Take Full Advantage of the Current State of the Abortion Debate

Right now we have an opportunity to make headway in the abortion debate, due to the recent article at the New York Times, “The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy.” This article recounts the story of Jenny, who underwent the procedure of pregnancy reduction, a chilling euphemism for aborting one fetus of a pair of twins.

The opportunity lies in negative reaction to the article, even by pro-choicers. Could it be that this most recent slip down the illogical abortion slope will issue the wake up call our nation needs?

There are three main ways this procedure was justified in the article. I’ll identify each reason, and then show how they miss the point.

Reason #1: “I caused the pregnancy, so I can end it”

    “If I had conceived these twins naturally, I wouldn’t have reduced this pregnancy, because you feel like if there’s a natural order, then you don’t want to disturb it. But we created this child in such an artificial manner — in a test tube, choosing an egg donor, having the embryo placed in me — and somehow, making a decision about how many to carry seemed to be just another choice. The pregnancy was all so consumerish to begin with, and this became yet another thing we could control.”

Reason #2: “I want to be the best parent I can”

    She felt that twins would soak up everything she had to give, leaving nothing for her older children. Even the twins would be robbed, because, at best, she could give each one only half of her attention and, she feared, only half of her love. Jenny desperately wanted another child, but not at the risk of becoming a second-rate parent. “This is bad, but it’s not anywhere as bad as neglecting your child or not giving everything you can to the children you have.”

Reason #3: “There’s no difference between pregnancy reduction and normal abortion”

    What is it about terminating half a twin pregnancy that seems more controversial than reducing triplets to twins or aborting a single fetus?

I won’t even go into the absurdity that lies in these quotes (you’ll be a better parent if you kill one of your children?!). To do so would aim at the symptoms of abortion logic, rather than to aim for the root. Each of these quotes misses the fundamental issue in the abortion debate.

That issue is whether the fetus is a human being. It does not matter how much responsibility you had in the pregnancy. It does not matter how your parenting will change. It does not matter what kind of abortion practices have been accepted in the past. What matters is whether or not a fetus is a person.

Based on the comments in the article, it seems to me that pro-choicers aren’t buying the “pregnancy reduction” euphemism. More than before, that camp is aware that the mother is not exercising her right to do what she wants with her own body. Rather she is ending a life based simply on what she prefers.

How to effectively argue that a fetus is a person, without being argumentative

The best way to engage in abortion discussions is with the SLED method that has been popularized by Stand to Reason. SLED is an acronym that outlines four key proofs for arguing that a fetus is in fact a person and deserves all the rights a born person deserves.

    S: Size. Being a person is smaller, even microscopic in the case of a recently conceived person, doesn’t make them less of a person. My 2 year-old is just as much of a person as my 10 month-old.

    L: Level of development. Just because someone is not fully developed, that doesn’t mean they are not a person. Adults, having gone through puberty, do not have more personhood than children. The logic follows that an 11 week-old fetus ought to have the same dignity as an 11 week-old infant.

    E: Environment. Where you are does not affect what you are. Standing in my garage doesn’t make me a car. An unborn child does lose anything ontologically by virtue of the fact that he lives in a uterus.

    D: Degree of dependence. A fetus depends entirely on his or her mother for health and life. But the same is true for any number of people who are disabled, elderly, or sick. They may not be able to take care of themselves, but we assign them the dignity of deserving life. There is no reason to rob an unborn child of the same right.

It is hard to disprove these reasons for recognizing unborn children as they really are: children. As we engage in conversations regarding abortion, it is important for us to be winsome and clear. Our tone wins arguments just as much as (sometimes more than) our proofs. So use these arguments with a gracious spirit, knowing ultimately that you are trying to win the person, not the argument.

Hopefully, and prayerfully, as we take advantage of this opportunity, we will hear of more abortion reduction than pregnancy reduction.

This is a guest post by Eric McKiddie. Eric blogs at pastoralized.com about doing pastoral work with theological rigor and practical efficiency. He serves as the Junior High Pastor at College Church in Wheaton, IL.

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