“It isn’t black and white”

The title is one of the most common excuses I get when presenting pro-life reasoning.  I often hear it after making these two simple claims:

1. Scientific claim: The unborn are human beings from fertilization.  Therefore, abortion kills an innocent human being.

2. Moral claim: It is immoral to kill innocent human beings for 99% of the reasons given for abortion (i.e., everything except to save the life of the mother).

The reasoning is simple and sound, and I always invite them to explain where they are in error.  That is when I typically get the “it isn’t black and white!” cop-out.

I’ve noticed that they never use the “black and white” claim when advancing same-sex marriage, trashing religious freedoms to force employers to pay for birth control and abortifiacients, pro-union propaganda, anti-school choice, universal health care, etc.  That tells me that they aren’t arguing on principle but are merely wedded to their pro-abortion worldview.

14 thoughts on ““It isn’t black and white””

  1. Although it is a good metaphor for this situation, i think i’m just going to say this mostly to spite you; It isn’t black and white.
    You define a human being as from the moment of “fertilization”, i define human beings as probably somewhere between the first & second trimester. Some people could define Humans as from birth. Some people don’t even define some living persons as human.

    Now, as for “pro-life”, do you eat animals? They’re alive. How about plants? They’re alive too. They’re not sentient but they live. To feed yourself you have to end life. Some poets might say life has to end for life to begin, the circle of life; you could say.
    What about bacteria & viruses, they’re technically alive. Would you let yourself die so as to not kill them? Would you let your child die so as to not kill them?

    Personally, i see some grey, or perhaps colourful, areas.

    Like

    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting and reinforcing my point.

      I encourage you to re-read your comment and note how you are taking a hyper-literal view of “life.” “Pro-life” doesn’t mean being opposed to killing bacteria, it means opposing killing innocent human beings in the womb. In fact, you can be more specific and call me “anti-choice” if you like, provided that you finish the thought and say I’m “anti-choice to kill innocent but unwanted human beings.”

      Re. the definition of human being, I encourage you to click the link in item 1. It lists references to at least 10 mainstream embryology textbooks and other reliable, independent (even pro-legalized abortion) sources that confirm the scientific and logical fact that a new human being is created at conception.

      You choose to ignore the scientific fact and opt for philosophical definitions of when life “really” begins. If you study history you’ll find that bad things happen when human beings in power decide who is “really” a human being.

      Some people don’t even define some living persons as human.

      I know. Something doesn’t have to have 100.000% agreement around the world to be a fact.

      Like

      1. Ok, fair enough, a human is from the moment of conception. And yes, i think i would agree, in this very clear cut, black and white image, killing ‘innocent humans’ is wrong. I would argue though, that there are a few situations that may complicate things hence reality isn’t so clear cut & isn’t so black and white.

        Now you’re wrong when you say i’m taking a ‘hyper-literal’ view, i’m merely taking a literal veiwpoint. The point of a rule is it works come hell or high water. Now you can have clauses on that rule but that is part of the rule. If it doesn’t work 100% of the time then its not a rule. You can’t judge based on a fallible rule. You can’t be pro-life because you can’t follow that through in all situations.

        Now you’re right with when some people have power, bad things can happen & bad decisions can be made. But i’m not asking to make the decision for everyone, nor am i saying the President of the US or the Queen of England should make the dicision. I’m asking that we let the people involved make the decision based on their beliefs, as it is them who are ultimatley culpable for these lifes that we talk about.

        I don’t tell you you can’t eat meat, or plants, or kill bacteria. I leave that decision for you to make based on your beliefs.

        Also, a fact is fact, no mater how many people agree. Only a rule made on beliefs requires majority agreement.

        Like

      2. Would you go so far as to say that someone shouldn’t kill their 10 year old daughter? I mean if they believed it was OK and all? That qualifies as a belief doesn’t it?

        Like

      3. Your problem is that we draw a distinction between *human* life, not only set apart from all other organisms, but unique and in a class completely by itself. Man is the only creature in all of God’s creation which is self-aware and able to make moral decisions. (I do not care to hear you recite biologists’ agenda-laden interpretations of what has been observed among apes, dolphins, etc). We around here tend to believe that human beings were created this way directly by God’s own hand, on purpose.

        You draw no such distinctions between people and the rest of the organisms found on Earth. To you, humans are separated from other lifeforms merely by degree of advancement. This is why you mentioned plants, bacteria, viruses, and animals that are routinely slaughtered for food. It is completely in keeping with an evolutionary worldview. I do not mean to put words in your mouth, but it seems likely based on what you’ve told us so far.

        If I am right about your thinking, it also would explain why you “think” human life begins at some point during pregnancy rather than at conception. (I’ll grant that this is at least a step in the right direction – most secular thinkers seem to think it’s OK to kill a fetus at any time up until birth. It is why they come completely unglued when anyone suggests a law required women to undergo ultrasounds before being permitted to undergo the “procedure.”) However, as Neil pointed out, your definition of human life is still purely the product of (subjective) opinion, not based on fact.

        But when you hold such a different understanding or definition of human life than the rest of us here do, it is unlikely we’re going to find agreement on much else.

        Like

      4. Thanks for following up.

        Ok, fair enough, a human is from the moment of conception. And yes, i think i would agree, in this very clear cut, black and white image, killing ‘innocent humans’ is wrong. I would argue though, that there are a few situations that may complicate things hence reality isn’t so clear cut & isn’t so black and white.

        That’s great progress. We agree that the unborn are humans and that we shouldn’t kill innocent humans, which they of course are. And I already conceded that if the life of the mother was at stake (e.g., ectopic pregnancies) that it would be a legitimate exception (1% of abortions).

        So the question is, what about the other 99%? We would probably agree that it should be illegal to kill innocent human beings outside the womb for the reasons given for the 99%, so why not protect those inside?

        I’m asking that we let the people involved make the decision based on their beliefs, as it is them who are ultimatley culpable for these lifes that we talk about.

        Please consider the “outside the womb” example in light of that statement. Would you care about their decision, based on their beliefs, to kill a toddler?

        Like

      5. Lifeliberty…

        What is so difficult to understand about the term “pro-life” not being taken literal for everything? The phrase has a context for its use, and that context has always been in relation to the subject of abortion. You making it something it never meant is YOUR problem.

        Like

  2. Neil,
    Another great defense the pro-letting-babies-who-are-conceived-in-the-womb-live-from-the-moment-of-conception-until-the-grew-up-and-die-of-natural-causes-some-70-80-years-later-position. 🙂

    Like

  3. Neil,

    It’s not a matter of black and white, it’s a matter of life and death – that’s why there is a debate. Everyone agrees something is being killed. Thanks for all your work in this area. It is constantly amazing to me how facts are important until it impinges on a personal preference or worldview, then all kinds of grey areas arise. It seems one would either concede your points 1 and 2 and decide that it is, in fact, wrong to kill an unborn human being; or like some concede those points and maintain that there is no problem in killing certain human beings because they are defenseless and those making the decisions are the ones who know best and are currently in power. I guess i’d just like to see consistency – that may well be black and white.

    Keep up the good work.

    Like

  4. Pro-choicers argue that there are grey areas of abortion, areas where women must have abortions. I don’t believe there are any reasons, except for the mother’s life, that a woman MUST have an abortion. There are ways in every situation to avoid abortion and give the child a chance to be born and live (adoption being a major one).

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s