Exclusive CRTL Membership Event!
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Please join us virtually Tuesday, August 2nd, at 7:30 p.m.
An exclusive viewing of a video accompanying Dr. Derr’s brilliant speech:
“Abortion & Liberal Tradition.”
CRTL summer intern Meredith Green discovered this recorded talk from 1988 and
converted this timeless education into a video.
There is no doubt that there is passion on both sides of the abortion debate. The reality is that nearly everyone has been personally affected by abortion in some way, which makes it an emotionally charged issue. It is rare to see personal experiences and emotion set aside in exchange for reason, which is precisely why I was blown away by a 1988 speech by Dr. Patrick Derr, PhD.
In his speech, Dr. Derr uses cold-headed logic and reason to defend the pro-life position, and leaves no room for impassioned retorts. This is not to say we should ignore the emotions and pain caused by the abortion issue. We should still use our personal experiences, passions, emotions, and faith to further understand our pro-life position, and we should empathize with those on the other side. But, before we can do this, it is imperative that emotions, religion, personal experiences aside, we know and are able to argue why we are pro-life, and why, without a doubt it is the logical, loving, and liberal side to be on.
“Liberal” can seem like a dirty word to pro-lifers today, but in his speech, Dr. Derr reminds us of a 4,000 year long tradition of liberalism that has fought for a twofold goal–(1) to recognize every living human being as a person, deserving of rights, and (2) to expand and enumerate the rights granted to recognized persons. This tradition of liberalism, which Dr. Derr argues is the only true and real tradition of liberalism, is being carried on not by the so-called liberals of today, but by our efforts–the efforts of the pro-life movement. While the other side fights to systematically deny personhood to a group of innocent, helpless, individuals, we are fighting to expand personhood and, by extension, rights, to that group of living human beings. We should take comfort in the fact that we are on the side attempting to expand personhood and rights, not to limit them. Dr. Derr said:
“We’re going to win the abortion struggle. You can be certain of that. We’re going to win it not because we’re smarter, not because we’re better organized than the opposition–because we aren’t. We’re going to win it not because we’re holier, more united, or politically better connected –because we aren’t. We’re gonna win it because, as the greatest abolitionist of all, William Lloyd Garrison would say, ‘God is just, and He doesn’t wait forever.’We’re going to win because in the end, while the advocates of death are busy killing their children, we’re busy educating ours. So even if God waits, and even if politics fails, biology is inevitable. We will win. But if we want to win in this century and if we want to win in this generation, we have to do a better job of persuading political liberals to join us.”
In this talk, he outlines exactly how we can do that–and it is not through passion, emotion, or religious arguments; it is through reason and logic.
Preview of “Abortion & Liberal Tradition” by Dr. Patrick Derr: https://vimeo.com/733718672
To RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org and you will receive a Zoom link shortly before the event begins.