Talking to friends, family, or even strangers about abortion can be an intimidating task. Is it possible to communicate the pro-life position in both a loving and logical way? We believe it is, and we want to provide you with the tools necessary to do so.
We discuss this topic at length in a previous episode of The Empowered Advocate podcast, and you can listen by clicking below or wherever you listen to podcasts. But if you’re looking for a quick read, check out the guidelines below for how to use the SLED test to defend the pro-life position.*
Before You Start Talking
Before entering the conversation, we encourage you to consider these 3 points:
1. Reason Not Religion. Use reason to undermine their thought-process, not biblical authority. For Christians, the Bible is our ultimate authority; for non-Christians they could care less about it. Cause them to question their pro-choice view with reason first, because reason is something they value.
2. Care Not Contempt. We cannot undermine our own philosophy. If we treat people with contempt, anger, or we talk down to them as if they are stupid, we negate our own message that they are valuable. Show them you care about them and treat them with love and respect, even when you are nervous.
3. Regard Not Disregard. Listen to what they say, don’t disregard their argument. If you don’t listen to them, they will not listen to you. Hear what they are saying, sum it up, and communicate back to them what you heard them say. Don’t jump to conclusions, assume you know their view, or jump to conservative talking points.
The SLED Test:
The SLED argument can be summed up in 3 points:
1. Medical science clearly reveals the humanity of the unborn human.
2. The unborn human differs from toddlers (or any other person) in only 4 ways: size, level of development, environment, degree of dependency.
3. None of those differences are reasonable to justify killing a child in the womb.
The crux of the argument is to get your pro-choice neighbor to define the unborn human, and then place the burden of proof on them to support why they believe killing the unborn human is morally justifiable. The SLED test undercuts any of their arguments by “testing” the points they make against reason and logic.
Does the size of something affect what it is? It’s the Dr. Seuss statement: “A person’s a person no matter how small.” Just because a single-cell human isn’t as big as a toddler or adult, or just because an 8-week- or 20-week-old isn’t as big as a toddler or adult, doesn’t mean he or she is not a human with value. If that were the case, then we would have to apply it across the board. Toddlers would have less value than teenagers, who would have less value than adults. A human’s value isn’t based on their size.
Level of Development
Does the developmental stage of a human make him or her any less valuable? A toddler isn’t less valuable than a teenager because she’s less developed. A teenager isn’t less valuable than an adult because he is less developed. The unborn human is less developed, but it doesn’t affect his or her value. Value cannot be based on how developed someone is.
Does your location affect your value? An astronaut isn’t less valuable the further away they are from earth; or a person spelunking isn’t less valuable because they are further down in the earth’s crust. So what makes a baby less valuable inside the womb as opposed to outside? Does that 7-inch journey really impact value? No, a person’s environment cannot impact their value.
Degree of Dependency
Just because someone is more dependent on the care of others, does that decrease their value? A person in a coma may be completely dependent on others to live, but is it right to kill that person just because they can’t do things a healthy person can do? Does their degree of dependency really decrease their value? Aren’t we all dependent on others at some level, anyway? Dependency cannot impact value because if it did, we would all fall into this category. In the same way, a baby in the womb, though it may be more dependent than a toddler or a teenager, is not any less valuable. Dependency cannot determine value.
If you use reason, remain consistent by showing them you care, sincerely listen to their argument, then respectfully cause them to question their reasoning with the SLED method, you will have done your job!
2 Things to Remember:
1. Remember, we are not trying to recite the 4 points of SLED to them. We’re using the principles and logic of SLED to undercut their argument as we listen to them attempt to prove their own points. No matter what argument they make, it’s going to be in one of the 4 SLED categories. Identify which category they are using and communicate to them the SLED argument that’s relevant.
2. Also remember, people are often pro-choice or pro-abortion because they have an emotional connection to it in some way. Therefore, reason and logic alone are not enough to convince someone they are wrong. Oftentimes, people throw out reason when they’re emotionally involved! So don’t worry if you don’t convince them right away. Simply call into question some of their arguments and assumptions so they’ll begin to think about the inconsistencies of their position.
Engaging people on such a hot-button issue is never easy. But lives are at stake. 42 million abortions–that’s 42 million unborn children–were murdered worldwide in 2018 alone. We cannot be silent.
*The information was developed by Stand to Reason (str.org).