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Person 1 (our hero): You and I equally deserve the right to life. So do all our friends. What makes us equal? Person 2: We’re all intelligent enough to have a conversation. Person 1 (our hero): Hm. If that’s the right explanation, infants don’t deserve the right to life.

Infants Can’t Converse

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 intelligence is what makes us equal. But infants are not particularly intelligent. They can’t have conversations for the first couple of years outside the womb. Most people agree that infants deserve the right to life just as much as adults. So intelligence 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 (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 think. Person 1 (our hero): Hm. If that’s the right explanation, pigs deserve the same right to life as us.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 (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’re all sentient. Person 1 (our hero): I’d like to understand better. Would you consider squirrels sentient?Person 1: The fetus becomes valuable when it becomes sentient. Person 2 (our hero): I’d like to understand your view better. Would you consider newborn infants sentient? How about pigs?
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