© Katrina Brown – Fotolia.com
By Contributing Writer, Stephani
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. -Proverbs 31:26
A month ago I reluctantly parted with the majestic mountains of Manitou Springs, Colorado to return to my home state of Minnesota. Tucked into the side of one Colorado mountain, a fascinating old hotel has been converted into Summit Ministries’ biblical worldview training center. For 14 days I joined 180 other young adults for incredible lectures by Christian professors on current cultural issues. One topic addressed was abortion.
After listening to lectures by Scott Klusendorf, a pro-life author and speaker, I realized that defending babies’ right to life in a logical, scientific, and philosophical way is not as complex as abortion-advocates would like us to think.
Defending Babies – Ask Questions with Wisdom
Abortion is one of the biggest moral questions of this Western generation. Though it is an incredibly grievous act, it continues to destroy millions of lives each year in the name of “women’s rights.”
To engage in defending babies, do we need to be professional scientists, theologians, or philosophers? NO!
Science, Scripture, philosophy, and logic are on the side of LIFE. Yet, should we expect all pro-lifers to be experts in these fields before actively defending the unborn’s right to life? Have you ever felt paralyzed to say or do something because you felt the need to have all the right answers first?
Trying to memorize every stage of development, know the best scientific evidence, and argue with perfect philosophy can be an overwhelming, daunting task. What if one of the keys to defending babies is found in ASKING questions instead of just ANSWERING them?
Below are three tactics for asking good questions in the abortion debate. The conversation techniques described below are based on Scott Klusendorf’s lectures and writings. Learn more at Life Training Institute.
1. Begging the Question – Defending Babies by Challenging Assumptions
When someone argues that it is the right of a woman to choose abortion, their argument is often based on the assumption that the unborn are not human. This assumption is not argued, it is merely assumed in their arguments. Begging the question is a term used to identify this type of logical fallacy.
Example: Begging the Question Conversation
Abortion advocate – “This woman has the right to decide whether to abort or not. It is her body.”
The statement begs a question. The one who made this statement is assuming that only one body is involved. Because this assumption has not been argued and proven in the discussion, a clarifying question should be asked:
Pro-life advocate – “I agree that this woman has personal rights, however what about the unborn within her? What rights does he/she have?”
Abortion advocate – “A fetus is different and doesn’t have rights.”
Pro-life advocate – “Before we talk about whether this woman has a right to abort or not, we need to answer this question first – Is the unborn human? If not, she has every right to abort. In that case, abortion is no different than having a tooth pulled. However if the unborn is human, her right to life must be held equal to the unborn child’s right to life. In that case, abortion is murder.”
Instead of giving abortion advocates a free ride when they sneak assumptions into their statements, address them. Ask a few questions. Expose the root of their argument.
2. Identify the Irrelevant – Defending Babies with the SLED Argument
At this point in the discussion the abortion advocate may suggest one of four reasons that they believe the unborn are not human. These can easily be remembered by the acronym SLED.
- Level of development
- Degree of dependency
Don’t fear! These are irrelevant arguments. Begin asking questions:
- Size – Do we have a greater responsibility to protect adults more than children merely because adults are larger than children?
- Level of development – Should the oldest child in a family be considered more human than the youngest because they are more developed?
- Environment – Are people who live in the rain forest more valuable than people who live in the dessert simply because of their environment?
- Degree of dependency – If someone needs glasses to see clearly or an inhaler to counteract asthma attacks does that make him/her less human because he/she has a greater degree of dependency?
All of these arguments are irrelevant when answering the question, “Is the unborn human?” Ask questions to expose their illogical foundation.
3. Defending Babies With the Question: At What Point Does a Fetus Become Human?
Some will argue that because there is not a general consensus on whether a fetus is a human or not we should allow women the option of elective abortions because there is no known marker for determining personhood.
Abortion advocate – “In the medical world there is no consensus on whether the fetus inside a woman’s womb is really a human.”
Pro-life advocate – “You’re right. There is a lot of debate over that question. At what point do you think a fetus becomes human?”
Abortion advocate may give any number of answers – “No one knows for certain… Probably at X number of weeks gestation… At birth… I don’t know….”
Pro-life advocate – “If you were driving home late one night and saw the outline of what looked to be either a man or a coat laying on the road, would you drive over it? Its appearance is similar to the shape of a man, but you aren’t sure. What would you do?”
Abortion advocate – “Obviously I would try to avoid it because it might be a person.”
Pro-life advocate – “If you are not sure when a fetus becomes a human, shouldn’t you take precautions all along the way to avoid harming it because it might be a person?”
Life Training Institute
You get the idea. Ask good questions! By winsomely exposing errors in logic, you are allowing others to come to logical conclusions without hammering it into their heads. They may not agree with you, but they can see the problems and inconsistencies of their position.
Scott Klusendorf has a wealth of information on this issue on his website. If you are interested in delving into further study and compelling questions, I would encourage you to visit Scott Klusendorf’s webpage.
Defending Babies by Loving Women Well
Now that we have a few tools in our hands, should we rush out and debate every woman considering abortion using merely intellect and logic?
The Proverbs 31 woman opens her mouth with wisdom and kindness. We have an incredible opportunity to speak the truth, but will it profit at all if it is not spoken in love and kindness?
For example: A woman finds herself face to face with an unplanned pregnancy. Whether it is because of convenience, rape, significant financial burdens, etc. the woman begins to consider having an abortion.
As believers we’re called to grieve with those who grieve. What an opportunity to come alongside of a woman like this and bear her burdens, sympathize, and support her through this difficult time. Yet, beware – Christian sympathy and love should never justify sin.
Feeling sympathy should not leave room to redefine moral rightness. -Scott Klusendorf
This can be really difficult when a woman sees no other way to go on with life unless her pregnancy is terminated. Godly love sometimes hurts – for a season. Are we truly loving women if we silently stand by while they choose abortion? Later when they understand and feel the significant horror and distress of abortion, will our silence prove to have been loving?
Defending Babies Through Save the Storks
Save the Storks bus ministry understands the tension between love, truth, and unplanned pregnancies. That is one reason they began their bus ministry. Through it they are lovingly showing women the truth:
Save The Storks is a grassroots, pro-life non-profit with the mission of saving these endangered creatures [unborn children] and the precious cargo they carry. We seek to empower every abortion-minded mother to choose life and to share with them the good news of Jesus.
Using mobile ultrasound units equipped with a state-of-the-art sonogram machine and the ability to provide pregnancy tests, we are able to meet with abortion-minded mothers right at the door of an abortion clinic to show them an image of their child. The majority of the women we come in contact with are not fully convinced that abortion is the best option, but instead feel as if it is their only option…
…Few things in life are more satisfying than empowering women to overcome difficult circumstances. And how, here’s an encouraging statistic for you:
- Approximately 3 out of 5 women we see choose life
Our vision is to save millions of mothers from the pain of abortion. People who are pro-choice won’t talk about the trauma most women go through after having an abortion, the deep emotional pain that can last a lifetime, or the physical dangers of having an abortion. We want to make sure women know all of their options and give them the resources and support they need to choose life. -Save The Storks
Defending Babies with Wisdom and Kindness
Whether we are scientists, philosophers, theologians or not, the way we prepare to share truth with others has the potential to make an eternal difference in the lives of the unborn.
Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute.
Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. -Proverbs 31:8, 9