LISTENER MAIL: What Do You Think of Pro-Life Bills that Could Be Ended with “and Then You Can Kill the Baby?”
Download Audio MP3 | 00:22:32
Update 6/22: Upon request, I’ve written most of these points up as an article and published them at JoshBrahm.com.
Here’s an outline of my main points in response to this question from Bobby: “Some pro-life people oppose ‘incrementalist’ pro-life laws because they always end with ‘… and then you can kill the baby.’ What are your thoughts?”
Note: Many of my arguments and thinking on these issues comes from conversations I had with Scott Klusendorf and Dr. Francis Beckwith, who both graciously spent time with me while I was working through these issues in 2007. I’m not sure now who said what and how many of these arguments are really my own, nor would I want to source any of these arguments directly to Scott or Frank without their permission. (These were all private conversations.) It’s probably a fair assumption that the really smart talking points came from one of them though.
This was supposed to be a video but we had technical difficulties with the recorded video, so I’m posting the audio only.
- Common ground: I agree that we don’t want to communicate to people that we only care about babies that feel pain, are a certain age, not conceived in rape, etc.
- I disagree that most forms of incremental legislation send that message. I think most people know how politics works.
- My argument is not that we should do evil that good may come. My argument is that when we pass incremental bills that will have a positive impact for the unborn, we are not actually doing evil. We are doing a good thing.
- What’s implicit in these bills is that we want to save all, but we know we can’t, so we’re going to save the most we can, and go from there.
- William Wilberforce helped pass a bill, the Foreign Slave Trade Bill of 1806) that you could have ended with, “and then you can sell the slave.”
- Do you think it’s more important to make an impact or to make a statement? I don’t believe that passing a bill with a rape exception tacked onto it at the last minute sends a message to pro-choice people that we don’t care about the babies conceived in rape that are sometimes killed in abortions.
- Buy Clarke Forsythe’s book “Politics for the Greatest Good: The Case for Prudence in the Public Square”
- Read the De Facto Guardian paper Josh referenced that responds to bodily rights arguments combined with rape.
- Listen to other Life Report content related to the absolutism vs. incrementalism debate: