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The SLED Test: An Argument for the Value of Life

The value of the unborn is the cornerstone of the pro-life movement. We believe that life inside of the womb is just as valuable as life outside of the womb. Nothing spells this out more plainly than the SLED argument. For years, those who are pro-life have been using the SLED test to articulate the value of life, from embryo to adulthood.

Caring Network is a pro-life ministry that has been protecting the lives of the unborn since 1981.  With six pregnancy resource centers spread throughout Chicagoland, we provide free services to women facing an unplanned pregnancy.  Through the support and resources we offer, babies are protected and women are empowered to choose life.  Join with us in this life-giving work today!

What is the SLED Test?

The SLED test offers a simple argument for pro-life values.  When discussing issues of life, the sanctity of the unborn is often up for debate.  Claims may be made that a life only receives value once it exists outside of the womb, gaining worth only upon becoming a “person.”  The SLED argument refutes these claims.

Size:   It may be said that a fetus is not a life because it is so small.  However, we don’t place value on size once someone is outside of the womb.  A child is smaller than an adult, yet it is a crime harm a child.  A person’s innate value is not determined by their size.  Often, in our society, it’s actually those who are smaller who receive a more significant level of protection.

Level of Development:  It may be said that a fetus is not a life because it is not fully developed.  However, human beings are in a constant state of development.  A person outside of the womb goes through various developmental stages throughout life in cognition, behavior, physiology, and more.  To devalue the unborn because of their level of development is hypocritical.

Environment:   It may be said that a fetus is not a life because it is located in the environment of the uterus.  Because the fetus does not exist in the “outside world” as we know it, some may believe that his/her value is diminished.  However, this argument does not apply to adults.  We transfer from one environment to another multiple times per day, yet each environment plays no role on our value.  The same can be said for the unborn—the environment of the womb does not impact the value of the human being.

Degree of Dependency:  It may be said that a fetus is not a life because it is entirely dependent upon its mother’s body for sustenance.  However, at various stages of life outside of the womb, humans are also dependent upon others.  Those with medical conditions, young children, and the elderly can find themselves reliant on another person for their health and wellbeing.  Are these lives any less valuable because of their dependency?  No, and the same is true for the unborn.

 The SLED is a helpful tool to think through matters of life and engage with others on the topic.  Recognizing the value of all human beings is the backbone of the ministry here at Caring Network.  We believe in the God-given sanctity of life from the womb and that is what drives our work in fighting against abortion.  By supporting and empowering women to choose life for their unborn children through our pregnancy services, we can make an impact together.  To learn more about our ministry and how to partner with us, contact us today!



Stand to Reason. (2014, March).  The S.L.E.D. Test.  Retrieved from:

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