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How can we bring clarity to people who believe that moral truth cannot be known? To people who believe that abortion is not a moral dilemma, but simply an issue of personal preference? Or to people who think that humans have no value, except for how they function?
These two questions: How do we bring moral truth to those who think there can’t be moral truth?; and how do we reach people who think that human value is strictly instrumental? These two questions are pivotal.
There are three other questions that will help in solving these two riddles:
- What is the unborn?
- What makes us valuable as human beings? Are you and I valuable because of what we are intrinsically, or only for what we do functionally?
- What’s the point?
You see, a lot of people will bring up a lot of questions that are not central to the abortion debate. They are actually distractions.
So, let’s start with the question, what is the unborn?
Many people have been told the lie that abortion is a complex issue. It actually isn’t. In fact, morally speaking, abortion comes down to just this one question. Depending on the answer to this question, moral clarity is easily brought to what too many people believe is a complex debate.
Greg Koukl has a great way of illustrating this.
He says, imagine that you are married with a five-year-old son. One day, after supper, you are at the kitchen sink cleaning dishes. At that moment, your son comes up behind you and says the following:
“Daddy (or Mommy)… Can I kill this?”
The first question out of any parent’s mouth after hearing this is isn’t “Why?”, but “What?” What does he have that he wants to kill? If it’s a cockroach or snail… have at it. But if it’s the neighbor’s kitty, Whoa! If it’s his brother that he’s holding by the neck… GET THE BOY COUNSELING, STAT!
You would never say, “Sure, son. Have at it” until after you answered the predicate question of “What does he got?”
This cuts right to the heart of the abortion issue. Can we kill the unborn? The answer is “Yes”… IF.
If the unborn are not human.
If, morally speaking, having an abortion is no different of a “procedure” as clipping a fingernail or getting a haircut, then have as many as you want. But, if it takes the life of a human being without justification, that’s another issue that is altogether different. You’ve got to answer the question “What is the unborn?” before you can answer the question “Can I kill the unborn?”
And that is precisely the question that most people want to run right over.
My friend, Nadine Strossen, and I debated numerous times regarding the alleged right to an abortion. At one of our debates, she opened by making four points:
- Abortion is a fundamental Religious Liberty issue, and the State should not infringe on that fundamental liberty.
- Pro-lifers are free to believe whatever they want, but they are not free to impose their beliefs on others who might disagree.
- In order for there to be equality across all of the society that we live in, the State should fund birth control programs for women, including abortion services, if needed.
- If we find late-term abortion offensive, we nonetheless should trust women to make their own personal decisions and not assume that we know what is best for them.
I then responded in my opening with the following:
“Men and women, I agree with everything my friend, Nadine, just said. She is absolutely right that abortion should remain legal through all nine months of pregnancy. She is absolutely right that there should be no restrictions on it and that pro-lifers like me ought to butt out of this issue. She’s right that we should trust women to make their own personal decisions. She’s right in that we should not have the State interfering in our fundamental, religious liberties, which includes abortion. I agree with my friend, Nadine, completely… IF…”
And by then, all the pro-life people in the audience had passed out.
“IF the unborn are not human.
If Nadine could use science to demonstrate that the unborn are not members of the human family; and philosophy to show us that even if they are, we have no duty to value them – then I’ll concede this debate.
I am more committed to truth than I am ideology.”