Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Abortion Debate (Part 4)

Remember that the abortionists do not want a debate on the sanctity of life, because they know society in general (thankfully) still puts great value to all human life; they would lose. So they borrow from the “gay rights” groups’ playbook and try to steer the discussion toward human rights. But we cannot allow their sneaky tactics to change the venue. The debate is really about what a fetus is. If they can prove that a fetus is NOT human, then clearly a mother’s right trumps any rights it might be otherwise entitled to. But they will avoid that debate at all costs and simply make the implicit or explicit assertion that a fetus is merely a mass of cells, not much different from a tumor.

Trot Out the Toddler

Mr. Klusendorf proposes a very effective approach to putting the focus back on the sanctity of life. He calls it “Trot out the toddler.” When someone argues with you that reason X justifies an abortion, you ask, “If it was a two-year-old, would it still be reasonable to have it killed?”

One common justification for abortion is in the case of rape. No doubt, rape is a heinous crime that violates a woman’s body, her individual rights, and maybe even her very humanity. Her choice was taken from her, and if it results in pregnancy, it might be tempting to redeem some of that lost choice by choosing to abort the unborn child. What’s more, even if she does decide to have the baby, it will serve as a constant reminder of her harrowing ordeal and the man who violated her. Surely, the woman’s mental well-being is enough of a reason here to justify abortion.

So, let’s trot out the toddler. Say, for whatever reason, she carries the baby to term and then realizes that the mental anguish is too much to bear. Is there anyone on this planet who would agree that she has the right to end its life, after it was already born?

The question is not whether it would be illegal, under criminal or civil laws, (it obviously is, in the entire civilized world) but rather if it would be moral and ethical. Remember that most (if not all) laws originate from the lawmakers’ moral and ethical values. The morality debates on issues like abortion and same-sex “marriage” drive the laws of the land.

We will trot out the toddler again, in the next (and last!) post.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Abortion Debate (Part 3)


Aside from merely being alive, many additional requirements are often made, to declare one a human. After all, a liver cell has all the DNA of the full human being, but it is not itself human, nor will it ever be, even if it is perfectly alive and growing. Indeed, there is a cornucopia of criteria we generally use, to declare a lifeform as “human”. Let’s pick four essential characteristics (out of the many), that science believes are unique to humans, and show that there are easily humans that do not have any of these, and yet we would be hard-pressed to find anyone who would not call them “human”.

Human beings have (1) distinctive facial features, (2) walk upright, (3) possess a consciousness, and (4) have an intellect far above any other known creature. Now, suppose we see a “person” sleeping in a hospital bed, whose face is severely burned, has had the legs amputated at the waist, and suffers from severe brain damage. And yet, we would still call this person “human”, because he possessed all four required qualities at some time (he will even regain one, consciousness, as soon as he awakes) and still possesses countless other characteristics that unquestioningly categorize him as human. In fact, one may argue that a perfectly healthy fetus is more human than the tragically injured being on that hospital bed.

So, where can you draw the line and say that beyond a certain point, any living thing (even a deformed fetus), whose DNA is decidedly human, is NOT a human being?


Many who support abortion argue that an early-term fetus is not human, because it cannot survive outside the womb at all, or would at least require medical support. They argue that since it is dependent on its maternal host, it does not meet the necessary requirement. This argument falls flat on its face rather quickly. Can a newborn survive on its own? It is entirely dependent on others, for its food, warmth, and security. Or what about people on dialysis, oxygen, or insulin? Or those with pacemakers or transplanted organs? Are any of them any less human, for requiring medical assistance, in order to live? To take the argument to its extreme, the entire human race resides in a planetary womb, outside of which we cannot survive, at least not without serious astronaut gear. So you see, we all require favorable environmental conditions (some more than others), in order to thrive.

To be continued...

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Abortion Debate (Part 2)

To show that a fetus is indeed just as human as a newborn or toddler, we can apply several criteria. These arguments are only a summary, but are enough to demonstrate this point, in most casual debates.


Genetically, from the very first, single-celled zygote, the fetus possesses the same DNA sequence as it would for the rest of its existence. Furthermore, it is a biological fact that the offspring of species X can only be of the same species. A pair of humans cannot produce a cat, zebra, quail, or anything other than a human being. Therefore, every fetus is genetically a human being.


Humans come in all sizes. Would we ever consider a person “more human” than another, just because he’s bigger than the other? Even more importantly, were you any less human as a newborn, than you are now, as an adult? So if a person’s “degree of humanity” does not scale with size, then it makes no sense to define an arbitrary size threshold, below which we declare a fetus “non-human”. In fact, if we (morbidly) decrease my size by lopping off parts, I retain my humanity, as long as I am still alive. Likewise, a fetus, no matter how undeveloped, is arguably still human, as long there is life in it. Ick… moving on….

By the way, the picture above was taken last month and shows the current Guinness World's Shortest Man (about 2 feet tall), standing next to the World's Tallest Man (about 8 feet tall).


Abortion proponents often argue that as long as the unborn fetus is inside the womb, it is part of the mother’s body and not an independent human being. However, we can make a strong case against this reasoning, by considering whether the location of a given mass (alive or not) affects its fundamental state. A few seconds of thought reveals the fallacy of the “still in the womb” argument. You are no less a human being, wherever you go, as long as you are alive. A paper clip is still a paper clip, no matter where it travels. Of course, if you toss it into molten lava, it will melt, but that’s because something else in that location (not the physical coordinates themselves) acts upon it, to change its state. The mother’s body does nothing harmful to the fetus; quite to the contrary, it provides nourishment and warmth, so that it can grow, as it was meant to.

To add another supportive truth, our courts will try murders of pregnant women as double-homicides. But if just the smaller of the two is killed in a medical facility, it’s called a "choice".

To be continued…

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Abortion Debate (Part 1)

For the past year’s Bible study, we’ve been watching a series of videos from Summit Ministries, on defending our faith and understanding the major types of worldviews that are out there. The series is part of a curriculum that is based on David Noebel’s book: Understanding the Times. I highly recommend it.

As part of this, we recently watched a presentation on abortion, by bio-ethicist Scott Klusendorf. Although abortion is one of the hot-button issues of our age (right up there with same-sex "marriage" and euthanasia), I’ve generally had little interest in thinking and debating about it. In fact, the only time I ever did, was when I got into it with a family member, while my wife was pregnant with our son.

From my understanding, the correct Christian viewpoint should be that life begins at conception, and abortion at any stage of pregnancy is the same as murder. But as defenders of the faith and of the unborn, we should educate ourselves to best defend our position against the “pro-choice” movement.

This is what the goal of this series shall be, and I will borrow a lot of the arguments that Mr. Klusendorf put forth, which all depend on simple logic. Although Scott is a Christian, he feels that logic is much more effective against atheists and lukewarm “Christians”. And I believe he’s right. We serve a logical and reasonable God, who put the universe in motion, to follow certain rules. We need to have confidence that logic and science, even philosophy and psychology, ultimately lead back to Him.

What’s the Real Issue?

Think about the main arguments that the two sides are making. “Pro-lifers” state with vigor that abortion is murder, because a fetus, at any stage, is a human being. “Pro-choice” groups argue that the real issue is a woman’s rights over her own body. In fact, the names “pro-life” and “pro-choice” are very appropriate, when you think about it.

But abortion is NOT a human rights issue. When you analyze the worldviews professed by both sides, it all boils down to one question: “What is the unborn?” Pretty much everyone agrees that human life is sacred and that it’s wrong to ever end it, except maybe in extreme circumstances. People who are against abortion believe that a human fetus is a human being, whose life is just as sacred as yours and mine. Therefore, abortion is tantamount to murder and should be illegal. Abortion supporters, on the other hand, fundamentally believe that either the fetus is not fully human until a certain point in its development, or that a woman’s rights trump that of the fetus.

With Mr. Klusendorf’s help, we will prove that (1) a fetus is human from conception, and that (2) the mother has no ethical right to end its life.

To be continued...

The picture above was taken from a fetal development slideshow at It shows a 16-week-old fetus. "The fetus now measures about 4.3 to 4.6 inches and weighs about 2.8 ounces. The baby's eyes can blink and the heart and blood vessels are fully formed. The baby's fingers and toes should have fingerprints."