Updated: May 4, 2021
The pro-life movement often will lead with specific talking points that echo throughout the masses of supporters, only to be refuted with gusto from the opposition. It’s fair to say that each side of the argument is prone to making points that could be roughly categorized as either “strong” or “weak” from their worldview perspective.
One such weak - not to mention, incredibly destructive - pro-life argument is this idea that we must protect the pre-born because you could be killing someone who cures cancer, becomes the next Mother Teresa, etcetera.
Firstly, pro-lifers tend to use this argument as a direct rebuttal to the pro-abortion stance that figures such as Hitler should have been aborted because it would have saved millions of lives.
[The evidence that this dispute is alive and well is in the social media nuclear explosion following Ben Shapiro’s Baby Hitler comment earlier this year.]
Secondly, this pro-abortion Hitler argument is feeble and pointless, even from any worldview that would support grounds for terminating pregnancies, as genocidal murderer genetic strains don’t exist.
But most importantly, though based on good intentions, the foundation on which this pro-life argument stands lays waste to the overall platform.
It needs to stop now. Here’s why.
This particular argument hinges on determining the measurable value of human life. That the “good” that a human life potentially could produce is where it gains its value - or likewise loses it.
This practice of measuring value is inherently harmful in and out of the womb.
In 18th Century England, the ruling class - based on the prevailing economic idea of Mercantilism - dehumanized the laboring class by making them a mere commodity. Human value could be quantified through potential output for the Empire, being that “People [were] the riches of a nation.” This concept can be summarized as: the more labor output potential, the greater the value; the lower the output potential, the lower the value.
Now think about that for a moment.
A young able-bodied man who could produce much held more value because of his potential output. A baby, an older man, and a disabled woman would have the most negligible value because of their inability to contribute to the labor force.
More Labor = Greater Value
More Good = Greater Value
The source of human value is not derived from our contribution to society. And likewise, our worth is not taken away because of our reliance on or damage to society. (Though a person can damage or even forfeit their dignity by deeply violating another’s, but more on that at a later date.)
Our ability to reason sets us apart from mere beasts and therefore means we’re more than just the sum of our physical parts.
Not a believer?
Read the illustration below, and then answer the following questions truthfully:
Your grandmother has passed away. Upon arriving at the gravesite, you are told that your grandmother will not be allowed to be buried but will instead be thrown out into a neighboring field - the field serving as her final resting place.
Why does this illustration shock our senses?
Your grandmother is no longer there. She is but a meaningless pile of the flesh that once had a name, once had a life, but is no longer contributing in any meaningful way.
So, why not just throw her out in a field? Why treat her body with respect? Why treat her body with honor? Because human value transcends, it is inherent, which means no matter the state of a human person, it is deserving of the respect and recognition that comes with personhood.
But why is the pro-abortion movement seeking to abolish the idea that personhood is inherent?
This attempt to refute the intrinsic value of the human person means the measurable worth of life within the womb can be deemed “lesser,” and therefore, there is absolutely no reason why a woman cannot kill her child inside the womb.
[Love this PragerU video on the topic!]
But as much as some of us would want to deny it, the truth is we all know human life has inherent value…even inside the womb…even if that life is unwanted…
Read this one last illustration and take note of the contradictions:
You are a fetus, and your value is only determined by whether or not your mother wants you.
If you are wanted…
…you have more value and are deserving of protection, although you are wholly reliant on your mother.
…and if your mother doesn’t eat properly or abuses substances, society will reprimand your mother for the potential harm she can cause you.
…and if someone tries to kill your mother while you are in the womb because your mother wants you, the assailant will be charged doubly for his crime.
…and when your mother gives birth to you, if a doctor tries to harm you or leaves you to die, because you were wanted, that doctor will go to jail.
If you are NOT wanted…
…then you have lesser value and are not deserving of protection because you are wholly reliant on your mother.
…and if your mother doesn’t eat properly or abuses substances, society will reprimand your mother for the potential harm she can cause you up until the moment an abortionist is given permission to rip you to pieces and from your mother’s womb.
…and if someone tries to kill your mother while you are in the womb, even though your mother does not want you, the assailant will be charged doubly for his crime.
…and when your mother gives birth to you, if a doctor tries to harm you or leaves you to die because you were not wanted, that doctor will be seen as simply doing his job.
The contradictions are evident, which means the truth is crystal clear also: personhood starts at conception.
Hundreds of thousands of lives depend on the pro-life movement getting it right. So we must stop undermining the foundation on which we stand and instead lead with the truth: