Abortion’s New “Gotcha” Argument

The Burning Fertility Clinic

In my last article on abortion, I dismantled Judith Jarvis Thompson’s famous Violinist Argument, which is typically regarded as one of the “big guns” of the pro-choice movement. This argument doesn’t hold up under close scrutiny, because it depends on an analogy that isn’t analogous to abortion.

Now let’s examine a much newer “gotcha” argument that’s become a viral sensation this year. I call it the Burning Fertility Clinic Argument. As best I can tell, it was invented by author Patrick Tomlinson in a tweetstorm (which you can read in full, here).

Tomlinson seems very impressed with his own argument, boasting, “I have a question I’ve been asking for ten years now of the ‘Life begins at Conception’ crowd. In ten years, no one has EVER answered it honestly.” There are, he says, only two possible replies. Picking either of them “destroys” the argument that life begins at conception. What precisely Tomlinson would consider an “honest” answer is left vague.

The Choice

Here’s my paraphrase of his purportedly unanswerable scenario:

You’re in a burning fertility clinic and burst into a room to see a 5-year-old in one corner crying for help. In the other corner, you see a container marked “1,000 Viable Human Embryos.” The flames are rising fast, smoke is filling the air. You feel yourself growing weak and realize you can only save one of these two before losing consciousness. Which do you pick: the 5-year-old crying and pleading to be rescued or the 1,000 viable human embryos?

In Tomlinson’s telling, this is an impossible choice for a pro-lifer, because if you believe life begins at conception, and that fertilized embryos are fully human, then the 1,000 embryos must outweigh the life of the child. He claims that the pro-lifer instinctively knows which is the right choice—to save the child. But this choice, he argues, reveals that we really know embryos aren’t human beings in the same way a child is.

Tomlinson thinks that his scenario ”absolutely eviscerates” pro-life principles. It demonstrates that we are frauds and phonies who aren’t really concerned with unborn life, except as a means of controlling women’s bodies. “Slap that big P for ‘Patriarchy’ on [those pro-lifers],” he instructs his followers.

But does Tomlinson ‘s scenario really prove what he thinks it does?

No, and it’s not even close. His argument turns on two false assumptions that say more about the depth of his ethical analysis than about pro-lifers’ actual priorities. The first is that the act of choosing between a child and a box of embryos reflects a person’s beliefs about the humanity of either. Debunking this is as simple as replacing the characters in Tomlinson’s scenario.

Recasting the Characters

Let’s imagine that instead of a 5-year-old and a box of embryos, your choice upon bursting into the burning room is between your mother and your own child. You can save only one. What do you do? According to Tomlinson’s “gotcha” reasoning, picking one is tantamount to admitting the non-humanity of the other. If you choose to save your child, you are admitting that you secretly know your mother isn’t human, and vice-versa.

It should be obvious this is a non-sequitur. We could replace the parties needing rescue with any set of people whom we consider fully human and equally valuable; a terminal cancer patient and a doctor—a rocket scientist and a garbage collector—a boy baby and a girl baby—a black baby and a white baby. In each case, the hard choice of which one to save is not likely a reflection of who the rescuer thinks is more human.

In some cases, the decision may simply be random, lacking real moral guidance. You may have looked to your left first, saw the black child, and simply not taken the time to evaluate the crying child on the opposite side of the room before charging in to save the first human being you saw. In other situations, the choice could be motivated by utilitarian concerns. Will the doctor you rescue be more likely to save lives in the future than the terminal cancer patient? Can the rocket scientist expect to enjoy a better life than the garbage collector? These questions may sound crass, and even asking them may involve playing God in a way Christian ethicists would reject, but they don’t necessarily say anything about the perceived value of the persons in the burning fertility clinic as persons—in other words, as equally human members of the species. Such choices certainly don’t by necessity make any of them non-persons in the eyes of the rescuer.

More likely, the choice to save the 5-year-old over the embryos (which I think any decent person would make) is a simple matter of triage: How can you best allocate scarce, life-saving resources (in this case your time, breath, and strength) when demand is higher than supply? Who has a better chance of survival—the child, or the embryos, once removed from electrical refrigeration? Alternately, which has a higher chance of surviving the fire—the exposed child, or the embryos in aluminum or steel containers?

Doctors and other healthcare providers make agonizing choices like this every day when patients enter the emergency room in various states of injury or illness. These professionals must weigh the urgency of the patient’s condition against the likelihood that immediate intervention will succeed. Who gets the single bag of blood for a transfusion—the person whose arm was amputated in a car accident but is stabilizing, or the person whose heart was perforated in a gas explosion and will not likely survive the night? Paramedics and nurses must make split-second decisions that often result in death, but no one suggests they’re making assessments about the humanity of patients. How silly!

The Answer Is Obvious

This leads to the second false assumption in Tomlinson’s argument: He presupposes that there is no possible reason for choosing the 5-year-old over the embryos that does not reflect an unspoken pro-life understanding that embryos are not really human in the same way a little girl or boy is. But this, again, is nonsense. Other than triage and utilitarian concerns about a person’s likelihood of contributing to the welfare of others, a host of reasons exists to choose a single 5-year-old child over a thousand, ten thousand, or even a million viable embryos.

A child has a nervous system, consciousness, and the ability to suffer tremendous pain. Embryos do not. Would Tomlinson save a screaming child, or her unconscious brother on the other side of the room? When he makes the obvious choice (to save the child who is still conscious), we might just as easily claim to have nailed him to the wall on the humanity of unconscious children. Again, how silly.

A 5-year-old also likely has human connections—a loving family whose members would be devastated to lose this child. Such a person is rooted in this world in a way embryos simply are not. These tiny unborn lives—as fully human as they are in their earliest stages of development—lack all immediate capacity to suffer emotional loss or grief, as well as connections with family members who would suffer the kind of loss or grief at their demise that the family members of the 5-year-old would. These considerations can easily outweigh the case for saving the embryos, without changing in the least the biological fact that embryos are fully and uniquely human from the moment of conception.

We might even take it another step by considering the spiritual and emotional welfare of the rescuer. While it may cause a pro-lifer considerable distress to leave embryonic but unique human individuals behind in the burning clinic, it surely pales in comparison with the lifelong guilt and agony that would result from hearing the screams of a dying child and nonetheless leaving him or her behind. We rightly and naturally feel great compassion for human persons whose faces we can see, whose voices we can hear, whose eyes can lock with ours in a plea for help. Acting on these signals and this natural empathy is a deep part of being human. It is a good instinct that we should almost never fight. Doing so arguably could rob us of something important about our own humanity. But again, obeying such altruistic urges says nothing about when embryos become human.

Debating Points on the Cheap

Finally, as John Stonestreet notes on The Point, Tomlinson’s scenario fails as a “gotcha” argument for abortion because,

…it isn’t analogous at all to the way unborn human beings are actually killed these days. They don’t die in tragic accidents; they’re intentionally killed by doctors and pharmacists, in the name of reproductive freedom. All Tomlinson’s scenario proves is the fogginess of pro-choice thinking.

In the end, the Burning Fertility Clinic Argument, as popular as it has become in recent weeks, is no stronger than the Violinist Argument. As one commenter on my Facebook page put it, the whole scenario and Tomlinson’s use of it are “glib and tendentious.”

“In our broken world,” wrote this commenter, “we will sometimes be confronted with dilemmas in which all available options are tragic.” Such “gotcha” arguments are,

… a kind of affront to the memory of people like Miep GiesCorrie ten BoomChiune SugiharaMaria SkobtsovaOskar Schindler, etc. That is to say, to real people who strove to save real human beings from decidedly non-hypothetical disaster, but who had limited time, power, and resources at their disposal, and so had to make exactly the kind of terrible choices that the scenario treats in such a facile manner for the sake of scoring debating points on the cheap.

Like the other “big gun” of the pro-choice movement, the Burning Fertility Clinic Argument ultimately fails to prove that the unborn are so much cellular flotsam to be discarded at our convenience, and that those of us who say we care about protecting unborn human life are really out to control women. Such arguments, when exposed to scrutiny and common sense, go up in flames.


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  • Zarm

    I find it incredibly depressing that anyone on the pro-choice side really, honestly believe that this is somehow about controlling women’s bodies. It feels the equivalent of someone from the Civil War era being so unable to conceive of anyone thinking of black slaves as human beings that they assume we simply *must* be out to disrupt the economy of plantation owners, because that’s the only alternative left in their worldview- even though it couldn’t possibly be farther from the truth.

    But even worse so that they try so doggedly to ‘prove’ it, as if we somehow have a secret agenda to manipulate women and we’re cloaking it behind scientific, ethical, and moral- based concerns for the life of The Unborn, and an entire worldview valuing life… as if that’s all an elaborate facade to conceal sinister motives.

    It’s deeply out of touch with reality, a most extreme version of filtering every assumption about one’s opponents through one’s own worldview, as if one’s own beliefs are the only possible set of beliefs that a human being could have, and therefore anyone else’s differing beliefs must just be a deception or attempt at gaining an upper hand within that assumed framework… But it’s also depressing to know that those across the ideological aisle are so estranged from understanding the position of defending unborn lives that this is somehow what they think of us.

    • gladys1071

      I am pro-choice, and though i agree that for most pro-lifers it is probably NOT about controlling women’s bodies, the result is the same though. By outlawing abortion, you are in EFFECT, controlling women’s bodies. Just like when prohibition outlawed the sale and consumption of alcohol, the result was the government trying to control people’s drinking.

      I do believe though that for some it probably is about controlling women and the choices they make.

      In effect, by outlawing abortion, you are controlling a woman’s body, you are forcing her to stay pregnant against her will, you are telling her that because of being pregnant, her actions concerning her pregnancy is now controlled by the state.

      Forcing women to stay pregnant that do not want to be pregnant is a form of controlling her body.

      • jason taylor

        They could always not get pregnant.

        • Phil Young

          Yes, I was thinking that. (Apart from the fact some women get pregnant through rape…or even merely getting carried away in the moment), perhaps if women want control of their own bodies then they should refrain from having sexual intercourse unless they DO want to get pregnant. Of course, I do understand there are reasons why some people who DO want a pregnancy, decide to abort and I am not unsympathetic to them. But, other than that, perhaps if people don’t want their bodies to be ‘controlled’ by others, they should exercise more self-control and then they wouldn’t have the problem of wanting to get rid of an unwanted baby.

          • gladys1071

            In a perfect world sure. Human beings are not perfect , human beings are fallible.

            Do you want your body controlled by others?

            You think women should be forced to gestate because of 2 minutes of pleasure?

            Should smokers be denied lung cancer treatment because of smoking ?

          • Scott

            “You think women should be forced to gestate because of 2 minutes of pleasure?”

            Should they be allowed to commit murder for the same 2 minutes?

          • gladys1071

            The unborn do not have the same rights as the woman. The unborn is dependent on a host body for life, so it is in no position to make demands or bargain for anything.

            Being given life is a gift, do believe that you can demand God create you and sustain you?

            Do you believe women should be raped and forced to conceive to “create a life” ?

            This concept that anyone unborn or born can demand ” a right to life” is selfish to max. I really don’t understand where this is coming from.

          • Scott

            “The unborn do not have the same rights as the woman. The unborn is dependent on a host body for life, so it is in no position to make demands or bargain for anything.”

            Just like all children under the age of 18 are dependent on their parents. Do the parents have a right to kill them?

            Again, nobody can demand life before they are conceived. God gives life and we don’t have the right to say He made a mistake.

          • gladys1071

            obviously their are mistakes for many pregnancies miscarry, why would God allow a conception and then allow it to die before its born? Did God change his mind?

            I am not trying to be offensive but your simplistic answer to the mysteries of life are not convincing.

            What about babies that die in infancy? was that a mistake, many questions that only God knows the answer too.

          • Scott

            “I am not trying to be offensive but your simplistic answer to the mysteries of life are not convincing.”

            I hope this reply is a little less simplistic. I replied to your earlier post and perhaps it helps explain my position better.

            “We disconnect people in comas,”

            Taking a loved one off life-support allows a natural death… Aborting an unborn child is not a natural death.

            “we execute criminals”

            Death as a penalty for a capital crime is quite different than taking the life of a child for any reason. What is the child’s crime? FWIW I do not agree with the death penalty either.

            “we deny treatment due to cost by insurance companies.”

            Not sure how is this relevant to abortion?.. A person has to pay to end the life of their unborn child… if anything this is an argument for life?

            “We go to war and kill many innocent people,”

            War is only like abortion in that the unborn child can be compared to the innocent victims caught in the violence. The pro-life position only speaks out on behalf of the innocent.

            “etc… I can go on and on.”

            You don’t have to. I only pray that you would reconsider.

            “As far as the child suffering for conditions outside their control. Have you ever suffered for conditions outside your control? Life is full of conditions outside our control that we suffer for.”

            Yes, most definitely!.. and I thank God no one has decided to take my life in the process.

            “If life is a gift, we have no right to demand anyone provide that for us by using their body”

            The child did not demand to be created. If two people use their bodies to create a life, should they have the right to take that life when the it didn’t ask to be created in the first place? God created the life and would He say it is okay for the two people involved to go ahead and end it? If so, you are essentially saying it is okay for a parent to kill their child. Is this right?

            “…or organs, that is why organs are DONATED, not taken.”

            Yes, and if you do not receive the organ you need, your life ends naturally.

            “If their is a right to life, then i have a right to YOUR healthy kidney when mine fails.”

            No, because your kidney failed naturally. I didn’t cut you open in your sleep and take it from you so that you would die (that would be more like what happens with an abortion). It is likely that if you needed a kidney, depending on your blood type, you would receive one.

            “You cannot demand anyone give you life.”

            When would we make such a demand? Before we are conceived? God gives it to us all.

            “It is a selfish concept to think otherwise.”

            Since there is no possible way for someone to demand life, isn’t it selfish to take someone else’s life… Just because two people accidentally got pregnant, doesn’t mean that life was God’s accident. He doesn’t make accidents.

            “The unborn cannot demand a right to life,”

            I think God wants us to speak up for them.

            “and neither can a born person either.”

            I’m not sure what you mean by this, but it sounds ominous?

          • Scott

            “why would God allow a conception and then allow it to die before its born? Did God change his mind?”

            This sounds like you are questioning God. As creator of everything, He may do what He wants… the theology I subscribe to sounds more like this: God allows sin to happen because He wants us to choose him despite our suffering. I also believe all suffering comes from the nature of our (the our is collective and goes back to Adam and Eve) sinful brokenness.

            God may choose between life and death, not us.

            “I am not trying to be offensive but your simplistic answer to the mysteries of life are not convincing.”

            Why do you

            “What about babies that die in infancy? was that a mistake, many questions that only God knows the answer too.”

            My brother and his wife gave birth to a still born. We all grieved (and still do)… Whatever the reason for this, abortion cannot be compared to it because people didn’t make the choice… and I do not believe we are meant to.

          • gladys1071

            You have a problem with me questioning God? If God is all powerful and omnipotent then he can handle my questioning him, and the questioning of all of us.

            As far as your theology about God, that is YOUR theology, who is to say who is right? many people believe many different things about God, otherwise we would not have 30 thousand denominations, and many religions in this world.

            You are incorrect, we human beings choose between life and death all the time. Have nations not gone to war and killed thousand of people? do we not execute criminals? we disconnect coma patients?

            We manufacture weapons everyday that are used to kill people. Law enforcement use deadly force

            We human beings choose between life and death everyday, it is a fact of life.

          • Scott

            “As far as your theology about God, that is YOUR theology, who is to say who is right? many people believe many different things about God, otherwise we would not have 30 thousand denominations, and many religions in this world.”

            I can only measure what I say against God’s word in scripture.

            “You are incorrect, we human beings choose between life and death all the time. Have nations not gone to war and killed thousand of people? do we not execute criminals? we disconnect coma patients?”

            But none of these are equivalent to taking an innocent life. Let me explain:

            In war there are innocent people who die. But they are victims and such a death is not okay. If a soldier walks into someones living room and executes their children, did the soldier commit a sin? I believe he did. In the same way, if a doctor goes into a woman’s womb and takes an innocent life, did he commit a sin?

            Executing a criminal for a capital offense is not the same as taking an innocent life. FWIW I do not believe in the death penalty either.

            “We manufacture weapons everyday that are used to kill people. Law enforcement use deadly force”

            Death by force exists yes… but should deadly force be used willfully against an innocent life? By law that is murder once a person exists outside of the womb, but that person is no less a person while they are still inside the womb.

            “We human beings choose between life and death everyday, it is a fact of life.”

            Very few people actually have to chose between life and death outside of extreme circumstances like war or violent crime. It would be nice if that were the case for all still in the womb.

            Gladys, you are free to believe any way you choose, I am only offering the perspective I believe God wants me to give.

          • ajfontaine

            If women want to be considered as equal, they need to act like responsible adults, and not demand that another person (and all the scientific evidence tells us that this is, in fact, a fellow human being) pay with his/her life because they enjoyed “2 minutes of pleasure” without thinking of the possible consequences. Women are capable of being equal to men in almost everything, but must keep in mind that in this case they AREN’T exactly like men – they can get pregnant while men can’t – and act accordingly.

          • gladys1071

            becoming pregnant, does not mean a woman has to stay pregnant.

            Just like a life long smoker can get cancer treatement, even though he knowlingly smoked, knowing it could cause cancer.

            Do you believe in denying a smoker cancer treatments?
            Do you believe in denying diabetic patiens insulin because they ate too many sweets?

            Do you believe in reviving a drug user that overdosed?

          • Scott

            You are comparing pregnancy to cancer and diabetes?.. is a child a disease? Drug addiction? Getting help for all these afflictions does not result in taking the life of another innocent person. None of these things compare to abortion.

          • gladys1071

            To some pregnancy can be like a disease. Pregnancy is a life changing/threatening condition. Women used to die in childbirth. It isn’t until modern medicine that dying in childbirth has been reduced, but not eliminated. Many women have life changing medical conditions that occur during pregnancy and or after childbirth.

            Women should not be forced to be incubators against their will, it is a violation of individual bodily rights. Our country is founded on individual rights, that is why our organs cannot be taken from us and we cannot be forced to give blood.

          • Phil Young

            Yes, and I know the world isn’t perfect and neither are humans..that’s why I mentioned cases of rape and other scenarios. But for myself, I would have gone through hell and high water not to abort (not that thank God, I ever had reason to). In fact it was for that reason I didn’t take any of the tests for spina bifida etc. I thought if any of my babies had been born disabled I would have dealt with it at the time – I do of course recognise that for many it is not so easy…especially for example cases of nine year olds and younger who have been raped and become pregnant…absolutely horrendous situation. And, horrendous as I believe it to be, I certainly can see a case for abortion in certain circumstances. I think it is a ghastly decision for anyone to have to make
            And actually I don’t see it as a case of others ‘controlling’ my body. What about the fact that abortions are controlling another’s body’…Yes, yes, I know they say it’s just a bundle of cells to begin with – but personally, I have always taken the view that once the egg has been fertilised, it is a human being (I know, not to look at, but still a human nonetheless). And I took this view even before I was a Christian.
            Basically, what I was trying to say was that, apart from rape or getting carried away in the moment (and I know this happens plenty of times, I’m not naive), I think that if someone really doesn’t wish to get pregnant then they should refrain from sexual intercourse…self-control…that is controlling their own bodies.
            This is one of the reasons no doubt that women decades ago were chaperoned…even when my mother was young in the thirties, the school rules stated that they shouldn’t be out (in school uniform presumably) with a boy, unless it were their brother.
            Now, we don’t necessarily want to quite get back to those days….however, I do think that women have a certain responsibility.
            Also, unfortunately there is no ‘safe sex’…you can still get pregnant when using any of the various contraceptive means…also, even if using a condom they can split and so not only can you get pregnant but also get STDs. It actually really annoys me when the ‘authorities’ encourage people to practise ‘safe sex’…they should say ‘safer’ sex.
            I do realise also that before abortion became legal there were many back street abortions leading not only to the demise of the foetus but also the death of the mother – so legalising it I think was to make it safe for those who were ‘caught out’ with an unwanted pregnancy. So from what I can gather it was originally for the safety of the mother and then also perhaps for very disabled foetuses. And then for other reasons. So perhaps fair enough. However it does seem that it is all too easy for women to get an abortion for no particularly good reason – and perhaps it encourages them (and men for that matter) to be less careful.
            I also think that there are many girls and women who don’t realise just how developed a baby is at 12 weeks for example…no way can one call a 12 week foetus ‘just a bunch of cells’.
            I just think that, whilst there may be valid enough reasons for abortion, we shouldn’t make it so open-ended that for example women can abort if it’s the ‘wrong’ gender etc (like happened in China for example). If we are not careful these things can become the thin end of the wedge.

          • gladys1071

            I agree with most of what you say, but abortion is here to stay as long as we live in a fallen world. People are not going to stop having sex, and just so you know married couples also have abortions too for a myriad of reasons, should married couples stop having sex?

            I just believe it needs to stay legal and who are we to determine if someone’s reason is good enough?

            I agree that abstinence is the best policy, so is staying out of debt and many things that as human beings we fail to do. Such is the human condition, as long as we are in these sinful bodies, people will continue to be “carried away by the moment” and women should NOT lose their rights to their bodies because of a moment.

            Just so you know many people still get pregnant even when using contraception. Should people never have sex including married couples that don’t want children? Good luck with that.

            Yes it is possible to practice safe sex ,one can use condoms and contraception if they choose.

          • gladys1071

            i agree that abortion maybe a “ghastly” decision, but it is the pregnant person’s perogative to do so. The person doing the gestating gets the final say whether or not to gestate. Forcing by law a woman to gestate against her will is a violation of bodily rights.

            If you are against torture, then you should be against forcing women to stay pregnant against their will also.

            I am glad abortion is legal and that myself and other women do NOT have to be forced to endure pregnancy and childbirth just because of “being carried away by the moment” as you say, or being forcibly impregnated by rape.

            Just like we revive drug addicts that have overdosed, women should not be forced to be incubators for 2 minutes of pleasure.

          • Phil Young

            Perhaps you are missing my point a little – I wasn’t actually saying that no-one under any circumstances shouldn’t be able to have an abortion…of course there are times where it would be extremely difficult if not dangerous for someone to go through a pregnancy. Ideally no-one to my mind should ever become pregnant unless they want a child at that point. As you pointed out it is not an ideal world and things happen.
            What bothers me is that people seem to get a not very good message about ‘sleeping around’ or having one-night stands etc. Also what bothers me is that women have been given tests during pregnancy and told their baby is going to have whatever and so they abort. It then turns out that the foetus is only very mildly affected by the disability or there is nothing wrong with it at all.
            A friend of my daughter-in-law was pregnant in the last year or two and the hospital was strongly urging her to abort because they said the baby was going to have something or other wrong with it. Well, she stood her ground and the baby was born perfectly healthy.
            My main argument is that people should avoid getting pregnant in the first place if at all possible unless they want to be. And at least then there would be fewer abortions. And women go through a lot of worry and anxiety etc when they consider having an abortion and don’t like the fact that they’ve done it. I know this as I’ve personally known those who have done it. OK, this may be the lesser of two ‘evils’, but better to avoid it if poossible.
            I am not judging these women…as I said in my previous post, I was extremely lucky not to have ever been put in that position. Who knows how I might have reacted under certain circumstances? I’d hate to be in the situation some women find themselves in…nightmare. I do have sympathy.

          • gladys1071

            I think you response is fair. At the very least you agree that life has shades of grey and messy and that their are no easy pat answers to life’s complexities.

          • Phil Young

            Thank you…and no, probably for most things there are no easy answers, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many discussions about ethics and morality :). I only wish there were easy answers for things.
            I think that wherever possible we should try and prevent or ameliorate people’s suffering (of whatever kind) in the best way we can, trying to take everything into account….and of course we don’t always get things right.

          • Phil Young

            I forgot to add that of course I don’t think people should not be treated (such as smokers). And of course they are trying to educate people about the dangers of smoking so that people won’t get ill from it.
            Just the same, I think they should really educate people (and perhaps especially teenagers, both boys and girls) about the potential dangers of having sexual intercourse and the difficulties an unwanted pregnancy can bring. And then, as with smokers etc, should they find themselves in a bad situation, then they should equally give them all the care, advice and help they can…which I don’t think always, should include an abortion. Although obviously many times it will.

          • Why shouldn’t people bear responsibility for their choices, like smoking, drinking, intercourse? They should.

            Besides, there are long lines of couples in the waiting lists to adopt. Drown syndrome babies I think are even more in demand, mostly driven by parents that already have one. So it’s NOT an “unwanted” baby.

            I’ve read that black babies are not so much, but I’d bet that’s less true than in the past. The biggest problem with adoption is an all intrusive state that seems to want more depopulation than freedom. I’ve known several couples that met all the picayune things and it still took years. This is outrageous! Another couple took in two cocaine babies, one white and black. “They think they’re twins” he told me. And the people with the biggest problem and rebuked them in public were black women.

            So fight for the right of those babies to a couple that loves them by opening up adoption more easily.

            PLUS the ad hominen argument by bigotry claims that pro-lifers don’t want them is a super-ignorant argument. Christians began the institutional tradition. Christian couples in the Roman days caught “unwanted” babies thrown from a bridge into a river to drown. Mothers that couldn’t or didn’t want to raise them would leave them on a Christian’s doorstep. One missionary couple I worked with found a baby at their front door and took it in and raised it.

          • gladys1071

            Adoption is NOT an alternative to pregnancy, Adoption is an alternative to parenting. I am arguing about bodily rights.

          • The baby also has bodily rights, like the right to life and liberty. The value of a human being and the “not really human” mindless chant is a Naziesque lie to cover for murder. And more guilt carry the propaganda confusion engineers.

          • gladys1071

            Again you want to force another person to provide for the life of another by force . It is called gestational servitude. Their is no “right to life” that requires someone else sustain you via using their body.

            The woman as the Uterus owner can refuse to sustain that life. If you believe in freedom then you need to be consistent and be against gestational servitude.

            Their is no such thing as a “right to life” that infringes on the rights of another.

        • gladys1071

          women do not stop owning their bodies and uterus because of pregnancy. Women have a right to refuse to sustain a life in their bodies whether you approve of it or not.

          Unless of course you want to relegate women to 2nd class citizens due to pregnancy.

          One little problem with the “do not get pregnant”. Simplistic answer to a complex world and life. I know it is really difficult to get out of the black/white mentality most folks have that post here.

        • gladys1071

          We don’t live in a perfect world with perfect human beings.

      • Tyler

        I can follow your logic Gladys, and I really feel for women who especially had no choice in becoming pregnant, it feels pretty bad to know that some women would go through something so potentially risky as pregnancy without their own consent. And I think you’ve argued well that exactly what “pro-lifers” want is indeed controlling women’s bodies in that way. What I haven’t been convinced of is why that is morally wrong (to control someone else’s body or choices). We do this all the time with our laws and social norms. Adults can smoke in their own cars. We frown upon those that do with children in that same car. You can drive 70 on the highway. Not in neighborhoods where children play. This is control of a person’s choices for the benefit of those most vulnerable around them. I realize those are all car issues, but even to bring it closer to this argument: How dare a doctor or anyone else (so the pro-choice argument ought to go) tell a pregnant woman about the confirmed medical effects of drinking and smoking while pregnant?

        • Joseph

          Well said Tyler. A doctor cannot stop a pregnant woman from smoking, but here in state of N.J., politicians can and did by enacting laws that make it illegal for pregnant women (and all people) to smoke in bars, restaurants and practically all public gathering places. So in effect, politicians are controlling women’s bodies. Where’s the outcry?

          • gladys1071

            I object to that.

          • I am a libertarian Christian and I say that the private establishment owner have the say (not final say, but all the say) in whether he wants to ban smoking, permit it, or have a non-smoking section or a smoking section.

            I’m also against him killing murdering anybody that has no choice but to be there, like a kidnapper bringing in a hostage. Shoot the kidnapper, not the hostage.

          • gladys1071

            if you are a liberatarian then you should be against gestational slavery, by using the force of the state.

            You want to use the force of the state to stop women from procuring abortions, that is a violation of individual rights and bodily rights.

            You are not a libertarian, you are a social conservative that wants to use the power of the state to control women’s choices.

            If anything you should be nuetral on the abortion issue, since it is a matter of a woman’s individual rights to her body.

            You are not consistent.

          • Like you said, don’t make presumptions.
            I want ALL states to fade away. My wife of the discussion is about prenatal infanticide, not the State. Although politically it is not a constitutional issue federally.

          • gladys1071

            So answer me this. Do women lose the rights to control the contents of her uterus because of pregnancy?

            Does her uterus now no longer belong to her because of pregnancy?

            How would you like to lose the rights to your body because of sex?

          • The woman (and the man, by the way) has all the rights to be free of aggression, AS LONG AS AND ONLY AS LONG AS those actions she CLAIMS are defenses of her own body and property, ARE IN REALITY as she perceives it.

            In the non-rape scenario, neither she NOR THE MAN have any right to claim the Non-Aggression Principle as a basis for KILLING THE RESULTING BABY, a proper description of the act of prenatal infanticide.

            She (and he) has no obligation to any other person except to those persons that by her (or his) actions has direct responsibility for having put that 3rd party (the baby) into such a situation as to be totally dependent on her (and I would say him).

            The baby would not be totally, 100 percent dependent, if not for an action by the mother AND FATHER.

            So they are BOTH liable for the nurture and care of the baby up and until the mother (or father) of the baby find another viable situation for the baby.

            RAPE: In the case of rape, it is still an innocent party that arrived on your property through no fault of his own. In that case, the RAPIST is responsible 100 PERCENT for all the nurture and care that baby needs. And just as in the case of someone who was, for example, dumped on your property or stowed away on your private plane now discovered in your aircraft, and any action you take to evict the person would directly cause the death of the person, it’s still murder. In such a case of an adult, he would be liable for the cost and maybe double for the trouble.

            In the case of the baby, though, complete dependence is just that, and the rapist would owe the baby all his needs, ALL of them. That would include ALL the mother’s needs until such time the baby grows a little and finds another home.

            It stinks for a woman who wants to say Yes instead of No from her perspective if she thinks it’s okay to kill a baby if a baby “just happens”, but that is, after all, the purpose of the act, from the point of view of the biology of it.

            Prenatal infanticide has no justification any more than the “baby ponds” of 19th century China or the bridges in Roman times where babies were thrown overboard. WIth today’s methods, it’s more like some of the ungodly paganized Jews condemned in the Bible that “fed” their babies to Molech, an idol made so that the mother would put the baby on a slat, and a “priest” would work the pulleys and gears that brought the baby into an orifice where the baby would fall into a fire.

            By the way, the real criminal is as often as not a father or boyfriend that hates the idea of a daughter shaming the family, or the idea of child support, that coerce the mother to “lose the baby”. Theirs is the greater sin.

            In these discussion I usually at some point share one of my favorite scriptures:

            Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.-_Isaiah 1:18

            You probably will have some response to this one, and I may or may not read it. (I hope I do catch it but I’m overwhelmed now with work and personal duties. I will likely not response. I do thank you for the exchange. Please ponder the verse above.

        • gladys1071

          a doctor can tell a woman about the medical effect of drinking and smoking while pregnant, but it is still her body and she can do what she wants. Of course if the woman cares about the baby that will be born, i would assume she would want a healthy baby, she would choose to not smoke and drink.

          It still does not change the fact that the woman owns her body and she has the final say whether she drinks smokes and or if she aborts.

          You car issues are not the same about the body. Driving is privilege, we own our bodies and we have the final say on what happens inside our bodies. No doctor can operate on you without your consent, your organs cannot be taken even after death without your prior consent. So a woman can refuse to gestate and remove a pregnancy from her body, a woman never stops owning her body, her uterus.

          I think what is forgotten in this debate is that their is no “right to life” that requires somebody else sustain it via their body, using your organs, sharing your blood stream and oxygen.

          Life is a gift not a right.

          • Newborns are also 100 percent dependent on parents feeding it and clothing it and protecting it. The parasitic argument is therefore null and void. Caring for a born baby requires more time, resources and effort than in the womb.

        • Pro-lifers are the ones demanding that government and media stop hiding the harm done to women by induced abortion, such as higher rates of breast cancer.

          The only “no choice” argument is the one where conception results from rape. And that’s only 3 or 4 percent.

          A woman has control over whether to say NO or not. There is one foolproof method for avoiding pregnancy, and pro-lifers are just fine with it.

          In any case, even in the case of rape, it’s still an infant human baby. And induced abortion is still the killing of a human being.

          But prenatal infanticide advocates’ arguments break down with partial birth abortion, and the brutality of the procedure. You’re no less a person because you’re one foot away from somewhere, or inches away. And pain is still pain.

      • Scott

        But what about the unborn child’s choice? Do they not get a chance to live or should they be forced to die?

        • gladys1071

          You cannot force someone to provide via their body for the life of another. The unborn is not in any position to make any demands, life is a gift not a right.

          • Tyler

            The very fact that the mother’s body is designed in a way that is specific for carrying said child suggests to me that the baby does have a claim to their mother’s body.

          • gladys1071

            The woman owns her uterus and the uterus owner’s right to her uterus supersedes anyone’s claim to it.

            The unborn cannot make any demands, it has no rights, any life given to it is a gift both from God and from the woman.

            I don’t understand where you get the concept that the unborn have a right to demand someone else provide for their life at the expense of another’s health and freedom?

          • This from somebody getting the parasite argument from welfare state advocates who say that all of us owe a living to millions of poor.

            The only way to be consistent for a pro-abortion position based on the parasite argument is to demand an end to all and every welfare program or government subsidies for anything. This was Ayn Rand’s argument, but you’re still left with the fact that induced abortion is murder.

          • gladys1071

            Do not assume anything without asking. I am most assuredly NOT

          • gladys1071

            First of all i do not favor a welfare state at all, everyone should work. I am against subsidies too which usually just go to special interest groups.

            Are you against Medicare and social security or only welfare?

            Do you believe in cutting off social security benefits from the elderly and disabled, that is a form of welfare?

            Their is not right to life that requires another provide it for you using your body. Since you own your body, nobody can use it without your consent, and such consent can be revoked (such as giving blood, you can change your mind in the middle of giving blood).

          • Point taken. Maybe you’re an Ayn Rand acolyte, not assuming. Killing the stoway is not proportionate “punishment for a “crime” not even commited by the baby.

            If baby is from voluntary sex you have no death penalty claim. If from rape, the guilty party should pay. Victim’s choice for the criminal, for example: from 100 pct support for all expenses, baby care, etc, castration, even up to even death. But the rapist father could even justly be required to be the baby’s servant for the rest of both their lives.

            Another INNOCENT victim from pregnancy from rape is the baby, when baby is resented by the mother. Without government intervention adoption would not be a problem. There are long lines of couples waiting.

            Prenatal infanticide is not an answer. It harms the mother too. Suppressed post abortion syndrome has enduring effect. Breast cancer chance goes up too.

          • gladys1071

            As i stated you are not a liberatarian for you are for gestational servitude. Whether the embryo or fetus is innocent is IRRELEVENT.

            You cannot force or compel another (the woman) to be sustain a life in her body (be an incubator) against her will. You wanting to use the power of the state to force a woman at gunpoint to remain pregnant by prosecuting her for terminating a pregnancy is gestational slavery and against the concept of individual freedom.

            a embryo or fetus is NOT stoway. An embryo or fetus is like a parasite that is using another person’s body (blood, oxygen organs uterus) to live. A Stoway is just hitching a ride to another destination either on a boat or plane.

            Whether a person is innocent or guilty or helpless does NOT give it a right to use another person’s body even if they die.

          • Scott

            “You cannot force someone to provide via their body for the life of another.”

            By this reasoning, a breastfeeding newborn has no right to food for survival? Whether a child is in the womb, toddling about or in elementary school, they are dependent on others for their survival. Level of dependency does not determine the value of one’s life. After all, they didn’t ask to be born… nor should they have to ask us not to kill them.

            “The unborn is not in any position to make any demands,”

            A child that is still in the womb was given life the moment they were conceived. God gave them life and no matter what events lead to conception, those circumstances are not the unborn child’s fault. Should that child suffer the death penalty for conditions outside of their control?

            “life is a gift not a right.”

            Yes, life is a gift… from God. And everyone should have a right to their own life. We cannot choose when we are given life, nor should we be allowed to choose death for another.

          • gladys1071

            Yes, life is a gift… from God. And everyone should have a right to their own life. We cannot choose when we are given life, nor should we be allowed to choose death for another.

          • Scott

            And for this very reason, since abortion is choosing death for another, it should be stopped.

          • gladys1071

            You cannot force a woman to gestate against her will, do you believe women lose their rights because a sperm and egg meet?

          • Scott

            When a sperm and an egg meet (and a new life begins) the rights of two people must be considered. One life isn’t less valuable than another. The woman shouldn’t have the right to take the life of her child any more than any person has the right to take the life of another.

          • gladys1071

            Not all lives can be considered equally. Their is a hierarchy of rights. You cannot give the embryo/fetus the same rights as the woman for they would be in conflict.

            It is not an issue of value, its an issue of rights.

            Since the woman is the one providing the life via her body, her rights supersede, the embryo/fetus is the one in need of a host body.

            You fail to realize that you cannot give two people the same rights over the same body. Since the woman is an autonomous individual with rights already, her rights to her body and well being should supersede. The Supreme court seems to agree with me on this issue.

            A woman’s right should come first before any embryo or fetus.

          • Scott

            “Since the woman is the one providing the life via her body, her rights supersede, the embryo/fetus is the one in need of a host body.”

            By this logic, every parent should have right to kill their child legally. All children are dependent on their parents and their Level of dependency does not determine their value as a human being. Jesus makes it clear that children are just as valuable as adults (Matthew 19:14).

            “You fail to realize that you cannot give two people the same rights over the same body. Since the woman is an autonomous individual with rights already, her rights to her body and well being should supersede. The Supreme court seems to agree with me on this issue.”

            So only babies created outside of a woman’s body have a right to life? If a woman has sex and doesn’t intend to have a baby but gets pregnant anyway, why should she have the right to terminate a life God intended. Is she then telling God, no I don’t want the child you gave me? This sounds to me like the woman is demanding authority over God. She places her rights above the life God created in her and by doing so, puts herself above God.

          • gladys1071

            “If a woman has sex and doesn’t intend to have a baby but gets pregnant
            anyway, why should she have the right to terminate a life God intended.
            Is she then telling God, no I don’t want the child you gave me? This
            sounds to me like the woman is demanding authority over God. She places
            her rights above the life God created in her and by doing so, puts
            herself above God”

            We live in a pluralistic society, their are many people in this country that do not believe the way you do about pregnancy and conception in a religious manner.

            In truth we don’t know if each conception is God’s will or not, many embryos and fetuses die in the womb what about them?

            In a secular pluralistic society many people believe different things about life/death/pregnancy and conception. In this country men and women have a right to their bodies and a right to not have our organs or bodies used against our will. We don’t even take the organs of dead people.

            By having abortion legal, it gives people the freedom to act according to their conscience about abortion. If you are against it, you do NOT have to procur one, yet it gives those that are not against it the OPTION.

            Nothing is stopping you and all pro-lifers from living according to YOUR beliefs about abortion.

          • Scott

            “We live in a pluralistic society, their are many people in this country that do not believe the way you do about pregnancy and conception in a religious manner.

            “In truth we don’t know if each conception is God’s will or not, many embryos and fetuses die in the womb what about them?”

            We didn’t willingly kill them so we will not have to answer for their death. We can most certainly grieve for them… maybe one day God will allow us to meet them and we might then understand why He would allow them to die in the womb.

            “In a secular pluralistic society many people believe different things about life/death/pregnancy and conception. In this country men and women have a right to their bodies and a right to not have our organs or bodies used against our will. We don’t even take the organs of dead people.”

            I do believe in pluralism, but we don’t have the right to murder… I believe abortion is murder.

            “By having abortion legal, it gives people the freedom to act according to their conscience about abortion. If you are against it, you do NOT have to procur one, yet it gives those that are not against it the OPTION.

            It is however my duty to try and steer people towards God’s truth and speak up if I believe something is evil. I certainly cannot force another person to believe or act a certain way. : – )

            “Nothing is stopping you and all pro-lifers from living according to YOUR beliefs about abortion.”

            This is true. But as long as it is legal, it creates victims… both dead and alive.

            I do like what you said about judgement in another conversation… we can judge another person’s action, but not their heart. I only want to point out evil so that people can turn away from it and towards Jesus.

          • gladys1071

            As I stated you have the freedom to persuade someone to not have an abortion. I am against you trying to change the law.

            All I want is the option to stay legal for those that have a different view.

            People are free to act according to their conscience in this matter. Women are not obligated to have an abortion.

          • Scott

            Freedom is a good thing and I do advocate for a plural society where people have the right to disagree… but not about the taking of innocent life.

            Life should be protected… especially for those who have no way of protecting themselves (the least of these). When a law exists that enables one person to take the life of another (innocent and defenseless) person, that law is evil.

          • gladys1071

            We will have to agree to disagree about this issue. I don’t consider a woman refusing to sustain a life in her body as evil

          • Scott

            “We will have to agree to disagree about this issue.”

            Fair enough… I will only pray for your reconsideration. : – )

          • gladys1071

            This sounds to me like the woman is demanding authority over God. She
            places her rights above the life God created in her and by doing so,
            puts herself above God.

            I also want to add, by your logic, treating someone with cancer or some other terminal disease is playing God, for if God intends for that person to die, doctor’s are interfering with God’s will?

            by taking anti-biotics to kill a deadly infection your are playing God, and thwarting his will for you to die, maybe it was your time to die?

            What about fertility treatments, maybe God meant for some women to be barren, who are they to put themselves above God’s authority and seek fertility treatments like IVF?

            Does your logic of thwarting God’s will ONLY apply to abortion, or does it apply to the examples above?

          • Scott

            “I also want to add, by your logic, treating someone with cancer or some other terminal disease is playing God, for if God intends for that person to die, doctor’s are interfering with God’s will?”

            Healing is something Jesus asked his disciples to do. Abortion is the opposite.

          • Scott

            “What about fertility treatments, maybe God meant for some women to be barren, who are they to put themselves above God’s authority and seek fertility treatments like IVF?”

            The human compassionate side of me really struggles with this. I try as hard as I possible can to love everyone as I think Jesus would want me too… but I believe IVF to be sinful as well.

          • gladys1071

            At least you are consistent in your reply.

          • gladys1071

            “Yes, life is a gift… from God. And everyone should have a right to their own life. We cannot choose when we are given life, nor should we be allowed to choose death for another”

            Your statement is flawed, we choose death and life all of the time. We disconnect people in comas, we execute criminals, we deny treatment due to cost by insurance companies. We go to war and kill many innocent people, etc… I can go on and on.

            As far as the child suffering for conditions outside their control. Have you ever suffered for conditions outside your control? Life is full of conditions outside our control that we suffer for.

            If life is a gift, we have no right to demand anyone provide that for us by using their body or organs, that is why organs are DONATED, not taken.

            If their is a right to life, then i have a right to YOUR healthy kidney when mine fails.

            You cannot demand anyone give you life. It is a selfish concept to think otherwise.

            The unborn cannot demand a right to life, and neither can a born person either.

          • Tyler

            The fundamental flaw with your argument here is that the very things you use as examples of choosing life and death (including abortion) are assumed to be immoral. Unless you are actually making a case in favor of denying medical coverage due to pre-existing conditions, excusing innocent casualties in war, the death penalty, and “disconnecting” coma patients.

  • ElrondPA

    One could legitimately accuse the rescuer of denying the humanity of the embryos only if he chose an inanimate object over the embryos–say, a valuable piece of equipment. If Peter Singer had that choice, he’d probably choose the equipment, but I doubt any pro-lifer would.