On April 25, Gregg Cunningham, founder and CEO of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, engaged T. Russell Hunter, co-founder of Abolish Human Abortion, in a debate entitled, “Pro-Life Incrementalism vs. Abolitionist Immediatism.” Jill Stanek has provided a useful e-Book here.
Hunter attacks pro-lifers for ‘regulating’ abortion rather than calling for its immediate abolition. He argued that incremental strategies are not only mistaken, but based on evil compromise. Hunter offered a public challenge for any pro-life leader to debate him on incrementalism.
Cunningham highlighted the flaw in Hunter’s argument – that pro-lifers have the power to end abortion immediately but won’t. He argued that pro-lifers don’t have to choose between immediate and incremental strategies, rather they can advance both methods simultaneously and save many lives in the process.
Hunter was asked whether babies saved through incremental legislation should be allowed to die. Cunningham argued that other social reformers such as Wilberforce had used incremental approaches, as much as they wanted to abolish slavery immediately. Cunningham argued that in the history of social reform, no activists have ever outlawed a major injustice ‘immediately.’
Cunningham ended the debate with chilling words,”We will give an account to God for babies we could have saved but didn’t.” Scott Klusendorf has argued that the moral smugness for opposing imperfect legislation is “cold comfort to dead children.” Jill Stanek argues that by opposing incremental legislation, AHA protects the legal status quo.