Advanced Extension Added to the Equipped for Life Course!

We have added eight new lesson videos to the Equipped for Life Course that will help you take the pro-life defense of fetal personhood to the next level. This 90-minute module is the result of a four-year research project that our philosophy team has been working on behind the scenes. In these videos, we teach an advanced version of the Equal Rights Argument that gives a philosophically thorough explanation as to why human embryos should be considered valuable persons with serious moral status.

Become an Equipped for Life member today: https://equippedcourse.com

An Overview of the Lessons:

  • Lesson 1: Sometimes You Need an Advanced Argument – We explain why seasoned pro-life advocates should have the second version of the Equal Rights Argument in their tool belt for abortion dialogues, even though the first version is more straight-forward and easier to understand.
  • Lesson 2: The Problem – We identify the problem of a simplified argument, even though it is more straight-forward and easy to understand and show why some people will need a more sophisticated explanation of personhood.
  • Lesson 3: Higher-Order Capacities – We introduce a hierarchical system of capacities that provides a philosophically precise understanding of potential.
  • Lesson 4: Moral Agency – We argue that moral agency is fundamental for serious moral status and that other possible explanations, such as rationality and others that pro-choice people use in the original Equal Rights Argument, don’t work.
  • Lesson 5: Responding to the Critics: Tooley’s Cat – We respond to the strongest objection to our claims about personhood made by pro-choice philosophers like Michael Tooley, David Boonin, and Jeff McMahan. We also address what philosophers call “marginal cases” and answer why we think it is philosophically consistent to say that children with anencephaly are valuable people, too.
  • Lesson 6: What about Imago Dei? – We consider the biblical argument that human beings are created in the image and likeness of God as an alternative to our approach.
  • Lesson 7: Review – We summarize these lessons for quick reference later.
  • Lesson 8: Example Dialogues – We provide three example dialogues for you to see how both versions of the Equal Rights Argument could be used in real-time.

What does Ohio House Bill 413 say about Ectopic Pregnancy?

You’ve probably seen people on social media sharing harsh articles like this one titled, “Anti-Abortion Extremism Goes Full Psycho“. You should know what this bill says. Many people are stating Ohio House Bill 413 would require doctors to attempt reimplantation of ectopic pregnancies, which is currently impossible, and is therefore designed to put OBs in jail for something completely out of their control.

Unfortunately, having carefully read this section of the bill, we don’t blame people for thinking that, because the language of the bill is incredibly vague.

The text of the bill, from page 184, reads: “Takes all POSSIBLE steps to preserve the life of the unborn child, while preserving the life of the woman. Such steps include, IF APPLICABLE, attempting to reimplant an ectopic pregnancy into the woman’s uterus.” [Emphasis added.]

We see multiple problems with this language.

First, what does “possible” mean? If some pro-life lawmakers (wrongly) think that there’s a 1% chance of survival if you move the embryo from the fallopian tube to the uterus, which is greater than the 0% chance an embryo would have as a result of even a salpingectomy (the least controversial medical procedure used to intervene in an ectopic pregnancy), then couldn’t it be argued that every ectopic pregnancy surgery should be a reimplantation effort? Maybe that’s not the intent of the lawmaker, but it’s far from clear.

Secondly, what does “if applicable” mean? When is it applicable to attempt an impossible reimplantation? Is it only “applicable” if the embryo is still alive when the surgery happens? Or is it only “applicable” if the doctor deems it possible? Maybe the intent of the lawmaker was just to leave open the possibility of reimplantation attempts if the technique is ever developed with future technology. But again, that’s far from clear.

So, what would happen if this bill passed, besides it being stopped by an immediate injunction since it violates Roe vs. Wade and Casey vs. Planned Parenthood? Most likely, some OB would get dragged into court by the state to enforce this bill, and the OB will attempt to prove emphatically that reimplantation isn’t possible.

But just because OBs probably wouldn’t go to jail doesn’t mean this is a good, well-written law. What are the drafters trying to do? The charitable interpretation is that the drafters are attempting to anticipate and promote research into the feasibility of doing reimplantation with current or (more likely) future medical technologies. The problem is, they’re doing it in a totally sloppy way. At minimum, it makes it look like pro-life people are ignorant of the current state of medical science and think that reimplanting ectopic pregnancies is possible right now. It’s also bad if pro-life legislators pass a law that would attempt to jail an OB for an impossible procedure and only fail because the OB shows in court that it’s impossible.

It is important for pro-life advocates to be clear about scientific facts because the movement is often rhetorically painted as being “anti-science.” Understandably, many pro-lifers have been concerned that this bill lends strength to that narrative. What do you think?

ERI Update – November 2019

Download Audio MP3 | 00:22:53

I recently sat in our new studio to give you an update on what’s been going on behind the scenes at Equal Rights Institute. There are a lot of visuals in this video, so it’s best watched instead of listened to on the podcast, but both are available.

Topics:

  • 01:14 – New studio;
  • 03:55 – Tim’s resignation;
  • 05:01 – New Director of Training and behind the scenes of the new Equipped for Life extension;
  • 07:25 – Launch of the Sidewalk Counseling Masterclass;
  • 11:29 – Encouraging testimonies from the Protect Life Michigan conference;
  • 13:49 – Relaunching the Equipped for Life Podcast into a free, public feed;
  • 18:42 – Our plans to make a bigger impact at the next March for Life.

Testimonials from the Sidewalk Counseling Masterclass:

“I would absolutely recommend this course to anyone wanting to get involved in sidewalk counseling. Before watching the course, sidewalk counseling seemed like an intimidating thing that should be left to others more knowledgeable and gifted. After watching this course, I feel very confident that I could get out there and do it.” – Jessica

“This course has real-life lessons from seasoned sidewalk counselors. I appreciated so much that they not only make suggestions of what to do, but also shared their own mistakes and what they have learned. It’s paced such that you don’t need any experience in sidewalk counseling to follow it. The training is incredibly practical—- seriously, this course will be some of the best money you ever spend! – Laura

I found myself making exclamations out loud! I was totally drawn to the reasonings and stories. I felt I could finally put a finger on things that were wrong with my previous experience. I felt inspired to just go back out there (it’s been a year). I am sure that if the material was presented in a teaching format, I could not have processed everything in a personal way. When one video ended, I wanted to just see what was next on the next video.” – Debra

Related Links:

  • Click here to learn more about the Equipped for Life Course
  • Click here to learn more about the Sidewalk Counseling Masterclass
  • Click here to donate to Equal Rights Institute