Tag Archives: Abortion

How pro-life apologetics helps strengthen your evangelism

I'm Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this study
I’m Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this message

From Scott Klusendorf’s Life Training Institute.

Excerpt:

Beyond the obvious obligation we have as thinking human beings to clarify the status, and defend the value, of innocent, unborn human life, engaging in the pro-life project is also a way to make the case for the truth of Christianity in general. It stands to reason that if the scientific, philosophical, and moral arguments we offer in defense of the humanity of the unborn also happen to align exactly with the biblical notion of what it means to be a human being made “in the image of God,” then the Bible might also have something to say about other things of importance.

This is a point Scott makes repeatedly but it was recently driven home in a very concrete way by, of all people, a hard core atheist in the most recent issue of Salvo magazine. A secular skeptic, law school professor, renowned blogger, and mocker of deluded “Godiots,” the “Raving Atheist” attended a blogger party where he serendipitously sat next to a Catholic blogger named Benjamin. As the “Raving Atheist” explains:

At one point the conversation turned to abortion, and I asked Benjamin’s opinion of the practice. I was stunned. Here was a kind, affable, and cogently reasonable human being who nonetheless believed that abortion was murder. To the limited extent I had previously considered the issue, I believed abortion to be completely acceptable, the mere disposal of a lump of cells, perhaps akin to clipping fingernails.

This unsettling exchange spurred me to further investigate the issue on Benjamin’s blog. I noticed that pro-choice Christians did not employ scientific or rational arguments but relied on a confused set of “spiritual” platitudes. More significantly, the pro-choice atheistic blogosphere also fell short in its analysis of abortion. The supposedly “reality-based” community either dismissed abortion as a “religious issue” or paradoxically claimed that pro-life principles were contrary to religious doctrine. Having formerly equated atheism with reason, I was slowly growing uncertain of the value of godlessness in the search for truth.

Though the “Raving Atheist” continued to rave, there was now a stone in his God-rejecting shoe, placed there by a reasoned defense of the pro-life view. He couldn’t disconnect himself from it and later admitted that the “selfless dedication [of pro-life advocates] to their cause moved [him] deeply.” Later, he met a woman named Ashli whose work in pregnancy care drew him to further consider the pro-life position. Soon thereafter, the “Raving Atheist” became, in part, a pro-life blogsite …

Click here to read the astonishing conclusion. Then come back here.

Back? Ok, so what did we learn from this? Well, the moral of this story is that it is very important for Christians to have a good understanding of moral issues like abortion and same-sex marriage so that they can talk about these issues based on what they know. When someone can stake out a moral position on these kinds of issues, using science and history and other hard evidence – not just the Bible – then it helps non-Christians to take us seriously as thinkers.

Unless we demonstrate the ability to reason out there in the real world – outside the church – then we are not going to be viewed as authoritative on any subject – especially on spiritual subjects. We really need to study up on other issues, and show that we care about the unborn (abortion issue) and children (same-sex marriage issue). We have to show that there is more to us than just doing what feels good. We have to show that we are smart and that we are willing to be unpopular in order to do the right thing. That we didn’t just inherit these views from our parents, or from our culture. That we have actually thought things through more than just reading the Bible, and that it makes a difference in how we view the world, and in how we live. We don’t want people to continue in their perception that Christians are just people who play follow-the-leader – we want to show them how we have worked through these issues on our own.

Ignorance is never a good idea when you are trying to do good – and you can’t know what is really good just by your feelings and intuitions. If you want to do good, you need to be 1) convincing and 2) effective. And that takes study. Don’t choose policies based on what makes you feel good and what sounds good to others. Push for effective policies – what actually does good – and then have your arguments and evidence ready to convince people, using evidence from authorities that they accept as non-Christians. If you have the will to study a little, you can be passionate and convincing. Non-Christians respect passion and knowledge. They don’t respect fideism and mysticism.

Scott Klusendorf is the author of the best introductory book on pro-life apologetics, entitled “The Case for Life“.

Kentucky governor shuts down illegal, unlicensed Planned Parenthood clinic

Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood
Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood

Story from Life News.

It says:

A Louisville, Kentucky Planned Parenthood abortion clinic shut down Friday after pro-life Gov. Matt Bevin discovered the abortion clinic was operating without a license.

The new abortion clinic opened in December and applied for a license to do abortions from the state; however, last week, Bevin’s office found out that the abortion clinic began offering surgical and medical abortions in January without a license, LifeNews reported.

[…]New acting Kentucky Inspector General Stephanie Hold, who serves on pro-life Bevin’s administration, said the state has not licensed the clinic because it found two deficiencies in Planned Parenthood’s application. The abortion clinic does not have adequate written agreements with an acute care hospital or an ambulance service in case of emergencies, according to a letter from Hold.

[…]Last Thursday, Bevin called out the abortion business after his office discovered the violation. A Kentucky statute prohibits providing abortions without a license, and provides for penalties ranging from $500 to $10,000 for each violation, according to the governor’s office.

“They are openly and knowingly operating an unlicensed abortion facility in clear violation of the law,” Bevin said in a statement. “We will use the full force of the commonwealth to put a stop to this. There is no room in Kentucky for this kind of blatant disregard for proper legal procedure.”

“It’s that brazen disregard for the law that is going to be hammered down,” Bevin continued. “There is no tolerance whatsoever for people in the Commonwealth of Kentucky disregarding the law. They are unlicensed. They are doing it knowingly, and they are going to brought to justice on this front.”

Kentucky, what happened to you? You used to be liberal, now you have a conservative governor who defends natural marriage, opposes abortion, and wants to pass right-to-work! It is so important for people who want to protect the unborn from the selfish grown-ups to elect candidates with a pro-life record. It does matter who you elect – the right candidate does reduce the number of abortions.

Who has done more on the pro-life and pro-marriage issues – Trump or Cruz?

Donald Trump and his friends, the Clintons
Donald Trump and his friends, the Clintons

This is from the non-partisan The Hill.

Excerpt:

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump defended Planned Parenthood during an interview Tuesday night, doubling down on his remarks that part of the group should be funded.

“They do good things,” Trump said during an interview with Sean Hannity that aired on Fox News.

[…]Planned Parenthood praised Trump’s remarks earlier Tuesday when on the question of funding he said on CNN that he would look at other “good aspects” of Planned Parenthood.

“Donald Trump seems to have realized that banning all abortions, shutting down the government, and defunding Planned Parenthood are extreme positions that are way too far outside the mainstream for even him to take,” Eric Ferrero, vice president for communications, said in a statement shared with The Hill.

Now, Donald Trump was pro-abortion for his entire life, until he decided to run as Republican in the 2016 primary. Then he became pro-life. That’s what he says, anyway. So what was his reasoning for becoming pro-life?

Live Action has the quote, and the problem with Trump’s reasoning:

Trump shared the reason behind his claimed pro-life conversion at the first GOP debate:

“Friends of mine years ago were going to have a child, and it was going to be aborted. And it wasn’t aborted. And that child today is a total superstar, a great, great child. And I saw that. And I saw other instances…I am very, very proud to say that I am pro-life.”

Look here – a child’s right to life does not depend on their ability to become a total superstar in the eyes of Donald Trump. He doesn’t understand the logic of the pro-life position.

More Live Action:

In January 2015, when he was asked to define what “pro-life” meant to him, he stated: “It means that it’s an issue. It is an issue, and it’s a strong issue.” When asked if he believed abortion early in a pregnancy was murder, Trump said, “No.” And then, when the questioner continued to press Trump, asking if he would be against abortion if the life of the mother was not at risk and if rape or incest were not involved (his exceptions), he stated, “It depends when,” while continuing to repeat, “I’m pro-life.”

Not convincing.

What about on gay marriage?

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says he can see both sides in the case of Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who has been ordered to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but that “the Supreme Court has ruled” on the issue and “it is the law of the land.”

If 5 Justices on the Supreme Court redefine marriage, it’s the law of the land . That’s what Trump says.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz
Texas Senator Ted Cruz

What about Ted Cruz?

Cruz is pro-life:

  • Cruz has received a 100% rating from the National Right to Life Committee.
  • He voted for numerous defunding measures for Obamacare and Planned Parenthood since being voted in the Senate.
  • He voted in favor of the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act.
  • He voted for the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act which he co-sponsored.
  • He is a co-sponsor of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act.
    Cruz said that the unborn are “absolutely” persons under the 14th Amendment.
  • Cruz was endorsed by Georgia Right to Life and has signed their personhood pledge.

Here are a few more:

  • In January 2015, Cruz co-sponsored a bill to create a federal ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and urged Congress to take up the legislation.
  • In March 2015, Cruz introduced two resolutions of disapproval to the D.C. Ordinances, one, the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act, could require pro-life organizations to fund abortion services in employee’s health care and could force them to hire someone who supports abortion. The House passed the resolution, but unfortunately, the Senate failed to bring it before committee.
  • In May 2013, Cruz co-sponsored Sen. Mike Lee’s resolution to investigate abortion practices in the US in light of the Gosnell case. He spoke on the floor and condemned Gosnell’s unspeakable crimes.
  • Argued (successfully) before the Supreme Court in defense of the federal ban on partial-birth abortion.
  • Successfully defended in federal court Texas’s Rider 8, which prohibits state funds for groups that provide abortions.

Cruz has also been active on the marriage issue:

  • In April 2015, Cruz introduced a marriage amendment and bill to defend states that define marriage as between one man and one woman.
    • The Restoration of Marriage Amendment amends the Constitution to guarantee the right of the people to define marriage in their laws as the union of one man and one woman and to prevent the courts from ever again misconstruing the Constitution to require that marriage or its benefits be extended to unions other than the union of man and woman.
    • The Protect Marriage from the Courts Act of 2015 bars federal courts from ruling on state marriage laws. Pursuant to Congress’ power under Article III of the Constitution to limit the jurisdiction of the lower federal courts and to make exceptions to the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, this legislation restricts the jurisdiction of federal courts to determine the constitutionality of state laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
  • In April 2015, Cruz joined an amicus brief supporting the right of states to define marriage
    • Summary: defending states’ marriage laws against the proposed right under the 14th amendment that all same-sex couples have the right to marriage
  • In February 2015, Cruz reintroduced the State Marriage Defense Act. He originally introduced it in February, 2014.
  • Cosponsored the First Amendment Defense Act, which would prevent any federal agency from denying a tax exemption, grant, contract, license, or certification to an individual, association, or business based on their belief that marriage is a union between a man and a woman.

Regarding that last item, Trump was asked whether he would pass Cruz’s First Amendment Defense Act in his first 100 days in office, and he said no. Cruz said yes, by the way – which is not surprising since he sponsored the act in the first place.

And on the Kim Davis issue, Cruz put religious liberty above judicial tyranny.

Listen to him discuss it on the Mark Levin show:

And on the Megyn Kelly show:

Now listen to Donald Trump:

Does any Trump supporter really believe that he would defend religious liberty as well as Cruz?

Scott Klusendorf debates an abortion advocate on the Unbelievable radio show

Scott Klusendorf, Life Training Institute
Scott Klusendorf, Life Training Institute

Here are the details:

The abortion debate reared its head again this summer after controversial tweets by Richard Dawkins made the news.

Justin hosts a discussion between Mara Clarke of the Abortion Support Network and Scott Klusendorf of the Life Training Instititute. Mara believes women need to be decide whether to terminate a pregnancy, but Scott says that all depends on whether we are dealing with a human life in the womb.

The MP3 file is here.

My snarky paraphrase of the debate (not exact):

  • Speaker introductions
  • Klusendorf: no justification for abortion is necessary if the unborn are not human
  • Klusendorf: we need to address the issue “what is the unborn?” Are the unborn human?
  • Klusendorf: SLED: size, level of development, environment, degree of dependency
  • Klusendorf: None of these things affect the value of a human being
  • Klusendorf: Even if we don’t KNOW whether the unborn is human
  • Mara: I’m not going to debate when life begins
  • Mara: Women know when life begins by feelings
  • Mara: The moral decision is “whether I can take care of this child?”
  • Brierley: When is an unborn being human?
  • Mara: I refuse to debate that – the real question is whether women want their babies or not
  • Mara: Forced pregnancy is not OK
  • Brierley: Could your justification for abortion (not wanting to care for a child) work through all 9 months?
  • Mara: Late term abortions are rare, so I don’t have to answer that question
  • Mara: Abortion should be OK through all 9 months of pregnancy because women cannot be restricted
  • Mara: Some women are poor, they need to be able to kill expensive babies at any time
  • Klusendorf: although she says she won’t debate the unborn, she does take a position
  • Klusendorf: she assumes the unborn is not human, because she says that insufficient funds is justification for abortion
  • Klusendorf: no one argues that you can kill a two year old because they cost money, because she thinks they are human
  • Klusendorf: she is begging the question by assuming the unborn are not human, but that is the issue we must resolve
  • Klusendorf: I am pro-choice on many other things, e.g. women choosing their own husbands, religion, etc.
  • Klusendorf: Some choices are wrong – Mara might be right, but she needs to make the case for the unborn not being human
  • Brierley: What is your reason for thinking that an unborn child is different from a 2-year old?
  • Mara: An unborn child is not the same as a 2-year old, in my personal opinion
  • Mara: I am not a debater, so I don’t have to provide reasoning for my assertion, I just feel it
  • Mara: Not everybody agrees with Scott, they don’t have to have a rational argument, they just need to feel differently
  • Mara: From my experience, when a woman doesn’t want to be pregnant, then she should be able to not be pregnant
  • Mara: Women shouldn’t be punished with a baby that she doesn’t want, even if she chooses to have recreational sex
  • Brierley: What do you think of women who think the unborn is human and do it anyway?
  • Klusendorf: It’s interesting that they never kill their toddlers for those reasons
  • Klusendorf: I layed out scientific and philosophical reasons for the humanity of the unborn
  • Klusendorf: Her response was “but some people disagree with you”
  • Klusendorf: People disagreed about whether slavery was wrong, or whether women should be able to vote
  • Klusendorf: that doesn’t mean there is no right answer – the right answer depends on the arguments
  • Klusendorf: if absence of agreement makes a view false, then it makes HER pro-choice view false as well
  • Klusendorf: she did make an argument for the unborn child having no rights because of the location
  • Klusendorf: she needs to explain to us why location matters – what about location confers value
  • Mara: I’m not going to let Scott frame my debate for me!!!
  • Mara: women get pregnant and they don’t want their babies! should we put them in jail!!!!
  • Klusendorf: I didn’t just give my opinion, I had science and philosophy, the issue is “what is the unborn?”
  • Mara: philosophical and scientific debates are unimportant, I am an expert in real women’s lives
  • Klusendorf: Which women? Women in the womb or only those outside the womb?
  • Mara: Only those outside the womb
  • Klusendorf: Only those outside the womb?
  • Mara: Women living outside the womb have a right to kill women inside the womb – women have bodily autonomy
  • Klusendorf: then does a pregnant woman with nausea have a right to take a drug for it that will harm her unborn child?
  • Mara: Unborn children are only valuable if they are wanted, unborn children only deserve protection if they are wanted
  • Mara: There are restrictions on abortion – you can’t get an abortion through all nine months in the US
  • Mara: There is a 24-week limit in the UK as well
  • Klusendorf: There are no restrictions on abortion that conflict with “a woman’s health” because Supreme Court said
  • Mara: where are these late term abortion clinics?
  • Klusendorf: (he names two)
  • Mara: that’s not enough!!! we need more! where is there one in Pennsylvania?
  • Klusendorf: well, there used to be Gosnell’s clinic in Pennsylvania, and you could even get an infanticide there….
  • Brierley: What about Dawkins’ view that it is moral to abort Down’s Syndrome babies?
  • Klusendorf: he is ignoring the scientific case and philosophical case for the pro-life
  • Klusendorf: the pro-life view is a true basis for human equality

What I wanted Scott to ask was whether sex-selection abortions were OK with her. Since her reasoning is “if it’s unwanted, it has no rights”, then that would mean sex-selection abortions are just fine. That’s what a UK abortion expert recently argued. It’s always a great idea to show your opponent where their positions really lead. Most of the people you talk about abortion with will not have been exposed to a pro-life case. You can help them to work through the issue.

Are crisis pregnancy centers equipped to discuss the issue of abortion rationally?

I'm Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this study
I’m Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this message

Consider this article from Stand to Reason, written by Greg Koukl. The title of the article is “The Vanishing Pro-Life Apologist”. Koukl argues that crisis pregnancy centers are less interested in making the case for the right to life of the unborn child, and more interested in giving women who have already chosen life what they need, in terms of material support.

Koukl writes:

The last few years have witnessed a stunning development in the pro-life movement. More and more crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) refuse to discuss abortion. A new wave of pro-life leaders insist that victory will not be gained in the court of public opinion if the debate centers principally on the morality of abortion.

Paul Swope calls it “a failure to communicate” when right-to-lifers focus primarily on the unborn instead of on the felt needs of women. “The pro-life movement must show that abortion is actually not in a woman’s own self-interest,” he says, “and that the choice of life offers hope and a positive, expanded sense of self.” Reframing the debate in these terms will enable the movement to “regain the moral high ground in the mind of the American public.”

[…]Pro-life feminist Frederica Matthews-Green agrees. “Pro-lifers will not be able to break through this deadlock by stressing the humanity of the unborn….That is a question nobody is asking. But there is a question they are asking. It is, ‘How could we live without it?’ The problem is not moral, but practical.”

Swope and Matthews-Green are not suggesting we frame the debate in terms of the felt needs of women in the narrow context of crisis counseling. It’s certainly appropriate to inform a woman of the physical and psychological consequences of choosing abortion. Rather, they insist the pro-life movement in general must speak less of the unborn and more of the woman in order to break the alleged deadlock.

While it’s true that appealing to self-interest might dissuade some abortion-minded women from killing their babies, it’s hard to image how this could be an effective general strategy. Here’s why: It’s almost always in a woman’s short-term self-interest to abort. This is precisely why the pro-abortion side has been effective. A focus on felt needs favors death, not life.

How can we “regain the moral high ground in the mind of the public,” to use Swope’s words, if we retreat from the moral debate? The whole point of an ethical argument is to give reasons why a woman ought not pursue selfish interests. Felt needs are the problem, not the solution.

This approach completely sabotages the pro-life position. Crisis pregnancy centers do not exist to handle pregnancy. Hospitals and clinics do that. CPCs handle crisis pregnancies, those that are vulnerable to termination by abortion. In a sense, CPCs don’t exist for the woman, but for the child whose life is in danger. The idea is to dissuade women from having abortions precisely because abortion is a moral tragedy. If not, then why oppose it?

What kind of morality does this tactic leave us with? Such a posture implicitly promotes the vice of selfishness instead of the virtue of sacrificial motherhood. Ideas have consequences, and this one may have, as Frank Beckwith observes, “the unfortunate consequence of increasing the number of people who think that unless their needs are pacified they are perfectly justified in performing homicide on the most vulnerable of our population.”

I actually want to go even further than that.

I think that if CPCs refuse to speak up against abortion on on moral grounds, they are doing nothing at all to stem the flow of abortions. Today, men and women are increasingly choosing to have sex when they are not in any kind of committed relationship where a child would be welcome. There are two things we can do to stop this.

First, we can tell them about what abortion really is, and how it is morally wrong to take the life of another person without adequate moral justification. (And selfishness is not moral justification). Second, we can tell them to be more careful about who they choose for relationships, about what the goal of the relationship is (not fun, but marriage), and about making decisions that mature them as a couple so that they are ready to provide for a child. Sex should not be seen as something recreational, and sex partners should not be chosen because of the fun you can have in the moment.

Now if CPCs do not want to tell people that abortion is wrong, and that relationships should be focused on commitment and providing for children, then we will never see fewer abortions. Our job is not to let people in this society think that unless someone else pays the bills, then abortion is OK. Abortion is only OK if the life of the mother is at risk – a very rare scenario. Our job is to educate men and women so that they understand how to have relationships that do not put them in a position where they have to take the life of an unborn child in order to make the lives of the grown-ups more satisfying.

We need to make the the safety of unborn children an issue that people consider when they choose who to have a relationship with, and when to have sex. In particular, women should choose men who value marriage before sex, and who make decisions to ready themselves for the man’s role in marriage. And men should choose women who value chastity and providing above men who offer fun and thrills.

We don’t have enough money to bail everyone out. We have to teach grown-ups moral boundaries, and give them a vision for relationships that is focused on commitment, and therefore safe for unborn children.

Conclusion

So here are my two points about CPCs and pro-life apologetics:

  • crisis pregnancy centers should be committed to defending the right to life of the unborn child in conversations with grown-ups, so that grown-ups police themselves in their relationship and sexual decision-making.
  • crisis pregnancy centers should be working with organizations that use pro-life arguments and evidence to persuade people to value the unborn before the life decision has been made.

And for everyone else, make sure that you’re equipped to explain to others why you think that unborn children deserve full legal protection.

Here’s a good video from Scott Klusendorf to help you do that:

This is an important moral issue, and we can’t be persuasive unless we are equipped with logical arguments and evidence.