“From the moment of conception, the unborn has a human nature. That he cannot yet speak, reason, or perform personal acts means only that he cannot yet function to the degree we can, not that he lacks the essential nature that makes those functions possible in the first place.” — Scott Klusendorf, in The Case for Life
As you wonder about today's tragic anniversary of Roe v Wade, consider the implications of Klusendorf’s statement. I believe Scott nails it. He states an obvious, self-evident, common-sense truth that deflates the pro-choice moral position. Philosophically, there is no significant difference between the man I am today and the baby that I was in my mother’s arms 57 years ago. Clearly, this same logic also holds for me as an embryo only days or weeks earlier than that.
The logic of this pro-life position is stated clearly in what is known as the SLED Defense for Life. SLED represents four logical arguments based upon Size, Level of development, Environment and Degree of dependency.
Here’s a summary –
Size: Does size matter in our moral assessment of human beings? Embryos are smaller than newborns and newborns smaller than adults, but does that matter? Are larger people more valuable than smaller people? Since men are usually larger than women are women less valuable?
Obviously not. Men, teens, babies are not granted their inherent, self-evident, inalienable rights based on our Creators consideration of their size or potential size.
Be thankful that people are not graded for size, shape or color like Grade A poultry eggs. Our internal moral compass informs us rightly that size doesn't equal value.
Level of development: Does level of development matter in assessing our stature as humans?
Indeed, embryos and fetuses are less developed than you and I. Yet, a two-year old is also less developed than a full frown man or woman. Is this where the pro-choice movement wants our nation to stand?
Are we willing to say that athletes have more worth or value than those who are less developed. Do bodybuilders have more worth than those who are handicapped or have not yet reached their full developmental potential?
Maybe it’s not just physical. Maybe this category should include mental capacity, also. For instance, embryos have no sense of self awareness. Would that make a difference? Does a six-day old baby have self-awareness? What about those who lack the immediate capacity for performing normal mental functions, as do the comatose, the sleeping, and those with Alzheimer's Disease.
Environment: Your location has no bearing on your humanness. Whether you are in the local elementary school or the county jail your value as a human being is not weighed differently. The same holds true for you while in bed verses your stature at the office. You may look funnier in one place over the other, but your stature as a human does not change.
If this is true, how can someone claim that there is a significant difference between the nature of the “unborn” and the “born?” The ultimate nature of this being is still that of a human.
Degree of Dependency: I have been an insulin dependent Type-I diabetic since I was in my late teens. That means I have taken somewhere near 40,000 injections of insulin (40 years x 365 days x 3 injections per day). My life has been the ultimate expression of dependency on modern medicine. Does that make me, or any of the other millions of diabetics less human?
Although humans differ immensely with respect to gifts, talents, accomplishments, preferences they all share in equal value as part of humanity. Humans are valuable because God has deemed them valuable and as their “creator has endowed them with certain inalienable rights that among those are the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
No human being, regardless of size, level of development, race, gender, or place of residence, should be excluded from the moral community of human persons. In other words, the pro-life view of humanity is inclusive, indeed wide open, to all, especially those that are small, vulnerable and defenseless.
Photos courtesy of: http://heatherwagnerphotography.com/blog/