He says, "it's a simple scenario with two outcomes," but "no one ever wants to pick one."
The pivotal argument of the pro-life movement—"life begins at conception"—has been trotted around for decades in every discussion about abortion. But one question, put forth by author Patrick S. Tomlinson, was enough to show people that there are gaping holes in that very idea.
Through a series of nine tweets, Tomlinson said he had a question that he has been asking pro-lifers for the past 10 years. He also said he has never gotten a straightforward answer for the question over the past decade.
Tomlinson went on to challenge the idea of "life begins at conception" by asking Twitter users his question. And he went on to point out how the idea is used merely to continue enforcing control over women's bodies.
"Whenever abortion comes up, I have a question I've been asking for ten years now of the 'Life begins at Conception' crowd. In ten years, no one has EVER answered it honestly," the The Ark Trilogy author wrote on Twitter. "It's a simple scenario with two outcomes. No one ever wants to pick one, because the correct answer destroys their argument. And there IS a correct answer, which is why the pro-life crowd hates the question."
Here's the question Tomlinson asked Twitter users:
Here it is. You're in a fertility clinic. Why isn't important. The fire alarm goes off. You run for the exit. As you run down this hallway, you hear a child screaming from behind a door. You throw open the door and find a five-year-old child crying for help. 3/— Patrick S. Tomlinson (@stealthygeek) October 17, 2017
They're in one corner of the room. In the other corner, you spot a frozen container labeled "1000 Viable Human Embryos." The smoke is rising. You start to choke. You know you can grab one or the other, but not both before you succumb to smoke inhalation and die, saving no one. 4/— Patrick S. Tomlinson (@stealthygeek) October 17, 2017
Do you A) save the child, or B) save the thousand embryos? There is no "C." "C" means you all die.— Patrick S. Tomlinson (@stealthygeek) October 17, 2017
In a decade of arguing with anti-abortion people about the definition of human life, I have never gotten a single straight A or B answer to this question. And I never will. 5/
Tomlinson explained that there are no two ways about it; you could only save the crying 5-year-old child or the frozen container of embryos. Just as Tomlinson predicted, many were on the fence about the answer and tried not giving a direct answer to his question. But Tomlinson insisted that there certainly was a correct answer.
"They will never answer honestly, because we all instinctively understand the right answer is 'A,'" Tomlinson went on to say. "A human child is worth more than a thousand embryos. Or ten thousand. Or a million. Because they are not the same, not morally, not ethically, not biologically. This question absolutely evicerates their arguments, and their refusal to answer confirms that they know it to be true. No one, anywhere, actually believes an embryo is equivalent to a child. That person does not exist. They are lying to you."
Don't let them. Use this question to call them out. Reveal them for what they are. Demand they answer your question, and when they don't, slap that big ol' Scarlet P of the Patriarchy on them. The end. 9/9— Patrick S. Tomlinson (@stealthygeek) October 17, 2017
As expected, his Twitter thread worked up quite the storm in the comments section with varying opinions. That's when Tomlinson made one clarification: "Because a lot of people are missing the point, it is not being argued the embryos are not alive. Nor is it being argued they are without value. All that is being demonstrated is their value is not equal to that of a human child. That's it. That's the point."
Many who commented on Tomlinson's post wound up unconsciously agreeing with him on the idea that life does not begin with conception. Others, who said they would choose the frozen embryos over the 5-year-old child, were called "an amoral monster" by Tomlinson. There were plenty who challenged the author, but Tomlinson struck back with forceful rebuttals.
Here's what the author had to say to some of the many comments he received.
Thank you for your honesty about being an amoral monster who should never be allowed around children. That was very brave of you.— Patrick S. Tomlinson (@stealthygeek) October 19, 2017
"Because it is a child."— Patrick S. Tomlinson (@stealthygeek) October 31, 2017
And the embryos, no matter how numerous, are not.
Exactly.— Patrick S. Tomlinson (@stealthygeek) October 17, 2017
Thank you for agreeing with me.
The embryos are viable, and there are 1000 of them.— Patrick S. Tomlinson (@stealthygeek) August 8, 2019
Thank you for agreeing with me that life does not begin at conception.
Then you're an amoral monster. Thank you for your honesty.— Patrick S. Tomlinson (@stealthygeek) October 22, 2017
Spotted that, did you?— Patrick S. Tomlinson (@stealthygeek) November 2, 2017
Cover image source: Source: Patrick S. Tomlinson/Twitter