Ben Shapiro’s appearance at Berkeley was met with a lot of protest by unruly and intolerant opponents of his beliefs. While things got out of control on the outside, inside he was fielding questions and having a good exchange of ideas with students. Conservative and liberal college students alike turned out to an event that attracted a great deal of attention nationally.
At the event, Shapiro held a question and answer session with students. For many students, this would be an opportunity to respectfully address a major conservative figure and hit him hard with questions.
Of all the controversial topics to come up, abortion was likely to come up. Being such a hot button issue that is personal for many people, it draws a massively emotional response. But from this emotional response, many people derive their views.
The problem is emotionally-driven views are not always ones based in logic. So when a student asked Shapiro why he believes a first trimester fetus has moral value, his response was with a series of solid points. It wasn’t purely emotional retorts, but rather articulate and logical responses.
Shapiro speaks to the importance of drawing the line. Where do we draw the line? When we begin to make exceptions to what life is defined as, we create issues for the rest of humanity. Shapiro notes the problem in relying on the heartbeat, because many adults rely on pacemakers. He also notes the issue in basing life on brain activity, because many humans exist in comas.
Do individuals on pacemakers or in a coma lose their right to exist?
As Shapiro notes, any line created for a child can be applied to adults. If we are to be consistent in our definitions, then problems will arise.
To the student’s credit, he doesn’t yet back down and follows up with another conversation. Not satisfied with the points so far, he tells Shapiro that he believes sentience gives something moral value and not necessarily just being a human.
Shapiro then asks if he can stab the student if he lies in a coma. The student replies in the negative.
The student follows up with his explanation that comatose individuals do not pose a direct burden on someone whereas he believes an unwanted child would.
Shapiro notes that he doesn’t believe being a burden on someone is moral justification for murder.
All in all, it was a respectful exchange of opposing viewpoints. The student presented questions from a pro-choice perspective and was met with logical rebuttals from a pro-life speaker. At no point did the exchange become heated or disrespectful.
Because of this, he was able to shine in his points.
In defense of the pro-life perspective, Ben Shapiro nailed a series of arguments abortion supporters often make. Heartbeat? Pacemaker. Brain activity? Coma. Sentience? Coma. When we begin to make exceptions to the definition of life, it creates exceptions to the people we protect. Instead of accepting all life as sacred and recognizing everyone has a right to their existence, we draw lines and make exceptions.