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Pro-Life Theory and Discussion Tactics
Pro-Life Tutorial
Premise 1 Premise 2 Summary
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Premise 1: Deliberately targeting innocent persons for destruction should be illegal.

Personhood Question is Key

Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun

When Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun penned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which legalized abortion in the United States, he admitted:1

If this suggestion of [fetal] personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [14th] amendment.

The appellant was Roe, and the 14th Amendment states that “no person shall be deprived of life…without due process of law.”

In other words, Roe v. Wade itself acknowledges Premise 1.

Pro-lifers tend to take this for granted, but not everyone does so. Many pro-choicers contend that abortion should be legal regardless of the personhood of the unborn.


  1. Discussion Tip

    Your first task in defending the pro-life position is to see if your interlocutor, like Justice Blackmun, already agrees with Premise 1. If so, you do not need to waste time defending Premise 1 and can jump straight to a defense of Premise 2. See Discussion Tactics

Previous: Introduction | Next: Premise 1: Emotional Appeals