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Right to Life sponsors apologetics training

| Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Notre Dame Right to Life sponsored apologetics training Monday night to teach students to defend their pro-life beliefs. Apologetics commissioner Luke McVeigh instructed participants on how to facilitate dialogue and articulate pro-life arguments.

“What we aim for is to have a friendly, open dialogue with someone about it,” he said. “There’s what you say and how you say it. Obviously, it’s important to be saying the right things, but also how you say it is just as important, if not more important.”

McVeigh began the training session by explaining the scientific foundations of the pro-life argument. He said it was important to establish “common ground of what the pre-born are.”

“Our development is all self-based, there’s not anything that develops for us,” he said. “It’s self-directed. The mother isn’t directing the development of the child; the unborn is directing its own development.”

Understanding stages of human development has become an important facet of pro-life apologetics, McVeigh said.

“A lot of times, people bring up the idea of when someone becomes a person — when they have a heart, when they have a brain,” he said. “That would be true if you were talking about a car, which is constructed, and all these parts are added on. Whereas with a development, the blueprints are already there, it’s just developing and growing, like a photograph.”

McVeigh said most people agree on the science of the “pre-born” and that most of the discrepancies are rooted in philosophy, specifically related to defining personhood.

“Personhood is based on what we are,” he said. “It’s our substance, regardless of functionality.”

Participating students brought up counterarguments they had heard which they were unsure of how to answer, such as when the pregnancy is life-threatening to the mother. McVeigh said the pro-life response has centered on the idea that directly killing another human is not acceptable.

“But in a situation like an ectopic pregnancy, there are procedures that’ll kill the unborn child. In this case, we’d say it’s okay to perform the procedure to save the mother,” he said. “Unfortunately, it will inevitably end the life of the child. … If the mother died, both of them would pass away anyways.”

Monday night’s training was intended to be the first part of a two-part training session for apologetics, McVeigh said. 

“The second session is going to be about bodily rights,” McVeigh said. “Even if we assume the fetus is a person with the right to live, there are some other arguments that people would make that says the fact that it’s inside the woman’s body gives her the right to end its life. We’ll be going into those issues in depth and explaining why it wouldn’t be okay for that to happen.”

McVeigh said it was important to remain compassionate and sympathetic when engaging in discussion without compromising beliefs.

“Be proud of your pro-life position,” he said. “We’re not ashamed of it; we’re happy to discuss with people about it. We have a great group here at Notre Dame, and I hope to grow it.”

 

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About Megan Valley

Megan Valley is one of the Associate News Editors for The Observer. A junior majoring in English and the Program of Liberal Studies, she hails from Flushing, MI and lives in Flaherty Hall.

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  • RandallPoopenmeyer

    Fetus develop themselves? If that were the case then they would not need a host body.
    Besides, that is not important. What is important is for everyone to have a right to their body.
    If it is ok to keep a fetus alive by forcing a woman to provide her body against her will, would you be ok with me forcing you to provide me your body against your will?

    • -M

      That is correct, humans do self-develop before and after birth. The mother provides nutrients and resources for the pre-born human, but this is not driving the development. Humans drive their own development all the way through adulthood, but do need a constant flow of resources to continue the development. What you are implying would result in a conclusion that because born children need food and vitamins that affect their growth, they are not self-developing. Gaining energy and resources from one’s environment and responding to one’s environment is actually a requirement to be considered living. If an organism is not doing this, it does not fit the scientific criteria of a living thing.

      As far as your second point about a woman’s right to her own body, this is exactly what will be addressed in the second part of the apologetics training.
      I find these conversations to be much more productive when they take place in person and not over an online forum, so if you or anyone else has more questions or points they would like to make on this issue I suggest you come to the “When do human rights begin display” that will be taking place at LaFortune Student Center this Monday afternoon to have a discussion about it. I also encourage anyone to come to the second session of the apologetics training to learn more about the pro-life position and reasoning to explain bodily rights issues.

      I hope this helps clarify.

      • RandallPoopenmeyer

        Self development still has nothing to do with whether or not a woman has full rights to her body. There is also nothing can justify forcing women to be incubators. I will keep my distance from irrational thinkers.