This past Wednesday, March 30, UM Students for Life hosted Scott Klusendorf at the Rackham Amphitheatre. Most of the club members were sold by Scott’s case for the pro-life position when they heard him give the keynote address at the Students for Life of America Conference on the eve of the March for Life in D.C. this year, and he certainly didn’t disappoint here in Ann Arbor. Almost 90 students and locals gathered to hear Scott talk, an impressive number especially considering the lack of cooperation from pro-choice groups and professors.
The speech began with a look at embryology for a definition of when life begins. According to science, Scott posited, the fetus is a whole human being from the moment of conception – not just extra cells you can pick off your hand.
Following the scientific portion of his argument, Scott showed a 50-second video of abortion results. Although he gave the audience the option of closing their eyes to the evidence, most sat through the video, silent save a musical accompaniment.
As soon as the video concluded, Scott began the philosophical case for life with the simple SLED analogy: one’s size, location, environment, or level of development does not define his or her humanity. Scott also addressed several counterarguments to his position, one of which compared a pregnancy to waking up one morning and finding someone with kidney failure hooked up to you; the person must remain hooked up to you for the next nine months, or he will die. In responding to the counterargument, Scott addressed both the natural placement of the baby in the womb (as opposed to the unnatural placement of the stranger hooked up to you) as well as a mother’s obligation to her child.
A Q&A ensued soon after Scott’s closing remarks. Thanks to the large number of pro-lifers in the audience, many of the questions began as counterarguments pro-choicers had presented to them at some point in their lives. Naturally rape and the life of the mother emerged as hot topics – the latter accounting for 1% of all abortions. Perhaps one of the toughest areas of the pro-life movement is conceding to the uncomfortable: though painful, though terrible, rape does not provide justification for taking a human life. If a victim cannot take the life of the rapist, then – and here’s where pro-lifers are so often deemed heartless – she has no right to take the life of an innocent human being as a response to her pain.
Several pro-choicers in the audience presented arguments in return, including:
1. Shouldn’t we be more focused on preventing unwanted pregnancies?
To this, Scott asked if legalizing rape and focusing on prevention would limit the number of sexual assault incidents.
2. If abortion becomes illegal, women will have to resort to back-alley abortions.
In our own words, not Scott’s, we parallel the argument to a thief getting injured while trying to rob your house – if an action is illegal, then criminals obviously don’t have the right to commit it and must face the consequences of their actions. Furthermore, this argument again doesn’t address the human life that is the fetus – all those back-alley abortions count as murder.
3. As a man without a uterus, what right does Scott have to talk about this issue?
Scott called the argument out as an ad hominem attack with no logical premise, especially since pro-life women are presenting the exact same arguments. He added that if they wanted to give credit to that argument, then Roe v. Wade needs to be reversed: nine men legalized abortion.
Don’t get us wrong; it takes guts to present an argument to a room full of chuckling pro-lifers, especially when you miss the first half of Scott’s speech like the pro-choice girls who spoke up. But having guts doesn’t mean having a good case, and we in Students for Life left with confidence in the pro-life position.
If you have a logical reason why you’re pro-choice, try it out on us. We’re waiting.