Can Toddlers Sway the Abortion Conversation?

Trotting Out Toddlers

In this article, founder and president of Life Training Institute Scott Klusendorf offers a great strategy for defending the pro-life position. Klusendorf highlights many of the central claims made by pro-choice advocates and how we can respond. One of the most effective strategies he discusses involves a comparison to a toddler.

Many people claim that women should have the right to make decisions for themselves. So, Klusendorf points out, should we allow women to kill their toddlers because they are supposed to have the right to make decisions for themselves? Clearly, most people would agree that killing toddlers is unacceptable; our right to choose, if it exists, is not unlimited. We cannot choose to kill innocent people simply in the name of our own person right to choose.

The same logic can be used for the extreme cases as well, like rape or incest. Can we rightfully abort a child that is the product of rape or incest? Well, could we rightfully kill a toddler that is the product of rape or incest? No, because toddlers have the same right to life that adults have. As such, if the unborn child has the same rights as a toddler, we cannot rightfully kill it either. While the emotional nature of this question makes it difficult to handle, it does nothing to show that the unborn should have less rights than the toddler or even the mother.

This comparison brings us back to the main issue: does the unborn child have the same rights as a toddler, the rights of a human person?

The toddler shows that many of the common objections to the pro-life position only apply if the unborn child is not really a person, because we clearly can’t kill an innocent person because of any of these objections. The fact that they make these arguments shows that they have already assumed the answer to the most central question in the debate. Are the unborn human?

This tactic is a great way to guide the conversation to that most central question. Once you guide the conversation to this point, you can use the rest of Klusendorf’s article to defend the personhood of the unborn child effectively.

Scott writes:

“Are the unborn, like toddlers, members of the human family? That is the one issue that matters.”