Why Is Abortion Wrong?

Robyn Chambers

Dear Jerome,

In the book A Defense of Abortion, author and philosopher David Boonin writes: “A human fetus, after all, is simply a human being at a very early stage in his or her development.”

If we acknowledge the humanity of the preborn child, one must further ask – does every human being have a right to life? Or is this right held only by those humans with particular characteristics that come and go at various points throughout their lives?

Pro-life apologist and frequent Focus on the Family Broadcast guest, Scott Klusendorf, shares the following:

Pro-life advocates contend there is no morally significant difference between the embryo you once were and the adult you are today that would justify killing you at that earlier stage of development. Differences of size, level of development, environment and degree of dependency are not good reasons for saying you had no right to life then but you do now.

Author Stephen Schwarz developed the acronym SLED as a helpful reminder of these non-essential differences: Baby, Human, Embryo? Watch Now - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GG52dxWKvI&index=2&list=PLN_OwL4J8L1Cqgx43XM727xcHcX5eeHXf&t=0s&refcd=730001&utm_campaign=730001&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Announcements

Size: You were smaller as an embryo, but since when does your body size determine value?

Level of Development: It’s true that you were less developed as an embryo, but 6-month-olds are less physically and mentally developed than teenagers, and we don’t argue that we can kill them.

Environment: Where you are located has no bearing on what you are. How does a journey of 8 inches down the birth canal change the essential nature of the unborn from a being we can kill to one we can’t?

Degree of Dependency: Sure, you depended on your mother for survival while in the womb, but since when does dependence on another human mean we can kill you? (Consider conjoined twins, for example.)

In short, humans are equal by nature, not function. Although they differ immensely in their respective degrees of development, they are nonetheless equal because they share a common human nature – and they had that human nature from the moment they began to exist.

If I am wrong about this, then human equality is a fiction. Think, for a moment, about your 10 closest friends. Would you agree that each of them has the same basic rights and that each should be treated equally? Yet if all of them should be treated equally, there must be some quality they all share that justifies that equal treatment.

What is that characteristic? Only this: We all have the same human nature.

Robyn Chambers
Sanctity of Human Life Director, Focus on the Family


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