Tag Archives: Pro-Life

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.

Mississippi Republican governor signs ban on dismemberment abortions

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

Great news from Life News about another pro-life measure signed into law by a Republican governor.

Excerpt:

Mississippi is the latest state to approve legislation that would ban dismemberment abortions tearing unborn babies limb from limb. Today, pro-life Governor Phil Bryant signed the bill into law.

House Bill 519 authored by Rep. Sam Mims, R-McComb had overwhelming support in the legislature passing the House on a vote of 85-32 and in the Senate 40-6.

Dismemberment abortion, performed on a fully-formed, living unborn baby, is a barbaric and dangerous procedure in which the unborn child is literally ripped apart in the womb and pulled out in pieces. The law embodies model legislation from the National Right to Life Committee that would ban “dismemberment abortion,” using forceps, clamps, scissors or similar instruments on a living unborn baby to remove him or her from the womb in pieces. Such instruments are used in dilation and evacuation procedures.

[…]“Dismemberment abortion kills a baby by tearing her apart limb from limb,” said National Right to Life Director of State Legislation Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D. “Before the first trimester ends, the unborn child has a beating heart, brain waves, and every organ system in place. Dismemberment abortions occur after the baby has reached these milestones.”

[…]“When abortion textbooks describe in cold, explicit detail exactly how to kill a human being by ripping off arms and legs piece by piece, civilized members of society have no choice but to stand up and demand a change,” added Spaulding Balch. “When you think it can’t be uglier, the abortion industry continues to shock with violent methods of abortion.”

I read a couple of mainstream news articles (e.g. – ABC News) about this story, and they basically read like they were written by Planned Parenthood. Everything about the woman, and nothing about the unborn baby. So, I always end up linking to Life News instead of the mainstream media, at least there, they talk about the issue considering the unborn child and the mother.

I don’t think that it’s normal or natural to be tearing unborn humans up with instruments because we don’t want responsibility for our actions. If you consent the the actions that result in conception, you have to take responsibility for what you’ve done. You can’t commit murder in order to get out of it. You have to think of that unborn person above yourself. Our laws should protect that unborn person, and Mississippi did the right thing.

Planned Parenthood declares Ted Cruz top threat to their abortion business

Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood
Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood

Here is a story that Jay Richards tweeted from Life News.

Excerpt:

The Planned Parenthood abortion business is emailing its members warning that Ted Cruz is the biggest pro-life threat the abortion business faces from the Republican presidential candidates.

In the email seeking funds for its political campaign supporting Hillary Clinton, Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood, says “every Republican candidate for president this year would be a complete disaster” but explains “Cruz could very well be the biggest threat we face.”

Laguesns says Cruz would be the biggest threat to the abortion corporation because “unlike Trump and Kasich, who are more or less in line with the Republican Party’s already terrible positions on reproductive rights, Cruz takes things much, much further.”

“And he has the fan base to prove it. About 50% of Trump’s and Kasich’s supporters think abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, but a whopping 73% of Cruz’s supporters want to ban abortion in all or most cases,” the Planned Parenthood VP complains.

Laguesns gripes that Cruz “consistently says he will open an investigation into Planned Parenthood on his first day in office. But maybe that’s less surprising when you see some of the people who have endorsed him — people like Troy Newman, the notorious anti-abortion extremist.”

She says Cruz has “a real shot at the nomination and the presidency” and then makes up a false attack saying, “We can’t let anyone near the White House who would force a woman to carry a dangerous or unwanted pregnancy.”

Ted Cruz continues to stake out a pro-life position on the issue of abortion in cases of rape.In a new interview, the pro-life Texas senator said he doesn’t think it’s fair to “blame the child” who is conceived in rape.

Interesting. One thing you can say about Planned Parenthood – they are not swayed by charisma or rhetoric. They’ve taken a good hard look at Cruz’s record and the views of the people who support him, and they’ve decided that he is the most pro-life of all the candidates running. This is their business, and they are calling out the biggest threat to their business to their donors.

But’s not just the pro-abortion side that sees Cruz as the most solid on social issues – it’s the pro-life side, too.

Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz appear on Fox News with Sean Hannity
Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz appear on Fox News with Sean Hannity

Consider this story from Life News about an upcoming primary state – Oregon:

The leading pro-life group in Oregon today issued its endorsement for pro-life Republican candidate Ted Cruz for President. Oregon Right to Life says Cruz has a sterling pro-life record that it described as “impeccable.”

“ORTL PAC is pleased to endorse Senator Cruz,” said Gayle Atteberry, executive director of ORTL. “His record on pro-life issues is impeccable. We can trust that as president, he will do all he can to protect unborn babies. That includes the all-important decisions he would make in nominating new Supreme Court justices.

“Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders,” said Atteberry, “support abortion on demand, from conception to birth, as well as continued taxpayer funding of abortion and Planned Parenthood.”

Atteberry told LifeNews that the stakes in Oregon’s primary election are higher than usual as every delegate counts in the battle for the Republican nomination. She said “Oregon Right to Life PAC encourages pro-life voters across Oregon to vote early for Ted Cruz to ensure that Oregon plays its part in electing a pro-life president.”

In fact, Cruz has a 100% pro-life voting record during his tenure in the Senate.

When it comes to the issue of abortion, Cruz has compiled a 100% pro-life voting record during his tenure in the Senate. On 16 total votes on pro-life issues taken while has has served in the Senate, Cruz voted pro-life every single time.

The votes tallied by the national Right to Life Committee include multiple votes supporting a bill to de-fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business over the years, votes to repeal or de-fund Obamacare, which uses taxpayer funds to pay for abortions as well as votes to protect the conscience rights of pro-life Americans.

The tally of 8 votes below does not include two additional votes in August and September to end debate and stop the Democrats’ filibuster of  measure that would de-fund Planned Parenthood. The August and September votes Cruz cast to defund Planned Parenthood brings the total tally to 10 pro-life votes cast during his Senate tenure.

If protecting the unborn is an important issue to you, there is one candidate still running who will move the ball forward for you. That man is Ted Cruz.

Related posts

Scott Klusendorf defends the pro-life view on the Unbelievable radio show

I'm Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve of incrementalism
I’m Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve of this debate

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.

MP3 of this show:

http://cdnapi.kaltura.com/p/618072/sp/61807200/playManifest/entryId/1_ggc953xi/flavorId/1_vto2eisb/protocol/http/format/url/a.mp3?clientTag=feed:1_jlj47tkv

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. 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.