Youth Protecting Youth

Defending the Dignity of All Human Life

A reflection of “SLED”



When you click on the heading “Why Abortion is Wrong” on the menu bar of Youth Protecting Youth’s website, these words appear on your computer screen:

During an abortion, the life of a fetus or embryo is ended – that much is universally agreed upon. This is euphemistically referred to as ending the pregnancy. Abortion is wrong because fetuses and embryos are innocent human beings, and killing human beings is wrong because all human beings, born and unborn, have inherent value and dignity.

This section of the blog (one of our most-read) was included because we decided that online visitors who don’t have time to read more (or aren’t inclined to do so) should have access to a quick, very simplified pro-life position statement.[1]

We have been including pro-life explanation pieces over time to make the blog into better pro-life information source. But because many other resources (some of which can be found on the side-bar under “Pro-Life Apologetics Resources,[2]“) do a fine job of speaking in defense of the pro-life position, we offer unique perspectives that may be specially relevant to UVic students and community members while trying to summarize concepts, instead of re-inventing the wheel – or the sled:

The acronym “SLED” was invented[3] to describe the characteristics that distinguish unborn from born humans: size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency. If one accepts that humans are valuable and worthy of protection, then considering that these are the only differences between the born and the unborn and that these characteristics continue to change throughout someone’s entire life should lead to the conclusion that abortion is wrong.


“A person’s a person, no matter how small.[4]” The elephant in Dr. Seuss’ famous book recognized the worth of some very small beings, but Horton’s antagonists weren’t used to acknowledging very small beings, and they forgot something about Whos that applies equally well to us: The value of human beings is independent of size.

This sounds obvious when stated so bluntly. It also seems obvious when we compare born people to one another: a newborn is no less valuable than an adult despite being smaller, and Steve Nash is no less valuable than the other Phoenix Suns players despite being shorter. Actually, having been named MVP twice, might he be even more valuable than they are? Does Steve Nash’s value as a person depend on his basketball skills? The next section will help to answer that question.

Level of Development:

Third-year engineering students are further developed in knowledge and ability than first-year engineering students[5], but this doesn’t make the third-years more valuable as human beings. Toddlers are much less developed than teenagers, but we don’t treat toddlers as any less human.

All humans are of equal worth, regardless of their respective levels of development. The lack of brain activity or absence of a heartbeat at certain stages of development don’t disqualify unborn children from being persons worthy of protection. Nor does their lack of life experience. If we were to conclude that these things do make a difference, we would have to concede that human worth varies according to ability and development, and we only achieve our full worth (which would be less than the worth of people with more ability, according to this philosophy) when we arrive at adulthood. Steve Nash may be a better basketball player, but you and I are just as valuable as he.


Pro-lifers make the assertion that someone’s location doesn’t determine his or her value. Like the size argument, this is also obvious when stated explicitly: I’m not made any more or less valuable as a person when I come into the SUB from a Frisbee game on the Quad. But I guess sitting in the SUB does put me at the mercy of the UVSS’ maintenance contractors; if they choose to ignore sprinkler system upkeep and there is a fire, I might perish. Should they have a responsibility to protect me or is my life no longer worthy of protection, since I’m now dependent on them?

Degree of Dependency:

Of course, the UVSS’ maintenance people have a responsibility to uphold my right to life when I’m in the SUB by maintaining its sprinkler system. A toddler is more dependent on his or her parents than a teenager, but that doesn’t make a difference to the human value of either one – the toddler should be protected simply because of his or her humanity. A newborn is entirely dependent on his or her parents for survival, and they are responsible for the life of their newborn, and the situation is the same for the unborn. For more information on how the degree of dependence of the unborn doesn’t nullify their right to life, see this video[6].

From these four points, we see that human value is not a function of development, dependency, size or location. Rather, it is an immeasurable constant that is equal for humans of all colours, creeds, religions and races.

[1] For the more thorough learner, the hyperlinks on that same page lead to more information.

[2] Side note: Because of its Greek root, the word “apologetics” can be mistakenly seen to connote remorse. Apologetics means “speaking in defense,” not “apologizing.”

[3] Stephen Schwarz in “The Moral Question of Abortion” (Loyola University Press, 1990, p. 17.)

[4] From Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!

[5] If ever in doubt about this, just ask any third-year engineering student.

[6][6] Toward the end of this video is a brief section that is graphic in nature; it shows the results of abortion.

2 thoughts on “A reflection of “SLED”

  1. Pingback: Social Interaction in the Second Trimester « Youth Protecting Youth

  2. Pingback: agence

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