I heard two women arguing yesterday. One was pro-life and the other was pro-choice. I could see that the pro-life woman was truly distressed to learn her friend/acquaintance was pro-choice but the argument she gave disturbed me.

The conversation started out about pulling the plug on someone at the end of life. Soon, the sad case of “that Schiavo woman” was raised. The pro-lifer argued that if the law didn’t protect Terry Schiavo that one day it wouldn’t protect “useful people.”


Within a minute the topic of abortion came up. Once again the pro-lifer argued that if we allow the killing of the unborn who’s to say that one day it won’t be legal to kill the born.

Now, I know these are arguments to be made to highlight the randomness of choosing birth as the line between where death and life can be decided by others. But we must also be careful not to argue against the starving of Terry Schiavo because someday someone actually useful might be killed. Or that if we allow the unborn to be killed then someday tragically the born will be next on the hit list.

One must be careful not to accept the premises of the other side in this debate. We should not argue that the death of someone “useful” is a greater horror than the bedridden. Every killing is tragic in that it takes someone’s life and puts the soul of the taker in jeopardy.

Euthanasia and abortion are evil, not just when they happen to useful people. The worst possible thing in the world happened in the Terry Schiavo case just as it happens every time a mother kills her unborn child. Life is not a slippery slope argument. Once it becomes one we’ve already lost.