Never has passing a grocery store caused so much controversy. My mid-afternoon stroll down Phinney Ridge in Seattle, Washington was interrupted by a man with a clipboard who said, "Sir, do you have a minute?"
Hailing from the dusty roads of Minnesota's farmlands I never pass-up a person looking for conversation. It's just not Minnesota-nice. However, this gentleman started the conversation saying, "Did you know that the State of Washington has passed over 100 laws limiting a woman's right to choose?" I dissented. Below are 5 steps I walked-down in my conversation with the kind gentleman. I wish I could say he appreciated my explanation, but his ideology got in the way.
The Glass Cage of the Moral Argument:
My friend with the clipboard turned his back to me. After his spiel I asked him who was defending the rights of children. His response? "Sir, we're only supposed to speak to supporters." He didn't think I was a supporter of rights. Little did he know, I am a defender of rights for humans, but not all rights are created equal.
All choices should not be protected as a right. Humans posess the ability to choose and control their actions, and law determines which actions are legal and which are not. Murder is a choice, and society has determined murder as an illegal and immoral choice because it infringes on the rights of others.
So, not all choices are justifiable. Murder is the choice of a murderer, like rape is the choice of the rapist and robbery is the choice of the robber. For abortion, the choice is whether or not to kill an innocent preborn baby. Killing the innocent baby cannot be justified by the rights of a person to choose simply because they can have a choice. Allowing choices, without regard for human life, basic morality, or personal responsiblity, is a giant step towards anarchy.
Define the Definition:
As my friend from Planned Parenthood turned towards me I could see he was disgusted with my first volley in our conversation. So, I simply asked him another question, "What is the unborn?" I outlined that the unborn are human, possessing four slightly different characteristics from their mother. The argument is outlined below, known to many as the SLED acronym:
The size of the fetus does not make a baby less human. If that were the case, as a person standing 6'6", I should be able to demand my friend with the clipboard to leave the sidewalk because he doesn't possess the fundamental human rights required. Size does not grant rights.
Level of Development:
A pregnant mother is more developed than her fetus. That's easy to see. But, does that mean she is more human than her child? If development determined humanity then child abuse should be morally acceptable. What logic could keep an adult from abusing a child? The child is less developed, and therefore not fully human. Any acts against the child should be acceptable because the child hasn't reached the appropriate human stage of development. A person's level of development does not determine their rights to humanity.
Because the fetus is inside of the mother, and wholly dependent on the mother for survival, they are not fully human. At least that is what the pro-choice argument hinges on. Logically, this can't be true because a person in an airplane is still a person. No matter what type of environment a human finds themself in, they are intrinsically a human because of their genetic makeup, not their fortune of being inside or outside of a certain environment.
Degree of Dependency:
Everyone knows that Diabetes is the great dehumanizer. People struggling with diabetes require insulin to keep their body from deteriorating. If a baby is taken-off the life-giving support of the mother, they deteriorate as well. So the humanity of the baby is directly tied to the humanity of the diabetic.
Diabetes does not curse someone to being less human. Their degree of dependence on insulin has no bearing on their humanity. In the same way, a baby's dependence on the mother does not inhibit them from being a card-carrying human being.
When All Else Fails Become a Sophomore
The Planned Parenthood volunteer took a few steps back after I explained the SLED acronym. So I apologized and reverted to sophomoric reasoning. I pulled out Biology.
Renowned embryologist Dr. Keith L. Moore explains it best. In his textbook, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (7th edition, Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003), he states that, "A zygote [fertilized egg] is the beginning of a new human being. Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete … unites with a female gamete or oocyte … to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual."
Furthermore, a National Geographic documentary titled, In the Womb, made the case that, "The two cells gradually and gracefully become one. This is the moment of conception, when an individual’s unique set of DNA is created, a human signature that never existed before and will never be repeated."
Secular scientists, communicating to the general public, have determined that human life begins at conception. This is a fundamental reality.
Might Makes Right
Clearly my friend with the clipboard was not expecting this conversation during his Monday afternoon. Squinting into the sun, I simply reiterated that I am for the rights of all humans. The unborn are clearly human, as I had previously explained. My friend repeated that he was only there to talk to supporters. So I asked another question, monopolizing his fundraising time on the sidewalk.
Is it ok for the strong to determine the value of the weak? Walking through history I outlined eugenics, something my friend should know about because of the Planned Parenthood moniker on his shirt. I asked if it is ok for people of a certain race to create an organization that minimizes other races through genocide. The Holocaust and Planned Parenthood are eerily similar in how they view human rights. A quick stroll through the biography or Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood's founder, would reveal the similarities.
Planned Parenthood has the benefit of funding from the American public and has re-educated America's children on what reproductive rights are. However, The video below is a sobering reality of what Planned Parenthood does.
Groom the Path to Forgiveness
My Planned Parenthood friend grew disgusted with my questions, eventually taking-off his purple shirt and placing his clipboard in his backpack, out of sight of the small crowd that was gathering. Asking me to leave, the young man turned his back to me. The group of people began to dissipate in the awkward silence that followed my friend's actions. I approached the young man one last time.
Reaching out with my hand I apologized for my tone and introduced myself. Our handshake started my explanation. I didn't want to give an excuse for my opposition. I wanted to give an exchange.
I told the young man that I believe I may have been agressive with him because I believe his ideas are wrong and are dangerous. They impact humanity by taking away dignity. I sinned against him because I battled him rather than the ideas. I need grace. I need human healing, and that only comes through Jesus Christ.
The young man hopefully saw that I wasn't pro-life because of my grandparents or the red koolaid I was given as a child. I wholly believe that the right to life belongs to all humans from the moment of conception. This idea is fundamentally tied to the nature of God, a life-giving Creator who desires all people to come to a knowledge of the truth.
I also hope the young man saw that the goal in this debate isn't a utopian society or falling in line with government supported choices. The objective is to be found adhering to reality. As humans, at times, we oppose reality and are in need of healing. Scripture tells us that the only holistic healing comes from Christ, who is able to renew our hearts and minds. By engaging my friend who works for Planned Parenthood I aimed to groom a path so he can see reality and find purpose in a God-given design. I can't keep silent on this issue. It is too large of problem, diminishing human rights, and the reasoning for life is too compelling. Even the rocks are testifying, and are we not so much more than rocks?