Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 1, 1999
Abortion kills a human being
Klusendorf gives students arguments to stand up for life
By ANH HOANG
WCR Staff Writer
Scott Klusendorf sits down to lunch after spending the morning giving a lesson on Pro-Life 101.
A couple of students walk by and he asks them why they aren't having more pizza.
"It'll make you fat," they said.
"And we know that fat people are less human than thin people, right?" he responds.
"That's just your view," they reply.
"See they're getting the point already," Klusendorf said.
It's the point Klusendorf has been trying to make all morning.
The point is that abortion kills a human being. And the majority of pro-choice advocates who try to refute this statement do so on the basis of opinions and personal views rather than facts.
Klusendorf taught more than 100 people the art of pro-life persuasion at the annual Youth for Life conference, Oct. 23. The native Californian was in Alberta, giving talks in Lethbridge, Calgary, Edmonton and Athabasca.
Klusendorf doesn't think overweight people are less significant human beings. He uses this as an example to prove that if human babies are considered insignificant before they're born because of their size than why not translate this thinking to everyone else in society.
When it comes to effective pro-life arguments, Klusendorf takes the simplest statements to make his point that an unborn child is human. That the unborn child is human trumps every abortion advocate argument, whether it be a matter of choice or bodily right.
"No matter what their argument is, you don't kill a human being," he said.
Large people are no more or less human than smaller people. So a fetus, whether in the first days of development or coming through the birth canal at seven pounds, five ounces, is human.
Klusendorf stresses the fact that people are human no matter their size, their level of development, their environment or the dependency they have on others.
The other key issue in effectively debating abortion is presenting facts.
To confirm his view that abortions kill human beings, Klusendorf quotes medical experts such as Landrum Shettles, the first scientist to achieve conception in a test tube, who wrote that conception not only confers life but "defines life."
Women need access to abortions as medical necessity.
Refuting that is not a problem for Klusendorf, who cites an article by Thomas Murphy Goodwin, a physician specializing in high-risk illnesses. Goodwin said fewer than two per cent of the thousands of pregnant women he sees each year whose doctors have advised an abortion to save them from a life-threatening illness, actually have to have an abortion.
"There are hundreds of these studies and research that you can use," Klusendorf said. "You present these facts. How do they argue with facts?"
Pro-lifers have been engulfed in rallies and banquets, said Klusendorf. But that doesn't equip them for the real test - verbally defending the cause.
"As a movement we've done poorly with that. We have been shouting a conclusion to the public rather than showing them the facts."
Klusendorf began training pro-life advocates almost a decade ago. His strong evangelical background dictated his pro-life stance, but the extent of his belief went no further than putting in his two hours at the annual Life Chain rallies.
What changed his mind was the video, Harder Truth, on the effects of abortion.
"I had not been heartbroken about the subject."
He decided he was going to have to do more than hold signs.
A lot of research gave Klusendorf the ammo he needed.
"I'm always reading and learning of course. You have to do that if you want to stay effective in this."
Klusendorf starts his talks with Harder Truth, the video that pushed him to where he is today.
He's all for the use of visual graphics to demonstrate his point, whether it be giant posters of aborted fetuses or teary-eyed videos. He also believes in forewarning his audience about such images.
"You have pro-lifers who say (visuals) are too extreme. These are the same people who are happy to show students Schindler's List or Saving Private Ryan because these pictures show students more effectively what happened during the wars.
"And they're right, these pictures are indispensable. They show the truth in what happened. There are no words to show something like that."
Even abortion advocate Naomi Wolf supports the display of visual graphics, calling it hypocrisy to admit their authenticity, but to disregard them because of their disturbing content.
"If pro-lifers don't show pictures, they might as well be talking stock options," Klusendorf said. "I ask them the question, 'The people you don't offend by not showing it - is it worth the price of a baby's life had you shown it?'"
Klusendorf gives talks to a wide audience range, from youth to adults. But it's the youth on whom he hopes to make the greatest impact. They use what they learn more effectively, he said.
"Adults keep it as a useful piece of information for later on, students have this need to take it and use it right away."
There is another reason for Klusendorf wanting to fuel the pro-life fire in students. It is a way to boost the movement which faces opposition from pro-choice opponents, many of whom are politicians, doctors and media professionals.
"To change that we need new leaders," Klusendorf said.
The key to Klusendorf's talks is its simplicity.
"He makes it easy to understand," said Suzin Pinkoski, 18. "Like responses to questions. The questions you'll get (from pro-choicers), they're easy to answer."
Rachel McCallum hopes to take what she learned at the day-long conference with her when she feels challenged on this issue.
"Some of my friends don't believe (abortion is wrong)," said McCallum, 17. "The basic fact is it's a baby. That's what they need to know."