Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro delivered what some pro-life Christians and conservatives are dubbing a masterful debate performance when a student challenged him last week about why he believes first-trimester fetuses have “moral value.”
The debate moment unfolded at University of California, Berkeley on Sept. 14 when a student asked Shapiro the following: “I just wanted to know why exactly do you think a first trimester fetus has moral value?”
Shapiro, of course, wasted no time in responding. Here’s what he said:
“Okay, so a first trimester fetus has moral value because whether you consider it a potential human life or a full-on human life it has more value than just a cluster of cells. If left to its natural processes it will grow into a baby. So the real question is ‘where do you draw the line?’ So are you gonna draw the line at the heartbeat? Because it’s very hard to draw the line at the heartbeat because there are people who are adults who are alive because of a pacemaker and they need some sort of outside force generating their heartbeat.
Okay are you gonna do it based on brain function? Okay well what about people who are in a coma? Should we just kill them? Right, the problem is anytime you draw any line other than the inception of the child, you end up drawing a false line that can also be applied to people who are adults. So either human life has intrinsic value or it doesn’t. And I think we both agree that adult human life has intrinsic value, can we start from that premise?”
The student pushed back, though, by stating that he believes something has moral value when it is sentient — or able to perceive and feel things — and not merely human.
Rather than issuing a proclamation, Shapiro asked, “Okay, so when you’re asleep, can I stab you?” The student, of course, wasn’t swayed, arguing that he’s still “sentient” when he’s sleeping.
Shapiro, who was also undeterred, continued, asking, “Okay, if you are in a coma from which you may awake, can I stab you?”
The student responded, “No, I guess” and proceeded to argue that, even in that state, there’s still “potential sentience” — a claim that set Shapiro up for a major mic-drop moment.
“I agree it is potential sentience,” he said. “You know what else has potential sentience? Being a fetus.”
Watch it all unfold below:
— The Columbia Bugle (@ColumbiaBugle) September 15, 2017