The Ethics of Abortion 

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Prepare for the course by reading this section on the Case for Life on the Life Training Institute website. Click here

The Ethics of Abortion 

Successful pro-life apologists are philosophers. They objectively weigh arguments according to the dictates of sound reason, seeking to understand before offering judgments. They are intellectually curious, eager to explore all facets of the abortion debate, including responses from academic critics who hold differing views. Once they understand the major thinkers on both sides of the issue, they engage the culture with a persuasive pro-life apologetic centered on four primary objectives.

  • First, pro-life apologists clarify the abortion debate by focusing public attention on one key question: What is the unborn?
  • Second, pro-life apologists establish a foundation for the debate, demonstrating to critics that metaphysical neutrality is impossible and why the substance view of human persons—grounded in theism—best explains human dignity and equality.
  • Third, pro-life apologists answer objections persuasively, drawing from science, philosophy, and theology.
  • Fourth, pro-life apologists teach and equip, translating sophisticated academic arguments into language lay people can grasp.

These four tasks are necessary because while the street-level debate over abortion rages on, a serious intellectual discussion about the foundation for human rights continues almost unnoticed. What makes humans valuable? Can secularism provide an adequate grounding for basic human rights? How do natural rights differ from merely positive (legal) ones? How do war, social justice, and theology impact debates over abortion? In this course, we will review the major academic thinkers on both sides of the abortion debate, including the most persuasive critics of the pro-life view. Pro-life apologists should interact with our strongest critics, not our weakest ones. Only then can we be sure our case is sound. Moreover, we’ll examine the underlying worldview assumptions that both academic and lay people bring to debates over abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and cloning. We will also discuss why the Christian worldview in particular does a better job accounting for intrinsically valuable human beings, fundamental human rights, and objective moral rules.


Scott Klusendorf travels throughout the United States and Canada training pro-life advocates to persuasively defend their views in the public square. He contends that the pro-life message can compete in the marketplace of ideas if properly understood and properly articulated. 

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Day 1

9 AM to 12 PM – Zoom Session #1

12 PM to 6 PM – Afternoon Assignments

6 PM to 9 PM – Zoom Session #2

Day 2

8 AM-10:30 AM – Read lecture notes #2 (minus case studies)

10:30 AM to 1 PM – Zoom Session #3

1:30 PM-6 PM Afternoon Assignments

6 PM to 9 PM – Zoom Session #4