I remember watching the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in 2012 when the then-President of the NARAL Pro-Choice America, Nancy Keenan, gave a short speech (below) endorsing President Obama for reelection because she believes Obama is “a president who believes in a woman’s right to make her own decisions.” Keenan enthusiastically insists that “women in America cannot trust Mitt Romney…and we cannot trust Mitt Romney to respect our rights” while trying to convince her audience that Romney would “overturn Roe v. Wade and sign into law a wave of outrageous restrictions on a woman’s ability to make decisions about her pregnancy. Mitt Romney would take away our power to make decisions about our lives and our futures.” As President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, she would be in an ideal position to authoritatively declare that “the Democratic Party believes that women have the right to choose a safe, legal abortion with dignity and privacy.” Keenan received a glowing response from the hippy-dippy crowd but I was saddened by how precious little these people cared about intellectual substance and integrity rather than about rhetoric and wasteful political posturing.
There are many reasons pro-choice people use to justify the intentional ending of an unborn human life. After hearing Nancy Keenan, I wanted to explore what the NARAL Pro-Choice America specifically states about abortion and a possible philosophical and/or scientific justification for taking an unborn human life, or even if they took the time to clearly define a human life in the philosophical or scientific sense in order to validate or elaborate on their position from a moral perspective. It did not take long before I found what they have defined as ‘The Problem’ and ‘The Solution’. They defined ‘The Problem’ as “Anti-choice people want to outlaw abortion, regardless of the woman’s situation. They will stop at nothing to make it harder for women to access abortion. They even target the doctors who provide abortion care.” They define ‘The Solution’ as “We will always have to fight to keep abortion safe and legal. This means defeating attacks in Congress and in the states. We also believe in reducing the need for abortion. This means we support improving access to birth control and teaching young people comprehensive sex education.”
The NARAL Pro-Choice America pointedly identified their objective as fighting “anti-choice people” but they provided an embarrassingly inadequate explanation as to why they endorse the act of abortion. Under “The Problem” category, they accused ‘anti-choice’ people of passing legislation that would make it harder for abortions to be conducted, setting up crisis pregnancy centers, and the spreading scientific ‘misinformation’ about how abortions do not cause mental illness and breast cancer. This is the sad sum of their justification for abortion, and this is the same pro-choice organization that the DNC elected to represent their entire political party during the 2012 convention to be their pro-choice voice.
The sad irony is never lost on me when I hear their grievances about how their ‘rights’ are being violated and their ‘choices’ are being undermined by the ‘anti-choice people’ while simultaneously promoting the termination of rights and choices of millions of innocent unborn human lives. I’d support their objective if their goal didn’t inherently require the termination of an innocent human’s God-given right to life. This is the real question at hand; why do pro-choice organizations, like NARAL Pro-Choice America, assume that the unborn human does not have the right to life?
The SLED Acronym
There are so many helpful resources that can help assist in better understanding pro-life (or ‘anti-choice’ depending on one’s perspective) matters. In my quest for understanding, I found none to be more influential than Scott Klusendorf of Life Training Institute. He has taught me and thousands of others a practical acronym for memorizing how to construct the strongest pro-life case possible along with using the acronym to respond to potential pro-choice objections to the pro-life case while establishing the fact that the unborn are indeed human and they are as intrinsically valuable as the humans who have already been born. The acronym is SLED and I’ve laid it out below:
Size – From a tiny embryo to 9 months to a toddler to an adult, does size really matter? Most NBA players are larger than the average human; does that mean that they’re more valuable? Clearly, size does not play a role in how we value humanity. Given this fact, size should not play a role when assessing the value of an unborn human in virtue of being small in size.
Level of development – Again, from the earliest stages of development to 9 months to a toddler and beyond, does the level of development really matter? My level of development is much more advanced than that of my children. Is my human value greater than the human value of my children because I’m further developed than they are? What about those who are developmentally challenged or disabled, such as individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or Down’s syndrome? Just as in these previous examples, neither should an arbitrary standard of value be set for the unborn because they are not advanced insofar as their development is concerned.
Environment – Does your geographical location determine your value? Am I more valuable when I’m sitting on my recliner at home or at my desk in my office? In the same way, does the unborn human lack value in virtue of being located within the womb of its mother? Does an unborn baby suddenly gain human value by making the trip down the birth canal? These examples clearly illustrate the environment is not what endows value upon any human.
Degree of Dependency – Is a person on life support without human value because he’s entirely dependent on medical devices for his life? What about someone who’s dependent on insulin or dialysis to remain alive? Like these examples illustrate, the unborn life that’s dependent on the mother for survival is as valuable as a human who is not dependent on anyone or anything for sustained life.
The Pro-Choice Talking Points
It’s important to see if any of the primary reasons cited for the justification of an abortion are persuasive and legitimate if one is going to be an objective and critical thinker. There are five reasons that are typically cited among the pro-choice crowd that I’ll address in detail below:
Rape – Assume someone kidnapped your daughter (assuming you have one), raped her, and forced her to have his child. After delivering the baby, she and the baby escaped from the kidnapper. Would anyone suggest that she kill the baby because it was conceived in rape? No. Why? You wouldn’t kill a human baby. The baby is not morally responsible for the despicable actions of his rapist father. With the same mindset, what justification is there for killing the unborn human child because of the evil actions of the rapist father? After all, if unborn life is human with the same intrinsic value as humans who have already been born, why would killing an unborn human be justified regardless of how the unborn child was conceived? Also, who wins when one fights evil with evil? A more logical approach would be to bring justice to the rapist father rather than kill the innocent human life which resulted from the evil act of the wrongdoer.
Economic – I have children of my own and they are tremendously expensive. From my own life experience, most parents do not seriously entertain the notion of killing their children because they’re expensive. While it may sound like I’m trivializing their economic concerns, the tragic fact is that people legitimately abort unborn babies because of economic reasons. If you were to kill your three year old child because you couldn’t pay the bills, you would be thrown in jail for the rest of your life or rightfully suffer the death penalty. However, if you abort your unborn child because of the same economic concerns it is perfectly legal. This is a huge philosophical contradiction when the government legalizes the killing of an unborn child in one instance but it considers it illegal under the same circumstance once the child is out of the womb.
Disability – On a recent podcast of ‘Unbelievable?’, pro-life advocate James Mumford and pro-choice advocate Ann Furedi debated the topic ‘abortion and disability’, which was largely fueled by the following Tweet by Richard Dawkins…
In basic summary, Mumford rightly outlined that the deformity and/or disability of any unborn child is not what determines the worth of the child and its right to life while Furedi argued that a woman’s personal choice supersedes the right to life of the unborn child regardless of the circumstance because the unborn child is being housed within the mother (more on personal autonomy below). For Dawkins and people that hold the same view who easily disregard the value of a disabled unborn child in virtue of it being disabled are overlooking the fact that they do not extend the same logic to disabled people who have already been born. Mumford correctly points out that medical testing that has been developed to detect spina bifida or Down’s syndrome is ‘prejudicial towards disabled people’ because it was designed for the sole purpose of identifying a specific group of people for execution because of a certain physical attributes. These physical attributes of unborn children, while defective in nature, do not remove the humanity from the unborn baby, thus providing no legitimate justification for an abortion.
Convenience – The raw reality is that there are certain types of inconveniences associated with parenthood. You can’t freely go on vacations to every destination, go on a relaxing date with your spouse without finding a sitter, put the kids to bed without them suddenly feeling thirsty for an hour and a half, sleep in without hearing breaking noises coming from the kitchen, etc… Imagine if I told my children that I don’t want them any longer because of these inconveniences and now I’m going to send them on a one-way trip to ‘meet Jesus.’ I hope my parody of this pro-choice excuse illustrates how nonsensical it really is.
Personal autonomy – I fully support personal autonomy to make one’s own choices however abortion isn’t a choice that only affects one’s own person autonomy. It affects the equal autonomy of two separate individuals. For example, if you found out that your neighbor was abusing her toddler within the confines of her own home, would her argument of personal autonomy validly apply because she has the right to make the personal private autonomous decision to abuse her own child? No, choices that vitally affect the rights of others are no longer entitled to autonomy or privacy.
Organizations that advance the pro-choice agenda, such as NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Democratic Party, which was defined by the NARAL Pro-Choice America as being the political party that supports “the right to choose a safe, legal abortion with dignity and privacy,” grossly obstruct and mislead the culture’s perception of the way life, unborn and born, is valued. Politics, particularly the far Left of the Democratic Party, has played a large role in the desensitization of abortion’s evil reality. So many pro-choice advocates feel shielded by their easy pro-choice bumper sticker arguments that hide them from the gruesome reality of what abortion really is. Below is a video (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT) that shows footage of abortions that many people have never seen or want to live in ignorance of….
Do you think if Nancy Keenan played this video prior to her speech at the DNC in 2012 she would have received such an enthusiastic embrace from those in attendance? Maybe she would…but maybe wouldn’t have. The sad reality is that many people are in the dark about the grim reality of what abortion really is. It is a killing of a human life, which is vividly illustrated in this video.
God has gifted every human, born and unborn, with life. God choose humans to bear His image (Genesis 1:27). Jesus was born as a baby and lived the life of a simple carpenter for a period of time. We’re called not to murderously take the life of another (Exodus 20:13) and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31). As Christians, we need to be capable of intelligibly articulating the cogent case for life. While many people have done their part in helping persuade individuals of the pro-life case, much work still needs to be done. If this work had started earlier with greater fervor among a larger group of people maybe we could have mitigated the amount of tragic deaths among the unborn. To date in America, there have been over 57,000,000 abortions since Roe vs. Wade in 1973. To put that in perspective, that is the combined total populations of the west coast states of California, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Use these facts to fuel your desire to help save an unborn child. Most of all, pray for the unborn and born lives of the past, present, and future that may encounter this tragic situation and that Christians can be their voice in this fight for the right to life.