Let's suppose that Roe v. Wade legalized the killing of ten-year-old children rather than unborn children (who have exactly the same dignity as ten-year-old children). Would the "authentic 'pro-life' response" (to quote Dr. Charles Rice) "be to insist that no grade-school child may be stood up against the wall and shot except in special cases, such as where the mother threatens suicide if the child stays around, or if he puts a strain on her physical health or emotional equilibrium, or if the child's father is a rapist or a close relative of the mother, or if the child's grandmother has approved the execution? No way. The only authentic 'pro-life' response to such a decree would be to insist that the law may never validly tolerate the intentional killing of the innocent of any age, including grade-school children." So it is with abortion.As a colleague of mine points out, the analogy is flawed, since it relies on the emotion of seeing a 10-year-old shot to overwhelm the reader’s reason, which is really cheap. He then provides a better analogy:
Imagine if 10-year-olds were being secretly, without much fanfare, taken to death camps where they were quickly and painlessly executed. Suppose you lived in a community in which a majority of citizens either supported or were indifferent to the killings. So, you know that you can’t ban the killing entirely or directly at this time. Also suppose that you can’t engage in civil disobedience to stop the killings, since you know that it will do no good in the long run. However, you realize that in your community people are aghast at one procedure that kills the 10-year-olds, one that consists of crushing their skulls and sucking their brains out. You know that you have a chance to ban this, even though it will hardly dent the killings. But it will serve to teach people about the nature of the children and why killing them is wrong. This is the best you can do given the situation you are in. It’s not clear to me what Rice’s problem would be with this. Is he actually suggesting that one either do nothing or everything? That is madness, not to mention a misapplication of natural law theory.