Yesterday I watched Horton Hears a Who, the modern cinematic remake of the classic children's book. Truthfully, I didn't remember the book too well before watching the film. It was actually an enjoyable movie though.

There are some clearly religious overtones in the movie, which I'll comment on later in a second post, but for now I wanted to focus on one of Horton's slogans in the movie: "A person's a person, no matter how small."

As some movie reviewers also noticed, "It’s already been adopted by some pro-lifers in the abortion debate." It's an important message: Just because a person is very small, they are no less of a person.

This in fact is the first part of SLED, an acronym serving as a helpful reminder of four supposed differences between the unborn and a "real" human being. There is a short description of what SLED stands for after the break, but I wanted to point out that the current Q&A question on William Lane Craig's site is an excellent summary of the rational pro-life position: William Lane Craig on Abortion. Note that nowhere in his argument does he make an appeal to faith or the Bible. He could have, but it's not necessary; the argument is powerful enough (I'd say conclusive) without such an appeal.

Click below for a summary of SLED.

Size: True, embryos are smaller than newborns and adults, but why is that relevant? Do we really want to say that large people are more valuable than small ones? Men are generally larger than women, but that doesn’t mean that they deserve more rights. Size doesn’t equal value.

Level of development: True, embryos and fetuses are less developed than you and I. But again, why is this relevant? Four year-old girls are less developed than 14 year-old ones. Should older children have more rights than their younger siblings? Some people say that self-awareness makes one valuable. But if that is true, newborns do not qualify as valuable human beings. Six-week old infants lack the immediate capacity for performing human mental functions, as do the reversibly comatose, the sleeping, and those with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Environment: Where you are has no bearing on who you are. Does your value change when you cross the street or roll over in bed? If not, how can a journey of eight inches down the birth-canal suddenly change the essential nature of the unborn from non-valuable tissue mass to valuable human being? If the unborn are not already human and valuable, merely changing their location can’t make them so.

Degree of Dependency: If viability bestows human value, then all those who depend on insulin or kidney medication are not valuable and we may kill them. Conjoined twins who share blood type and bodily systems also have no right to life.

In short, it’s far more reasonable to argue that although humans differ immensely with respect to talents, accomplishments, and degrees of development, they are nonetheless equal (and valuable) because they share a common human nature. Humans have value simply because of the kind of thing they are, not because of some acquired property they may gain or lose during their lifetimes.

The above is from Scott Klusendorf's new site/organization, Life Training Institute, in his article How to Defend your Pro-life Views in 5 Minutes or Less. As I've mentioned before, Scott's book, Pro-life 101 is an excellent resource on these sort of issues.