Pro-life speaker promotes productive discussion

photo by Ava Lalor

On Thursday, Oct. 27, Duhawks for Life and Dubuque County Right to Life hosted pro-life speaker Jay Watts to speak on how to productively approach the issue of abortion. As the vice president of Life Training Institute, Watts trains people around the country and the world.

“Abortion, objectively speaking, is one of the most important issue of our age, and no one likes talking about it,” Watts said at the beginning of his talk.

Watts suggested three mistakes that people make when trying to have the conversation about abortion, and all stem from one question: what are the unborn? This question should answer whether the issue of abortion is morally wrong or morally nothing at all.

“Because, if they matter,” Watts said, “that is 60 million times that we (the US) have specifically chosen to end human life…that’s whole nations of people wiped out.”

The first mistake Watts presented is to assume they are not human before arguing. While many pro-life people believe the fetus is a human being, those on the pro-choice side may disagree.

The second mistake is drop abortion to the level of a preference claim. Many tell him that if he doesn’t like abortion, then he shouldn’t involve himself with it. However, Watt says there is a great difference between a preference of what someone likes and what is morally right or wrong. With that said, someone cannot say they prefer to kill human life. If the fetus is a human, Watts argues that abortion should be in the category of objective wrongs like rape and child abuse where the issue is decidedly morally wrong.

Thirdly, many people make assertions when talking about abortion. One such assertion is people, specifically women in regards to abortion, have the right to choose. To counter this, Watts made his own assertion by saying that women have the right to take. However, the question that follows must be “take what?” Similarly, the issue of choice with abortion must be asked “choose what?”

The second half of Watts’ presentation revolved around the science and philosophy of abortion. To start, Watts explained how embryologists believe the fetus is a whole, distinct and living human organism since the moment of fertilization. The only embryologists who argue this fact are those experimenting on early embryos.

One argument these scientists and pro-choice advocates make is the embryo can’t be a human because it still has the opportunity to become twins and, therefore, it may not be one organism but two. However, something living and of that species had to form before twining could occur.

Within the area of philosophy, Watts used the example of a timeline. Are people the same individuals at six years old as they are at 60? Most would argue yes. Changes have occurred, but their identity as an individual will not change. Going back to before birth, he asked the same question.

“From the moment you come into existence until the moment you die, what you are never changes,” Watts argued. Despite physical changes, despite changing societal expectations, despite anything that can change during a human life, that human is still the same individual. The only thing humans have equally that will never change is a shared humanity.

“If we ground it in anything else, it will always change, and our value will always change,” Watts stated.

To preface his conclusion, Watts explained how history shows the dominant group constantly undermining the equality and dignity of others such as those of other races and religious through slavery and ostracization. Every time, the subordinate groups gained recognition for their shared humanity. Watts concluded his presentation by asking one last question.

“What are the chances that for the first time ever, we have finally found a case where we can defend the way we treat them?”

One of the Supreme Court justices said during the Roe vs. Wade court case, which legalized abortion, that he wanted to spare the US from having the argument about whether there is human life in the womb.

“We ought to have had it then, so we have to have it now,” Watts concluded.

For more information on Life Training Institute or to contact Watts for questions or challenges, visit

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