PODCAST: Bodily Rights Arguments Necessitate Extremism

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Bodily rights arguments for abortion are always extremist arguments, at least in the way people present them. No bodily rights argument that I have ever seen (or even heard of any pro-choice advocate making) leaves room for abortion exceptions.

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Ben Shapiro’s Response to Abortion in the Case of Rape

A Case Study in the Differences between a Debate and a Dialogue

Editor’s Note – 5/31/17: The Ben Shapiro video Tim comments on was uploaded to the Shapiro Facebook page on April 10th. Four weeks later we published this piece from Tim, encouraging pro-life advocates to avoid imitating some of the things Shapiro does in their one-on-one dialogues regarding rape. Two weeks after that, we captured the audio from the video so that we could use the relevant clips in the podcast version of this article. However, by the time we captured the audio, the video had been edited by an administrator of the Ben Shapiro Facebook page. As a result of that edit, one of the sentences that appears in the post below is no longer in the video.

So here’s what we’ve done. We’ve made the font of Tim’s paragraph setting up the now-deleted sentence as well as the quotation itself dark red. It was in the original video, but it’s not there now. If it was edited because Shapiro and/or his people were concerned about the tone, we would agree with that concern. Their edit doesn’t substantially affect this piece though, because the first quotation from that section is still there, and is still sufficient to warrant the critique Tim gave.

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Ben Shapiro speaking in Pasadena.

Picture by Gage Skidmore and use is allowed through a Creative Commons license.

A few weeks ago, Ben Shapiro released a video of himself after a campus speech in which he responded to a question about abortion in the case of rape. It was undeniably effective and many pro-life people shared it.

I can’t imagine any reasonable person suggesting that the pro-choice student got the better of him in their exchange. But I am concerned that pro-life students may take the wrong message from the video.

Shapiro is an incredibly skilled debater, and a Q&A after a speech is clearly a setting for debate, not dialogue. A speaker’s primary responsibility in that setting is to convince the audience, not the person with whom he is arguing. My purpose in this article is not to criticize Shapiro for debating the way he does, it is to explain why it would be a huge mistake to emulate Shapiro’s debate strategy in a one-on-one conversation (and, to be fair, I have no idea how Shapiro handles a one-on-one conversation without an audience).

Here are the three ways pro-life students should dialogue differently than Shapiro debates:

Five Takeaways from the New Undercover Video from Center for Medical Progress

The new Center for Medical Progress video shows a conversation between two undercover journalists and an abortion practitioner, Dr. DeShawn Taylor. Dr. Taylor is the former medical director for Planned Parenthood Arizona. Here are the most important points to note from this video.

#1: Dr. Taylor strongly implies that she will kill a born infant that survives an abortion if she thinks she can get away with it

This is the most damning point in the entire video.

From 6:10 in the video:

Buyer: Do you [use] dig[oxin to kill the fetus]?

Dr. Taylor: Yeah.

Buyer: Starting when?

Dr. Taylor: Uh, 20 weeks.

Buyer: Starting at 20 weeks.

Dr. Taylor: Mhm, yeah.

Buyer: Because that’s the other thing, because dig[oxin] ruins the integrity of the specimen.

Dr. Taylor: Oh, I mean, so the thing is, it’s really, and then that’s really an issue because in Arizona, if the fetus comes out with any signs of life, we’re supposed to transport it. To the hospital.

Buyer: At any gestational age?

Dr. Taylor: Any gestational age. Yeah, yeah.

Buyer: Is there any standard procedure for verifying signs of life?

Dr. Taylor: Well the thing is, I mean the key is, you need to pay attention to who’s in the room, right? And like, you know, because the thing is the law states that you’re not supposed to do any maneuvers after the fact to try to cause [fetal] demise. So it’s really tricky. It’s really tricky so, most of the time we do dig, and it usually works. And then we don’t have to worry about that because Arizona state law says if any, if there’s signs of life, then we’re supposed to transport them. To the hospital.

Defenders of Dr. Taylor will be quick to point out that she never actually said she has ever killed born infants that survive abortion, which is true. The question is, what else could that implication mean? Dr. Taylor’s response to whether there’s a standard procedure for verifying signs of life of a child outside the womb is to point out that it depends on who is in the room. Why would your response to a born child outside the womb change depending on who is in the room? The only plausible explanation is that it depends on whether you can get away with breaking the law.