Johnny: What do you think about abortion?
Jenny: I don’t even want to get into it. It’s too complicated.
Johnny: Ok. Do you agree that arranged marriage is complicated?
Jenny: What do you mean?
Johnny: Well imagine you were in a culture where arranged marriage is the norm. A man is chosen to be your husband and you do not approve. You have no desire to marry him. Would you say that this is a complicated situation?
Jenny: I dunno…
Johnny: Well, if you refuse to marry the man you may be publicly ridiculed, ostracized, beaten or worse. Wouldn’t you say this creates a very unjust, complicated situation?
Jenny: Yeah I guess it does. Arranged marriage sounds so wrong. I can’t see how any culture could allow something as cruel and absurd as arranged marriages.
Johnny: I agree. Now may I ask why your are willing to offer your opinion on a complicated issue like arranged marriage, but not on another complicated topic like abortion?
Jenny: Good point. I guess “it’s complicated” isn’t a very good excuse to avoid the topic.
Jenny: Look. I don’t like abortion. But I also don’t think we should tell a woman what to do with her own body.
Johnny: Does an unborn baby have a body?
Jenny: What kind of question is that?
Johnny: Is the body of an unborn baby its own or its mother’s?
Jenny: Its own…Wait!…Its mother’s? Ugh! Quit asking me complicated questions! You’re making my brain hurt…
Johnny: I’m sorry for making you think, Jen, but I’m trying to make a point. Maybe you didn’t realize this but an unborn baby has different DNA than its mother. It could have a different blood type than her as well. And the unborn baby will always originate from different human parents than the mother. It is also growing, replicating cells, metabolizing energy…
Jenny: Interesting. Sounds kinda like a tumour!
Johnny: But a tumour does not have human parents. A tumour also doesn’t have the potential to grow into a human parent.
Jenny: True! That would make an interesting novel though…
Johnny: Not my kind of book… But back to my point! From the moment of fertilization the unborn baby, whether zygote, embryo or fetus, is clearly a distinct individual human organism. No human biologist or embryologist would disagree with this point.
Johnny: Do you believe that it is objectively wrong to intentionally kill innocent human beings?
Jenny: (after a long pause and a deep breath) Yes.
Johnny: Do you believe that the unborn baby is innocent?
Jenny: Well, yes but I still don’t believe we should tell a woman what to do with the baby because it is still attached to the mother’s body, and her body is her own property.
Johnny: So are you saying she “owns” her body?
Jenny: Yes! And the fetus too as long as it depends on her.
Johnny: Will the baby depend on the mother after he is born?
Jenny: Yes… but in the womb it will depend on her because it is attached to her body via the umbilical cord. She owns her own body and she owns her own fetus as long as it remains attached to her. She should be able to choose what she wants to do with it as long as this is the case.
Johnny: When my daughter was born she was attached to my wife by the umbilical cord for a few moments even after being delivered from the birth canal. She was immediately placed right on my wife’s chest with the cord still intact. By virtue of her continued “attachment” to my wife during these first few moments after delivery, would it still have been OK for my wife to kill her for any reason at all, provided the cord had not yet been cut? After all, my daughter was still attached and completely dependent on her body during these first moments after the delivery.
Jenny: Obviously not.
Johnny: So it seems that the circumstances of “attachment” and “total dependency” are not sufficient reasons to kill a baby. Would you agree?
Johnny: I want to make sure I’ve understood you correctly. You agreed that the unborn baby is human, right?
Johnny: But you also believe that the baby is the “property” of the mother because it is still dependent on her in the womb. The mother, as you stated, essentially owns her unborn baby. This makes abortion an acceptable choice for her. Am I following you correctly?
Jenny: Yeah, I guess.
Johnny: Jenny, what do you call it when one human owns another human?
Jenny: I know where you’re going with this!
Johnny: Where am I going?
Jenny: Ugh! Let’s just leave it alone for today. I need to think more about all of this later when I’m not so overwhelmed.
Johnny: OK no problem. Thank you for being so open and honest with me.
Jenny: I’ll see you tomorrow…
To learn more about how to effectively defend and dialogue from a Pro-Life position, the book to read is Persuasive Pro-Life by Trent Horn.
I also recommend the blog of Pro-Life apologist, Stephanie Gray.
You may also want to check out my post, Preparing To Intelligently Engage The Culture: A Guide.