Author’s Note: Every summer at Summit Ministries (see www.Summit.org) I give a speech that goes by the same title as this column. It is meant to equip young pro-life students with proper rebuttals to pro-abortion choice arguments. I have been asked to reprint the speech in my column (in condensed form). I am doing so in two parts. I hope you find this – the first of two installments – both beneficial and informative.
Whenever I find myself in an extended argument about abortion I find that there are about six arguments I can expect to encounter before the argument has come to term, so to speak. But, fortunately, the six arguments all suffer from one fatal flaw, which makes them somewhat easy to rebut as long as the proponent of life stays focused on the central moral question of the abortion debate, which is “Are the unborn human?”
I’ve listed the six arguments – in no particular order of importance – along with specific common-sense rebuttals to each. I hope they will be helpful to those who wish to defend the weakest among us (the unborn person) against those who wish to deny their humanity (the already born who cannot be aborted).
1. “It’s my body, my choice”. This argument is extremely easy to dismantle because the unborn baby has its own distinct genetic code that is generating growth from conception. Not only is there unique DNA but in 100% of abortions the baby already has a detectable heartbeat. Doctors will not even perform abortions until six or seven weeks into the pregnancy – in order to protect the health of the mother. The doctor wants to be able to account for and remove all of the baby’s body parts. If some small portion of the baby remains in the mother it could cause a deadly infection. The irony is lost among most of these so-called health care professionals.
So the woman who says “my body, my choice” is in the absurd position of arguing that she has two noses, four legs, two brains, two skeletal systems, and on average one testicle and half a penis. This kind of absurdity requires no further elaboration. It is nothing more than feminist foot stomping to assert the “my body, my choice” argument. In fact, it is unbecoming of anyone above the age of two who is similarly inclined to argue “my toy, my toy.”
2. “Back alley abortions will increase if abortion is illegal.” This argument simply assumes, like the first, that the unborn are not persons. If they were not then the abortion choice advocate would be in the awkward position of arguing that someone has a right to commit murder in a safe and sterile environment. This hardly survives the straight-face test. But if, for some reason, your opponent can’t see its absurdity tell him the following: I’m planning to rob the Wells Fargo Bank across the street but there is fungus all over the sidewalk. I’m afraid I might slip and fall during my escape. Could you call them and tell them to power-wash the sidewalk some time before I commit the robbery? And hurry up. I need the cash!
They may try to lie at this point and say that when abortion was illegal 10,000 women died per year using coat-hangers on themselves in back alleys. But those numbers are both false and irrelevant. Within a few years after abortion rights were constitutionalized the number of annual abortions went up at least six fold – and that is a very conservative estimate. That means over a million more babies were killed per year within just a few years after Roe v. Wade (compared with pre-Roe numbers). The fact that they were killed in a sterile, well-lighted environment did not make them any less dead. Please review argument #1.
3. “It is wrong to force a woman to bring an unwanted baby into the world.” Put simply, there is no such thing as an “unwanted baby.” If a baby is unwanted by its mother there is always, and I mean always, someone else who would want to adopt the baby. People cannot easily adopt in the country because so many children are unnecessarily aborted. But there is something even more sick and twisted about the “unwanted baby” excuse; namely that it insinuates that abortion prevents child abuse. But we have already established that abortion is child abuse. Please review argument #1 before reading further.
The very idea that we would murder children to prevent child abuse, which usually takes the form of simple battery, elevates intellectual laziness to a Zen art. It is the intellectual equivalent of promoting arson in order to prevent burglary. It is true that burglary will go down when we burn down everyone’s house but by now you get the point. And hopefully the pro-abortion choice advocate gets the point, too.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that abortion has not been an effective means of stopping child abuse (even if we exclude abortions). In 1973, there were 167,000 reported instances of child abuse. By 1982, reported instances of child abuse rose to 929,000. That is an increase of over 500 percent in less than a decade. When will so-called liberals take responsibility for this unmitigated disaster?
4. “It is wrong for a woman to be forced to bring a handicapped baby into the world.” It is frequently suggested that abortion is morally permissible when doctors discover, prior to birth, that a baby suffers from certain physical handicaps – such as Down’s syndrome or cerebral palsy. My response usually goes something like this:
“I agree that there are far too many handicapped people in the world. Every summer I take busloads of people who are wheelchair-bound on a trip to the Grand Canyon. We enjoy the view for a few minutes before I roll them off the edge of the Canyon. They are usually dead long before they hit the bottom. That is a good thing for them and for society as a whole. It is better to be dead than to be handicapped. Their lives are not worth living whether they realize it or not”
This provokes a strong reaction – as it should. After all, I am accusing the abortion choice advocate of gross insensitivity. That is usually when they argue that they are not killing a handicapped person but rather preventing a handicapped person from ever being born. Please review argument #1. Your opponent is trapped once again.
The last time I gave this speech at Summit Ministries a handsome, intelligent, and athletic 6’2 African American student approached me and said the following: “I was misdiagnosed with cerebral palsy before I was born. The doctors were wrong. I am so glad my mother had me. Thank you for your speech.”
To be continued …