My 6th grader is a lot like most. His favorite way to unwind is to cruise his favorite YouTube channels for the latest builds, Minecraft commentary, or a Daily Dose of Internet. So, when he told me that he wasn’t going to watch one of his favorite YouTubers anymore, I was curious what had led to this virtual breakup. His answer surprised me. 

“The YouTuber said that when a baby is in a mom’s belly then she can get rid of it because it isn’t a person yet. People don’t really believe that, do they?” 

This wasn’t the first time he had encountered pro-choice claims. Over the past year, the arrival of his little sister has fostered some great discussions about the value of human life. What I didn’t realize was that he believed the subjects of our talks were hypothetical, only as real as the dragons in his video games. It wasn’t until an influencer shifted from gamer to activist that my son realized that these beliefs are very real. And it seems like, at least based on trends on social media, that the activists are only going to get more prominent.  

Teens seek first the kingdom of influencers and everyone from politicians to pop stars is encouraging our kids to be pro-choice. If we don’t disciple our children, the world will gladly take our place, and the results aren’t pretty, just look at Judges 2:6-15. 

Our children desperately need to hear the truth regarding the value of the unborn. In this blog, we’re going to debunk the top 2 challenges leveled against pro-life supporters and offer kid-friendly talking points.  

“It’s just a clump of cells.”

What it means: This first statement is one part biology with a huge dose of materialism — only addressing the physical substance. If we want to get technical, living things are all just ”clumps of cells” at various stages of order and development.  

Granted, during the germinal stage of pregnancy (weeks 0-2), the developing baby admittedly looks like a clump of cells. But by the time a woman finds out she is pregnant, the baby resembles a tiny version of its newborn self — complete with a heartbeat, fingerprints, and the beginning of those chubby legs that are so fun to squish.  

Calling it a “clump of cells” is easier to swallow during the first trimester (when most abortions take place)  because the details of the little ultrasound-bean are hard to see, so the emotional connection isn’t as strong. Sure the fetus is human, but it’s not a person yet, right? 

That “yet” is constantly debated. For some people, a baby isn’t a baby until the mother says it is. Until then, it’s just a clump of cells to do with as you please.  

The problem: The question of personhood (when a person counts as a person) is a huge problem for pro-choicers. Is it when a woman says it’s a baby? When it can survive outside of the womb? Or is it like one op-ed I read, only when it can contemplate Shakespeare? If that’s the case, then most of us lost our personhood card when we zoned out during sophomore English. And that’s entirely my point! External standards can never determine personhood. 

The reality: The “clump of cells” argument is a materialist’s rhetorical tactic used to strip the unborn child of dignity and value by making them sound worthless and disposable. This logic doesn’t just apply to unborn children, mind you, it can apply to a person at any age.  

Either every human has inherent dignity worth protecting regardless of his or her physical and cognitive development or abilities, or we can decide by popular vote which humans are worthy of human rights. Take a few moments you refresh yourself with the philosophies behind slavery, the Holocaust, the tribal wars of Rwanda, or the Rape of Nanjing if you think this is no big deal. I promise, you want human rights grounded in inherent humanity, and nothing else. 

Talking point: If we allow language to dehumanize unborn children, then we can use language to dehumanize anyone we want. Help your kiddo (especially your teens) see the flaws in this reasoning by discussing whether human worth can come from anything outside of one’s existence. Does it come from reading Hamlet? If so, do we have a right to kill the mentally handicapped? Does it come from making the 9-inch trip through the birth canal? Does that mean it wasn’t a person at the beginning of labor? What about first-breath? Are there human souls floating around in the air, and the first one we swallow becomes “us”? If human worth is determined by one’s ability to survive outside of the womb, then why stop at babies? Why not kill anyone else who cannot survive on their own? Like toddlers or the elderly? It’s a dark but important conversation to have, one that your kids probably won’t see tackled thoroughly on TikTok.  

“You’re violating my autonomy and forcing women to be breeders!”

What it means: These arguments have become more common since the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Pro-choice advocates interpret this ruling as the first step in establishing a modern-date Gilead, a totalitarian society straight out of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Without the right to elective abortion, women will be forced to don the red cloak of reproductive enslavement. We’re not using hyperbole here. This is literally how women are protesting. (See below).  

*This image was taken from the NY Times article and is available for use under the fair-use guidelines as seen here.* 

The problem: The reaction against overturning Roe v. Wade misrepresents the most important factor in the case. The Supreme Court didn’t take away a woman’s right to an abortion, it recognized that abortion wasn’t a constitutionally protected right” to begin with. (See our article here.)  

This brings me to my next point: sex makes babies. I know I sound like Captain Obvious here, but people keep referring to babies like Bob Ross refers to paint smudges. Newsflash folks: Babies aren’t happy little accidents; they are the result of 3 1/2 minutes of biological cause and effect at work…give or take. This means that when we decide to have sex, then we are choosing to play the only biological game that can win us a 7.2 oz biological prize.  

The reality: Let’s be fair. If you were forced to mate for the propagation and profit of selling your offspring then, yeah, you’re a victim of forced breeding. But that is not what is happening. In truth, birth control and the materialistic worldview behind the sexual revolution have made promises they can’t deliver, namely that we can circumvent the natural result of sex — babies. Even if people don’t want a child, sex will still make babies whether we like it or not. The only way to “rectify” this biological fact is through the systematic devaluation and sacrifice of human life — under the guise of freedom and autonomy. 

Next, regarding the issue of rape and incest. There is no denying that both are tragic, but we can be so quick to try to “fix” one crime, that we commit another alongside it. Abortion punishes the child for the father’s crime, and that’s unjust. Plus, one tragedy doesn’t dictate another person’s personhood. That is why many states have outlawed abortion in cases of rape and incest. 

Talking point: One challenge that your teens will probably hear is that abortion should be legal because one person cannot be forced to donate blood, organs, etc. to save the life of another. This is upheld under the right of bodily autonomy, in the famous court case McFall v. Shimp, which I encourage you and your teen to read the summary of *here.*

Compare and contrast this case with abortion. What are the differences between a biologically separate, dying person (like a sibling or friend) and a mother carrying a child? Is a thriving infant in utero the same as a dying friend? Did the baby “intrude” upon the woman’s body, or was their conception the result of the actions of the couple? If the conception is a result rather than an intrusion, and if the infant is not dying but thriving, does a person have the right to kill that unborn child for just any reason? How does this impact the abortion discussion?  

Final Thoughts

I wish the toughest part of our kid’s childhood was math homework, but the reality is that discussions that normally took place in the courtroom are happening in our kid’s media feeds. The good news is that kids (teens especially) want to think well about these topics. They just need a considerate place to wrestle with what they’ve heard. 

Don’t panic if they’ve adopted secular views regarding the right to life. Even yours truly held them at one point. Instead, thoughtfully unpack the implications of pro-choice arguments in truth and love and trust in the Holy Spirit to move. If you want more talking points, you can also listen to our interview with fellow mama bear Jennifer DeFrates on how to have pro-life conversations with family and friends. That interview will drop on Tuesday, so be sure to follow us on social media and YouTube so you don’t miss it!

Editor’s note: To play devil’s advocate, someone might counter the “consenting to sex is consenting to babies” with something like “consenting to driving is consenting to a car accident.” In this vein, abortion is like car insurance, and outlawing abortion is like saying “Only men can have car insurance; sorry ladies, but you have to pay out of pocket.” This points out a valid point, it is not fair/equal that women unduly carry the reproductive burden. No man will ever have to carry a baby to term. While this is true, the unfairness against one person doesn’t justify the death of an innocent party. 

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