be clear: What is killed in an abortion? Learn how to clarify the issue
Choice, privacy, reproductive freedom. Bodily autonomy. Rape, incest.
Teen pregnancy, economic hardship. Back-alley abortions.
Overpopulation. Crime and child abuse.
These are some of the things people talk about when they discuss the
ethics of abortion. But none of them is relevant to deciding whether
abortion is morally right or wrong. Author and speaker Greg Koukl uses
a helpful illustration.
"Imagine that your child walks up when your back is turned and asks,
'Daddy [or Mommy], can I kill this?' What is the first thing you must
find out before you can answer him? You can never answer the question
'Can I kill this?' unless you've answered a prior question: What is it?
[A cockroach? Sure. His baby sister? Hold on a minute!] This is the key
"Abortion involves killing and discarding something that's alive,"
Koukl continues. "Whether it's right or not to take the life of any
living thing depends entirely upon what it is."
…The real issue is the moral status of the unborn entity who is killed
by abortion. Is the unborn a human being (a scientific question)? If
so, how should we treat him or her (a moral question)?
The pro-life argument, in brief, runs as follows. From conception the
unborn is a distinct, living and whole (though immature) human
organism--a member of the species Homo sapiens at a very early stage of
his or her development. We know this from the science of embryology.
Morally, no relevant difference exists between human beings before and
after birth. Unborn humans differ from older humans (like newborns) in
size, level of development, location and degree of dependency, but none
of those differences are significant in a way that would justify
killing the former.
Rather, human beings have moral value and a right to life by virtue of
the kind of thing they are, not because of acquired characteristics or
abilities that some human beings have and others do not, and which we
may gain or lose throughout our lifetimes.
It follows that all human beings, including the unborn, are equal in
having basic dignity and a right not to be unjustly killed. So elective
abortion is wrong.
How do pro-choice advocates respond? Usually with the kind of
question-begging rhetoric discussed above. Always clarify the
issue--the moral status of the unborn--and use science and simple moral
reasoning (above) to point them to the truth: Abortion unjustly takes
the lives of innocent human beings, and it should not be permitted.
Editor's note. The previous are excerpts from an article that appeared
in the December 2010 issue of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life
National Right to Life
Publish Date: December 21, 2010
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is the largest
grassroots pro-life organization in
Illinois. A non-profit organization, that serves as the state
coordinating body for local pro-life chapters representing thousands of
Illinois citizens working to restore respect for all human life in our
society. The IFRL is composed of people of different political
persuasions, various faiths and diverse economic, social and ethnic
backgrounds. Since 1973 the Illinois Federation for Right to Life has
been working to end abortion
and restore legal protection to those members of the
human family who are threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia.
Diverse though we are, we hold one common belief - that
every human being has an inalienable right to life
that is precious and must be protected. IFRL is
dedicated to restoring the right to life to the unborn, and protection
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