Rebecca Kiessling talks strategy on BEL

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* One of Rebecca's Favorite Articles: From American Right To Life, see why Rebecca Kiessling loves this article...

Abortion Purists vs. Consenting to the Killing of Some

Clickable Contents: Because there are so many clichés used trying to justify abortion regulations, we provide a clickable table of contents so you don't need to read this whole article. We recommend the Introduction and Hostage Takers sections, and then the clichés you yourself have used or heard.


What if you can only save one of a hundred dying children?

Some pro-family groups actually oppose advocating for the God-given right to life and personhood of the unborn. These organizations have collectively taken in hundreds of millions of dollars from abortion politics. They try to discredit those advocating for personhood by calling them "purists" and they claim that "purists" would not try to save a child from a burning building if they could not save all the children threatened. And they say that half a loaf is better than none and that we should never make the perfect the enemy of the good. What of these things?

What if you can only save one of a hundred children? Of course you save the one, or as many as you can, if you can't save them all. American RTL below directly addresses the burning buildings, sinking buses, and Titanic analogies of the pro-life industry. These all describe accidents though. So if we are trying to understand the morality and dynamics behind pro-life strategies, we should use a better analogy to abortion. A more valid parallel is a terrorist threatening to kill children in a school. So first we'll consider the hostage analogy, and then the buildings, buses, Titanic, and common clichés.

In this American RTL can speak for the entire personhood movement: we all unequivocally support saving as many children as possible: whether all, most, a few, or even just one. What is immoral, and regardless of the reason, what we all must oppose, is consenting to the intentional killing of a single innocent child.


The best analogy for pro-life strategy is of hostage takers, especially of kids in a school. In Russia, Islamic and other terrorists took 777 school kids and more than 300 adults hostage at the Beslan school. More than 300 were killed including 156 innocent children.

Site of the 2004 Beslan school massacreThe hostage taker is a better analogy because most fires and collisions with icebergs are accidents. Rushing in to save anyone who may die by fire involves legal matters such as affirmative defense, trespass, and necessity defense. Anti-abortion legislation on the other hand involves fundamentally different legal principles, including human rights and especially, the right to life.

As demonstrated below, using poor analogies makes it easy to confuse yourself and to mislead others. Proper analogies are powerful but never perfect. When the terrorist is threatening to kill hostages and your goal is to save as many as you can, what kind of behavior on your part would be justifiable? What kind of behavior, even if you were desperate to save your own child, would be immoral?

All the laws that regulate child killing including waiting periods, parental involvement, and informed consent concur that the abortionist can legally kill the child as long as he follows some rules. Regulatory laws authorize. And they re-authorize. Regulatory laws give permission. That is what they do. (See more...)