I’ve argued that we ought to defend human life because God created us in His image and cherishes us.  Some people will argue that the unborn are not persons and as such don’t have the rights that come from personhood.  Steven Schwartz has developed a helpful acronym (SLED) to explain that, in truth, there is no morally significant difference between an embryo and an adult.

Size – It’s obvious that embryos are smaller than those of us who have already been born, but size is irrelevant.  I’m a very petite individual, but I’m no less human than a football player because of it.

Level of Development – Embryos and fetuses are less developed than you and me, but this also is irrelevant.  My eight year old nephew is more developed than my two month old niece, but this does not give him more of a right to life than she has.  Self awareness is not in itself defining of personhood either.  If that were the case, I would become less human when I fall asleep after I write this.

Environment – Where I am has no bearing on who I am.  Traveling eight inches down the birth canal does not suddenly turn the unborn from non-human to human.

Degree of Dependency – Viability is not what gives humans value.  My friend John is a diabetic and depends on insulin.  This doesn’t decrease his value, or jeopardize his personhood.

Distinctions relating to personhood drawn between the unborn and the born are arbitrary and irrelevant.  Don’t be afraid to say so.


1 comment so far

  1. […] “can we kill the unborn.”  After you trot out the toddler, you can use the acronym SLED that you learned about last week to help defend your conviction that the unborn are persons […]

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