The student was hardly alone. She was echoing the sentiments of millions of Americans who personally dislike abortion but do not identify as pro-life. Their beliefs are perfectly summed up in this popular bumper sticker: "Don't like abortion? Don't have one." Notice the bumper sticker completely transforms the nature of the abortion debate with a single word---"like."Further on...
Imagine if I said, "Don't like slavery? Then don't own a slave." Or, "Don't like spousal abuse? Then don't beat your wife!" If I said such things, you would immediately realize I don't grasp why slavery and spousal abuse are wrong. They are not wrong because I personally dislike them. They are wrong because slaves and spouses are intrinsically valuable human beings who have a natural right not to be treated as property. Whether I personally like slavery or spousal abuse is completely beside the point. If I liked spousal abuse, you would rightly say I was sick! You wouldn't resign yourself to, "I guess abuse is right for you but not for me."
And yet this is precisely what the pro-choicer does. He reduces abortion to a mere preference and then declares, "Hands off! Keep the government out of the abortion business!"
Here's how I engaged the student at Colgate University. When she said she was personally against abortion but wanted to keep it legal, I asked a very simple question I learned from Greg Koukl: "Why are you against abortion?" When she replied, "Because it's killing, and I personally think it's wrong to do that," I asked: "What does abortion kill?" She was hesitant, but honest: "Um, I guess a human being?"Read the rest.
She's right. If abortion doesn't unjustly kill an innocent human being, why oppose it at all? Then, very gently, I pressed the point home. "Let me see if I understand you correctly---and if I don't, please feel free to clarify. You're personally against abortion because you think it wrongly kills a human being, but you want it to be legal to kill that human being?"
I appreciated her candid reply. "I don't know. I'm still trying to figure that out."
Notice two things I did. First, when she essentially said women have a right to choose, I asked her to complete her own sentence: Choose what? Never proceed without spelling out exactly what will be chosen! Second, once she clarified the choice in question, I asked why she thought that particular choice was wrong. That one question transformed the debate from a discussion about likes and dislikes to one about what's right and what's wrong.
Until that transformation takes place, don't be surprised if your friends are "pro-choice."
Get Scott' "must-read" book here.