The recent political season was a reminder of how much difficulty some pro-lifers have explaining and defending their view. Red herrings abound. They need to be ignored to focus again and again on the core issue – the only issue. What is the unborn? Nothing else can be answered, no supposed justification for abortion can be decided, until that question is answered. Unfortunately, most of the discussions about abortion in the media jump to other issues and never consider this fundamental issue.
Here's the fundamental and simple logic. It simply goes like this.
It’s wrong to take the life of an innocent human being without proper justification.
Abortion takes the life of an innocent human being without proper justification.
Therefore, abortion is wrong.
The identity of the unborn is the core issue, and sadly it's rarely ever part of the discussions in the public square.
I was with Greg at a Ligonier conference in Orlando once, and was talking to a man who came up to our display table. He saw some of our pro-life resources and announced that he personally believed that abortion was wrong, but he didn't believe that we should prohibit other people who thought differently about the issue from getting abortions. He thought it ought to be legal even though he personally thought it was wrong. This is the favorite choice of religious politicians who are pro-choice.
If somebody makes that kind of statement, there is always a tactic you employ. You ask a question. When they say, I'm personally against abortion but I don't think other people should be prohibited from having abortions, you ask, "Why are you personally against abortion? I understand that you don't think it's right and don't want to force your views on others, but why is it that you think abortion is wrong?"
It's a very fair question. You will consistently get basically the same answer, the answer that the gentleman gave Greg.
He said, I think abortion is wrong because it takes the life of an innocent human child, but that is just my personal view.
Greg said, Okay, I think I understand your view, but let me just repeat it back to you and you tell me if I've got it right. You think abortion kills an innocent human child, but you think women should be legally allowed to do that.
He said, Well, when you put it that way....
Greg answered, Put it what way? That's your view you told me. If I've misunderstood you, please let me know, but I thought that's what I actually heard you say. It doesn't sound so good coming back at you, does it?
The man had confused his own moral view of the unborn with one of the common objections: We can't force our moral view on someone who disagrees. That may be true in some circumstances, but it really doesn't come into play when a baby's life is at stake.
Every objection to pro-life can be rebutted by going back to the first issue. Everything else is secondary until that point is clarified.
A woman's right to choose? Choose what - to kill her unborn baby?
The child is unwanted. Do we dispose of people who are unwanted?
Abortion should be safe,legal, and rare. In what other cases do we allow innocent human beings to be killed as long as it's safe, legal, and rare?
The moral rationale is what governs and speaks to all the variations on this issue. If abortion is wrong, then it is wrong for a reason and this reason needs to govern our view of the so-called exceptions. And pro-lifers have to keep answering every single red herring and go back to the first issue: What is the unborn? It's the only question that matters in this issue.
Answering the foundational question "What is it?" removes the complexity. The answer to this most fundamental question – What is the nature of the unborn? – is the key to answering virtually every other objection about abortion. Most issues raised in the abortion debate are irrelevant rabbit-trails that drag us off the track of the only pertinent consideration.
When one clears away the irrelevant thoughts on both sides – the name calling, the misrepresentations, the circular reasoning, the medical misinformation, the emotional language – the issue becomes very clear and, I think, reasonably easy to answer. The hard part is applying what we discover.
Should you do something to stop abortion?
Answering the question "What is the unborn?" makes the answer to our final question crystal clear. If the unborn is not a helpless, innocent human being, don't trouble yourself. If it is, then children are being killed for frivolous reasons, and you must do something.