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Abortion debate, Part 2: My opening remarks

Shouldn't we respect them?

Shouldn't we respect them?

More on my debate at EKU.  See Part 1 here.

These are my opening remarks, sort of. In the interest of continuous improvement, I’m revising them as I go. But this is mostly what I said.

Opening Statement

Thank you for coming to participate in this debate.

I’m going to take it for granted that all of us here tonight want to live justly with respect to our fellow man. We disagree about who constitutes our fellow man and who does not.

I want to caution you not to believe anything I tell you. I’m an advocate, and so is my opponent in this debate. You can’t know if either of us is telling the truth or not, unless you check it out for yourself. You can’t know if I’ve left out important facts. My conclusions might be flawed. Even if I have plausible arguments, perhaps my opponent has decisive ones. You must do your own research and ask hard questions of both sides.

In America today, preborn humans have the right to life if and only if their mothers want them. This is true through all 9 months of pregnancy. That’s the status quo. And I’m willing to support it. I’m willing to concede that Dr. McLean is entirely correct in almost everything she will say. I’m willing to say there should be no restrictions on abortion. It should be treated just like any other medical procedure. I’m willing to say that abortion is certainly nothing like genocide. I’m willing to concede all of this, quit my job at CBR, and go into another line of work. I’ll do all of that … if. I’ll do all of that if and only if Dr. McLean can present good scientific and philosophic evidence to show that the preborn child is not human. I look forward to hearing that evidence.

The difference between us is not that she is pro-choice and I am anti-choice. I am vigorously pro-choice, as much as any person here, and probably more than most. I believe that every woman (and every man) should be free to choice her own health care provider, her own school, her own religion, her own career, etc.

Unlike many on the political left, I believe people should have the right to choose whether or not they join a union. They should not be forced to pay dues that will be diverted to political campaigns. Washington leftists disagree. I believe doctors and nurses should be free to choose whether they will perform abortions, according to the dictates of their own consciences. Washington leftists say no. I believe people should choose the charitable causes they wish to support, rather than the government choosing for them. Leftists even demand to decide what light bulb you buy, whether you can use a voucher to send your child to the school of your choice, and whether you buy health insurance under ObamaCare.

Yes, we are all pro-choice about some things, but nobody here is pro-choice about everything. Most choices are really matters of personal morality. Even though I may disagree with your choices, I have to respect your right to make them and vice versa. It’s your life. But some choices can be harmful, even deadly, to others. We don’t allow anyone the right to kill another human being simply because she is in the way and cannot defend herself. We don’t allow people to commit rape or child abuse. In a civilized society, no person has the right to unjustly take the life of another.

To put it simple, if the preborn child is not a human being, then no justification for abortion is needed. But if the preborn child is a human being, then no justification for abortion is adequate (except when the mother’s life is in danger).

To open our discussion about abortion, we need to define what it is. And to know what abortion is and does, we need to see it. I’m alerting you up front that some of you will not want to watch the video I’m about to show.  Feel free to close your eyes or look away from the screen.

Some may object to images of abortion because they somehow substitute emotion for reason, but that really misses the point. The question is not whether the pictures are emotional—they are—but whether the pictures are true. If the pictures are true, then they must be admitted as evidence.

Naomi Wolf is a pro-choice author who agrees with us on that point. She wrote,

How can we charge that it is vile and repulsive for pro-lifers to brandish vile and repulsive images if the images are real? To insist that the truth is in poor taste is the very height of hypocrisy. Besides, if these images are often the facts of the matter, and if we then claim that it is offensive for pro-choice women to be confronted by them, then we are making the judgment that women are too inherently weak to face a truth about which they have to make a grave decision. This view of women is unworthy of feminism. (Naomi Wolf, “Our Bodies, Our Souls,” The New Republic, October 16, 1995, p 32)

But Ms. Wolf is a bit off target.  With the pictures, our intended audience is not just women, but both women and men, because everybody needs to know.  The Elliot Institute says that as many as 64% of abortions are coerced, and it doesn’t take a genius to know who is doing the coercing.  Men need to know that irresponsibility comes with a heavy price that others will often have to pay.

I’ll show the video now.

[I then showed the Choice Blues video.]

I yeild back the rest of my time.

End of Opening Statement

In Part 3, I’ll describe the unanswered challenge.

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2 Responses to “Abortion debate, Part 2: My opening remarks”

  1. April 19th, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Gary Harris says:

    can you link part 1 here?

  2. April 20th, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Abortion debate, Part 3: The unanswered challenge says:

    […] Home « Abortion debate, Part 2: My opening remarks […]

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