Can I Kill This? Using the S.L.E.D. Argument
Can I kill this? How do you answer such a question? Scott Klusendorf, a wonderfully skilled anti-abortion apologist, rightly points out that you have to ask another question. That question is: What is it you want to kill?
A roach: Yes, kill it now.
A wild Turkey: Yes, but only during turkey season.
A Bald Eagle: No, it is legally protected.
A human baby: ?????????
Can you kill a human baby? Right now the legal answer is: it depends. Depends upon what? This is the question that matters. Currently, the three required reasons that justify aborting a baby is the desire of the parent(s), a low level of development, and being located inside the womb. In most places, all three of these have to be in place for an abortion to happen.
Are these three reasons legitimate? No they are not. Not by a long shot. The first reason cannot stand on its own. The desire to kill someone else has never been a sufficient reason to kill.
But the key word in that sentence is “someone.” Is the baby in the womb a “someone?” If it is only a something, then we have a whole different discussion. Killing organic tissue is not a moral question. Why not? Because the issue of the image of God is not in play. We kill animals and other living things all the time. But humans are different because they are made in the image of God and God has said that he who sheds the blood of man, by men his blood will be shed (Gen. 9:6). Murdering humans is massively serious to God.
So, is it wrong to intentionally kill a baby in the womb at any stage? The only real question is this: Is it human? While science establishes this over and over, it might be necessary to review why the infant in the womb is a human as much as any human outside the womb. You may need to show the pro-abortion advocate the inconsistency of their reasoning. To help with that you can use the S.L.E.D. argument. And with the S.L.E.D. argument, a toddler is your best weapon.
S = Size
The size of a person does not affect humanness and personhood. A toddler is half the size of the teenager but he is not less human. Keep halving the size of people and soon you are into the womb and eventually down to cells. At every point, it is still human. Size doesn’t diminish or enhance humanness. If you want a great story about this pick up Horton Hears a Who. While it is said that this book by Dr. Seuss was not written as an argument against abortion, it sure makes the same case.
L = Level of Development
The development of a person does not affect humanness and personhood. Trot out the toddler again. The toddler is unable to reproduce because those capabilities have not developed yet. Does this make the toddler less human than the teenager? Not at all. Humanness is about nature not capabilities. If humanness is about abilities you have developed, then what happens when you lose ability through accident, disease, or old age? Do you become less human? No you don’t, which is why euthanasia is the companion evil of abortion.
E = Environment
Where a person is does not affect humanness and personhood. The birth canal journey does not confer humanness. Humanness is not bestowed by the contact with air. There is no place you can go that will make you more human or less human. Surgeries have been done on babies who have been taken out of the womb, operated on, and then placed back in the womb to continue to grow. Did those babies start as sub-human, then become fully human, only to go back to a sub-human status for another few months?
D = Degree of Dependence
Does dependence affect humanness and personhood? Perhaps this is the most substantial point of the four. Most of the laws against abortion have to do with the viability of the baby. If the baby cannot survive outside the womb then an abortion can proceed. But how does dependence and viability create humanness? Is not the young toddler absolutely dependent on parents? The very young, the very old, the broken and diseased will always have degrees of dependence yet their humanness is not affected. Not only this, but consider that the line of 22 weeks in the womb for viability is a very, very blurry line. Babies are surviving earlier and earlier. As medical technology advances so too will the ability to maintain babies who come too early. The line will keep getting earlier. And be aware, artificial wombs outside the mother are on the very edge of science fiction becoming reality, and will probably be here sooner than we think. Will abortion end when babies can grow outside of their mother? Not a chance, because abortion is not about a consistent argument, it is about maintaining sexual freedom and avoiding the difficult demands of parenthood.
Be a voice for the voiceless and use the S.L.E.D. argument to expose faulty reasoning, which is the handmaid for sinful desires.