This Simple Question Will Make Anti-Abortion Activists Squirm

Science fiction writer Patrick S. Tomlinson recently posed a rather interesting question, over multiple tweets, aimed at people who are against abortion.

In short: Given the choice, would you rather save 1,000 embryos or a five-year-old child?






It’s a thought experiment, so you don’t get to change the scenario. You have to pick one or the other.

That’s what makes it an interesting question. If you believe life begins at conception, and you believe women shouldn’t be allowed to have legal abortions because it’s the equivalent of murder, then this question shouldn’t give you even a moment’s pause. It’s the first part of the Trolley problem taken to an extreme, and it shouldn’t be complicated.

It’s not complicated for me. I would save the random five-year-old. Because embryos aren’t babies. Easy.

But how could anyone justify letting the kid die?

It reminds me of a question that often makes evangelical Christians squirm: “Is Anne Frank burning in Hell?”

If they really believe that accepting Christ is the only path to salvation, then the answer is yes. But even they recognize the cruelty of saying a girl who suffered through the Holocaust is facing another, eternal torture at the hands of their Lord.

Those with pro-life convictions should at least have the decency to be honest and say they’d let the child die. Even if it makes them look like monsters. Hell, they already sound cruel when they argue that rape victims should be forced to give birth to their attackers’ babies, and that legal methods of abortion should be shut down (even if that leads to an increase in unsafe back-alley abortions), and that birth control shouldn’t be made more accessible to all women (even if that puts more women in awful predicaments).

I know most readers of this site share my pro-choice views, but I’m genuinely curious if anyone can explain how saving the 1,000 embryos could be a valid option without coming off as an awful person. Can you play Devil’s advocate?

Is there a “pro-life” response to this question that makes any sense?

(via Raw Story)

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