What happened?

A “controversial” pro-life speaker and a college student last week debated some typical pro-abortion arguments. Glenn and Stu analyzed the clip on radio Monday.

Who was speaking?

Ben Shapiro, a conservative writer and commentator who is editor-in-chief of the Daily Wire, spoke at the University of California at Berkeley on Thursday. UC Berkeley prepared for his appearance by working with local law enforcement and spending a shocking $600,000 on security measures.


During a Q&A session, an unnamed student asked Shapiro why a human fetus in the first trimester has “moral value.” While Shapiro was protested by some students on campus, the Q&A exchange about abortion was respectful on both sides.

What was Shapiro’s response?

Shapiro used basic biology for the foundation of his answer. A fetus is human because science (and common sense) says so. If you think we shouldn’t kill humans, why doesn’t a fetus have value?

“A first-trimester fetus has moral value because whether you consider it a potential human life or a full-on human life, it has more value than just a cluster of cells,” Shapiro said. “If left to its natural processes, it will grow into a baby.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images

This is a rush transcript and may contain errors.

GLENN: So I want to talk about Ben Shapiro.

STU: Actually, you mentioned you saw Jennifer Garner in real life. And I’d rather hear about that. No offense, Ben. I’m sure — you know, Ben is a good guy. We like Ben.

GLENN: There’s a lot to be said about the Jennifer Garner thing. There’s a lot. And I’m not going to share it with you.

STU: Okay.

GLENN: Ben Shapiro, he was out at Berkeley. And I want you to know that people — people who listen will — some, will say, oh, gee, you know — you just kept cowering in a corner. No, uh-uh. Not cowering in a corner. Speak the truth. And speak it with wisdom and facts and without hyperbole. And without name-calling.

STU: Because I think a lot of people translate what you’re saying a lot of times as cower in the corner and just, you know, go along to get along.

GLENN: Yeah.

STU: That’s not really what you’re saying.

GLENN: No, no.

Your corner — what corner? Do you belong in a corner? I don’t belong in a corner. My corner is my country. I’m going to speak out and I’m going to come out for my country. I’m not going to cower in a corner.

STU: How about very divisive issues? Because sometimes —

GLENN: May I? I know you’re very focused on Jennifer Garner.

STU: Can we talk about that? Because a lot of people are divided about her. And then listen about what Ben Shapiro is saying.

GLENN: This is Ben Shapiro at Berkeley. He is taking on a — a person on the left about abortion, and listen to the way he handles this.

VOICE: So my question was about abortion, and I just wanted to know why exactly you think a first-trimester fetus has moral value.

BEN: Okay. So a first-trimester fetus has moral value because whether you consider it a potential human life or a full-on human life, it has more value than just a cluster of cells. If left to its natural processes, it will grow into a baby. So the real question is: Where do you draw the line? So are you going to draw the line at the heartbeat? Because it’s very hard to draw the line at the heartbeat. There are people who are adults who are alive because of a pacemaker. And they need some sort of outside force, generating their heartbeat.

okay. Are you going to do it based on brain function? Okay. Well, what about people who are in a coma? Should we just kill them?

The problem is any time you draw any line other than the inception of the child, you end up drawing a false line that can also be applied to people who are adults.

So either human life has intrinsic value or it doesn’t. I think we both agree that adult human life has intrinsic value. Can we start from that premise?

VOICE: I believe that sentients has — is what gives something moral value, not necessarily — not necessarily being a human alone.

BEN: Okay. So when you’re asleep, can I stab you?
(laughter)
VOICE: I’m still considered sentient when I’m asleep.

BEN: Okay. If you are a coma from which you can awake, can I stab you?

VOICE: Well, then, no. I guess not.

BEN: I’m glad you answered that. Because I have no interest in actually murdering you.

VOICE: But that’s still potential sentience, and it’s still a potential —

BEN: I agree. It has potential sentience. You know what else has potential sentience? Being a fetus.

GLENN: Oh, man. See, there’s nothing better.

STU: Yeah.

VOICE: If I’m in a coma and I’m not like doing anything to anyone, I’m not causing any issues amongst the world — whereas, an unwanted child may or may not be a burden to people.

BEN: There are lots of people’s parents who are unwanted. Right? Or a bunch of college students.

The problem is, that now — so now you’re shifting the argument. Right?

Before you were making the argument based on the intrinsic value of a life based on sentience, and now you’re talking about the level of burden that somebody presents as a separate moral argument.

Okay. I don’t believe that you being a burden on somebody is justification for them killing you, as a general rule.

VOICE: I’ll leave it at that, but I appreciate you.

BEN: Thanks.

GLENN: I’ll leave it at that. Yeah, you probably — you probably should.

STU: You should probably leave the state after that.
(chuckling)
That’s amazing. Because how you could — first of all, you could go to their last argument there. A burden? You know, look a lot of people — when you have someone who is hooked up to machines in a coma, what a — it’s an incredible burden on a family.

GLENN: And the state.

STU: But because you care about human life, you still try to fight through it. And the state, right. Cost. There’s a million things you could argue on that. That is embarrassing.

And the reason — you could fault the guy for making the point the way he did. The problem is, there’s no value in the point. It’s not that he made the point poorly, it’s that the point is ridiculous.

GLENN: So, but here is the thing: Being able to have that dialogue — and that’s, quite honestly, why people want to shut other people up. And when you don’t have the — when you don’t have the intellectual firepower of Ben Shapiro, then you get down to — well, that’s — your side did it first.

And there’s just no — there’s nothing to be gained there. Nothing to be gained.

STU: There is a moment where you go into like the gym at your local Y. And, you know, you’re going into — a bit of a pickup team. It’s like, eh, I got one other guy I’m just going to bring in. And just, LeBron James walks in. That is the Ben Shapiro moment.

GLENN: Yeah.

He is probably our William F. Buckley. He and Jonah Goldberg are probably the William F. Buckley of our generation.

STU: It’s one of those things, when you have one of those guys on your side, you’re never losing an argument.

GLENN: Yeah.