A Challenging Question for Pro-Life Christians

(Victoria White) #1

I heard an argument today online from a pro-choice activist and he proposed a question in which he claims “no pro-life person can answer honestly.”

He gave the scenario of a fertility clinic that was burning down. You found a toddler in a room and 1000 viable embryos. You have one choice. Would you save the 1000 embryos or the living child? He says that most people would choose the option of saving the toddler, and there he claims that there is a clear difference, saying that living people are not the same as embryos.

This question haunted me today. Do you guys have any thoughts/responses?

My personal response: I’d try to save both, even if it means I die while trying.

(Roger Greene) #2

I’m not sure how that scenario relates to pro life or pro choice. That scenario is so wildly different than deciding whether or not to abort a pregnancy/kill a child. In a burning building you save everyone you can. That is significantly different than willingly choosing to abort a pregnancy/kill a child simply because you don’t want it.

If anything, that makes me consider that if I’m ever in a burning fertility clinic, that I should save the moving people and the Petri dishes. I guess that is a good note for the future. But it’s berring on the argument at hand is just nonsense.

(Victoria White) #3

I think it’s supposed to point out how there is a difference between saving embryos vs, saving a child already out of the womb. “Clearly one would be more valuable than the other”, like that.

(Roger Greene) #4

Okay, sure. Yet, you can pose equally ridiculous counter scenarios (actually, far more likely scenarios…). You’re apartment is on fire, you can save your spouse or your child. If you save your child does that make your spouse any less valuable? No.

His scenario is a deliberate attempt to manipulate you into feeling bad about your position.

(Victoria White) #5

I agree. That’s why it’s important to be prepared for such a time as this!

(Andrew Bulin) #6

Yeah sounds like a one-sided question. Anyone who has had any pregnancy difficulties and had gone through clinics know that embryo does not = live healthy viable child. The question sounds a little set up where another has to consider letting a live toddler who is healthy, living and breathing to suffer burning alive. Reminds me of some of the trickier questions Jesus had been cornered with, but there maybe another concern behind the question…

Perhaps there is a way the question can be rephrased and addressed? Or a deeper question or reason exposed?

(C Rhodes) #7

@Victoria_White. The premise is false. The question itself is improbable. In my answer to him, I would immediately question the reason for setting up an improbable scenario. For me, that would be an excellent indication that I was not hearing the true question. His question raises more questions before it could be honestly answered.

Why was he in the clinic? Was he alone and therefore robbing the clinic? If he was not alone why would anything need be lost to fire? Was it a question of devaluing the eggs over the toddler, or is it more of a sensitivity that he would feel if he heard the verbal anguish of the toddler being burned? How could the question be legitimate if it assumes a scenario that does not admit the limitations we own as humans.

There are few scenarios in which we could emerge the hero if all things were taken into account. Few tragedies have win-win outcomes. We assign heroics to our best efforts, not whether we are able to know 100% recovery in those efforts. It is not an issue of assigning less value to a person or cause. It’s just the best we could do. That does not assign a political classification to anyone.

I would imagine the true dilemma lies in the distress he feels in being considered someone who does not consider the unborn valuable. Better to insist that everyone else share in that conclusion. It’s not life until it leaves the womb. But though hidden in the darkness of the earth, life is not signified by the finished plant. It is life germinating in the womb of the earth long before the finished product emerges.

(christopher van zyl) #8

It’s a straw man argument. I like what @rgreene has said, because
I thought of this while reading your question:

If your house is burning down, and you have the option between saving your elderly dad or your dog, which would you choose? The fact that this person is trying to say one is “more” life than the other is ridiculous. The criteria they are using is not about whether it’s life or not. It seems the criteria is what is most valuable to you at that moment. I see it this way.

Premise 1: What you choose to save is what constitutes what life is.
Premise 2: You’d choose a child over 1000 embryos.
Conclusion: 1000 embryos aren’t life.

This reasoning is faulty. As the example I used above, you can see why

Premise 1: What you choose to save is what constitutes what life is.
Premise 2: You’d choose an elderly man over a dog
Conclusion: A dog is not life.

So i like that Roger had the same idea!

But anyway, it’s very bad reasoning. And perhaps instead of answering, you can ask a question in return so that they can open up with their general assumptions, and maybe even expose their faulty logic.

Love the question! I hope this helps!

(Rebecca Giuliani) #9

Hi @Victoria_White, I’m thinking about the scenario you’ve described, i can understand why it made you feel uncomfortable.

I hope the answers from others have been helpful in showing how the argument is flawed. The pro-choice activist is asserting that if you were to make any differentiation between a toddler and an embryo in the situation then that means you don’t place the same value on the life of an embryo as you do a toddler. He’s presented a false dilemma in giving you a limited set of two possibilities within the argument when there are in fact many more possibilities. The way he has posed the argument means that by rejecting one option you are forced to accept the other.

He’s then taken it further to suggest that if you choose to save a toddler from a burning building instead of the embryos then you should naturally accept that it’s okay/right for a woman in any situation to terminate her pregnancy because the baby is unwanted. That’s a a big leap.

Hope that helps you think through it :slight_smile: