Top pro-life debater Scott Klusendorf reports on his recent lecture at Colgate University.
During the extended question and answer, a polite female student replied (paraphrase), “I’m against abortion and will never have one. If one of my friends gets pregnant and wants an abortion, I will do everything I can to talk her out of it. But I don’t want the government involved in taking away a woman’s choice. I guess that’s why I’m against abortion and am pro-choice.”
The student was hardly alone. She was echoing the sentiments of millions of Americans who personally dislike abortion but do not identify as pro-life. Their beliefs are perfectly summed up in this popular bumper sticker: “Don’t like abortion? Don’t have one.”
Notice the bumper sticker completely transforms the nature of the abortion debate with a single word—“like.”
When pro-life advocates claim that elective abortion unjustly takes the life of a defenseless human being, they aren’t saying they dislike abortion. They are saying it’s objectively wrong, regardless of how one feels about it. Notice what’s going on here. The pro-life advocate makes a moral claim that he believes is objectively true—namely, that elective abortion unjustly takes the life of a defenseless human being. The abortion-choice advocate responds by changing that objective truth claim into a subjective one about likes and dislikes, as if the pro-lifer were talking about a mere preference. But this misses the point entirely. As Francis J. Beckwith points out, pro-life advocates don’t oppose abortion because they find it distasteful; they oppose it because it violates rational moral principles.
Imagine if I said, “Don’t like slavery? Then don’t own a slave.” Or, “Don’t like spousal abuse? Then don’t beat your wife!” If I said such things, you would immediately realize I don’t grasp why slavery and spousal abuse are wrong. They are not wrong because I personally dislike them. They are wrong because slaves and spouses are intrinsically valuable human beings who have a natural right not to be treated as property. Whether I personally like slavery or spousal abuse is completely beside the point. If I liked spousal abuse, you would rightly say I was sick! You wouldn’t resign yourself to, “I guess abuse is right for you but not for me.”
And yet this is precisely what the pro-choicer does. He reduces abortion to a mere preference and then declares, “Hands off! Keep the government out of the abortion business!”
Some choices are wrong. We can do better than abortion.
Learn about the pro-life case:
- How to take an incremental approach to the abortion problem
- Videos from academic debate on abortion at the University of Victoria
- Audio: Scott Klusendorf’s 35-minute case for the pro-life position
- Audio: A 55-minute discussion featuring Greg Koukl and Scott Klusendorf
- A comparison of embryonic and adult stem cell research
- Video: 12-year old girl makes the pro-life case in a short speech
- Video:10-year old girl makes the pro-life case in a short speech
- Objective truth in the abortion debate – a pro-life training video
- Alan Shlemon explains a classification system for pro-abortion arguments
- What is the best single book on the pro-life position?
And some posts motivating Christians and conservatives to take abortion seriously:
- Why Christians should focus on cultural issues as well as evangelism
- Republicans introduce House and Senate bills to establish that life begins at conception
- House Republicans introduce ban on taxpayer funding of abortion
- Are Christians too involved in politics?
- What did the early church fathers think about abortion?
- Scott Klusendorf confronts a “pro-life” nun who voted for Obama