Abortion: Are You Sure Enough to Shoot?

#100forLife: Abortion proponents can't do any better than, 'It's probably not murder' — which isn't good enough.

By Tom Gilson Published on October 13, 2016

Everyone on both sides of the abortion question agrees murder is wrong. Both sides also agree that the unborn child is a distinct human organism. The one point of disagreement is whether an unborn child may have reached the stage at which he or she (or it, in their view?) has the same moral significance as other human life, such that killing the child is actually murder.

Abortion proponents say some children aren’t far enough along for that. They’d better be sure of it. Very sure.

My friend Greg Koukl puts it this way. Suppose you’re standing at the sink washing dishes. Your four-year-old son tugs at your shirt and says, “Mommy/Daddy, may I kill it?” Would you say yes? Not until you knew what “it” was. You don’t just assume it’s just a bug: it could be your son’s baby sister! (Not likely, but you get the point.)

The dilemma can be stated even more powerfully than that, though. It begins by asking how certain abortion proponents can be that the child isn’t a morally significant human being. How do they know? And how sure do they need to be?

Typically their answer to the first question is that the fetus isn’t a real person if it’s not far enough along either to feel real pain or to be viable outside the womb. Those are possible answers for those who deny a biblical approach to the question, but they’re not written in stone, and they’re not inscribed in any holy writ (if that would matter to them anyway). So the highest level of certainty abortion supporters could possibly rise to would be that their standard is probably right. But probably right isn’t good enough, and everyone knows it.

Imagine you’re at a shooting range. There’s a four-foot tall human-shaped cardboard target standing about 5 yards down the range, with black drapery hiding everything around it. The range master racks a clip of 9 mm. rounds into a pistol for you, then explains,

“There’s a little girl standing off to the side behind the black curtain. At some point during the next nine minutes, she’s going to position herself behind the cardboard target.  She might move in there while I’m handing you the gun, or she might wait until the last second. I don’t know when she’s going to go there, and neither do you.

“So go ahead. Fire when you think it’s safe.”

Would you shoot? Heavens, no! The instruction is all wrong! You wouldn’t fire just because you “think it’s safe.” You would only shoot if you knew for certain it was safe; and since you don’t know, you don’t shoot. If the range master said, “Better hurry! Odds are getting worse every second!” you wouldn’t shoot. If he said, “Hey, it’s all right, we’ve only reached the 20 second point. There’s barely a 3 percent chance you’d kill her if you pulled the trigger now,” you still wouldn’t shoot.

If you’re in a position where your actions might result in a morally significant human being’s murder, how certain is certain enough? Only 100 percent. Especially since we’re not just talking about someone else’s little girl, we’re talking about a mother’s own flesh and blood. (The scenario would be more accurate if it was your own daughter back there.)

Abortion proponents are staking their moral innocence and others’ on a standard they cannot know with 100 percent certainty is true. Yet like the range master they’re urging women to shoot. And kill. On purpose. Which is obviously wrong, given just a bit of thought.

So here’s the question. “What’s your standard for deciding whether a child has enough human value that killing them is or isn’t murder? Are you 100 percent certain you’re right? If not, then what percentage number would you put on it?”

And then, “How many seconds of holding the gun does that equal?”

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  • Charles Burge

    I would simply ask this question: At what specific point in development does someone become a human being with inherent value and dignity? Any response other than “at the moment of conception” can only come from either ignorance or intellectual dishonesty. That’s not just what the Bible says. It’s also what empirical scientific observation has determined beyond any reasonable doubt. Liberals love to wag their fingers at conservatives, saying we are ignoring science (on a range of other issues), but when it comes to abortion, *they* are the ones ignoring clear consensus from scientists in the fields of embryology and biology.

  • Dean Bruckner

    Only police have to be 100.00000000000% certain before they use deadly force, according to progressives. Certainly we can’t trust THEM to do the right thing!. If you’re a pregnant woman, however, they say, pull the trigger to celebrate who you are. As Cecile Richards says, Live out loud! We’ll trust your decision to use deadly force, with no training, no true information, no support and no accountability. Oh, and by the way, we are going to treat your baby like a smashed up car pulled to pieces in a pick-a-part junkyard.

    Of course, they aren’t the ones putting your soul closer to hell. You are.

  • windship

    Humans and their feed stock now make up 90% of all terrestrial vertebrate mass on the planet. I keep coming back to that shocking number in terror, wondering where our own species’ selfish exceptionalism is taking us.

    When I was born, the number was about 25%, so it does seem like through our own fecundity we are now hurtling over the cliff of a planetary extinction, and gravity has taken over most easy options. Shooting each other in confusion is just one of the minor symptoms of this desperate fall. The future is looking so bleak that many rational women, indeed our own children now, fear bringing a child into this world. Let’s have a rational and compassionate debate about abortion with this background reality of tragic human overshoot right out front and center.

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