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Person 1 (our hero): You and I equally deserve the right to life. So do all our friends. What do we have in common that makes us equal? Person 2: We can all survive on our own. Person 1 (our hero): Hm. If that’s the right explanation, ducks deserve the same right to life as us.

Ducks Survive on Their Own

Josh Brahm calls this the most undervalued argument in the prolife movement. It’s called the Equal Rights Argument. On all sides of the abortion debate, most people agree that those of us outside the womb have equal value. Ask what we have in common that makes us equal, and listen carefully to the answer.

In this example, the proposed answer is that being able to survive on our own is what makes us equal. But animals like ducks can survive on their own just as much as we can survive on our own. Animal abuse is not okay, but animals and humans do not have equal value; for example, it makes sense to test medical products on animals before humans. So being able to survive on one’s own can’t be what makes us equal.

We think what makes us equal is simply that we’re all members of the human species. The human fetus is also a member of the human species, so if we’re correct, then the fetus is a person with the same value as you and me.

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Suggested:
Person 1: Abortion is okay until the fetus is viable. Person 2 (our hero): I’m glad we agree abortion is wrong if the fetus is viable. I’d like to understand your view better. Before viability, would you say the fetus is a human person?Person 1: A fetus is a parasite. Person 2 (our hero): It’s true that the fetus is entirely dependent on another person. Many elderly adults suffer from depression because they feel guilty about being in a similar position.Person 1 (our hero): You and I equally deserve the right to life. So do all our friends. What do we have in common that makes us equal? Person 2: We all have brains. Person 1 (our hero): Hm. If that were the right explanation, mice would deserve the same right to life as us.Person 1: A fetus is a parasite. Person 2 (our hero): I see the similarities. Help me understand. Are you saying a fetus isn’t a person, like a tapeworm isn’t a person? Or are you saying abortion is okay even if a fetus is a person, since she’s using her mom’s body?
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