Pro-life speaker Dr. Marc Newman adds commentary to abortion debate
Is abortion murder?
This question is at the root of many policy issues in Washington, D.C., and it was the focus of Dr. Marc Newman's pro-life bioethical lecture on abortion on Sept. 28.
The lecture was held in the Communication Arts Building where faculty, staff, students and the general public were welcomed to hear the premier conference speaker give his take on the abortion issue.
Students for Life, Lee's own pro-life group, partnered with New Hope Pregnancy Crisis Center to invite Newman to speak to both the Lee and local community.
And Newman’s credentials in the pro-life apologetics field are extensive.
He's the president of Speaker for Life, a training firm dedicated to equipping pro-life advocates nationwide through public speaking skills based on a bioethical standpoint.
Newman has spoken at nearly every major pro-life convention nationwide. Before becoming a pro-life advocate, he served as the Director of Speech and Debate at the University of California at Irvine.
“Human beings and their value are changed solely on whether or not they are valued or if somebody else wants them,” Newman told the audience. “Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, is pregnant. The media does not say, ‘Kate Middleton is currently walking around and her uterus is rather crowded with material also known as pregnancy tissue.’”
For over 25 years, Newman has trained speakers in the public and private sector while also being a founding faculty member of the New Applied Bioethics program at Oklahoma Wesleyan University. He has appeared on Fox News and Time magazine, discussing his stance on bioethics and abortion.
The lecture he presented at Lee addressed common questions that pro-life advocates face when discussing abortion. Topics of discussion varied from bodily autonomy, fetal abnormality, what should be done when an unborn child is unwanted and when life actually starts.
"Human life begins at conception," Newman said. "And not all life is equal. Human life matters more."
But in her article titled "I am pro-abortion, not just pro-choice: 10 reasons why we must support the procedure and the choice," Valerie Tarico, a writer for Salon, said the future of the mother is at stake if she isn't given access to abortions.
"Think of any professional woman you know. She wouldn’t be in that role if she hadn’t been able to time and limit her childbearing. Think of any girl you know who imagines becoming a professional woman. She won’t get there unless she has effective, reliable means to manage her fertility," wrote Tarico. "I’m pro-abortion because I think morality is about the well-being of sentient beings. I believe that morality is about the lived experience of sentient beings—beings who can feel pleasure and pain, preference and intention, who at their most complex can live in relation to other beings, love and be loved and value their own existence."
But Newman said, in his view, there is simply no good reason to end the life of an unborn child. His only exception? An incidental ending of a pregnancy in a separate operation—one necessary to spare the life of the mother.
“The best answer is not to kill somebody else,” Newman said. “1.4 million babies die a year. That would be the World Trade Center disaster. All of the bullets in Africa, the Syrian civil war that kill over 10,000 children, all of the people that died in the tsunami that hit Japan. If you put all those people together, we kill more people in America alone through abortion every three weeks."
Tim Doughtery, the chaplain of Students for Life, said he hoped the event met a serious need for pro-life apologetics.
"There is a lack of presence in the Cleveland and surrounding areas with regards to the Pro-life movement," Doughtery said. "Bringing Marc Newmann to Lee for a lecture on 'Pro-life Apologetics' allowed each person who was present, an opportunity to learn how to talk to people about abortion."
When it came to Newman's impact on the pro-life movement, Doughtery said he felt those who attended left more informed.
"Whether in a debate or casual conversation, anyone who attended gained an open mind to discussing abortion more frequently." Doughtery said.
Kelly Reamer, a junior art education major at Lee who attended the lecture, said she found Newman's arguments to be utterly convincing.
“He was extremely knowledgeable and passionate about the subject,” Reamer said. “He presented the case for pro-life in such a way that left me with absolutely no doubt in my mind where I stand on the issue.”
Students like Reamer may be an increasing faction. In 2016, the National Review released an article showing an increase in Millennials who are against abortion, despite throwing off the label of “pro-life.”
“Students for Life of America released a series of surveys conducted by the Barna Group which show that young adults are actually more opposed to abortion than many realize,” the article said.
These surveys said that 53 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 31 think that abortion should be either illegal or legal only in the cases mentioned in the NYT: rape, incest or if the mother's life is at risk.
Cody Aulidge, a senior public relations major at Lee, said he sympathizes with both sides of the argument but believes women ought to make their own choice as to whether or not they go full-term.
“Through research and discussion with peers, I have changed my views since my younger self,” Aulidge said. “I am still against abortion. I think it is a terrible thing and is definitely considered murder. However, I don't believe I have the right to control someone else’s body. I think it’s purely between the woman and her partner, if applicable, and God.”
When discussing this bodily autonomy, Newman said he maintains that the woman and the baby are separate people.
"Everybody talks about 'My body, my choice,' and I agree to an extent," Newman said. "But we can't all do everything we want with our bodies because, when we act, we can affect the bodies of others."
For more information about the pro-life movement on campus, contact Students for Life's president Allison Hale at email@example.com.