Last month, the leader of the Alliance Party, Naomi Long, got into a spiky back and forth with Precious Life after she – along with over 169 other MPs – signed a letter calling for
their morality to be imposed on unborn children radical changes to Northern Ireland’s abortion laws. Precious Life (correctly) claimed that the letter is basically a euphemism for abortion on demand, and that (also correctly) a vote for Alliance is a vote for abortion. In response, Naomi Long called it ALL LIES before making the claim that decriminalising abortion does not force abortion on anyone. Because we all know that not forcing a certain thing on people makes the thing itself morally permissible. That’s how the logic of morality works in 2018, bigots.
Other local politicians signed the letter too, of course, but the interesting thing about Naomi is that she is a Christian. That and I genuinely like her. She’s a talented, articulate, and hardworking politician, who has displayed considerable bravery in the face of violent paramilitary thugs, and who has, in the past, spoken out against the exodus of persecuted Christians from the Middle East. It’s just a shame that she doesn’t see the violent expulsion of a human being seeking asylum in her mother’s womb in the same way.
You might be wondering, then, how a Christian could love all her neighbours bar the ones that happen to be in a certain location or at a certain stage of development or are the product of certain circumstances. Keep wondering, because Naomi’s specific beliefs on the act of abortion are pretty hard to come by. While she stated in this 2012 article that she’s personally opposed to abortion on demand, she has yet to explain, to my knowledge, why she personally opposes abortion on demand. Is it because she thinks abortion a sin? Does she think abortion takes a human life? Does she think there’s an intrinsic difference between the corpse of a child that was aborted on demand and the corpse of a child that was aborted because she was the product of rape? It’s all rather vague, which should be a concern for any thoughtful pro-life voter because it’s literally a matter of life and death.
So, how best do pro-lifers go about unpacking and engaging with the absurd contradiction of someone who claims to be personally opposed to abortion (either entirely or to a certain degree) yet is in favour of it as a matter of public policy? How do you respond to such a person? What would you say to Naomi Long if she turned up at your door canvassing and the discussion turned to abortion? What would you say to her on Talkback or the Nolan Show when she’s on arguing for choice but doesn’t explain what the precise nature of that choice is? The answer lies in these basic questions, in the following order:
1. “Naomi, why are you personally opposed to abortion on demand?”
The answer to this should be easy. She will likely say that she’s personally opposed to abortion on demand because abortion kills an innocent human being. If Naomi does not think the unborn are human then she would have no logical reason for any personal opposition to abortion at any stage, for any reason. Having an abortion on demand would be no more immoral than picking your nose on demand or having a mole removed on demand. It would require neither personal opposition nor any further thought on the matter.
2. “Naomi, does your belief that abortion on demand kills an innocent human being have any objective basis?”
This is also easy to answer because, if she’s a thinking Christian, two things will happen. First, she will tell you that the scientific consensus amongst embryologists is that the unborn is a distinct, living, and whole human being from the point of conception. Second, she will appeal to her Christian convictions and tell you that all human beings are knit together in their mother’s womb equally in the image of God, and that, as a follower of Christ with a public platform and a gift for feisty activism, she is compelled to speak out against the destruction of the powerless by the powerful, including those at risk of being dismembered with a Sopher clamp by the strong arm of a wealthy abortion doctor.
3. “Naomi, are you personally opposed to child rape?”
This should be brief. She will say “Yes” – then give you the death stare for asking such a stupid question. But it’s not a stupid question. It’s a trap.
4. The next question is obvious: “Would you be willing to impose this belief on others by banning child rape?”
In the blink of an eye, she will answer “yes”. At this point, though, you might want to remind her that preventing people from raping children is a question of objective morality rather than an issue of choice or individual conscience, as the Alliance Party puts it. It is more a case of asking whether a government should prevent terrible things from happening to a voiceless group of vulnerable human beings than the question of choosing between brown sauce or red sauce for your fry.
5. If at this point she doesn’t yet understand how absurd her position is, ask, “Why do you believe that rape is more serious than murder?”
If she still doesn’t get it at this point or refuses to answer, you can simply explain to her that she thinks it should be illegal to rape children but permissible to murder them – even though she “personally opposes” both child rape and child murder. You can now close the discussion by contrasting her muddled and inconsistent position with your clear and inclusive pro-life position that the law should ban both the rape and murder of children because both are forms of child abuse.