Pro-choice advocates once commonly stated, “It’s uncertain when human life begins; that’s a religious question that cannot be answered by science.” Most have abandoned this position because it’s contradicted by decades of scientific evidence. However, acknowledging the humanity of the unborn does require them to shift their language and tactics when defending abortion.
In the updated and expanded edition of my book Why ProLife?, I encourage readers to consider carefully these words written by a father (who is a pro-abortion ethicist) concerning his son:
On the desk in my office . . . there are several pictures of my son, Eli. In one, he is gleefully dancing on the sand along the Gulf of Mexico, the cool ocean breeze wreaking havoc with his wispy hair. In the second, he is tentatively seated in the grass in his grandparents’ backyard, still working to master the feat of sitting up on his own. In a third, he is only a few weeks old, clinging firmly to the arms that are holding him and still wearing the tiny hat for preserving body heat that he wore home from the hospital. Through all these remarkable changes that these pictures preserve, he remains unmistakably the same little boy.
In the top drawer of my desk, I keep another picture of Eli. This picture was taken on September 7, 1993, 24 weeks before he was born. The sonogram image is murky, but it reveals clearly enough a small head tilted backward slightly, and an arm raised up and bent, with the hand pointing back toward the face and the thumb extended out toward the mouth. There is no doubt in my mind that this picture, too, shows the same little boy at a very early stage in his physical development. And there is no question that the position I defend in this book entails that it would have been morally permissible to end his life at this point. [i]
On this same subject, Albert Mohler shares how pro-choice advocates, while acknowledging that the unborn are human, still defend the right for children to be killed by abortion:
So What if Abortion Ends a Life? Rare Candor from the Culture of Death
By Albert Mohler
Is an unborn baby “a life worth sacrificing?” The question is horrifying, but the argument was all too real. In a recent article, Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon.com conceded what the pro-life movement has contended all along — that from the moment of conception the unborn child is undeniably a human life. And yet, Williams argues that this unborn human life must be terminated if a woman desires an abortion. The child is a life, but, in her grotesque view, “a life worth sacrificing.”
Browse more prolife articles and resources, as well as see Randy's books Pro-Choice or Pro-Life: Examining 15 Pro-Choice Claims, Why ProLife? and ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments.
[i] David Boonin, A Defense of Abortion (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002)