Because I teach law courses, I am forced to illustrate points by using hypotheticals, which I must often think up on the spur of the moment. In the middle of our discussion of dependency and personhood, I asked the young women to consider the following hypothetical:
I am a member of a gang that has just decided to retaliate against a rival gang for a drug-related murder. While driving by the home of the rival gang member, I fire ten shots into what I thought was his bedroom window. Unfortunately, I was wrong. The room housed two of his siblings. Consequently, the bullets struck and killed both of his twin sisters. How many counts of murder should I face in court?
Without hesitation, the pro-choice woman said “That’s easy. Two.” Then I asked her the $64,000 question: “Would it change your answer if they were Siamese twins?” Without hesitation, she replied, “Of course not.” Checkmate.
I followed up by reminding her that the twins were not only physically connected to one another but also dependent on one another for survival. If depending on another for survival does, in fact, undermine personhood then I was responsible for zero, as opposed to two, counts of murder. In other words, the dependency argument that gives license to kill unborn babies also gives license to kill Siamese twins. And that is no mark of compassion.
Shortly after we ended the conversation, the woman stood up and thanked me for talking to her. When she stood, I noticed a bulge around her waistline. About a minute later, her pro-life friend approached me and thanked me, too. It was then that I learned she was five months pregnant. In other words, as she was making the dependency argument she was carrying a baby that was not “viable.”
Ideas have consequences so we must be prepared to answer them with both logic and evidence. The stakes are always high. Abortion season lasts twelve months out of every year.