How to Argue Against Abortion

Tim

Stratton

(The FreeThinking Theist)

|

September 15, 2016

Did you know that one of the four horsemen of “new atheism” was pro-life and against abortion? That’s right, the late Christopher Hitchens opposed abortion for logical and scientific reasons. I recently shared a video on social media where Hitchens and other academic atheists made the case as to why abortion is murder.

It did not take long for a good friend of mine (who happens to be an atheist and a biologist) to send me his response as a pro-choice advocate. He stated the following:

“What needs to be addressed is whether or not abortion is murder, or whether it inflicts suffering or pain on a human being. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) has published definitive papers demonstrating that a fetus can not feel any pain before the third trimester. In fact, they do not have a functioning cognitive capacity to even understand what pain is. So, any abortion before the third trimester inflicts absolutely no pain on anything that could be called a human. It it tantamount to saying that masturbation is genocide, because millions of sperm containing haploid DNA that could become humans are extinguished.

Saying that abortion is different begs the question, at which point? When the sperm join the egg? All that involves is the joining of haploid DNA to produce a cell that is fully capable of reproduction in a specific pattern that creates a human. Using this definition, killing skin cells is the same as murder, as they have the same amount of DNA and the same potential.

If you get down to it, the true argument is about what it means to be human. I think it has been shown rather conclusively that our consciousness is what makes us human. It allows us to feel pain, joy, ambition, and every other emotion intrinsic to the human experience. If it is clear that abortion before the third trimester only removes tissue capable of developing into a conscious being, you are only removing tissue.

The problem is that this is a complicated topic that requires a rudimentary understanding of biology, and so many are woefully uneducated on this topic, rendering their opinions nothing more than a knee jerk reaction that has no bearing on reality.

— JJ

My Response

JJ, based on your comments, it does not seem as if you watched the video. It had nothing to do with Christianity, but was focused on atheists who have realized abortion is murder based on logic, critical thinking, and science itself. The video even included the late Christopher Hitchens, who was known as one of the “Four Horsemen of atheism.” While it is easy to make a case as to why the Bible is reliable and then to make a case from the Bible as to why abortion is murder, I will only utilize logic, science, and history to make my case in this response (note: logic, science, and history will all affirm the Bible gets this right)!

You stated:

 //What needs to be addressed is whether or not abortion is murder, or whether it inflicts suffering or pain on a human being.//

Whoa! Hold your horses, JJ! You just committed a logical fallacy by offering a blatant red herring by sneaking in your “or comment.” The first part of your sentence above is correct, but your red herring “or comment” is utterly irrelevant to this conversation. After all, if a human being is murdered without feeling any pain, it is still murder. With that in mind, let’s look at your next statement which follows from your irrelevant red herring:

// JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) has published definitive papers demonstrating that a fetus can not feel any pain before the third trimester. In fact, they do not have a functioning cognitive capacity to even understand what pain is. So, any abortion before the third trimester inflicts absolutely no pain on anything that could be called a human.//

This paragraph is not only irrelevant, your last half of the last sentence above is false. It is irrelevant because we are discussing MURDER, not if one feels pain while being murdered. Your statement is false, because science and logic alone let us know that the pre-born baby possesses all of the properties essential to be “called human” (as you stated). I will address this below. Consider this logically valid syllogism:

1- Intentionally killing an innocent human being is a moral wrong.
2- Elective abortion is the intentional killing of an innocent human being.
3- Therefore, elective abortion is a moral wrong.

So, the question is raised, is the pre-born a human being? Yes it is; I will demonstrate this below.

//It it tantamount to saying that masturbation is genocide, because millions of sperm containing haploid DNA that could become humans are extinguished.//

JJ, you are making some gross philosophical errors which I can easily demonstrate. I would encourage you to study the philosophy of substances and properties to get you started. The substance (sperm) you refer to (on its own) does not possess the *property* of being or becoming human on its own. With your so-called, “logic,” one could say that a murder of a single twenty-year-old male was also mass murder, because he had the potential of procreating in the future and rearing several children.

//Saying that abortion is different begs the question, at which point? When the sperm join the egg?//

JJ, “begging the question” is a logical fallacy which is a form of reasoning in a circle. Is that what you are referring to? If so, what circular reasoning is going on here by Christopher Hitchens and the other atheists in the video? They offered arguments leading to logical conclusions; I did not see any question-begging regarding abortion by these atheists in the OP.

However, as these atheists in the video will tell you, when the sperm joins the egg everything changes. We can demonstrate this scientifically; that all pre-born children share four common characteristics:

COMPLETE. From the moment of fertilization the pre-born child is complete. All the information that needs to be there is there. It simply needs time to grow.

UNIQUE. The scientific evidence of DNA proves that the pre-born child is unique and genetically distinct from his or her mother. The pre-born child is not a part of the mother (like an appendix or the “skin cells” you refer to), but a unique entity inside his or her mother.

LIVING. The laws of biology tell us that the pre-born child is alive because it is growing, developing, and undergoing metabolism and responding to stimuli.

HUMAN. The scientific law of biogenesis states that living things reproduce after their own kind. So, dogs beget dogs, cats beget cats, goldfish beget goldfish and humans beget humans. Not parasites or blobs of cells, but humans—complete and unique living human beings.

So, science tells us that the pre-born child is a complete and a unique living human being. With this in mind, JJ, consider your next statement:

//If you get down to it, the true argument is about what it means to be human.//

BINGO! It has nothing to do with if a human experiences pain while being murdered; it all hinges on if what is being killed is a human being or not! Given the scientific facts that I have listed above, some scientifically minded atheists are realizing that those who are for abortion rights are on the same side of history as Hitler and the KKK.

//I think it has been shown rather conclusively that our consciousness is what makes us human. It allows us to feel pain, joy, ambition, and every other emotion intrinsic to the human experience.//

Again, this shows a lack of understanding when it comes to substances and properties. Consciousness is a property a human can possess; however, it is not sufficient for human-hood! After all, my dog, Rondo, is conscious and he is not a human! Moreover, during my MMA career, although I was never KO’d in a match, I was knocked unconscious while sparring a handful of times; during those moments lacking consciousness, I remained fully human! If you disagree, then using your logic it would have been completely acceptable to shoot me in the head while I was unconscious on the floor. This is ludicrous and demonstrates the failure of your objection.

//If it is clear that abortion before the third trimester only removes tissue capable of developing into a conscious being, you are only removing tissue.//

Two problems, JJ: First, the atheists in the video and I have offered logical and scientific reasons as to why abortion is the murder of an innocent human being. This includes all three of the trimesters. However, for the sake of argument, it seems as if you (at the very least) affirm that the pre-born in the third trimester is a human being. If this is the case, then if you are going to be logically consistent, any political candidate who fights for the rights of Planned Parenthood to continue murdering these babies during the third trimester must outrage you! Surely you will not be voting for Hillary Clinton! I mean, would you vote for Hitler if he got everything right – exactly as you like it – from climate change to the economy, except for the whole holocaust thing?

Second, as I have demonstrated above, the removing of the fetus at any stage is not simply the removing of mere tissue (as one removes a tissue from the Kleenex box); no, it is murder! This is the case because (as I have demonstrated above) at the moment of conception, we have a complete, living, unique, human!

Now, some pro-abortion activists contend that although the pre-born is a human, this human is not really a person because of factors that usually fall under one of four categories known as the SLED:

Size. The pre-born are smaller than born humans, but size does not determine our humanity. Infants are smaller than toddlers, and toddlers smaller than teenagers, but all are human and all are deserving of the law’s protection.

Level of Development. The pre-born are less developed than born humans, but our level of development does not determine our humanity. Toddlers are less developed than adults, but both are human and both are deserving of protection under the law.

Environment. The pre-born are certainly in a different place than born humans, but where we are does not determine who we are. If we are human, we deserve the law’s protection no matter where we are.

Degree of Dependency. The pre-born are more dependent on their mothers than most born humans, but infants are just as dependent. Our dependency does not determine our humanity.

As Tim Challies notes: “After examining the pre-born through the lens of the SLED test, it becomes clear that if one is going to continue to support abortion, then, to be consistent, they must also support a mother’s right to kill her toddler too! This follows because any justification one makes for abortion based on the four points above would also apply to a toddler. If we are to consider ourselves as a nation of rational thinkers, then if one is going to say there is nothing wrong with terminating the pre-born, then, if logically consistent, they have no grounds to state that terminating toddlers is wrong or evil either.”

So, both logic and science clearly demonstrate that abortion is the murder of a pre-born human person. However, what if some are so blindly committed to a political party or a specific politician that they admit logic and science demonstrate that the pre-born child is a human, but still maintain that this human is not a person? This is where History comes into play. As I mentioned above, the Nazis and the KKK tried to justify their actions by denying the personhood of certain human beings. Consider all of these examples from history:

1858, Viriginia Supreme Court: “In the eyes of the law… the slave is not a person.”

1881, American Law Review: “An Indian is not a person within the meaning of the Constitution.”

1928, Supreme Court of Canada: “The meaning of ‘qualified persons’ does not include women.”

1936, German Supreme Court: “The Reichgericht itself refused to recognize Jews… as ‘persons’ in the legal sense.”

1997, Supreme Court of Canada: “The law of Canada does not recognize the unborn child as a legal person possessing rights.”

Those who vote pro-choice/pro-abortion are simply on the wrong side of history, reason, logic, and science!

//The problem is that this is a complicated topic that requires a rudimentary understanding of biology, and so many are woefully uneducated on this topic, rendering their opinions nothing more than a knee jerk reaction that has no bearing on reality.//

JJ, I have demonstrated what we do know from biology, and this is part of the reason as to why Christopher Hitchens and the other atheists in the video have come to oppose abortion – because it is murder of a complete, living, and unique human! If anything, JJ, it is you who demonstrates a “woeful and uneducated” (your words) understanding of philosophy, critical thinking, and logic itself. This ignorance not only causes “knee jerk reactions,” but also causes painful collisions with reality!

Bottom line: the pro-choice/abortion advocates of today will be looked at with disdain in the future. This is quite similar as to how we view those who allowed Hitler’s rise to power and those who turned a blind eye to the KKK while lynching African Americans. The pro-choice crowd is not only on the wrong side of history, but also the wrong side of logic and science.

– Tim

 

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About the Author

Tim

Stratton

(The FreeThinking Theist)

Tim pursued his undergraduate studies at the University of Nebraska-Kearney (B.A. 1997) and after working in full-time ministry for several years went on to attain his graduate degree from Biola University (M.A. 2014). Tim was recently accepted at North West University to pursue his Ph.D. in systematic theology with a focus on metaphysics.

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