“Daddy, can I kill this?”
If your five-year-old child asked this question while your back was turned, another question would pop instantly into your mind: What is “this”?
Speaking at St. Mary’s University in Halifax to about 25 pro-life students from all over the Atlantic provinces, Scott Klusendorf started with this question. It is the question ignored, avoided, shouted down, and glossed over in almost every discussion of abortion. To the question, “Can we kill this?”, the only civilized response is, “What is it?”
Klusendorf was keynote speaker and facilitator at a workshop Jan. 26-28. This workshop was part of a series sponsored by National Campus Life Network (NCLN) and held in Toronto, Halifax and Calgary. The goal is to train students in pro-life advocacy, to enable students with pro-life feelings to articulate their position effectively and to take action.
According to Klusendorf, the pro-life movement is losing the fight. The reason for this is that a large number of highly educated, highly motivated people do the work of pro-abortion advocacy full-time whereas the average pro-life worker is a 35-year-old mother of three, a volunteer working part-time from her home. He looked everyone in the eye and said, “I want you to consider doing this work as your career choice.” It was electrifying.
On Saturday, Klusendorf ran the students through a series of exercises clarifying and challenging the assumptions upon which the pro-abortion stand is founded. He made clear the difference between an assertion and a reasoned argument. The pro-abortion stand is often based on insupportable assertions. Klusendorf, with his dynamic evangelical style, began to teach these young people how to give clear, irrefutable answers to the most common ones.
1. You can’t force your morality on others. Response: “Why not? Aren’t you forcing your morality on me by telling me what I can and cannot do?”
2. Abortion is a private choice between a woman and her doctor. Response: “Do we allow parents to abuse children if it is done in private?”
3. Women should not be forced to have unwanted children. Response: “The homeless are often unwanted. Is it OK to kill them?”
Everyone who does pro-life work has heard the assertions but perhaps has not known how to respond effectively. Almost all the attendees were also from a pro-life background, but they had probably not been challenged to give their full attention to actually stopping abortion. Having been raised largely on television, they may have pro-life convictions but the opportunity to logically defend and debate them with their peers has been withheld from them.
The problem of abortion is often called a terribly complex issue, so complex that it cannot be decided by courts or Parliament. Klusendorf said there is an important difference between psychological and moral complexity. Abortion may be psychologically complex but it is morally simple. In every argument, it comes down to the one question that no one in the pro-abortion movement wants to have answered: What is the unborn? If the unborn is a child, a human person, we may not kill her, and no other consideration – not privacy, or expense, or freedom of choice, or wantedness, or any of the other considerations so dear to abortion advocates – can override this.
Students at the workshop were invited to attend a program for young people coming out of university, training them to raise their own salaries for full-time, pro-life work.
The sponsor of the workshop, NCLN, has supported and trained the Lifeline group on the University of British Columbia campus. Their activities have recently made headlines across the country for their courageous action in bringing the controversial Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) to campus. To find out about upcoming NCLN campus activities see www.ncln.org.