S.L.E.D. Part 1: Size

by Garnet

The “morality of abortion” debate always centres on one question: “What is the unborn?”  I’ve had discussions with people about abortion, and no matter where we started (hard cases, overpopulation, unwanted/unplanned pregnancies), the discussion always comes to this point.  If the pro-life movement is wrong about the humanity of the unborn child we are all wasting our time.  But if pro-choice people are wrong there are countless children being killed daily.  The question, “What is the unborn” is of paramount importance; it is a matter of life and death.

This four part blog series (over the next while) will deal with four objections to the personhood of the unborn (Size, Level of Development, Environment, Degree of Dependency).  The first argument goes like this:

“The unborn child is smaller than a born child or toddler.  In fact, they are simply blobs of tissue.  Therefore they do not have the right to life.”

The pro-life advocate would respond like this: Size is not a fair criterion for determining value.  Physical size simply has nothing to do with rights.  For example, take a look at this amazing video in which the world’s tallest man meets the world’s smallest man (at the time – in 2007).

Would anyone assert that Bao Xishun, who is 7 feet, 9 inches, has more of a right to life than He PingPing, who is only 2 feet, 5 inches?  After all, Bao Xishun is over 5 feet taller than He PingPing.  This would be quickly condemned as discrimination.  Or consider another example: a toddler is a lot smaller than a grown man or woman.   Are we therefore permitted to dispose of a toddler if it would benefit someone else?  Of course not.  This is a preposterous proposition.  But, from the time of conception, right through childhood, adolescence and beyond, human beings grow in size.  Why did we pick birth as the moment babies are big enough to have the right to life?  It just makes no sense.

Maybe one of the other arguments, Level of Dependency, Environment or Degree of Dependency, will convince you more, so stay tuned.

p.s. The SLED concept comes from Stephen Shwartz’s book The Moral Question of Abortion (Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1990).
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2 thoughts on “S.L.E.D. Part 1: Size

  1. Pingback: I’m a Person: Inside and Out « uOttawa Students For Life

  2. Pingback: Lose the Hype, Look at the Facts | National Campus Life Network

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