I think it is unfortunate that many well-meaning pro-lifers defend their position by leading with the Bible. They attempt to ground their view in the authority of the Bible and expect their opponents to respect that authority because it is the Word of God. While I share their high view of Scripture and its unarguable support for all things pro-life, there are a couple tactical problems with this approach. For one, the Bible doesn’t have much to say about the particulars of abortion itself. Though this “silence” in no way equals consent, it becomes difficult to make the case when you are left having to defend what opponents might call “tangential” evidence that the Bible finds the act of abortion deplorable. You end up in a debate about biblical inerrancy, or the proper translation of some specific word, or the cultural context of a passage — instead of defending the plain facts about the unborn’s value as a full-fledged member of the human family.
Secondly, and for more tactically important reasons, most of those who would justify abortion couldn’t really care less what the Bible says about anything anyway. They dismiss your argument with the wave of a hand and avoid even engaging it because they categorize your position as just another religious claim that has no bearing on reality.
For these reasons it is tactically advisable to first ask the question — “What is the unborn?” — and then offer scientific, philosophical and moral reasoning to answer it. That is what we do at LTI and that is why we do it.
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Season 3, Episode 17 of the popular TV show, “House” ignited quite a discussion among those with wildly differing views on the subject of abortion. As is usually the case, the conversation gets heated, tempers flare, and not much useful comes of it all. I have no desire to enter that debate today. But I would like to register my support for the willingness of the show to tread where most in Hollywood never dare. This episode of House gave a rare positive outlook to the view that abortion is not just about a woman’s right to choose. It is about the status of the unborn and whether or not we recognize it for what it is, not just for what it can do or how it affects the mother’s life.
Let me reiterate that a reasoned pro-life position acknowledges and supports a “woman’s right to choose.” As my friend Scott Klusendorf says, I think a woman should be able to choose her husband, her job, her religion … anything she wants … unless that choice involves an immoral outcome such as one that ends with taking the life of another innocent person. The abortion question is not about a woman’s ability to choose, or about her privacy. It is about whether the unborn child in her womb is a human being. If it is not, abortion requires no justification. If it is, there is no possible way to condone it.
That said, this episode of “House” included the usual debate about how to prioritize whose life to save in the event the mother’s life is in danger. In this particular episode, the dilemma that arose was how to save a dying, pregnant mother whose baby was labeled “not viable.” Of course, the mother had been impregnated by the donated sperm of a homosexual co-worker. Though this fact played absolutely no part in the plot, it was jammed into the story for reasons only Hollywood could explain. But I digress…
There were several medical and moral issues involved in the story, especially after it was discovered that the baby was the source of the mother’s rapidly deteriorating condition. Once that fact came to light, House’s response was immediate and unrelenting: “Terminate the pregnancy to save the mother.”
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