Tag Archives: Pro-Life

A simple case for the pro-life position by Scott Klusendorf

I'm Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this study
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Are you able to make a basic case for the pro-life view?

Here’s a short 38-lecture by Scott Klusendorf, president of the Life Training Institute.

This is a long treatment that talks about the challenge of moral relativism and the case for the pro-life view. He does show a clip of abortion in the video to the audience.

There’s also a 35-minute audio recording of Scott on the LTI web site. (H/T Apologetics 315) You can put that on your podcast player and listen to it. Listen to it a lot and soon you’ll sound like Scott.

Scott also has an article posted on the LTI web site for those who don’t have time for the video or the audio.

In the article makes three points:

  1. Clarify the issue
  2. Defend your pro-life position with science and philosophy
  3. Challenge your listeners to be intellectually honest

Here’s the second point:

Scientifically, we know that from the earliest stages of development, the unborn are distinct, living, and whole human beings. Leading embryology books confirm this.2 For example, Keith L. Moore & T.V.N. Persaud write, “A 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.”3 Prior to his abortion advocacy, former Planned Parenthood President Dr. Alan Guttmacher was perplexed that anyone, much less a medical doctor, would question this. “This all seems so simple and evident that it is difficult to picture a time when it wasn’t part of the common knowledge,” he wrote in his book Life in the Making.4

Philosophically, we can say that embryos are less developed than newborns (or, for that matter, toddlers) but this difference is not morally significant in the way abortion advocates need it to be. Consider the claim that the immediate capacity for self-awareness bestows value on human beings. Notice that this is not an argument, but an arbitrary assertion. Why is some development needed? And why is this particular degree of development (i.e., higher brain function) decisive rather than another? These are questions that abortion advocates do not adequately address.

As Stephen Schwarz points out, there is no morally significant difference between the embryo that you once were and the adult that you are today. Differences of size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency are not relevant such that we can say that you had no rights as an embryo but you do have rights today. Think of the acronym SLED as a helpful reminder of these non-essential differences:5

Size: True, embryos are smaller than newborns and adults, but why is that relevant? Do we really want to say that large people are more human than small ones? Men are generally larger than women, but that doesn’t mean that they deserve more rights. Size doesn’t equal value.

Level of development: True, embryos and fetuses are less developed than the adults they’ll one day become. But again, why is this relevant? Four year-old girls are less developed than 14 year-old ones. Should older children have more rights than their younger siblings? Some people say that self-awareness makes one human. But if that is true, newborns do not qualify as valuable human beings. Six-week old infants lack the immediate capacity for performing human mental functions, as do the reversibly comatose, the sleeping, and those with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Environment: Where you are has no bearing on who you are. Does your value change when you cross the street or roll over in bed? If not, how can a journey of eight inches down the birth-canal suddenly change the essential nature of the unborn from non-human to human? If the unborn are not already human, merely changing their location can’t make them valuable.

Degree of Dependency: If viability makes us human, then all those who depend on insulin or kidney medication are not valuable and we may kill them. Conjoined twins who share blood type and bodily systems also have no right to life.

In short, it’s far more reasonable to argue that although humans differ immensely with respect to talents, accomplishments, and degrees of development, they are nonetheless equal because they share a common human nature.

That’s the core of the basic pro-life case right there. There’s also a good interview of Mr. Klusendorf that I blogged about.

Advanced Objections

You can learn more by reading basic pro-life apologetics… from Francis Beckwith. You might recognize Frank Beckwith as the author of “Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice“. He wrote that book for Cambridge University Press, a top academic press. But before Cambridge University Press, Beckwith wrote easy-to-understand essays for the Christian Research Journal.

Here are four essays that answer common arguments in favor of legalized abortion.

Here’s an excerpt from Part II:

Excerpt:

A woman who becomes pregnant due to an act of either rape or incest is the victim of a horribly violent and morally reprehensible crime. Although pregnancy as a result of either rape or incest is extremely rare, [1] there is no getting around the fact that pregnancy does occur in some instances.

[…]Despite its forceful appeal to our sympathies, there are several problems with this argument. First, it is not relevant to the case for abortion on demand, the position defended by the popular pro-choice movement. This position states that a woman has a right to have an abortion for any reason she prefers during the entire nine months of pregnancy, whether it be for gender-selection, convenience, or rape. [3] To argue for abortion on demand from the hard cases of rape and incest is like trying to argue for the elimination of traffic laws from the fact that one might have to violate some of them in rare circumstances, such as when one’s spouse or child needs to be rushed to the hospital. Proving an exception does not establish a general rule.

[…]Fourth, this argument begs the question by assuming that the unborn is not fully human. For if the unborn is fully human, then we must weigh the relieving of the woman’s mental suffering against the right-to-life of an innocent human being. And homicide of another is never justified to relieve one of emotional distress. Although such a judgment is indeed anguishing, we must not forget that the same innocent unborn entity that the career-oriented woman will abort in order to avoid interference with a job promotion is biologically and morally indistinguishable from the unborn entity that results from an act of rape or incest. And since abortion for career advancement cannot be justified if the unborn entity is fully human, abortion cannot be justified in the cases of rape and incest. In both cases abortion results in the death of an innocent human life. As Dr. Bernard Nathanson has written, “The unwanted pregnancy flows biologically from the sexual act, but not morally from it.” [5]Hence, this argument, like the ones we have already covered in this series, is successful only if the unborn are not fully human.

Scott Klusendorf wrote the The Case for Life, which is the best book for beginners on the pro-life view. For those looking for advanced resources, Francis Beckwith, a professor at Baylor University, published the book Defending Life, with Cambridge University Press, 2007.

I found a very polished hour-long talk by Scott on Viemo. That talk was delivered to students and faculty at Furman University.

Finally, if you want to see Scott Klusendorf in a debate with a former ACLU executive, you can see it right here.

My friend Papa Georgio sent me a post that features THREE talks by Scott Klusendorf. (H/T Religio-Political Talk)

Why does the law say that killing an unborn child is OK, but not a born child?

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

This article from Nancy Flory in The Stream really caused me to stop and think about the plight of unborn children in our age of selfishness.

Nancy starts her piece like this:

As someone who’s faced an unexpected pregnancy — and now has a rambunctious two-year-old — I came across two stories in the last week that stopped me cold. As I explained in an earlier article, I faced uncertainty, financial hardships and downright fear when I discovered I was pregnant. I know what it’s like not to know what the future holds, not to know how I’m going to buy food for my children, to know I’m going to lose my car and go for months without gainful employment, all while unexpectedly pregnant. So I can speak with candor about the two mothers who made headlines this week regarding what they chose to do when faced with an unexpected pregnancy.

I’m just going to quote the second one, you can click through for the first.

She writes:

Emile Weaver — Having Too Much Fun to Stop for Parenthood

An Ohio judge this week sentenced sorority girl Emile Weaver to life in prison without parole for throwing away her newborn baby girl after giving birth in her sorority house’s restroom. The 20-year-old texted her boyfriend following the child’s death, saying, “No more baby,” and “taken care of.”

Prosecutors made the case that Weaver knew all along she wasn’t going to keep the baby and engaged in risky behaviors such as drinking, smoking marijuana and playing in a volleyball tournament while pregnant, reported The Blaze.

Although she apologized during her trial for killing her child and testified that she thought the baby was dead before she put her in the trash, she made legal moves to plead not guilty by reason of insanity and, after the trial, vowed that she would appeal.

The judge did not believe that she was remorseful and handed down the stiff sentence.

Nancy goes on to make the point about abortion. Why is it OK for a woman to kill her unborn child in its 6th, 7th, 8th month of gestation but it suddenly becomes wrong after the child is born? Why is abortion morally right 5 minutes before birth, but morally wrong 5 minutes after birth? What is it that the baby acquires after passing through the birth canal a few inches that gives them the right to life?

Or, isn’t it the case the the location of the child is meaningless, and the child had all the value in the world the moment it was conceived, and a new DNA signature of a human being was created that is distinct from the mother and the father. A new person was made. That new person is not the father, and is not the mother. It’s a new person. And it’s not right to kill innocent people just because the mother wants to have fun and thrills, and escape the responsibility for her actions. That’s really what abortion is – two unmarried people get drunk, have sex for fun and thrills, and then they kill the child because they don’t want their pursuit of fun and thrills to be impacted with expectations, responsibilities or obligations.

This is why I am so suspicious of the women I knew when I was younger who pushed me to have fun, and who hated expectations, responsibilities and obligations. There is a lot of drinking and pleasure-seeking that goes on with young women, and I didn’t want anything to do with it. Fun makes me suspicious. For young people, it seems to go along with playing the victim, avoiding responsibility, and running away from moral obligations. So many young, unmarried women seem to have this desperate desire for fun, thrills and travel. And they are revolted by expectations, responsibilities and moral obligations. Not me – I am deeply suspicious of fun and thrills. It strikes me as childish, and when I read stories about women who have had abortions, I understand what is behind my suspicion.

I’m not killing any unborn children, not for any fun in the world. Not for the best fun the world has to offer. Fun isn’t that important to me, not if I have to break moral laws and even be complicit in murder. No way.

DHS whistleblower: Obama administration not serious about Islamic terrorist threat

Is Barack Obama focused on protecting the American people?
Is Barack Obama focused on protecting the American people?

This PJ Media article is by Debra Heine.

Excerpt:

Philip Haney, the Homeland Security whistleblower whose investigation into Islamic infiltration of the U.S. might have prevented the San Bernardino attack, has written an important op-ed for The Hill, warning of President Obama’s misplaced priorities when it comes to national security. In brief, says Haney, “the Obama administration is more concerned with the rights of non-citizens in known Islamist groups than with the safety and security of the American people.”

There are terrorists in our midst and they arrived here using legal means right under the noses of the federal law enforcement agencies whose mission is to stop them. That is not due to malfeasance or lack of effort on the part of these officers; it is due to the restrictions placed on them by the Obama administration.

Not only did the Obama administration shut down an important investigation that could have connected enough dots to prevent the San Bernardino terrorist attack, they went back and erased the dots Haney was “diligently connecting.” Worse yet, when he complained to the DHS inspector general, the DHS and the Department of Justice subjected him “to a series of investigations and adverse actions, including one by that same inspector general.”

None of them showed any wrongdoing; they seemed aimed at stopping me from blowing the whistle on this problem.

Debra links to Gates of Vienna and quotes them about that:

The “behavioral indicators” listed to help DHS agents identify potential domestic terrorists include carrying around a copy of the Constitution, promoting First and Second Amendment rights, having a Gadsden flag sticker on one’s car, and advocating for a minimal federal government.

[The Obama administration’s approach] is thus designed to serve a dual purpose: (1) to protect Muslim Brotherhood organizations and their operatives who have penetrated federal, state, and local governments, and (2) to help the Obama administration crack down on its real enemies, domestic conservatives who want to re-establish constitutional governance.

Debra wrote a couple of prior articles on this DHS whistleblower, one from 12/14 and one from 12/11.

So is it really true that the Obama administration – in their mad rush to let in hundreds of thousands of immigrants from countries that don’t like Western civilization very much – is not serious about keeping terrorists out?

Remember the recent San Bernadino attack?

CBS News reported that 5 different Obama administration agencies failed to detect one of the San Bernadino terrorists:

Tashfeen Malik arrived in the United States with her fiance Syed Farook in July 2014. Just two months earlier, her U.S. government background check found no suspected ties to terrorism.

She was granted a K-1 visa, even though the FBI now believes she was radicalized before she met Farook.

The State Department says Malik was thoroughly questioned during an interview at the U.S. embassy in Pakistan.

[…]Five U.S. agencies also vetted her, checking her fingerprints against two databases. Neither her name nor image showed up on a U.S. terror watch list.

It seems to me our national security agencies have been indoctrinated by their Democrat leaders to target conservative taxpayers instead of radicalized Islamists. And in fact we have evidence of that, reported in the Washington Times way back in 2009:

The Department of Homeland Security is warning law enforcement officials about a rise in “rightwing extremist activity,” saying the economic recession, the election of America’s first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans could swell the ranks of white-power militias.

A footnote attached to the report by the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines “rightwing extremism in the United States” as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority.

“It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration,” the warning says.

[…]The nine-page document was sent to police and sheriff’s departments across the United States on April 7 under the headline, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.”

It says the federal government “will be working with its state and local partners over the next several months” to gather information on “rightwing extremist activity in the United States.”

The joint federal-state activities will have “a particular emphasis” on the causes of “rightwing extremist radicalization.”

The attacks by radical Islamic terrorists are happening because the Obama administration has taken their eyes off the threat from radical Islam, and has instead focused on YOU – the Christian conservative taxpayer who disagrees with abortion and gay marriage and big government socialism. You are the enemy they are watching. That’s why the attacks that actually happen catch them by surprise.

We have terrorist attacks like San Bernadino and Orlando because the government we elected is led by moral relativists – secularist leftists who deny the reality of objective morality.  Their primary objective is not to protect the taxpayers who pay their salaries and pensions. Their primary objective is to praise moral evil, and shame moral goodness. That’s why they have nothing to say about the danger of radical Islam, and instead prefer to talk about expressing peaceful disagreement to their desire to redefine marriage. We are being governed by atheistic sociopaths who cannot reason about morality. And we elected them.

Related posts

If unborn babies don’t have consciousness or don’t feel pain, may we kill them?

Unborn baby scheming about pro-life apologetics
Unborn baby scheming about pro-life apologetics

Was having a conversation by e-mail yesterday with a pro-abortion atheist, and he gave two reasons why he supported abortion in the first and second trimester. First, he said that unborn babies can’t feel pain, so it’s OK to kill them. Second, he said that unborn babies don’t have consciousness, so it’s OK to kill them. I thought it might be useful to link to something that answers both of these objections.

Frank Beckwith is the author of “Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice“. He wrote that book for Cambridge University Press, a top academic press. But before Cambridge University Press, Beckwith wrote four easy-to-understand essays for the Christian Research Journal. Part IV is the one that has the response to the two questions raised by my atheist friend.

Part I. The Appeal to Pity

Part II. Arguments from Pity, Tolerance, and Ad Hominem

Part III. Is The Unborn Human Less Than Human?

Part IV. When Does a Human Become a Person?

Excerpt:

Some ethicists argue that the unborn becomes fully human sometime after brain development has begun, when it becomes sentient: capable of experiencing sensations such as pain. The reason for choosing sentience as the criterion is that a being that cannot experience anything (i.e., a presentient unborn entity) cannot be harmed. Of course, if this position is correct, then the unborn becomes fully human probably during the second trimester and at least by the third trimester. Therefore, one does not violate anyone’s rights when one aborts a nonsentient unborn entity. [13]

There are several problems with this argument. First, it confuses harm with hurt and the experience of harm with the reality of harm. [14] One can be harmed without experiencing the hurt that sometimes follows from that harm, and which we often mistake for the harm itself. For example, a temporarily comatose person who is suffocated to death “experiences no harm,” but he is nevertheless harmed. Hence, one does not have to experience harm, which is sometimes manifested in hurt, in order to be truly harmed.

Second, if sentience is the criterion of full humanness, then the reversibly comatose, the momentarily unconscious, and the sleeping would all have to be declared nonpersons. Like the presentient unborn, these individuals are all at the moment nonsentient though they have the natural inherent capacity to be sentient. Yet to countenance their executions would be morally reprehensible. Therefore, one cannot countenance the execution of some unborn entities simply because they are not currently sentient.

Someone may reply that while these objections make important points, there is a problem of false analogy in the second objection: the reversibly comatose, the momentarily unconscious, and the sleeping once functioned as sentient beings, though they are now in a temporary state of nonsentience. The presentient unborn, on the other hand, were never sentient. Hence, one is fully human if one was sentient “in the past” and will probably become sentient again in the future, but this cannot be said of the presentient unborn.

There are at least three problems with this response. First, to claim that a person can be sentient, become nonsentient, and then return to sentience is to assume there is some underlying personal unity to this individual that enables us to say that the person who has returned to sentience is the same person who was sentient prior to becoming nonsentient. But this would mean that sentience is not a necessary condition for personhood. (Neither is it a sufficient condition, for that matter, since nonhuman animals are sentient.) Consequently, it does not make sense to say that a person comes into existence when sentience arises, but it does make sense to say that a fully human entity is a person who has the natural inherent capacity to give rise to sentience. A presentient unborn human entity does have this capacity. Therefore, an ordinary unborn human entity is a person, and hence, fully human.

Second, Ray points out that this attempt to exclude many of the unborn from the class of the fully human is “ad hoc and counterintuitive.” He asks us to “consider the treatment of comatose patients. We would not discriminate against one merely for rarely or never having been sentient in the past while another otherwise comparable patient had been sentient….In such cases, potential counts for everything.” [15]

Third, why should sentience “in the past” be the decisive factor in deciding whether an entity is fully human when the presentient human being “is one with a natural, inherent capacity for performing personal acts?” [16] Since we have already seen that one does not have to experience harm in order to be harmed, it seems more consistent with our moral sensibilities to assert that what makes it wrong to kill the reversibly comatose, the sleeping, the momentarily unconscious, and the presentient unborn is that they all possess the natural inherent capacity to perform personal acts. And what makes it morally right to kill plants and to pull the plug on the respirator-dependent brain dead, who were sentient “in the past,” is that their deaths cannot deprive them of their natural inherent capacity to function as persons, since they do not possess such a capacity.

These four essays are a very good introduction to common responses to pro-abortion arguments. I recommend that people get familiar with this, as once you look into it, you will see that the abortion issue can be debated with as much confidence as William Lane Craig defends Christian theism. You will have the same access to scientific evidence and rational arguments on this topic, and so you will have the upper hand. And that’s fun.

The best introductory book on the abortion / right to life issue is “The Case for Life” by pro-life debater Scott Klusendorf. The best comprehensive book is a tie between “The Ethics of Abortion” by Christopher Kaczor, and Frank Beckwith’s “Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice“.

Pro-abortion students shout abuse at black pro-life speaker at Harvard University

More than 160 students attended a Harvard University forum featuring Ryan Bomberger
More than 160 students attended a Harvard University forum featuring Ryan Bomberger

Bound 4 Life reports on a recent pro-life event at Harvard University, of all places.

It says:

On Tuesday, Ryan Bomberger of The Radiance Foundation addressed a student forum at Harvard University, a 90-minute discussion on abortion in the black community that turned hostile when students began shouting and walking out during the Q & A portion.

In an event co-sponsored by Law Students for Life and Harvard Black Law Students Association, Bomberger spoke opposite Professor Diane Rosenfeld, lecturer and director of the Gender Violence Program at Harvard Law School. As students filed in, the auditorium at the historic Austin Hall neared capacity.

This is pretty cool:

A black man who recently won a lawsuit brought against him and his wife by the NAACP, Bomberger explains that abortion in the black community is a personal issue for him. “I was once considered black and unwanted. It was very hard, at the time I was born, to place black children for adoption; so few families were available, because they used same-race criteria.”

He continues, “Today, abortion has a hugely disproportionate impact on the black community. Part of addressing this is dispelling the myth that black children are less than others. Regardless of pigmentation or any other traits, injustice should be a concern to everyone.”

To be clear: being pro-abortion means being in favor of aborting children who have an unwanted race, or an unwanted sex. And don’t kid yourself, pro-abortion people – that happens a lot, according to a recent study. Every pro-abortion student who attended the event was in favor of aborting babies who are the “wrong color” or the “wrong sex”. Abortion means a woman’s right to choose to abort her offspring, through all 9 months of pregnancy, for any reason, or for no reason at all. The pro-abortion position ignores the rights of the innocent baby, who did nothing wrong to be put in this position.

Ryan faced a lot of opposition from pro-abortion students:

Multiple sources confirm that, once the forum opened for questions following opening remarks, students repeatedly addressed Bomberger using profanity. The New Boston Post noted the event shifted to a “confrontational tone.”

Chrystal Benedict, who attended the event after a friend invited her, was disappointed many students refused to hear differing opinions. “I was surprised that what was meant to be a ‘safe space for students to hear different perspectives’ wasn’t that at all. If you disagreed with the pro-choice opinion, you had to prepare for a verbal attack of outrage.”

When Bomberger began to respond to a question but was continually interrupted, he asked, “Do you want to hear my answer?” The interrupting student replied, “No! No, I don’t want to hear your answer.”

Caleb Wolanek, Harvard J.D. candidate and Vice President of Law Students for Life, noted that Bomberger addressed students with respect despite not always being given the same courtesy. “Even when asked difficult questions, Ryan gave thoughtful, well-researched responses.”

And:

[…][A] visibly angry student representing Reproductive Justice confronted the guest speaker. “The language you use is so offensive—for instance, we are not pro-abortion,” she said. “So you’re not for abortion?” Bomberger asked.

The student retorted: “That’s not what pro-abortion means; it implies we want everyone to have an abortion, when in fact we are pro-choice.” Bomberger replied, “Language matters. It defines situations and brings clarity. Pro-choice doesn’t bring any clarity to what you’re talking about, while pro-abortion does because you are advocating for the legal right to abortion.”

“It’s about as ridiculous as saying, those who were pro-slavery were pro-jobs,” Bomberger continued, as his detractors responded with outrage. He raised his voice to be heard above the uproar: “I’m applying your same logic! Pro-jobs is nebulous and it doesn’t mean anything. How is it any different?” The student walked out of the forum with two other Reproductive Justice activists.

Bomberger commented later on the incident, “They couldn’t say anything. These Harvard Law School students couldn’t respond at all.”

That’s what students are taught at Harvard University, and nearly every university – the pro-abortion view, and how to scream insults and walk out if the pro-life view is presented. And where do they learn this intolerance? Why, from their pro-abortion professors, of course.

The Washington Times noted that the white feminist professor dismissed his concerns about abortion disproportionately affecting black children, and even suggested that Bomberger himself should have been aborted because he was conceived in rape:

One might think an invocation of Martin Luther King Jr. commonplace at an event titled “Abortion in Black Communities,” but not Harvard Law School professor Diane L. Rosenfeld, who is white.

The gender-violence professor mocked her debate adversary, pro-life leader Ryan Bomberger, who is black, when he showed video clips of the civil rights leader and cited statistics showing disproportionate rates of abortions in black communities.

[…]When Mr. Bomberger, who was conceived by rape, shared his personal story, he said Ms. Rosenfeld continued to harp on the rape scenario to defend abortion rights.

“What happens if one of his victims, after she got raped, got pregnant?” Ms. Rosenfeld said at the event. “First, there’s the lack of choice of who has access to your body — and then what to do about that horrible consequence.”

According to her, Bomberger should just be killed, because he is not a person, he’s just a “horrible consequence”. To say that to a person – that they should have been aborted… you would have to be some sort of sociopath, I guess. Her attitude towards the black victims of abortion seems to be very similar to what white slaver owners must have thought of their slaves. And indeed, the same arguments that were used by whites to justify slavery are now brought forth to justify abortion: “They’re not persons, they have no rights, they’re just my property”.

People need to realize that sexual autonomy has to be voluntarily controlled and restrained, because of the harm that it can potentially do to unborn children. I’m sure that people who have recreational sex have just as much fun doing it as people who get drunk and then drive, but someone has to make laws based on the rights of the victims. Not every choice is moral. We can do better than selfishness. We can do better than abortion.

You can watch a clip of Ryan making his case here.