Answering a Poor Pro-Abortion Choice Argument

Recently I was engaged in a discussion about abortion.  My contention was that abortion is murder and that we should do what is necessary to protect the lives of innocent child in the womb.1 The pro-abortion choice individual I was discussing the matter with stated that I had no right to stick my nose into other people's business and asked me how many children I had personally adopted.2  Thus implying that if I wasn't planning on adopting numerous children, I had no right to speak against them being murdered in the womb.  Even if you only know a little bit about logical argumentation, you will recognize that this is, as the late Christopher Hitchens would say, "a complete non-sequitur."  In other words, the conclusion does not follow from the premise as the following illustration I believe will demonstrate:

Imagine that you live in a small suburban neighborhood.  Your next door neighbor is a dear friend of the family and has grown very old.  His daughter Dana comes over each day and takes care of him. Without her help, he surely would not be able to live on his own.  He is dependent upon her.

One morning, you get a call from Dana saying that her brother Donald has decided that because their Dad is dependent upon their care to live, his life should be terminated so that they will not be inconvenienced by him any longer and can collect the money from his estate. While you are on the phone you look out the window and see Donald pull up into your elderly neighbor's driveway.  You notice that he is wearing gloves and has one hand in his pocket.  Further, he is looking around suspiciously.  What should you do?  I would argue that with the information you have, it would be your moral obligation to stop Donald from entering the house and at the very least question him. If he were to confirm, in his angry, exasperated state, that he was planning to kill his father, it seems obvious that you should do everything in your power to stop him.  How silly would it be for someone at this point to suggest, "You shouldn't stop Donald from killing his dad unless you are going to take care of his dad!"  Obviously, no one would think to say such a thing because life is valuable and should be preserved whenever possible.

In the same way, one does not have to agree to adopt an unwanted child before they speak out against them being murdered. Some are not able to adopt, but there are numerous ways to help children who need homes.

In conclusion, it simply does not follow that one cannot speak out against the murder of the unborn until they have committed to adopting children themselves.

Courage and Godspeed,

1. As Alan Shlemon explains here, regardless of the embryo's size, level of development, environment and degree of dependency, "there is no morally significant difference between the embryo that you once were and the adult that you are today."
2. I have a best friend who recently adopted a boy from Ethiopia and my wife and I helped both financially and with fund raising.  Further, we have discussed adopting ourselves in the future but currently are unable to do so for a few reasons.
3. This would be the equivalent of saying that no one had the right to speak out against the holocaust unless they were planning on taking care of a Jewish person themselves.  Perhaps they were unable, but it was still right to speak and act in favor of the Jews.


Well at least you got to win the argument when you told the story later.
StardustyPsyche said…
The core issue is the humanity or non-humanity of a particular fetus on the particular day it is aborted.

The abortion method, your willingness to adopt other children, who the father is, how the woman got pregnant, what the woman wants to do with her life, and other such issues are irrelevant.

You have failed to establish that life begins at conception. I say life begins when brain function begins, as we say life ends when brain function ends.
Chase said…
Stardusty Psyche,

Welcome to the blog!

You stated the following:

You have failed to establish that life begins at conception. I say life begins when brain function begins, as we say life ends when brain function ends.

I am curious, are you saying that prior to the rise of brain function the embryo is both not human and dead?

Anonymous said…
I see....because there isn't any brain function embryos are dead. I don't believe that is what star dusky is saying. Just wondering, because on a biological level....there's quite a few cells that are creating tissue which will in turn be manipulated by genetic code to turn into a human, to cut a long story short. I wonder if the scientists who are looking for "life" on other planets realize that if what star dusky is saying is true, their efforts have been in vain.
Anonymous said…
My simple thought is this.....Human life ends when the heart stops beating, and therefore, I believe human life should begin when the heart starts to beat. I've heard that is within the first month of conception. Thanks for your consideration.