Here’s the video, featuring one of my favorite pro-life speakers Scott Klusendorf. Scott is the founder and President of the Life Training Institute. LTI’s mission is to make a rigorous, rational defense for pro-life positions with respect to a variety of ethical issues.
right to life of the unborn
end of life questions
40 minutes of guided discussion, 20 minutes of Q&A. This video was apparently recorded in the summer of 2016.
the 1-minute case for the pro-life position (excellent)
dealing with those who dismiss the pro-life case as religious
how and when do people win arguments?
how does one get better at discussing moral issues?
who are some of the best books to get informed about life issues?
what are some of the best books from the other side?
what is the SLED test? do pro-abortion scholars accept it?
if abortion were illegal, who should be punished and how much?
is it inflammatory and dangerous to say that abortion is killing?
Assisted reproductive technologies:
how should we speak to people considering ARTs?
what is the underlying issue in ART discussions?
should pro-lifers be opposed to all use of ARTs?
what should pro-lifers think about surrogacy?
which books provide an introduction to ART ethics?
End of life issues:
what is the central issue in end of life discussions?
should treatment always be continued or are there situations where treatment can be withdrawn?
if a student wants to take courses in bioethics, where should they go to take courses or do a degree?
what is the policy situation for pro-lifers in terms of legislation and SCOTUS decision-making?
what are some policies that pro-lifers can support as incremental measures that move the issue in the right direction?
I liked this discussion. I tried to listen as someone new to the issue and he did a good job of not assuming any prior knowledge of the debate. My favorite part was his survey of books and arguments on the other side, and what they say. I don’t think that most people realize what the implications of the pro-abortion worldview really are for things like infanticide, and so on. The discussion about who should be punished for abortion and how much was new to me – and that actually came up during the last election, during the GOP primary. Personally, I would let the woman get off, and just prosecute the doctor.
It’s very very good to listen to crystal clear thinking on these controversial issues from someone who has encountered the other side in their writings, and in public debates with them. Not to mention having to interact with people making decisions in these areas.
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.
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. And I also posted recently about how sex-selection abortions are not prosecuted in the UK. If you’re looking for a war on women, there it is.
President Donald Trump on “Day One” of his presidency signed an executive order restoring the so-called “Mexico City Policy,” which requires all foreign non-governmental organizations that receive federal funding to refrain from performing or promoting abortion services.
Ronald Reagan first established the broader policy 33 years ago, which built on a 50-year-old law banning USAID from providing funds to any nongovernmental organization providing a number of services — including abortion.
Called the “global gag rule” by critics, the policy has been lifted or reinstated by presidents since Reagan, depending on whether the president was a Republican or a Democrat. Bill Clinton lifted the policy in 1993, George W. Bush reinstated in 2001 and Barack Obama pulled it during his first term as president.
Under the policy, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) will lose federal funding. Alison Marshall, the director of advocacy for IPPF, estimates that the abortion organization will lose approximately $100 million over a period of two to three years.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), the only woman remaining on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said she has a legislative plan in place now that President Trump moved forward with restoring the policy. Shaheen is also worried that President Trump will gut gender equality programs, among other “liberal social policies.” Calling the move to reinstate the Mexico City policy “short-sighted,” Shaheen said that “Abolishing those programs is antithetical here in our democracy.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that it was “time to take a hard look at women’s aid programs,” reportedForeign Policy. “The State Department is trying to basically get countries who receive foreign assistance to sign up for a liberal agenda,” said Graham. He added that under the Obama administration, “It’s been out of control.”
In addition to his action on the Mexico City Policy, President Trump signed executive orders withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and freezing federal workforce hiring. President Trump exempted the military from the hiring freeze.
It’s important to note that Obama was the one who enacted taxpayer-funding of abortions abroad with United States taxpayer money.
One of Obama’s first acts as president was to repeal the Mexico City Policy, which prohibited tax dollars from going to international organizations that do abortions. A few months later he signed an executive order that allowed tax dollars to fund unsuccessful embryonic stem cell research.
Less than a month after taking office, President Obama began the process to roll back conscience protections that his predecessor had put in place so that healthcare professionals would not be forced to perform abortions if they were opposed to doing them.
He also nominated Kathleen Sebelius, then governor of Kansas, for the position of the secretary of Health and Human Services. Ms. Sebelius was one of the most pro-abortion governors in the nation, vetoing a bill that would have restricted late-term abortions, and was close friends with late-term abortionist George Tiller.
[…]And all that was just in the first couple months of Obama’s presidency.
Are you pro-life? Obama was making you pay for abortions abroad, not to mention federal funding of Planned Parenthood. That’s what people who vote Democrat get when they vote Democrat. There is no such thing as a pro-life Democrat. Everyone who votes Democrat is pro-abortion, no exceptions. Every Democrat votes for late-term abortion, partial-birth abortion, infanticide, sex-selection abortions and race-selection abortions. Every Democrat is in favor of abortions even after the baby can feel pain.
Good Trump, Bad Trump
Regarding reporting on Trump: I am going to be fair about posting good things that Trump does and bad things that Trump does. If Trump does anything to impose tariffs, I will blog on that. If Trump does anything to weaken NATO or embolden Russia, I will blog on that. If Trump does anything to waste money on “infrastructure”, I will blog on that. So far, it’s good Trump all the way.
Note: No conservatives really liked Obama’s Trans Pacific Partnership deal, so Trump’s getting rid of that does not count as “bad Trump”. But I will be watching for any kind of tariff or other protectionist nonsense, since consumers are the ones who are hardest hit by those naive, populist economic policies. Free trade is bedrock conservatism, and any opposition to free trade is wrong. It’s wrong if Obama does it (by delaying the free trade deal with Columbia) and it’s wrong if Trump does it.
Today, Governor John Kasich signed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (Sub. S.B. 127), landmark legislation which would ban late-term abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. And, citing concerns it would be overturned in court, Kasich vetoed a ban on all abortions after the heart of an unborn baby begins to beat.
“I agree with Ohio Right to Life and other leading, pro-life advocates that SB 127 (a 20-week ban) is the best, most legally sound and sustainable approach to protecting the sanctity of human life,” Kasich said in a statement.
Because the heartbeat-based abortion ban will not likely survive a legal challenge in court, pro-life legislators approved the 20-week abortion ban with the hope of saving as many babies as possible under Roe v. Wade.
Why is this “20-week” legislation important? It’s important because when the national news media cover this law, they are going to put the focus where it belongs – on the unborn baby:
“On behalf of Ohio Right to Life and our statewide members, we sincerely thank Governor Kasich for his unwavering support for the unborn and our pro-life mission. By signing S.B. 127, the 20-week ban, Governor Kasich will save hundreds of unborn lives each year and he positioned the state of Ohio to directly challenge Roe v. Wade,” it told LifeNews. “The 20-week ban was nationally designed to be the vehicle to end abortion in America. It challenges the current national abortion standard and properly moves the legal needle from viability to the baby’s ability to feel pain.”
The incremental approach is realistic, and effective. In no way is the pro-life movement required to settle for this victory, either. They will take down the pro-abortion status quo one piece at a time if they have to.
So what about that premise – unborn babies feeling pain at 20 weeks. Is it really true?
Yes – this is another case where the science is all on the side of the Team Pro-Life:
One leading expert in the field of fetal pain, Dr. Kanwaljeet S. Anand at the University of Tennessee, stated in his expert report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice, “It is my opinion that the human fetus possesses the ability to experience pain from 20 weeks of gestation, if not earlier, and the pain perceived by a fetus is possibly more intense than that perceived by term newborns or older children.”
“The neural pathways are present for pain to be experienced quite early by unborn babies,” explains Steven Calvin, M.D., perinatologist, chair of the Program in Human Rights Medicine, University of Minnesota, where he teaches obstetrics.
Indeed, that’s why the line is set at 20 weeks, and now we can ask the Democrats why they want to hurt babies. That’s what this is really about. I have lived a long time on this planet, and I have never, ever hurt a baby. It’s not hard, you just avoid getting drunk, and chose relationships based on reason instead of feelings. Then you will never be in a position where you are tempted to hurt a baby to preserve your own happiness.
Baby now weighs about 11 ounces and is roughly 7 inches long.
Baby is 17 cm long crown to rump, and weighs about 310 grams.
The baby can hear and recognize the mother’s voice.
The mother will probably start feeling the first fetal movements.
The toenails and fingernails are growing.
The growth of hair on the rest of the body has started.
The skin is getting thicker.
The heart can now be heard with a stethoscope.
Your baby may react to loud sounds. Baby can actually hear noises outside of the womb. Familiar voices, music, and sounds that baby becomes accustomed to during their development stages often are calming after birth. This is an important time for sensory development since nerve cells serving each of the senses; taste, smell, hearing, sight, and touch are now developing into their specialized area of the brain.
Your baby now weighs about 11 ounces and at roughly 7 inches long they are filling up more and more of the womb. Though still small and fragile, the baby is growing rapidly and could possibly survive if born at this stage.
I understand why Democrats would vote to allow abortions on unborn children at this age. The abortionists make money off of these procedures, and they make more money off of the sale of organs, sometimes cut from babies who are still alive. Some of that money makes it’s way back to the Democrats in the form of political contributions. It’s similar to the way that slavers made money off of slaves… except they didn’t torture the slaves and cut the organs out of them to sell. I guess someone standing in a slave plantation might have said to a slaver “you can’t do that, they can feel pain”. And Republicans are standing outside abortion clinics and saying “you can’t do that, they can feel pain”. But in both cases, the slavers and the abortionists are making money from their barbarism. So it doesn’t make a difference to them whether they unborn can feel pain. The important thing to them is that they are making money. And the money being made by abortionists makes its way into the coffers of Democrat politicians running for re-election. This is working as designed, according to Democrats.
Just for completeness, I must mention that even the radically leftist New York Times admits that unborn children are viable at 22 weeks. Democrats are not in favor of limits on abortion at any number of weeks. And the later the better, as far as they’re concerned – more developed babies have parts that can be sold for big money.
A Catholic college recently banned students from hanging a pro-life poster with the words “Unborn Lives Matter” on campus, claiming that the language could “provoke” other students.
The DePaul University College Republicans created the simple black and white poster to advertise their club meetings and recently submitted it to administrators for approval,according to the Daily Wire.
The poster design was passed all the way up to university President Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider who rejected it for being too similar to “Black Lives Matter” and linked the pro-life message to “bigotry that occurs under the cover of free speech.”
“Once again, DePaul University has shown its true colors,” club Vice President John Minster told The DailyWire. “Rather than standing up for the pro-life and free speech ethics this ‘Catholic’ university claims to uphold, administration has bent the knee to radical leftists, banning more speech despite the pro-life message.”
[…]Minster noted that the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, has described DePaul University as one of the worst schools for free speech in the U.S.
DePaul also has come under fire for going against Catholic values by promoting abortion. Last fall, a Cardinal Newman Society report found that DePaul and a number of other Catholic universities promoted or had connections to the abortion chain Planned Parenthood.
The head of a conservative student organization at DePaul University has been sanctioned by the university and could be expelled after he released the names of vandals who destroyed a pro-life flag display.
Kristopher Del Campo, the chairman of the Young Americans for Freedom chapter, was found guilty by the university on two counts – “Disorderly, Violent, Intimidating or Dangerous Behavior to Self or Others” and “Judicial Process Compliance.”
DePaul University did not return calls seeking comment.
Last January Del Campo and other pro-life students received permission from the university to erect a pro-life display featuring 500 flags. Vandals later destroyed the display – stuffing a number of the flags into trash cans.
The university’s public safety department launched an investigation and eventually identified 13 students who confessed to the crime. Those names were then released by the university to Del Campo.
On Feb. 5 the national Young Americans for Freedom organization posted the names of the vandals on their website. The posting generated negative comments directed at the vandals – and the university held Del Campo responsible.
Three days later, Del Campo was informed that he had violated DePaul’s Code of Student Responsibility. He was formally charged ten days later.
And of course, we have the case at Marquette University, where a professor was suspended for defending a student’s right to disagree with same-sex marriage. He could still lose his job over what he did.