Monday night, at the first stop on Daily Wire Editor-In-Chief Ben Shapiro's YAF Lecture Tour of college campuses, Shapiro paid a visit to Salisbury University. After his speech, he engaged in a Q&A session with the students, precipitating a memorable confrontation with two female students over abortion. The exchange went like this:
Shapiro: I don’t think that killing babies is the solution to you making bad sexual decisions. End of story. The unsuccessful decision that you made was the decision you made to have sex out of wedlock. and then get pregnant out of wedlock, that decision is not alleviated by killing --
Student: So women should just suck it up and have a child?
Shapiro: If you get pregnant, yes. Because you don’t get to kill things just because it’s in your uterus.
Student: It’s my body, how about you just stay out of it.
Shapiro: How about it’s a baby. You don’t get to kill it just because it’s in there. I don’t care about your appendix, I don’t care about your thorax, I don’t even care about your uterus. I care about what’s in it.
Student: I can take out my appendix if I don’t want it. Why can’t I take out other parts of my body?
Shapiro: Because they’re not independent living human beings.
Student: They’re not independent living beings when they’re a bundle of cells.
Shapiro: Are you also against partial birth abortion? At what point does that bundle of cells become a human being in your view? … That is a relevant question. If your argument is that that’s a bundle of cells, then the question becomes when it’s not a bundle of cells.
After Shapiro agreed that an exception should be made if the mother’s life is in danger, another female student continued, “The concept of bodily autonomy means that I don’t have to give up any part of my body unless I say so.”
Shapiro: The baby is not part of your body. The baby’s a baby. My wife is 32 weeks pregnant now. That baby is kicking the living crap out of her. That is a living human being in there. And I promise you that it is not a bundle of cells. I can guarantee you that it is not a bundle of cells because that is a baby.
Student: It is still technically bundle of cells that is requiring…
Shapiro, eliciting a burst of applause from the audience: You are technically a bundle of cells.
Here’s the final point. Abortion is a very simple issue. If you believe, as you do, apparently, that that’s nothing in there but a bunch of goo, then you’re right. It you believe in something called science, that that is more than a bundle of goo, then you do not get to kill it just because it is inconvenient to you.
Student: Science definitely dictates that a fetus, until it can leave the womb and be technically viable, is a bundle of cells inside a person.
Shapiro: So you can only live on life support, you’re not a person? You stop being a person? So if you get a car crash today and get put on life support and put in an iron lung, take out the iron lung and you’re gonna die, you’re not a person anymore? Is that how this works?
Student: If my brain is no longer functioning…
Shapiro: No, your brain is functioning, but you can’t breathe on your own,
Student: Then I’m still technically viable.
Shapiro: No, you’re not, because the machine is keeping you alive. Again the bottom line is that if you are defining whether something is a life or not based on your own convenience, that is the nature of evil.