Friday, August 7, 2015

To My Fellow Pro-Lifers, Please stop using this argument!

There is an argument often used among my fellow pro-lifers that makes my skin crawl every time I hear it.

The argument follows these 4 general steps:

  1. An abortion was wanted or recommended, for whatever reason.
  2. It didn't happen, for whatever reason.
  3. And the child ended up being: fine, healthy, wonderful, perfect, a superstar, (insert list of specific impressive achievements here)!!!!!!!!
  4. So therefore I am pro life.
Wait what?????

So it's a good decision if the baby turns out "fine"? 
It's a good decision if the child ends up having an impressive resume? 

That is what you are saying here when you use this argument: It's a good decision if the doctor ends up being wrong, it's a good decision if the baby is smart, healthy, attractive and successful, and it's a good decision when the baby becomes someone our culture thinks is great. You are saying with this argument that those are the reasons to be pro-life.

You point to the positive attributes and outcomes of a non-aborted baby and say "Ha - take that, save the babies because some of them might end up being smart or famous."  That's a terrible pro-life argument. It's actually not even a pro-life argument - it's a pro-outcome argument.  And what about the cases where this outcome doesn't occur? Where does that leave you?  If the baby does have disabilities are you then saying the abortion would have been a good choice?  If 20 years later the baby is a drug addict living on the streets would you lament that decision not to abort?

This argument makes it seem as though the jury is out on whether or not the decision to keep the baby was a good one until we find out what kind of person the baby becomes. That's not pro-life. And talk about pressure on this life: "Okay baby, I was going to abort you, an abortion was recommended to me - but I didn't do it, so now you better prove me right."

Hell no!

If you are pro-life and if you claim to value every life, then the decision not to abort is a good one regardless of what happens next in the baby's life.

Regardless of the baby living for 10 minutes after birth or 10 decades.
Regardless of the baby being perfectly healthy or having disabilities.
Regardless of the baby going on to live a charmed life in the eyes of our culture or a challenged one.

When we use this type of example, the pro-life argument moves from being about the belief that a pre-born baby is a life in need of protection to a justification that the life is worth saving based on what the life later becomes. And that's not pro-life!

If you believe, like I do, that a pre-born baby is a life worth protecting then that is all that matters - it doesn't matter what that person ends up doing or becoming after birth - that life is still worth protecting and no further justification is needed.

So please stop using this argument!!! Every life is inherently valuable, every life matters - that's all you have to say.