Title: Pro-Life 101--Making a Case for Life
Suggested Text: The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture (Crossway, 2009)
Thesis: To be an effective pro-life apologist, you must meet 3 key objectives:
1) You must simplify the issue
2) You must make a persuasive case using science and philosophy
3) You must handle objections graciously and incisively
I. Effective pro-life apologists simplify the issue by focusing the debate on one question, What is the unobrn?
A. Example: Daddy can I kill this? (Koukl) That depends: What is it?
B. Debate w/ Nadine Strossen: “I agree, IF. If What?
C. Trot out a toddler for objections based on privacy, trusting women, poverty, etc.
D. Visuals: Use them to awaken moral intuitions, but use them wisely.
II. Effective pro-life apologists make a persuasive case for the lives of the unborn w/ science and philosophy.
A. Science: From the beginning, the unborn are distinct, living, and whole human beings.
1. Objections and replies:
a. Twining2. More examples that demonstrate scientific support for the pro-life view:
c. Women don’t grieve
d. Burning Research lab
e. Sperm and egg are alive.
a. Richard Stith: Construct versus developB. Philosophy: There is no essential difference between the embryo you once were and the adult you are today that would justify killing you at that earlier stage of development
b. Maureen Condic: Corpses versus embryos
1. SLED test
2. Objection: “The embryo is not self-aware”
3. Replies to objection:
a. Why is some development needed?4. Natural rights versus positive (legal) ones
b. Newborns aren’t self-aware until several weeks after birth—may we kill them?
c. Can’t account for human equality
5. Human exceptionalism: Is it evil? (Michael Vick)
6. The “Religion” objection--Why it fails:
a. Non-believers can recognize humanity of unborn
b. What do you mean by “religious?”
c. The pro-life view is inherently religious, but no more so than alternative explanations
d. Just because a view is grounded in religion doesn’t mean it can only be defended that way
e. Why should anyone suppose religious views don’t count as real knowledge? The Declaration of Independence, Martin Luther King’s Letter from the Birmingham Jail, and Lincoln’s 2nd Inugural Address all have their roots in the Biblical concept of Imago Dei.
III. Effective pro-life apologists answer objections persuasively.
A. Columbo Tactic (Koukl)
B. The 3 Columbo questions:
1. What do you mean by that?
2. How did you come to that conclusion?
3. Have you considered the implications of your view?
C. Eight bad ways people argue about abortion:
1. They assume the unborn are not human:
a. Appeals to the dangers of back-alley abortions2. They assert rather than argue:
b. Appeals to privacy, choice, and trusting women
c. Appeals to not forcing morality
a. Women have a right to choose3. They attack the person rather than the argument:
b. The unborn are not self-aware (hidden premise: Self-awareness is value-giving.)
a. You have no right to oppose abortion unless you adopt.4. They confuse moral claims with preference ones--relativism’s 3 fatal flaws:
b. You men can’t get pregnant, so shut up about abortion!
(Bottom line: Even if these assertions are true, they do nothing to refute the evidence that the unborn are fully human. Can the fetus be human even if I’m a man?)
a. Relativism self-destructs5. They advance a radical bodily rights theory:
b. Relativism can’t say why anything is right or wrong, including intolerance
c. Relativism can’t live with it’s own rule
a. The alleged parallels are not parallel: Are we to assume that a mother has no more duty to her own child than she does a total stranger who is unnaturally hooked up to her?6. They twist Scripture:
b. The bodily rights view justifies killing newborns through neglect or abandonment
a. Faulty argument from silence: Ask, "Are you saying that whatever the Bible doesn't condemn it condones?7. They confuse contingent evils with absolute evils. To be worse than abortion, how bad would an unjust war have to be?
b. There's a reason for the Bible's silence on abortion: The Hebrews of the OT and the Christians of the NT were not tempted to kill their unborn offspring.
8. They hide behind the hard cases