The Range Master and the Doctor: A Parable About Abortion


You’re on a firing range holding a loaded pistol. The target area is curtained off, all but a piece of cardboard standing about three and a half feet tall, cut in the shape of a little girl, no more than five yards down the range.

The range master says to you, “See that cardboard there? There’s a girl behind the curtain who’s about that tall. We’ve told her to walk behind the cardboard any time she wants to during the nine minutes you’re scheduled to be on this range, and to stay standing in that one place once she gets there. We don’t know when she’s going to decide to do that; in fact she might be there already.”

He continues with his instructions: “It’s up to you. Fire whenever you think it’s okay.”

A woman walks into an abortion clinic. The doctor tells her, “Look, we all know there’s controversy over when a fetus reaches the stage of being a real human person, but you can forget all that. Let’s go ahead and operate. It’s okay.”

Questions for discussion (for those who might find them helpful):

  1. Does the range master’s instruction seem wrong to you?
  2. What do you think of the range master? What do you feel about him?
  3. Does the doctor actually know for sure when it’s “okay”? How? On what basis?
  4. What do you think of the doctor? What do you feel about her?
  5. Explain.


Life circumstances have allowed me little chance to say much about the videos on Planned Parenthood, released by the Center for Medical Progress. The above is sufficient, if you ask me, to demonstrate the moral reality of what goes on in abortion clinics. Unfortunately some people seem to have needed even more of a shock to be able to see it.

(For further commentary on these videos I recommend The Stream.)