Recently, pro-lifers in North Dakota distributed some fetal models to kids at the state fair. [Disclosure: I know Devyn Nelson, the Executive Director of North Dakota, personally; we were both in the inaugural class of Wilberforce Fellows at Students for Life of America.] Abortion advocates didn’t take it well. A major theme of the criticism: the pro-lifers violated parental rights.
The fetal models and the cards that accompanied them were purely about prenatal development; there was nothing in them about abortion. There was nothing that might upset the children, because Devyn isn’t a jerk. So apparently, the “parental right” that was violated here was a parent’s “right” to make sure that his or her children don’t learn about the reality of life in the womb.
Allow me to model my response off of this famous video by Bill Nye the Science Guy (whose views on abortion are not known to me, but who hopefully recognizes that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. You’re the bomb, Bill Nye!).
Abortion on demand throughout pregnancy is unique to the United States, Canada, China, and North Korea. That’s a major problem, but generally, most people in the United States are pro-life. The pro-life movement is still growing. And that’s largely because of the intellectual honesty that we have, the general acknowledgement of life in the womb. And when you have a portion of the population that doesn’t believe in that, it holds everybody back, really.
Prenatal development is a fundamental concept in embryology, and in abortion policy. It’s like, it’s very much analogous to trying to do geology without believing in tectonic plates. You’re just not going to get the right answer; your whole position is just going to be… stupidity, instead of a reasoned stance.
As John F. Kennedy said, “The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened,” so… once in a while I get people who really don’t, or that claim they don’t believe that unborn children are anything more than clumps of cells. And my response generally is, well, why not? Really, why not.
Your ideology just becomes fantastically complicated when you don’t believe in prenatal development. Here are these sonograms or ultrasound images; here’s the unborn baby kicking; here are fetuses who are just like newborns but are at a different point in their life cycle; the idea of fertilization, of a new set of DNA… explains so much about human life. If you try to ignore that, your worldview just becomes… crazy, just uh… untenable, itself inconsistent.
And I say to the grown-ups, if you want to deny life in the womb and live in your world of radical abortion rights that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe about prenatal development, that’s fine. But don’t make your kids do it, ’cause we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and parents for the future; we need doctors that can practice medicine with integrity, help mothers…
It’s just a really hard thing, a really hard thing. Now in another couple centuries, that worldview I’m sure will be– just won’t exist. There’s no evidence for it.