Written in February 2019.
The goal in any debate with a humanist is to tear down the intellectual facade they’ve constructed to hide from God’s truth. In the case of the abortionist, we want to continually force the issue of whether mothers can choose to kill their unborn children. Once that point is conceded, we emphasize the absurdity of this egotistical position.
I am defining “abortion” as the termination of a pregnancy by intentionally killing the fetus. An “abortionist” is obviously a proponent of abortion. Do not accept any definition of abortion that fails to mention the intentional killing of the fetus, otherwise induced labor and C-sections count as abortions. The term “pro-choice” is fine to describe abortionists, but in this context I prefer a more precise term. Likewise, the term “pro-life” is fine to describe anti-abortionists.
Abortionists come in two varieties: those who defend abortion-on-demand up to a certain point and those who defend abortion only under unfortunate circumstances (life of the mother is at risk, rape, incest, baby has Down’s Syndrome, etc). Only the “life of the mother” argument will be considered here since the others are so overtly hateful and egotistical.
Baby or Fetus?
I don’t have a strong opinion on whether anti-abortionists should use the term “fetus”, which is Latin for “offspring”. Certainly abortionists prefer the term because it is perceived by many as more impersonal than “baby”. I still prefer to use the term “baby”, which is also an accurate medical term but one that abortionists have difficulty hiding behind in their attempts to discuss abortion in sterile terms.
If the abortionist balks at my use of “baby”, I ask them why. If they say the fetus technically only refers to the ninth week of human prenatal development, I ask them if they are only defending abortion if it occurs in the embryonic stage.
- If they say yes, ask them if they are actively opposing abortionists who defend abortion in the fetal stage. If they say no, point out the inconsistency of this position. If they say yes, the debate turns to whether an embryo has intrinsic value.
- If they say no, continue pressing them on why the term makes them uncomfortable: “It sounds you do believe that abortion kills a human, you just don’t want to be reminded of this.” Again, we’re trying to get the abortionist to confess their egotism.
Life of the Mother
Pro-abortionists love to remind everyone that abortion is “sometimes necessary to save the life of the mother” in their defense of abortion-on-demand. This fails for two reasons:
- Its a red herring; the pro-abortionist isn’t interested in ONLY legalizing abortion in this scenario. I immediately ask them, “So you’re only defending abortion when the mother’s life is at risk?” They will respond in the negative, in which case I say, “Then why are you bringing it up? I want to hear your defense of the majority of cases, not the rare cases.”
- The argument equivocates over the word “abortion”. In the case of aborting only for the mother’s health, abortion is defined as “intentionally terminating the pregnancy before viability to preserve the life of the mother”. In all other cases, abortion is defined as “intentionally killing the embryo or fetus”. The two are not morally equivalent; although an embryo or fetus might die when it is birthed prematurely, if the mother’s intent was not to kill then it is not murder. To prevent abortionists from using this bait-and-switch tactic, we have a few options available to us:
- Keep using the term abortion for both, but make sure both sides understand that they have different meanings in different scenarios. One is morally defensible and the other is not. (I find this option confusing, since the definition is so closely tied to abortion-on-demand.)
- Use adjectives before the word ‘abortion’. Medical versus non-medical, non-elective versus elective, etc. Whatever term is used, it must be clearly defined, because we already have examples (e.g., New York) of abortionists defining “mother’s health” so vaguely that she need only say she is stressed by life circumstances to get the green light.
- Use an entirely different term for abortion to preserve the mother’s life, such as “delivery” or “birthed”. We already use the term delivery when speaking of birthing babies that die in utero. At the very least, this term should be used to describe third trimester scenarios, as Omar L. Hamada, OB/GYN does: “There’s not a single fetal or maternal condition that requires third trimester abortion. Not one. Delivery, yes. Abortion, no.”
Our Bodies, My Choice
Eventually the debate is going to move to the topic of whether unborn humans have intrinsic value. If the abortionist is honest they will simply say that regardless of whether the baby has intrinsic value, they still have the right to kill it. More on this later. The most common smokescreen to avoid addressing matter of rights is to claim that the fetus is part of the mother’s body and therefore the mother aborting it is morally indistinguishable from cutting one’s hair or removing a tumor. This position is easy to reduce to absurdity. You can ask any number of questions:
- Does a pregnant woman have two heads, four lungs, and twenty fingers? Why is she only able to use one set of them?
- Why does it have a distinct set of DNA?
- Why does the pregnant mother’s immune system weaken during pregnancy so as not to reject the fetus?
- Why can the mother not feel pain being inflicted upon the fetus?
It would seem that the simplest solution is that the fetus is, in fact, a distinct body belonging to a distinct person. As Laura Klassen puts it, “A body inside my body.” Consequently, when a woman chooses to abort, she makes a choice for not one person but two people.
She’s the Boss
If the abortionist is still being dishonest about whether the fetus is a distinct person, don’t keep listening to their vain rhetoric. Tell them, “Enough’s enough. I wish all abortionists were honest like Mary Elizabeth Williams.” Who is Mary Elizabeth Williams and why I do think an abortionist like herself is a great ally of the anti-abortion movement? Because she is willing to say what all abortionists ought to say but are afraid to:
Here’s the complicated reality in which we live: All life is not equal. That’s a difficult thing for liberals like me to talk about, lest we wind up looking like death-panel-loving, kill-your-grandma-and-your-precious-baby storm troopers. Yet a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. Always.Mary Elizabeth Williams
This is just one excerpt from her amazing Salon article, that I insist that you read in its entirety multiple times. Force the question in the face of every abortionist: will you not be honest like Mary? After all, abortionists love to talk about their rights (i.e., their right to “health care”). When they do, you must ask them this: your right to what? Because if that “what” is anything other than “kill my child”, they’re lying to themselves and their lie need to be exposed. They need to be honest like Mary: their right is the right to kill a person in their care.
You Will Be Like God
Once the Mary hidden in every abortionists heart is exposed, we need only demand that the abortionist justify this idea that they have the right to choose whether their child lives or dies. Where did this moral authority come from? They have no answer that doesn’t ultimately point back to themselves. If they’re honest the’ll admit that their system of morality is a mound of assertions. If they have any wisdom in them they’ll close their mouths at this point less they simply keep digging themselves an even deeper hole. Regardless, at some point you simply proclaim the truth they already knew but worked so valiantly to hide from: God is the authority and they are in rebellion against him.
In the Garden of Eden we see the first sin, which contains the same desire as all sin: the desire to be like God. In few sins, however, is this desire more overt than the sin of abortion. God alone has the right to choose when one’s life ends, which is why killing is a sin except in a few divinely ordained judicial situations (Romans 13). Abortion is an act of the ego, worship of self, and that is why the institution of abortion is such a sacred cow in many humanist circles. The power to choose to kill even the most innocent and vulnerable members of society, one entirely entrusted to your care, is the pinnacle of egotism.