“Mom, I really shouldn't have to pick up the Play-Doh. You’re the one who took it out of the container.” -Riverlyn, age 4
Considering that we have all held nonsensical discussions with children—or tense debates with adults—we have probably all found ourselves faced with the same type of flawed logic Riverlyn uses here. But do we ever consider that we might occasionally be the ones making the bad argument?
There are countless bulletproof arguments for the pro-life side (e.g., basic science, ethics, etc.). However, the pro-life movement is only as strong as our weakest talking point because, sometimes, that’s the only one someone hears. That's why even our weakest arguments need to be worthy of the debate club.
Following are some examples of anti-abortion logic that might sound good at first pass, but can’t withstand a little probing and should therefore probably not have a place in our debate arsenal.
“You might be aborting the next Einstein/Beethoven/Nightingale.”
True, they might be aborting a great physicist/musician/nurse. But what if they aren’t? What if their child ends up being “average”? Or worse, a criminal?
Considering that world-renowned geniuses and humanitarians are rare, the odds are not on the side of giving birth to one.
Fortunately for those of us who will probably never win a Nobel Prize (or even so much as a science fair ribbon), our basic worth and rights as humans are not dependent on any specific traits or accomplishments. And if we tie human value to those things, we are actually guilty of the same flawed logic that abortion advocates use: that some human lives are inherently more valuable than others.
“You have to suffer the consequences of your choices.”
Yes, one valid argument against abortion is that it takes the consequences from the adults— whose behavior directly caused the pregnancy—and places them on an innocent child. The problem stems from the unfair punishment of an innocent human being, not the unfair lack of punishment of the adults. Taken to its logical conclusion, this argument implies that 1) pro-lifers would, if given the chance, enact some sort of punishment on all people who were sexually active, and 2) that pregnancy (and the actual baby) would be that punishment.
This phrase evokes memories of President Obama’s justification of abortion, in which he rationalized that he would not want his “precious” daughters “punished with a baby.” Again, when we use this argument, we are guilty of the same bad logic abortion advocates use.
“My religion says abortion is wrong.”
This argument only has merit if we are having the abortion discussion with members of the same religious sect to which we belong. And no matter what sect that is, we are statistically guaranteed to be in the minority on the planet, so we should certainly not count on other people agreeing on religious grounds. When we use religion as reasoning, we are unnecessarily alienating everyone with different beliefs.
A Rule of Thumb
A quote that is (maybe inaccurately) often attributed to Einstein states,
“If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
In other words, we should be able to pare our arguments down to the most basic explanations, or we might not understand our own position as well as we think we do. And if we don’t understand it ourselves, how can we expect anyone else to agree with us?
Regardless of who is responsible for this quote, its logic is sound. And again, that is all that matters, because you don't have to be Einstein for your sound logic—or your life—to have intrinsic value.
Pro-Life Utah doesn't just teach people about how and why to be pro-life; we give financial aid, counseling, other assistance to women in crisis pregnancies and families suffering from abortion. If you need help, please see the services we offer. Or, if you are in a position to help, please consider making a donation.