Right to Life sponsors apologetics training
Megan Valley | 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.”