Deadly equivocations

According to the good folks at Dictionary.com, and equivocation is a fallacy based on the use of the same term in different senses.  Sometimes these are used in comical ways, but other times people use them to twist the meaning of something important.

An abortionist who killed over 20,000 human beings used this sleight of tongue this way:

He calls himself an “abortionist” and says, “I am destroying life.”

But he also feels he’s giving life: He calls his patients “born again.”

“When you end what the woman considers a disastrous pregnancy, she has literally been given her life back,” he says….

Did you notice how the definition of “life” shifted?  When he concedes that he destroys life it was in a literal sense.  That’s what abortion does.  It is a scientific fact that it kills an innocent human being.

But in the next sentence he changes the definition.  He didn’t give these people life in the same sense.  They were already alive.  He just meant that he (seemingly) liberated them from a problem they had.  Having an unplanned child doesn’t kill you.

Now I realize that most readers realize the shift from literal to figurative.  My point is that it is deadly how people let him get away with it.

I know someone who claimed to be pro-life who used the same type of language to rationalize abortion.  He said, “It is better to destroy one life than three.”  The implication was that if the pregnancy was allowed to continue that the lives of the mother, father and child would all be “destroyed.”  But that is an extreme exaggeration.

Yes, there are consequences to actions, and babies are a rather significant consequence of sex.  But it doesn’t automatically cause irreparable harm to three lives if you don’t hurry up and have an abortion, and it certainly doesn’t crush and dismember all three.

But if you have an abortion it really does destroy the one life.

If you ever participated in an abortion, please know that forgiveness and healing are possible through Jesus.

Whether you participated in one or not, don’t use sloppy language to rationalize abortion.  It is the greatest moral issue of our time and it would be illegal if it weren’t for all the uninformed and/or lazy and / or wimpy Christians ignoring the topic.

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0 thoughts on “Deadly equivocations”

  1. The error, in fact, is a standard logical fallacy called “Equivocation”. Like the following:

    All banks are along rivers.
    The place that I deposit my money, therefore, is by a river.

    Since “bank” can mean “the side of a river” or “a financial institution”, the term is ambiguous and the argument is false out of hand.

    In the argument “life” can mean “a living being” or “the physical, mental, and spiritual experiences that constitute existence”. Not the same thing. The terms are ambiguous, not used in the same sense, and the argument is false out of hand.

    But, of course, catching logical errors like that isn’t as easy as it used to be … because so few people know that “logical fallacies” are.

    Like

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