Quick Response #27: You Need to Be Human Plus Something Else to Have Personhood

This quick response video addresses one of the most challenging pro-choice dialogue points, what we call the “human-plus” argument: that you need something like human nature, plus another feature like sentience or consciousness, in order to have personhood.

As Emily Albrecht explains, the human-plus argument isn’t challenging to respond to because it’s a good argument, but because it’s a bad one; human-plus is ad hoc, adding extra requirements just to exclude the unborn, and it’s hard to get people to realize why this is a problem. This video walks you through what we’ve found to be most effective when trying to help someone avoid being ad hoc in a dialogue about abortion.

Quick Response #26: We Need Broad Abortion Access for Cases of Poor Prenatal Diagnosis

Some people argue that, if for no other reason, we need broad abortion access because of situations in which a child won’t survive the birth process or other cases of poor prenatal diagnosis. In this quick response video, Emily Albrecht argues that euthanasia by abortion isn’t actually the compassionate option, and then shows why, even if euthanasia were acceptable, that wouldn’t justify abortions in general.

Quick Response #25: The World Is Overpopulated, So We Need Abortion

In this Quick Response video, Emily Albrecht debunks the idea, floated by some prominent politicians like Bernie Sanders (and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to a lesser extent), that the world is at a critical stage of overpopulation, so we need abortion as a means of population control.


For at least a couple hundred years, certain people have complained that the Earth has too many people and foretold the collapse of civilization if we don’t stop having children. Now, these predictions have been completely wrong every time so far, but people still take the overpopulation idea seriously. What’s worse, they often use it as a justification for active evil, such as abortion on a mass scale as a means to limit population growth.

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The overpopulation argument is unfortunately trendy now because of a certain set of politicians. Bernie Sanders, for example, considers abortion necessary to control the population and avoid “climate catastrophe.” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez does a lot of hand-wringing over whether it’s ethical to have children at all.

Of course, their ideas, and the whole overpopulation argument as a whole, just assume that unborn humans aren’t persons, that they lack any rights against the state. What happens if you were to demonstrate personhood? Well, if the unborn are persons, then abortion to control the population is morally the same as infanticide to control the population, which is condemned by almost everyone.

Overpopulation itself isn’t actually carrying any weight in the argument. It’s used as a justification, but since it only works as a justification if the fetus lacks rights, it’s not adding anything. If the fetus lacks rights, then you don’t need an overpopulation crisis or “climate catastrophe” to justify abortion; it should be completely acceptable to kill the fetus for any reason whatsoever because the fetus isn’t a person. So the best way to counter someone who brings up overpopulation is to argue for fetal personhood using the Equal Rights Argument. Then, trot out ALL of the toddlers. It’s immoral to kill toddlers because of overpopulation, so the same would hold true if unborn humans have the same status and value as toddlers.

Quick Response #24: More Birth Control Will Eliminate the Need for Abortion

In this quick response video, Emily Albrecht explains why the idea, commonly cited by pro-choice people, that just providing more birth control will end the perceived need for abortion is false. Just as increased contraception in the last 50 years has not eliminated or radically reduced abortions, providing even more access won’t change the fact that banning abortion is the best way to eliminate most abortions.

Quick Response #23: If Pro-Lifers Were REALLY Pro-Life…

As a pro-life advocate, have you ever experienced this situation: you’re having a dialogue about abortion, and the person you’re talking to begins lecturing you about how you’re not REALLY pro-life and all the things and causes you’d support if you were? In this Quick Response video, Emily Albrecht explains why that’s a red herring and how to respond to it, as well as explaining a bit about the “consistent life ethic”/”seamless garment” position.