality.  We are going to focus on the part of ontology that deals with wholes to parts and parts to wholes. There are two very different kinds of wholes with parts: artifacts and substances.       Property Things and Living Things  Property things are artifacts.    

  1. A house is an example of an artifact. A house is created when bricks, boards, drywall, etc., are put together according to a certain plan and arranged in a certain form. It is destroyed when the bricks, boards, etc., lose that form. We no longer have a house but only cement for example.  

  These kinds of things (artifacts or property things, if you will) get their Unity from something external – in this case the Builder. The parts that make up the whole exist independently from the whole and remain identical to themselves regardless of whether or not they’re in the whole. In property things the parts define the whole.     The other type of being is a called a substance, for our purposes we will say a living thing-  

  1. An animal is a substance, ontologically speaking. An animal is generated when matter contributed by the mother combines with matter and form contributed by the father. 

  Here, the whole is the defining part. The only reason the parts are what they are is because of what the substance is as a whole. The unity/nature of this kind of substance comes from within. It is self generating.  Its parts don’t define it, the whole defines its parts.     For example, if you happen upon a spark plug in the street, you can guess as to what it may have once been a part of (car, lawn mower, tractor, go kart). It’s an artifact that can be used to make a whole of many things (car, lawn mower, tractor, go-kart). Whereas, if you came upon a severed human hand in the street, the only conclusion that you could arrive at is the hand belonged to a human. Similarly, removing parts or functionality from a human, eyesight, both arms and both legs, does not change the human to anything else but human. This is because his nature is not linked to any capabilities, or pieces, it is simply his nature by the kind of substance he is. We are not property things (composites) which do lose their identities once enough parts are taken away. Think of that house, eventually, after the boards, drywall and bricks were all gone no one would call it a house, but instead a pile of whatever things were left. This is not the same with people.    Another way to illustrate this idea through ontology is by the genus/species example. HANDOUT [C]  Sometimes properties relate to each other as a genus does to a species. Here are some genus/species relationships: being a color/being red; being a shape/being square; and, according to the traditional view, being a person/being a human. The species is a way by which the genus exists. Being red, square, or human are ways that being colored, shaped, or being a person exist in individual things.  There can be colored things that are not red things, but there cannot be red things that are not colored things. Similarly, there can be persons that are not humans (Martians, angels), but there are no humans that are not persons. In fact, there is no such thing as a colored thing or person plain and simply. There are only kinds of colored things (e.g. red things) and kinds of persons (e.g., divine, human, angelic). So the fact that the unborn are human is a sufficient condition for their personhood in the same way a genus constitutes the nature of a species.    So I have established that from the earliest stages of development the Unborn are living, distinct, whole human beings with a right to life.     

  1. Therefore, Abortion is unjustified homicide and morally wrong.  

    If you still stand unconvinced that abortion is wrong, I would like you to consider the following argument. I will break it into 2 premises to make it easier to discuss. 

  1.  If there is a reasonable chance that an organism has a right to life, it is wrong to kill it. 
  1. There is a reasonable chance that the unborn have a right to life. 

Therefore It is wrong to kill the unborn.   

  1.  If there is a reasonable chance that an organism has a right to life, it is wrong to kill it. 

Suppose you are hired to demolish a building. As project manager, you hire a team of experts to get the job done. When the time arrives to press the trigger, you ask your safety officer if she is positive there is no one left in the building. She replies, “I did a walk through last night and didn’t see anyone, but I’m not 100% sure.” It’s clear what ought to be done at this point. Given the small, but reasonable chance someone is still in the building, you ought to postpone the demolition. Going forward at this point would be morally reckless and negligent.  

  1. There is a reasonable chance that the unborn have a right to life.

2nd premise:    Notice how modest a claim this is. It’s not saying the unborn actually have a right to life. Rather, it is saying there’s a reasonable chance the unborn have a right to life. One might object at this point and say that what’s reasonable is subjective. So let’s think back to the demolition illustration. What level of certainty would make it reasonable to go forward with the demolition? Suppose you were 90% sure no one was inside (based on the testimony of your safety officer). That leaves a 10% chance someone is still in there. Most would postpone the demolition given this level of uncertainty (that’s a pretty big chance). But suppose your officer told you she was 99% sure. Even still, that small a chance, that tiny bit of uncertainty, is enough to call it off.  Think about the level of certainty you would require. Wouldn’t you want the entire building to be walked, canvased, and thoroughly searched, before going forward? Also note the kind of evidence you would require. It wouldn’t be enough to sit in your office a mile away thinking hard about it. You wouldn’t rely on intuitions. No, you’d require strong propositional evidence. HANDOUT [D]    The question is, what extremely good propositional evidence is there that the unborn don’t have a right to life? Even if one isn’t entirely convinced by my initial arguments, they at least create enough doubt to establish that there is a reasonable chance the unborn have a right to life.   So if you want to say we cant be sure when the unborn gains their natural rights, we should clearly be erring on the side of caution. Because it’s not potential humans youre talking about, Its potential homicide.        “A person is a person, no matter how small!”        HANDOUT    [A]Abortion Statistics  Alan Guttmacher Institute and CDC  In California, the following restrictions on abortion were in effect as of January 1, 2018: 

  • California does not have any of the major types of abortion restrictions—such as waiting periods, mandated parental involvement or limitations on publicly funded abortions—often found in other states. 

   Summary and conclusions: Based on the preceding analyses, the following composite estimated percentages are suggested (with parenthetical values giving the ranges of values from the above studies and analyses):  REASONS FOR ABORTIONS: COMPILED ESTIMATES 

rape  0.3 % (0.1-0.6 %) 
incest  0.03 % (0.01-0.1 %) 
physical life of mother  0.1 % (0.01-0.2 %) 
physical health of mother  0.8 % (0.1-3 %) 
fetal health  0.5 % (0.1-1.0 %) 
mental health of mother  ?? (0.1-8 %) 
elective   –too young/immature/not ready for responsibility   –economic   –to avoid adjusting life   –mother single or in poor relationship   –enough children already   –sex selection   –selective reduction  98.3% (87-99 %)   –? (32 %)   –30% (25-40 %)   –? (16 %)   –? (12-13 %)   –? (4-8 %)   –0.1% (<0.1-? %)   –0.1% (<0.1-0.4 %) 

  Note that quantifying cases involving the “mental health” of the mother is difficult due to the highly subjective use of this term (as demonstrated by the wide range in percentage of abortions reported for this reason). It is likely that the number of cases involving clinical mental illness falls towards the low end of the range given above.  These official state statistics suggest that the commonly cited AGI figures for the “hard cases” are high, perhaps by factors of three to five. In any case, it is clear that the hard cases–rape, incest, life/health of mother or baby–are a very small fraction of cases. They are arguably a poor premise for formulating general public policy regarding abortion. At the other extreme, AGI’s surveys of 1987 and 2004 (as well as the detailed statistics from Minnesota) suggest that a significant fraction of abortions are obtained by mothers who have the means to care for a child but do not want their lives inconvenienced. Even sex selective abortions may be more common than those for some of the hard cases.      The state of Florida records a reason for every abortion that occurs within its borders each year. In 2015, there were 71,740 abortions in Florida. This table lists each reason and the percentage of abortions that occurred because of it. 

Percentage  Reason 
.001%  The pregnancy resulted from an incestuous relationship 
.065%  The woman’s life was endangered by the pregnancy 
.085%  The woman was raped 
.288%  The woman’s physical health was threatened by the pregnancy 
.294%  The woman’s psychological health was threatened by the pregnancy 
.666%  There was a serious fetal abnormality 
6.268%  The woman aborted for social or economic reasons 
92.330%  No reason (elective) 

  Percentage of 2014 Reported Abortions by Weeks of Gestation* (CDC): 

?6 wks  7 wks  8 wks  9 wks  10 wks  11 wks  12 wks  13 wks  14-15 wks  16-17 wks  18-20 wks  ?21 wks 
37.2%  16.9%  12.8%  8.3%  5.5%  4.5%  3.5%  2.7%  3.3%  2.0%  1.9%  1.3% 

*Gestational weeks are measured from the first day of the woman’s last menstruation and not from the day of conception. Though it does not provide an accurate fetal age (which is roughly 2 weeks less than the gestational age), it is the simplest way for an OB/GYN to age a pregnancy since the day of conception is often not known. Hence, if an abortion occurs at 8 weeks gestation, it is actually aborting a 6 week embryo.     Types of abortions    Dilation and curettage DNC  The technique used most often to end early pregnancies between 7 and 12 weeks is called D&C or dilation and curettage in this procedure, usually before the 12th or 13th week of pregnancy, the uterus is approached through the vagina. The cervix is stretched to commit the insertion of a curette a tiny hole like instrument. The surgeon men’s grapes the wall of the uterus, cutting a baby’s body to pieces and scraping the placenta from its attachment on the uterine wall. Bleeding is considerable.  in order to ensure that the woman bleed after the abortion procedure or get an infection, the operating nurse reassembles The Unborn parts to make sure the woman’s uterus has been emptied.     suction abortion new line principal is the same as the DNC. Powerful suction tube is inserted through the dilated cervix into the uterus. This tear the part the body of the developing baby and the placenta, sucking the pieces into a jar. The smaller parts of the body are recognizable as arms legs head and so on.     Saline Abortion “Salting Out”    A method usually carried out after 16 weeks of pregnancy, when enough amniotic fluid has accumulated in the sac around the baby. A long needle is inserted through the mother’s abdomen directly into the sack, and a solution of concentrated salt is injected into the amniotic fluid. The salt solution is absorbable through the lungs and gastrointestinal tract, producing changes in the osmotic pressure. The outer layer of skin is burned off by the high concentration of salt. It takes about an hour to kill the baby by the slow method. The mother usually goes into labor about a day later and delivers a dead, shriveled baby.     Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)    Used between 12 and 24 weeks. Hear the child is cut to Pieces by a sharp knife or a pliers like instrument, as in DNC, only is much larger and far more developed a child weighing as much as a pound in measuring as much as a foot in length.     Prostaglandin  Prostaglandin abortions involve the use of chemicals (hormonelike compounds)  Injected or otherwise apply to the uterus, causing it to contract intensely, thereby pushing out the developing baby. Babies have been decapitated during these abnormal contractions. Many have been born alive.      Chart from Beckwith’s Politically Correct Death pg.50 

Number of Weeks  Status of Development  Type of Abortion 
2.5  Blood cells, heart     
3  Foundation for child’s brain, spinal cord, and entire nervous system. Eyes begin to form.     
3.5   Heart starts first pulsations.     
4.5  The three parts of the brain are present Eyes, Ears, nasal organs, digestive tract, and gallbladder are forming.     
5.5  Heartbeat essentially like that of an adult. A one in miniature doll,gracefully formed and arms and legs, an unmistakably human face.     
6  Brain waves noted.  Suction  D&C 
7  A well-proportioned small-scale baby. Brain configuration like adult brain sends impulses that coordinate functions of other organs. Nervous system well-developed. The heartbeats sturdily. Familiar external features and all internal organs of the adult. If the area of the lips is stroked, he responds by bending his upper body to one side and makes a quick backward motion with his hand.     
8.5  Eyelids and palms of hand sensitive to touch. If eyelid is stroke, child squirms. If Palm is stroked, fingers clothes into a small fist.     
9  All structures completed; only development and growth from now on. Entire body sensitive to touch, except sides, back, and top of head. Child moves spontaneously without being touched.     
10  Threefold increase in nerve muscle connections. If forehead is touched, he can turn his head away. Arm movements, bending elbow and wrist independently.     
11  Facial expression similar to his parents. Fingernails up here. Eyelids close over eyes.     
12  Baby can move his thumb in opposition to his fingers. He swallows regularly. He moves gracefully. All this before the mother feels any movement.     
13  He can kick his legs, turn his feet, curl his toes,make a fist, suck his thumb, then his wrist, turn his head, Brown, open his mouth, press his lips tightly together. He drinks amniotic fluid.  D&E       Saline    Prostaglandin 
16  Weight increases 6 times since week 12. He is 8 to 10 in tall.     
22  He is now about 1 foot tall, weighs 1 pound. Fine baby hair begins to grow in his eyebrows and his head. He sleeps and wakes just as he will after birth.     
24- 38  End of time in womb; some babies are born before 38 weeks     

  These developmental facts make it very clear that after the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, and quite possibly as early as the 8th week, the unborn experiences agonizing pain. In my opinion this is not all that makes it wrong, however, it certainly is horrifying coupled with the fact that 62.8% of abortions in 2014 (409,858 babies) died agonizing, painful deaths.      OBJECTIONS    IN BOOK:     Compulsory Pregnancy  Absoluting the unborn RTL over moms?  Just a Blue Print  Privacy moms cant smoke too?  Twin/Remobination  Decisive moment Viabilty  Decisive moment Brain Function  Exception for moms life threat    Objections Prudential  Objection 1: There seems to be a “reasonable chance” that many of the lower animals (fish, deer, cows, etc.) experience consciousness. The Prudential Argument would mean it would be wrong to kill them. But clearly it is not wrong to kill fish, for example.  Response: Putting aside the fact that my vegan Brother would welcome the conclusion that killing animals is wrong, let me make clear I’m not using “reasonable chance” as synonymous with “possible chance.” A reasonable chance is one that is not only possible, but moderately probable. Is it moderately probable that, despite all appearances, goldfish can experience the same level of consciousness as humans? Is it reasonable that goldfish are proud of their achievements, have aesthetic enjoyments, love their families, and have intellectual pursuits? While all of that is certainly possible, it’s far from reasonable.  For more on the conscious experience of animals, check this out.  Objection 2: If you drive pretty regularly, there’s a non-negligible chance that you’ll kill someone at some point in your life, but this doesn’t make driving wrong. So if there’s a fairly low chance that the fetus has a right to life, the argument doesn’t work.  Response: According to this blog post, the chances of dying in a car crash in Montana are 1/4,433. That’s the highest figure, by the way. In Washington DC, that probability is 1/32,322. But imagine that probability were, say, 1/100. That would mean you’d be likely to kill 3 people a year. Clearly, if the probability were that high, then it would be immoral to drive. The same principle applies in the case of abortion. So the question is, how probable is it that the unborn have a right to life? Keep in mind that if I’m right, this probability must be based on very strong propositional evidence. I’m inclined to think that most abortionists don’t have very good reasons or evidence in support of their views. In such cases, the argument succeeds. [3]    Burning research lab    Suppose a research lab is on fire and I must choose to save a newborn or a vile of frozen embryos. If I choose to save the newborn, does this prove the embryos left behind are not human? Clearly it does not. If a building is on fire and I save my own daughter and leave everyone else behind, does it follow they are not human? Moreover, the debate is not about who we’re going to save, but who we are going to deliberately kill. Saving my own kid first is permissible. Shooting those left behind is not, even if it increases my chances of getting out. At the same time, the only reason the burning lab example poses a dilemma is because it assumes both the embryo and newborn have value. Otherwise, there would be no debate about which to save.          Just a clump of cells??  Science distinguishes between cell types…    Dr. Maureen Condic, a Professor of Neurobiology and Pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine and Director of Human Embryology instruction for the Medical School of Human Neuroanatomy answers this question for us, “ One of the basic insights of modern biology is that life is continuous, with living cells giving rise to new types of cells and to new individuals.  Therefore, in considering the question of when a new human life begins, we must first address the more fundamental question of when a new cell, distinct from sperm and egg, comes into existence. XXXXX    The scientific basis for distinguishing one cell type from another rests on two criteria:  differences in what something is made of (its molecular composition) and differences in how the cell behaves.  These two criteria are universally agreed upon and employed throughout the scientific enterprise.  They are not “religious” beliefs or matters of personal opinion.  They are objective, verifiable scientific criteria that determine precisely when a new cell type is formed.     The first criterion is that  its molecular make-up is clearly different from that of the cells that gave rise to it.    The joining (or fusion) of sperm and egg clearly produces a new cell type, the zygote or one-cell embryo.  Cell fusion is a well studied and very rapid event, occurring in less than a second.  Because the zygote arises from the fusion of two different cells, it contains all the components of both sperm and egg, and therefore this new cell has a unique molecular composition that is distinct from either gamete.  Thus the zygote that comes into existence at the moment of sperm-egg fusion meets the first scientific criterion for being a new cell type:  its molecular make-up is clearly different from that of the cells that gave rise to it.     The second criterion to be a new cell type is that it exhibits a new pattern of behavior. After sperm-egg fusion, events rapidly occur in the zygote that do not normally occur in either sperm or egg. Within minutes, the zygote initiates a change in its internal state that will, over the next 30 minutes, block additional sperm from binding to the cell surface.  Thus, the zygote acts immediately to oppose the function of the gametes from which it is derived; while the “goal” of both sperm and egg is to find each other and to fuse, the first act of the zygote is to prevent any further binding of sperm to the cell surface.  Clearly, the zygote has entered into a new pattern of behavior, and therefore meets the second scientific criterion for being a new cell type.     Now we must examine the scientific nature of our new cell type. Is the zygote merely another human cell (like a liver cell or a skin cell) or is it something else?  Just as science distinguishes between different types of cells, it also makes clear distinctions between cells and organisms. Both cells and organisms are alive, yet organisms exhibit unique characteristics that can reliably distinguish them from mere cells.[2]     An organism is defined by Merriam-Webster as “(1) a complex structure of interdependent and subordinate elements whose relations and properties are largely determined by their function in the whole and (2) an individual constituted to carry on the activities of life by means of organs separate in function but mutually dependent: a living being.” ?This definition stresses the interaction of parts in the context of a coordinated whole as the distinguishing feature of an organism.  Organisms are “living beings.”  Therefore, another name for a human organism is a “human being”; an entity that is a complete human, rather than a part of a human.     Human beings can be distinguished from human cells using the same kind of criteria scientists use to distinguish different cell types.  A human being (i.e., a human organism) is composed of human parts (cells, proteins, RNA, DNA), yet it is different from a mere collection of cells because it has the characteristic molecular composition and behavior of an organism -namely- it acts in an interdependent and coordinated manner to “carry on the activities of life.    Human embryos from the one-cell stage forward show uniquely integrated, organismal behavior that is unlike the behavior of mere human cells.  The zygote produces increasingly complex tissues, structures and organs that work together in a coordinated way.  Importantly, the cells, tissues and organs produced during development do not somehow “generate” the embryo (as if there were some unseen, mysterious “manufacturer” directing this process), they are produced by the embryo as it directs its own development to more mature stages of human life.  This organized, coordinated behavior of the embryo is the defining characteristic of a human organism.    The conclusion that human life begins at sperm-egg fusion is objective and based on the universally accepted scientific method of distinguishing different cell types from each other and on ample scientific evidence (thousands of independent, peer-reviewed publications). Moreover, it is entirely independent of any specific ethical, moral, political, or religious view of human life or of human embryos. A neutral examination of the evidence merely establishes the onset of a new human life at a scientifically well-defined “moment of conception,” a conclusion that unequivocally indicates that human embryos from the one-cell stage forward are indeed living individuals of the human species; i.e., human beings.    [1] Condic, M.L. (2008).  “When does human life begin?  A scientific perspective.” Westchester Institute White Paper.  1(1): 1-18.  Westchester Institute for Ethics & the Human Person  [2] Condic, M.L. (2014).  Totipotency; What it is and what it is not.  Stem Cells and Development, 23(8): 796-812       Perhaps theany lingering hesitation could be due to a logical accident. Thinking that embryos are constructed.  Gradualists tell us that embryos are no more human beings in the early stages of their construction than metal plates are cars in the early stages of assembly. But as Richard Stith points out, embryos are not constructed piece by piece from the outside. Rather, they do something that no constructed thing like a car has ever done; they develop themselves from within. That is, they direct their own internal growth and maturation, and this entails continuity of being.  Unlike cars, developing embryos have no outside builder. They’re all there just as soon as growth begins. They define and form themselves. The difference between making and developing is not just an accident of language. Suppose we’re back in the pre-digital days and you’ve just taken a fabulous photo, one you know you will prize, with your Polaroid camera. (Say it’s a picture of a jaguar that has now darted back into the jungle, so that the photo is unrepeatable.) You are just starting to let the photo hang out to develop when I grab it and rip its cover off, thus destroying it. What would you think if I responded to your dismay with the assertion: “Hey man, it was still in the brown-smudge stage. Why should you care about brown smudges?” You would find my defense utterly absurd. Just so for pro-lifers, who find dignity in every human individual: To say that killing such a prized being doesn’t count if he or she is still developing in the womb strikes them as outrageously absurd.  By contrast, if I had simply destroyed a blank, unexposed piece of your film, you would have been much less upset. You really would have lost little more than a smudge. Passive potential does not count for much. Only inherent capacity (essence, identity) which already contains its own form. IT ALREADY IS WHAT IT’S IN THE PROCESS OF MANIFESTING.  I conclude that pro-choicers think these claims about embryos are not only wrong but also absurd whenever they think (even unconsciously) that embryos are under construction in the womb. And pro-lifers find pro-choice denials of prized human dignity in embryos to be equally absurd whenever they think that the unborn child develops (indeed, develops itself, unlike the Polaroid photo) from the moment of fertilization.The two sides are not quite parallel in this, however: Human beings do develop. To think they are constructed is flatly erroneous.   So human beings are substances that have a specific essence/nature that exists through time and change. And to say an embryo is just a clump of cells doesn’t really tell the whole story.  They are members of our human community and to kill them is homicide.      The federal government should stay out of the abortion issue…  I ask what they mean by that. Truth is, Roe and Doe did not get the federal government out of abortion. Instead, one branch of the federal government, the judiciary, co-opted the issue from the other two branches of government, leaving them no say on the issue. As Beckwith points out, the Court in Roe and Doe 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. 

 

Tiny Babies Are Like Acorns 

Objection: “This is wrong. The unborn—especially at their earliest stages—are potential humans, but they’re not yet humans. An acorn can one day grow into an oak tree, but that doesn’t mean you would call an acorn an oak tree, does it?”  Response: This objection reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of human biological development. There is no such thing as a “potential” human; there are human haploid gametes, male and female, and when they meet, they create an  actual living, distinct, whole human being.   After being created, a human being surely has a lot more growing to do, but the creation—the dividing line between nonexistence and actualized existence—has already happened. Full and complete humanity does not depend upon growth but rather origination—that is to say, fertilization.  The acorn-to-oak tree argument is a clever explanation of a flawed hypothesis. For the purposes of this analogy, the relevant feature of both acorns and oak trees is not their various stages of development but the fact that they both belong to the tree family Fagaceae.  No serious person would claim that an acorn, simply by dint of being smaller and less-developed than an oak tree, is somehow less a part of Fagaceae than a fully-grown oak is. They are both part of the same family no matter what stage of their development. Of course, we don’t give basic rights to members of Fagaceae, but if we did, we would be logically obliged to extend those rights to all members of Fagaceae, acorn and oak alike.  We do, however, recognize the rights of members of the species Homo sapiens, and thus we should extend those rights to all members of this species—born and unborn, big and small, strong and weak, vocal and silent. 

Human Beings Aren’t Necessarily Human Persons 

Objection: “Well, okay, maybe the unborn are human beings—but they’re not human persons yet, and therefore they don’t deserve the full benefit of the law.”  Response: This is a metaphysical argument that acknowledges the obvious biological justification of the pro-life movement but subverts it in favor of pro-choice philosophy. In the eyes of many pro-choicers, the unborn are not “persons” because they have not yet reached an arbitrary benchmark of personal performance: they do not have self-awareness, they cannot speak, they cannot do anything on their own, they have not yet developed certain organs or begun certain biological process.   Ultimately this is a distinction without a difference. For one, the pro-choice “personhood” criteria generally apply equally to newborns, who are helpless, not self-aware, incapable of speech, underdeveloped, and for all practical purposes functionally indistinguishable from most of the unborn. Yet, for obvious and self-evident reasons, you will be hard-pressed to find pro-choicers who believe it is justifiable to kill a newborn for any  of those same reasons. This is inconsistent as   More to the point, a civilized human society does not assign “personhood” on the basis of functionality and capability. A human being in a deep but temporary coma fits most of the criteria for non-personhood as does anyone under general anesthesia. Is it okay to kill him? What about those who are in a deep sleep? What about the severely retarded and disabled? A criteria-based philosophy of human personhood must inevitably be okay with executing all of these people on the basis of their non-personality.   The time/scott rae crime example?  Pro-lifers tend to believe otherwise: most of us assign personhood not on the basis of functionality or capability but rather innate capacity and intrinsic essence: we believe the unborn (possessing the full capacity of humanity) and the disabled (who are intrinsically ordered to that capacity, even if their specific individuality differs from it) are all persons, all worthy of life, and all worthy of protection under the law. 

 If abortion is restricted, women will again die by the thousands from dangerous back-alley abortions 

 

  1. This argumentbegs the question: it assumes the unborn are not human. Otherwise, this argument is tantamount to saying, “Because some people will die attempting to kill others, the state should make it safe and legal for them to do so.” As Professor Schwarz points out, this is not really an argument for abortion (i.e. it does nothing to show that abortion does not murder a child or that the choice being offered is morally justified), but is a kind of veiled threat: “Give us choice or else!” Its appeal is psychological, not moral.(The Moral Question of Abortion, Loyola University Press, 1990, p.141) 

 

  1. The claim that thousands of women died annually from illegal abortions prior toRoeis completely false and cannot be supported by any reliable statistical data: 
  • In 1972, the year prior to legalization, the Centers for Disease Control recorded 39 deaths from illegal abortion, not 5,000 to 10,000.
  • Dr. Christopher Tietze, a leading pro-abortion statistician for Planned Parenthood, The Centers for Disease Control, etc., calls the claim of 5,000-10,000 deaths a year prior to legalization “unmitigated nonsense.” Noting that 45,000 women of reproductive age die each year fromallcauses, Tietze states, “It is inconceivable that so large a number as 5,000-10,000 are from one source” (Harvard Divinity School, Kennedy Foundation International Conference on Abortion Washington D.C., 1967. See also Scientific America, Vo1.220 [1969] pp.21,23). 
  • Dr. Herbert Rather, a Public Health expert, noted in 1968 that 25,000 women die each year from cancer, lung and heart complications while 7,000 die from auto accidents. These figures do not even account for all the other possible causes of death. Rather toldChild and Familymagazine (Winter, 1968) that given these statistics, the claim of 5-10,000 deaths a year from illegal abortion was nearly impossible. 
  • Dr. Bernard Nathanson, co-founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League(NARAL):

“How many deaths were we talking about when abortion was illegal? In NARAL, we generally emphasized the drama of the individual case, not the mass statistics, but when we spoke of the latter, it was always ‘5000 to 10,000 deaths a year.’ I confess I knew the figure was totally false, and I suppose the others did too if they stopped to think of it. But in the morality of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted, so why go out of the way to correct it with honest statistics. The overriding concern was to get the laws eliminated, and anything within reason that had to be done was permissible” (Aborting America, Doubleday Pub. p.193) 

  1. As Stephan Schwarz points out inThe Moral Question of Abortion,the true response to back-alley abortions is to be outraged at all abortions, to condemn all abortions–not to propose one kind (legal) in place of another (illegal). 

  Women will still seek abortions, despite the law. Hence, it’s best to make sure they can do so safely and legally   

  1. This argument begs the question: it assumes the unborn are not human. Otherwise, the abortion advocate would be arguing, “Since some people will murder others anyway, despite the law, the state should make it safe and legal for them to do so.”
  2. It is trivial to claim that because the law cannot stop all abortions, prohibitions should not exist:
  • Laws against rape do not stop all rape, but no one is arguing that we should repeal these laws.
  • Laws against drunk driving do not stop all people from driving under the influence, but it’s hard to imagine someone arguing, “People are going to drive drunk despite the law, so let’s make it safe and legal for them to do so.”
  1. Just because something is legal does not make it moral/right. Slavery was legal, yet we all know how wrong that was.

 

Bodily Rights/ Autonomy 

    A woman has the right to control her own body 

  1. The unborn child is not part of a woman’s body, but a genetically distinct entity. It is attached to the mother, but is not a part of her.
  2. To say that the unborn child is part of its mother is to say that the mother possesses four legs, four arms, four eyes, two heads and, in the case of a male child, a penis and two testicles.
  3. Furthermore, we can take an Asian baby conceived in a test tube and transfer her to the body of amexicanwoman and the baby will still be born asian. Hence, we know conclusively that the unborn child is not part of its mother’s body. 
  4. There is no such thing as a full right to bodily autonomy – drug laws, prostitution laws, selling your organs, are just some of the examples of how absolute bodily autonomy does not exist. 

  The Mother-As-Host Argument 

  1. “Unplugging the Violinist”

  MIT Professor Judith Jarvis Thomson in a 1971 essay entitled “A Defense of Abortion.”  she bites the bullet: Jarvis willingly concedes the pro-life position that the unborn are indeed human from conception but argues that no woman should be forced to use her bodily organs to sustain the life of another against her will. Just as it would be unreasonable to demand the use of your neighbor’s kidney should yours fail, so to the unborn child, though fully human, does not have the right to use its mother’s body to support its own life in the event its mother wishes to withhold such support. 

  1. To illustrate her point, Thomson spins the following tale:

“You wake up in the morning and find yourself back to back in bed with an unconscious violinist, a famous unconscious violinist. He has been found to have a fatal kidney ailment, and the Society of Music Lovers has canvassed all available medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type to help. They have therefore kidnapped you, and last night the violinist’s circulatory system was plugged into yours, so that your kidneys can be used to extract poisons from his blood as well as your own. The director of the hospital now tells you, “Look, we’re sorry the Society of Music Lovers did this to you–we would never have permitted it if we had known. But still, they did it, and the violinist now is plugged into you. To unplug you would be to kill him. But never mind, it’s only for nine months. By then, he will have recovered from his ailment, and can safely be unplugged from you.” Is it morally incumbent on you to stay and provide support in this situation? No doubt it would be nice of you if you did, a great kindness. But do you have to? What if it were not nine months, but nine years? Or still longer? What if the director of the hospital says, “Tough luck, I agree, but you’ve now got to stay in bed, with the violinist plugged into you, for the rest of your life. Because, remember this. All persons have a right to life, and violinists are persons. Granted you have a right to decide what happens in and to your body, but a person’s right to life outweighs your right to decide what happens in and to your body. So you cannot ever be unplugged from him.” Just as one may withhold support and detach himself from the violinist (we are asked to assume), so too the mother may withhold support and detach herself from the child. Thompson says Abortion is such a detachment. 

  1. Why Thomson’s Argument Fails
  2. Thomson’s argument tries to justify abortion as merely the withholding of support. But it is also something else–the killing of a child through dismemberment, poison or crushing. Thomson may (we assume) withhold support from the violinist–she may not kill him. (i.e. it is one thing to withhold support; it is quite another to slit your victim’s throat.) “Assume that the woman has no duty to sustain the child,” writes Professor Schwarz. “This means only that she has the right to withhold her support from him. It does not give her the right to kill the child–which is what abortion is ….Thomson seizes on the withholding of support aspect of abortion, suppressing the deliberate killing aspect.” (The Moral Question of Abortion, p.116)

Consider the following example provided by Schwarz. I return home to find a stranger in my house who will die unless I take care of him. Assume that I have no duty to give my support. May I then throw him out even if it means tossing him off a high cliff or into a deep lake where he will drown? Of course not. That I throw him out in the name of withholding support does not mean that I don’t do something else–kill him. That the woman throws the child out in the name of withholding support does not mean that she does not also do something else–kill the child. As Beckwith points out, “Euphemistically calling abortion the ‘withholding of support’ makes about as much sense as calling suffocating someone with a pillow the withdrawing of oxygen.” (Beckwith, p.133)  To sum up, if the only way I can exercise my right to withhold support is to kill another person, I may not do it.  “My duty not to kill an innocent person takes precedence over the exercise of my right to withhold support.” (Schwarz, p.117) 

  1. Thomson’s parallel between the violinist and a pregnant woman compares two things that are not alike. We may not have the obligation to sustain strangers who are unnaturally plugged into us, but we do have a duty to sustain our own offspring. If Thomson’s argument works at all, it is only because it casts the unborn child as an intruder with no natural connection to its mother’s body. But this is exactly the opposite of the mother-child relationship where the child is naturally housed within its mother. Hence, “The very thing that makes it possible to say that the person in bed with the violinist has no duty to sustain him; namely, that he is a stranger unnaturally hooked up to him, is precisely what is absent in the case of the mother and her child.” That is to say, the mother “does have an obligation to take care of her child, to sustain her, to protect her, and especially to let her live in the only place where she now can be protected, nourished and allowed to grow, namely the womb.” (Schwarz, p.118)

Pro-abortion philosopher Mary Anne Warren poses one other objection to Thomson’s analogy: other than in the case of rape, a woman cannot claim that she is not responsible for the pregnancy. Hence, she is not like the woman who finds herself plugged into the violinist against her own will. 

  1. Thomson’s portrayal of pregnancy as a nine month prison bed casts a blatantly unfair prejudice against pregnancy. Pregnancy is not a disease, notes Dr. Nathanson, and “few pregnant women are bedridden and many, both emotionally and physically, have never felt better. For these, it is a stimulating experience, even for mothers who originally did not want to be pregnant.” (Aborting America, p.220)
  2. Even if the child were an intruder, this still would not justify abortion. Thomson argues that the unborn child is an intruder in the woman’s body, similar to a burglar in one’s home. Just as one has the right to remove the intruder, so too the woman has the right to remove the child. This argument fails.

First, the child is not an intruder. He is precisely where he naturally belongs at that point in his development. “That a woman looks upon her child as a burglar or an intruder is already an evil, even if she refrains from killing her,” writes Schwarz.  Second, even if the child were an intruder, that would only justify removing her from the woman, not killing her. As Schwarz mentioned earlier, I cannot throw an intruder out if that also means killing him by throwing him off a cliff or drowning him in a lake. And that is, of course, what abortion is: killing the child. Abortion is wrong because it is much more than the mere removal of a person. It means cutting a child into pieces, burning its skin, etc. Since Thomson assumes that the unborn are human, we can ask who would ever consider doing such things to a born person who was deemed to be an intruder?  Some liberals argue that the unborn child is a “parasite” living off its mother’s body. But assertions of this sort betray a total ignorance of the mother-child relationship. As anyone who has ever taken a seventh grade biology class knows, a parasite is always of a different species than its host. This is clearly not the case with the unborn child who was conceived with its mother’s own flesh and blood. A parasite is an alien being who should not be present. The child, in sharp contrast, is where it naturally belongs at that stage in its development.    If the unborn are human, as Thomson concedes, why should the mother’s duty to care for the child be any different before birth than it is after? 

  1. Review of why Thomson’s argument fails
  2. Abortion is not merely the withholding of support, but the direct killing of a child. If the only way I can withhold support is to kill another person, I may not do it.
  3. We may (we assume) not have the obligation to sustain strangers who are unnaturally hooked up to us, but we clearly do have a duty to sustain our own offspring.
  4. Even if the child were an intruder, that would justify only her removal from the woman’s body, not killing her. If the only way I can remove an intruder from my home is to kill him by throwing him off a cliff, I may not do it.
  5. It is unfair for Thomson to portray pregnancy as a nine month prison bed. Many women enjoy the experience.
  6. We clearly do have certain moral obligations to others even if we do not voluntarily assume them. Since Thomson assumes that the unborn child is human, why should the parent’s duty to care for the child differ before birth?

  There is no such thing as an “unwanted” child: 

  • The National Committee for Adoption estimates that there are currently two million American families who want to adopt a child but who can’t because of bureaucratic obstacles. (Press release, 12/5/90)
  • The pro-abortion claim that only healthy white babies are wanted for adoption is blatantly false. After the Fund for a Feminist Majority made this assertion in the filmAbortion Denied,the National Committee for Adoption countered with a press release to set the record straight: 

“The myth that no families want to adopt minority infants is often repeated …Infants who are legally free for adoption, regardless of race, do not wait for homes. In fact, there is a waiting list of screened families who want to adopt seriously disabled newborns, including babies born with Downs Syndrome and spina bifida.” (“Adoption Group Sets Record Straight on Abortion Film,” Dec.5, 1990)  The press release went on to note that of the 60,000 children adopted annually, at least one third are “nonwhite or hard to place children with significant health problems, including babies born testing positive for the AIDS virus and drug-exposed infants.” 

  • The Los Angeles Daily News (July 19,1992) reports that African American adoptions rose 91 % in Los Angeles County between 1989 and 1991. This compared to increases of 57% for white children and 39% for Latinos. Statewide, black adoptions were up 39% between 1989-91, far outdistancing white adoptions. The article went on to point out that many prospective parents want to adopt minority infants, but are thwarted by bureaucratic obstacles. (A-p.8)

   

 

The If a pregnant woman cannot have an abortion are you going to take care of the child after it’s born?   Francis Beckwith addresses this nicely in his book Politically Correct Death. He says, “This bit of rhetoric can be distilled into the following assertion: unless the pro-lifer is willing to help bring up the children he does not want aborted, he has no right to prevent a woman from having an abortion. As a principle of moral action, this seems a rather bizarre assertion.  Think of all the unusual precepts that would result:  unless I am willing to marry my neighbor’s wife, I cannot prevent her husband from beating her; unless I’m willing to adopt my neighbor’s daughter, I cannot prevent her mother from abusing her. One can eliminate the problem of poverty by executing all poor people, but this does not really solve the problem. this solution would undermine the very moral sentiments that ground our compassion for poor people- namely, that they are humans of great worth and should be treated with dignity regardless of their predicament. Similarly one can eliminate the problem of having a headache by cutting off one’s head just as a society can eliminate a lifetime of wife-beating by legalizing newlywed wife killing, but these are certainly not real solutions.      By illegitimately Shifting the discussion from the morality of abortion to whether one has a solution to certain social problems, the Prochoicer avoids the point under question. Although a clever move, it has nothing to do with whether or not abortion results in the death of human beings who have a full right to life or whether or not abortion is immoral. There is a fundamental difference between eliminating a problem and finding a solution. Whether someone has found an adequate social policy to deal with the “unwanted” babies if abortion were banned or not , does not justify homicide. 

 

Moral Relativism (self refuting) 

There are several problems with this argument:   First, the fact that people disagree about something does not mean that there is no Truth. For example if you and I disagree on whether or not the Earth is round, this is certainly not proof that the Earth has no shape. In moral discussion the fact that a skinhead and I may disagree as to whether we should treat people equally And with fairness is certainly not sufficient evidence to say that equality and fairness have no objective value. Even if individuals and cultures hold no values in common, it does not follow from this that nobody is right or wrong about the current values. That is to say, there could be a mistaken individual or culture, such as Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.   Another problem with this argument is that though cultures and individual different world practices it does not follow that they do not share common values. For example, the fact that female Islanders who live in the South Seas bear their breasts and British women do not does not mean that The people of the South Seas do not value modesty. Due to the climate, environmental conditions, and certain religious beliefs, the people of the South Seas have developed certain practices that manifest of transcultural value of modesty. Although cultures May differ as to how they manifest such values as honesty, courage, or preservation of life, none promote dishonesty, how it is, or arbitrary killing.   Second, Sometimes apparent moral differences are not moral differences at all but factual differences. For example,  During the Salem Witch Trials, certain individuals were put to death who were believed to be practicing witchcraft. We don’t execute witches today, but not because our morals changed. We don’t execute witches today because we don’t believe that the practice of their craft has a fatal affected from the community -contrary to what the residents of Massachusetts believed in the 17th century.  But suppose that we had good evidence that the practice of Witchcraft does affect other people in the same way as cigarette smoke. We would alter the practice of our values to take that into consideration. We may set up non-witch sections in restaurants and ban the casting of spells on International airplane flights. The upshot of all this is that the good of the community is a value we share with the 17th century residents of Salem, but we simply believe that they were factually wrong about the effect of witches up on that good.   Consider a second example. Many people who live in India do not eat cows, because they believe in the doctrine of reincarnation- that these cows possess the souls of deceased human beings. In the United States we do not generally believe in that. For this reason, we eat cows, but we do not eat Grandma! It appears on the surface, that there’s a fundamental value difference between Indians and Americans, but this is a hasty conclusion. Both cultures do believe that it is wrong to eat Grandma; the Indians, however, believe that the cow may be Grandma. Thus it is a factual, not a value, difference that divides our culinary habits.     

Eskimos 

James Rachel’s speaks to how this apparent example of moral relativism is really just a difference in facts. The practice of infant side of primarily female babies was common among Eskimos… An Eskimo  family will always protect its babies in conditions permit. But they live in a harsh environment, where food is often in short supply… infant girls are readily disposed though because first, in the society the males are the primary food providers- they are the hunters, according to the traditional division of labor- and it is obviously important to maintain a sufficient number of Good gatherers. but there’s important second reason as well. Because the hunters suffer a high casualty rate, the adult men who died prematurely far outnumber the adult women who died early. Thus if male and female infant survive in equal numbers the female adult population would greatly outnumber the male adult population. Examining the available statistics, one writer concluded that but not for female infant side there would be approximately one and a half times as many females in the average Eskimo local group as there are food-producing male. So among the Eskimos, infanticide does not signal a fundamentally different attitude toward children. Instead it is a recognition that drastic measures are sometimes needed to ensure the family’s survival. Even then, however, killing the baby is not the first option considered. Adoption is common; childless couples are especially happy to take a more fertile couples Surplus. Killing is only The Last Resort. I emphasize this in order to show that the raw data of the Anthropologist can be misleading it can make the differences in values between cultures appear greater than they are. The eskimos values are not all that different from our values. It is only that life forces upon them choices that we do not have to make.         Women should not have to bear children they cannot afford to feed 

  1. This argument only works if you begin with the assumption that the unborn are not human. Otherwise, this would be a good argument for killing off any family member who happens to strain the family budget.
  2. While we can certainly sympathize with a mother of four small children who is pregnant and impoverished, it does not follow that abortion is morally justified. We must first ask, “Are the unborn human?” for if they are, we must weigh the mother’s right to be relieved of economic stress against theunborn’sright to life. When that is done, we find that hardship does not justify homicide–ever. 

  Abortion is justified in cases of rape  Should the child be forced to forfeit her life so that her mother can feel better? (Would we expect the mother to forfeit her life to benefit the child?) This is not a lack of compassion for the mother, it is the refusal to kill an innocent human being even if it helps someone else feel better.  Suppose you were a soldier captured by a cruel enemy who demanded that you help torture your fellow soldiers or be tortured yourself. Is it right to accept the offer so as to avoid your own suffering? Or, is it better to suffer evil rather than inflict it? 

  1. This argument does not justify the pro-choice position of abortion-on-demand. Remember, prochoicersdon’t say abortion should only be legal in cases of rape, they are saying that any woman should be able to kill her unborn child at any point in the pregnancy for any reason or no reason. If this argument is successful at all, it only established a right to abort in cases of rape, not for any reason the woman sees fit. 
  2. The argument begs the question: it assumes the unborn are not human. For if the unborn are indeed human, then we must weigh the woman’s right to be relieved of mental suffering against theunborn’sright to live. The verdict, at least philosophically, is simple: hardship does not justify homicide, even if it relieves one of a terrible burden. 

 

  1. Abortion is justified in cases of fetal deformity
  2. In our quest for the perfect baby, we inadvertently kill 14,000 healthy babies a year with the use of amniocentesis. (See, Los Angeles Daily News, 4/26/94)
  3. The argument does not support the pro-choice position of abortion-on-demand. If successful at all, it only establishes a right to abort in cases of fetal deformity, not for any reason the woman sees fit.
  4. The argument begs the question: it assumes the unborn are not human. Otherwise, the abortion advocate has just sanctioned killing off all toddlers who are handicapped.
  5. While we can certainly sympathize with those parents struggling to raise a handicapped child, it does not follow that abortion is justified. We must first ask if the unborn are human–for if they are, it is not true that hardship justifies homicide.

      Objection to Condic cells organisms tumors?:  In contrast to human embryos, human cells are alive and, under some circumstances, they can assemble into primitive tissues and structures.  Yet under no circumstances do mere human cells produce the kind of coordinated interactions necessary for building a fully integrated human body.  They do not produce tissues in a coherent manner and do not organize them so as to sustain the life of the entity as a whole.  They produce tumors; i.e., parts of the human body in a chaotic, disorganized manner.  They behave like cells, not like organisms.      The brain of an unborn child resembles that of a fish and is incapable of full consciousness 

  1. There are a number of problems with this argument, not the least of which is the mistaken assumption that one must look human in order to be human. To cite an example, mannequins look human but are not remotely so, while the bearded lady and the elephant man don’t look at all human but are. It should also be remembered that there was a time not long ago when many people thought that blacks didn’t look human either. (See “Man in the Zoo,” American Heritage, 10/92.)
  2. The argument that brain development determines personhood is exactly the same argument that Darwin and his followers used a century ago to dehumanize women and African Americans. These men contended that women were biologically and intellectually inferior because their brain capacity was less developed than that of a man:
  • Charles Darwin (The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex ):

“[Man] attains a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can women–whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands. If two lists were made of the most eminent men and women in poetry, painting, sculpture, music (inclusive of both composition and performance), history, science, and philosophy, the two lists would not bear comparison. We may also infer, from the law of the deviation from averages, so well illustrated by Mr. Garlton, in his work on “Hereditary Genius” that-the average mental power in man must be above that of women.” (D. Appleton & Co.,1896, p.564) 

  • Gustave Le Bon (Darwin disciple and father of social psychology):

“[Even in] the most intelligent races [there] are large numbers of women whose brains are closer in size to those of gorillas than to the most developed male brains. This inferiority is so obvious that no one can contest it for a moment; only its degree is worth discussion ….Women represent the most inferior forms of human evolution and…are closer to children and savages than to an adult, civilized man. They excel in fickleness, inconsistency, absence of thought and logic, and incapacity to reason. Without a doubt, there exists some distinguished women, very superior to the average man, but they are as exceptional as the birth of any monstrosity, as, for example, of a gorilla with two heads; consequently, we may neglect them entirely.” (Cited in Stephen Gold, The Mismeasure of Man, Norton & Co., 1981, pp.104-5)   

  1. This argument not only dehumanizes unborn babies, but many people walking around outside of the womb. If a conscious sense of self is what indeed makes one human, then the reversibly comatose, the momentarily unconscious and the sleeping would all have to be classed as non-human.
  2. The rights of individuals in our society are not based on their current (actual) capacities, but on their inherent capacities. To borrow an example provided by Beckwith, no one doubts that newborn humans have fewer actual capacities than do day-old calves. Baby humans are rather unimpressive in terms of environmental awareness, mobility, etc. Yet this does not lead us to believe that the cow belongs in the nursery while the infant can be left in the barn. To the contrary, we rightly recognize that although the infant currently lacks certain capabilities, it, unlike the cow, has the inherent capacity to function as adult persons do. Yet if individual rights are rooted solely in one’s current capacities, the cow should enjoy a higher moral status than do newborns.
  3. From the moment of conception, the unborn child has the inherent capacity to have a functioning brain. Hence, there is no ethical difference between it and the reversibly comatose, the momentarily unconscious, etc. who enjoy the protection of law despite their current inability to “think” as self-conscious adults.
  4. That the early zygote is absolutely unconscious only means that he is unable to function as a person, not that he lacks the being of a person. And it is being a person that matters. People under anesthesia cannot feel pain, think or communicate, but this simply means they cannot function as human persons, not that they cease to be persons.

  The question of when life begins is a philosophical one that cannot be proven scientifically 

  1. This cuts both ways. Isn’t the belief that a woman has an intrinsic, fundamental right to an abortion also a philosophical belief that cannot be proven scientifically and over which many people disagree?
  2. If no one knows when life begins, then this is an excellent argument for infanticide as well as abortion. For who is to say that life begins at birth? Or, to cite another example provided by Francis Beckwith, how can we stop a Satan worshipping neighbor who believes that life begins at age two from sacrificing his toddler to the unholy one? After all, no one knows when life begins.
  3. The argument is self-refuting and question-begging. To say that no one knows when life begins, and that abortion should remain legal through all nine months of pregnancy, assumes that life does not begin before birth. Hence, abortion advocates really do claim to know when life begins.
  4. Finally, if “no one knows when life begins,” killing the unborn should not be tolerated since it may be the taking of a human life. What would we think of the structural engineer who chose to blow up an old building without first checking to see if anyone was inside? Yet that is exactly what abortion advocates are doing. They are saying, “We don’t know if the unborn are human, but we are going to kill them anyway.”

      Abortion reduces child abuse by eliminating unwanted pregnancies 

  1. Liberals are the only ones with the gall to suggest that the way to end child abuse is to execute its potential victims!
  2. Obviously, this argument only works if you begin with the assumption the unborn are not human. For since when, on other occasions, have we ever thought that people forfeit their right to live if they are “unwanted” by others? It might be argued that the homeless are largely unwanted by society, but that hardly justifies killing them. Instead, we rightly recognize that the inherent worth of a person has little to do with him or her being “wanted.” Hence, only by assuming that the unborn are not human can a pro-abort justify their destruction on such grounds.
  3. Although it has no bearing on the morality of abortion (i.e. abortion is wrong even if the unborn are unwanted), there is no evidence whatsoever that unwanted babies in thewomb become unwanted and abused children outside of it:
  • According to a major study by Dr. EdwardLenoski, professor of pediatrics at USC, 91 % of abused children are very much wanted before birth. The mothers in the study had purchased maternity clothing two months ahead of most expectant mothers. Many of the abused children were named after one of the parents. 90% of these youngsters were also born within wedlock, indicating they were planned andwanted. (E.F. Lenoski, “Translating the Injury Data Into Preventive Health Care Services,” USC Medical School, unpublished 1976) 
  • Dr. Vincent Fontana, author of the landmark studyThe Maltreated Child(1976), has investigated thousands of abuse cases nationwide. He personally directed the establishment of the first (and largest) medical facility devoted exclusively to the treatment of abused and battered children. In his book, Somewhere A Child Is Crying, Dr. Fontana takes aim at the pro-abortion lie that killing babies solves child abuse: 

“It is unfair, uninformed, and, I believe dangerous to preach the doctrine that abused and neglected children are unwanted and to imply that unplanned children are going to be maltreated. The assumption that every battered child is an unwanted is totally false. Many maltreated children are children who were very much wanted before birth In search of a quick and easy solution to the ugly reality of child abuse, a great many people have come up with glib answers based on the pill and other birth control devices, planned parenthood, vasectomies, and abortions for the asking. Abortion is the favorite theme of the moment. At might be a wonderfully neat solution, if it were only not quite so sweeping and simplistic, or if it were only valid.” (Macmillan, 1973, pp.239-40) 

  1. Researchers like Dr. Fontana point out that child abuse stems from a number of factors, none of which have anything to do with wanting or not wanting a child. Those factors most often cited include:
  • Parents who were abused themselves as children
  • Parents caught in the grip of uncontrollable anger
  • Parents who view children as parental property
  • The dangerous assumption that children have no rights
  • Hurt, lonely and guilt-ridden parents who want to do the right thing but who erupt with pent-up frustration when they fail. (Fontana, pp.75, 227, 233, 239-41)
  1. It is simply untrue that Americans do not have the resources to care for unborn babies. Consider the spending habits of U.S. consumers, which suggest that we can take care of people without killing one another:

Peanuts$1 billion yr. (National Peanut Council)  Popcorn$1.2 billion yr. (Nielsen Marketing Research)  Chewing gum$2.3 billion yr. (National Assoc. of Chewing Gum Manufacturers)  Cookies $3.4 billion yr. (Nielsen Marketing Research)  Potato chips $4.6 billion yr. (Nielsen Marketing Research)  Movie box office receipts $4.8 billion yr. (Academy of Motion Pictures)  Candy $6 billion yr. (Nielsen Marketing Research)  Ice cream $10 billion yr. (Int. Ice Cream Association)  Soft drinks $30 billion yr. (EPM Communications)  Restaurant dining $173.8 billion yr. (National Restaurant Association)  Beer $50 billion yr. (Beer Institute)  Legal gambling $300 billion yr. (Discovery Channel, Cronkite Report)  Pet grooming $175.3 million yr. (Pet Industry Joint Council)  Cat furniture $23.5 million yr. (Pet Industry Joint Council)  Heaters (terrariums) $37.7 million yr. (Pet Industry Joint Council)  Dog snacks $39.3 million yr. (Pet Industry Joint Council)  Licensed sporting goods $2.2 billion yr. (The Licensing Letter, 1993)  Guns and ammunition $10 billion yr. (National Rifle Association)  Non-beer alcoholic beverages $39 billion yr. (Beer Institute)  Cosmetic products $27 billion yr. (Drug & Cosmetic Magazine)  Lawn & Garden Products $6.1 billion yr. (Better Lawn & Garden Products)       Abortion extracts an unthinking/unfeeling tissue mass 

  1. The statement is blatantly untrue:
  • The Journal of Medical Ethics reports on a study from the University of Edinburgh where 10 week developing baby girls will be killed in utero so that the eggs within their ovaries can be implanted into the bodies of women unable to conceive. These are the same baby girls we are being told are nothing more than undifferentiated tissue and now we discover that by 10 weeks gestation, these baby girls are so fully formed that their ovaries will have produced every egg they will ever produce as adult women. (And those eggs are sufficiently mature to be capable of fertilization.)

We are forcing motherhood on baby girls whose personhood we are denying. We are saying these baby girls are not people, but we are forcing them to become mothers. 

  • The Los Angeles Times quotes the American Academy of Pediatrics as saying it is unethical to expose a preterm baby to any painful procedure without the benefit of anesthesia. 15,000 times a year, we are killing babies of the same age (in utero) with no anesthesia.
  • Discover (2/91) reports on doctors at the University of California (San Francisco) conducting fetal surgery to repair herniated diaphragms on babies 22 to 24 weeks gestation. Both mother and baby are given the benefit of anesthesia prior to the procedure. (The article states, “A precise dose of anesthetic had put both the mother and the fetus to sleep.”)
  • Abortion Practice (p.303): Dr. Hern discourages the use of general anesthesia during the abortion procedure due to its well known risks and hazards. Hence, there is not even secondary anesthesia reaching the baby.
  • Lancet (July 9,1994): Unborn babies (19-34 weeks) undergoing fetal blood transfusions are shown to have the same hormonal responses to pain as do older children and adults. The researchers noted that even without testing the hormonal response, unborn babies reacted to the placement of the transfusion needle (in their abdomens) with “vigorous movements.” The study, the authors concluded, “provides the first direct evidence that the fetus has a hormonal stress response to invasive stimuli.” The authors go on to recommend that doctors use anesthesia when performing any potentially painful operation on the unborn–including abortion:

“This applies not just to diagnostic and therapeutic procedures on the fetus, but possibly also to the termination of pregnancy, especially by surgical techniques involving dismemberment.” (Emph. added)  (Such as the dismemberment techniques taught by Dr. Hern in Abortion Practice, pp.129,139,150-1,154) 

  1. By the eighth week of pregnancy, all physiological systems are present. This is why fetologists have concluded that the unborn child may experience pain as early as eight weeks but certainly by 13 weeks:
  • Dr. Vincent J. Collins, professor of anesthesiology at Northwestern University and author of Principles of Anesthesiology (the leading medical teaching text on the subject), observes that the neurological pathways required for pain are present at eight weeks and are fully functioning by 13 weeks. Dr. Collins also points out that the presence of the cerebral cortex is not necessary for the sensation of pain. Even complete removal of the cortex does not eliminate one’s capacity to experience pain.
  • But even if the cerebral cortex were needed in order to feel pain, the pro-abortion claim of an unthinking, unfeeling fetus until week 32 would still be way off the mark. The New England Journal of Medicine has reported that electroencephalographic bursts in both hemispheres of the fetal brain can be seen as early as 20 weeks. These bursts indicate the beginnings of a functioning cerebral cortex at that time. (11/19/87)
  1. Ultimately, the ability to experience pain has no bearing on a person’s status as a human being and hence cannot be used to justify abortion. To say that it does is to grossly confuse the concept of harm with the concept of hurt. A man in a coma whose throat is slit by an intruder certainly feels no hurt, but he is nonetheless harmed. He was still a person at the time of his death. And his attacker is still guilty of a heinous crime. Likewise, abortion is still an act of violence that kills a baby even if its victims feel nothing as they undergo dismemberment.

  Pro-lifers dehumanize women by equating a single celled zygote with a fully formed adult woman 

  1. This argument is purposely misleading. The target of an abortion is never a single celled zygote, but a six week (or greater) developing baby with a functioning heart and brain. In the words of abortionist Dr. Warren Hern, “there is evidence that abortions performed earlier than 6 weeks from the LMP (last menstrual period) have a greater rate of continued pregnancy and complication.” Hence, they are seldom done prior to that time. (Abortion Practice, p.301) In short, the logic of this argument seems to be, “Because it is OK to kill a zygote, we can therefore dismember a child at a later stage in the pregnancy.”
  2. In reality, the argument is a strawman. The pro-lifer is not saying that an adult woman is equal to any cell, but that a conceived zygote with the inherent capacity to function as a human being is worth protecting whatever its size may be. (We do not, for example, advocate protecting a cell which falls from her arm, since that single cell does not have the natural inherent capacity to function as a human being.) In essence, the pro-lifer is arguing that size does not determine rights. Large people are not entitled to more rights than small people. (Men, for example, do not have more rights than women simply because, on average, they are larger.)
  3. Furthermore, the argument misrepresents the word “equal.” When pro-lifers say that all human beings are equal in their right to live, they are not saying that all human beings are equal in function. Rather, the pro-lifer is arguing that all human beings, regardless of size or ability, are equal in nature (being). No one, for example, is arguing that we appoint a zygote or a fetus to the Chair of Logic at a major university. But because a zygote is not “equal” to a female professor in critical thinking skills does not mean that he shouldn’t share an equal right not to be butchered. (A newborn baby, for that matter, is not “equal” to an adult woman in terms of function either–although few would use this to call into question its status as a human being.)
  4. Finally, it is a non sequitur to say that because pro-lifers believe that small persons should be treated with dignity that the value of larger persons (i.e. women) is thereby diminished. Treating persons with dignity at whatever stage they are at (including the one cell stage) does not logically make developed people worth less. It simply means that we must expand our concept of personhood to include those we previously sought to dehumanize. (Not long ago, many people opposed civil rights legislation for blacks on grounds that such legislation would threaten the inherent dignity of whites.)

  Abortion is unjustified in all but one case? This is when the embryo implants itself in the fallopian tubes instead of in the womb which was designed for such a purpose.  Why is it ok then?     This is simply a numbers game. If the life of the mother is on the line as most ectopic pregnancies, the killing of the Unborn is Justified since her presence in her mother’s womb poses a very significant threat to her mother’s life. Not every ectopic pregnancy is hopeless and should be aborted, but in the case where the mother will not survive carrying the baby to term abortion is not morally wrong and here is why:  The intention is not in killing the baby, but in saving the life of the mother. The baby’s death is an unfortunate consequence  which cannot be avoided unless one is willing to let both mother and child die. But since we can all agree it is better that one human should live rather than two should die, abortion to save the life of the mother is justified.       Scott Rae says it plainly “Being a person is something that you are it’s not something that you do.” Human beings are substances that have a fixed essence or nature that exists through time and change; it does not grow or diminish.     talk about committing a crime and being in a coma.    SLED    Something about personhood  human being vs human person    There is no essential difference between the embryo you once were and the adult you are today that would justify killing you at that earlier stage of development. We can all agree its wrong to kill a 2 year old, but there are only 4 meaningful differences between the unborn and a 2 year old.     Size, Level of development, Environment, and Degree of dependency.  Although it’s true the unborn differs from a born human in these four ways, none of them is a relevant difference. None of them justifies killing the unborn. Consider how each category is irrelevant to human value.    Size: The unborn is clearly smaller than a born human. It’s hard to reason how a difference in size, though, disqualifies someone from being a person. A four year-old is smaller than a fourteen year-old. Can we kill her because she’s not as big as a teenager? No, because a human being’s value is not based on their size. She’s still equally a person even though she differs in that characteristic. In the same way, the unborn is smaller than a four year-old. If we can’t kill the four-year old because she’s smaller, then we can’t kill the unborn because she’s smaller either.  Level of development: The unborn is also less developed than a born human being. How does this fact, disqualify them from personhood? A four year-old girl can’t bear children because her reproductive system is less developed than a fourteen year-old girl. That doesn’t disqualify her from personhood. She is still as equally valuable as a child-bearing teen. The unborn is also less developed than the four year-old. Therefore, we can’t disqualify her from personhood for the same reason we can’t disqualify the four year-old. Both are merely less developed than older human beings.  Environment: The unborn is located in a different environment than a born human. How does your location, though, affect your value? Can changing your environment alter your status as a person? Where you are has no bearing on who you are. An astronaut who spacewalks in orbit is in a radically different environment than a person on the planet. No one could reasonably deny his personhood simply because he’s in a different location. Scuba divers who swim under water and spelunkers who crawl through caves are equally as valuable as humans who ride in hot-air balloons. If changing your environment can’t change your fundamental status, then being inside or outside a uterus can’t be relevant either. How could a 7-inch journey through the birth canal magically transform a value-less human into a valuable person? Nothing has changed except their location.  Degree of dependency: The unborn is dependent upon the mother’s body for nutrition and a proper environment. It’s hard to see, though, how depending upon another person disqualifies you from being a person. Newborns and toddlers still depend upon their parents to provide nutrition and a safe environment. Indeed, some third-world countries require children to be breast fed because formula is not available. Can a mother kill her newborn son because he depends on her body for nutrition? Or, imagine you alone witnessed a toddler fall into a swimming pool. Would you be justified in declaring him not valuable simply because he depended on you for his survival? Of course not! Since the unborn depends on his mother in the same way, it’s not reasonable to disqualify his value either.  Notice that although toddler and teens differ from each other in these four categories, we don’t disqualify toddlers from personhood. Since born and unborn humans differ in exactly the same ways, we can’t disqualify the unborn from personhood either.  This is unjust discrimination. Pro-choice advocates deny that all human beings are valuable and deserve protection. Which ones don’t qualify? The ones that are too small, not developed enough, in the wrong location, and are too dependent on other people. These four characteristics, though, are arbitrary and allow the strong to disqualify the weak, vulnerable, and defenseless. Sadly, history is crowded with similar examples. African Americans were victims of discrimination. They were a class of human beings that was disqualified from being valuable based on an arbitrary characteristic: their skin color. Jews were also were victims of discrimination. They were a class of human beings that was disqualified from being valuable based on an arbitrary characteristic: their ethnicity. Today, the unborn are victims of discrimination. They are a class of human beings that are disqualified from being valuable based on arbitrary characteristics: their size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency.  The pro-life position, on the other hand is an inclusive view. It says no human being – regardless of size, skin color, level of development, race, gender, or place of residence – should be excluded from the community of human persons. This view of humanity is open to all, especially to those who are small, vulnerable, and defenseless.