Science and Societal Consensus on Fetal Life

Pregnancy by Michael Foox


I don’t like the headlines that are over sensationalized. Rubio Crushes CNN Host for His Ignorance about Human Life, is an over sensationalize headline. The annoying headline detracts from the content, which gets to the core of the pro-life and pro-choice debate, and is important.

I will say, first of all, that I have not been very much engaged in this debate for over 30 years, and I say that to my shame. I have thrown up my hands over the callousness that I see in our country on the issue of human life. The Rubio/Cuomo dialogue underscores that callousness. I am sorry that I have stayed on the sidelines.

Cuomo says that science cannot say when human life begins. Rubio says that human life begins from conception. If we were looking at those two arguments in a vacuum, with no preconceived notions, with no thought to the consequences of the argument, where do you think science would come out?

Companion questions are these: is the fetus growing in the womb alive or not alive? If it is not alive, what is it? Second, is the fetus a human or not a human? If the fetus is not human, what is it? If we call that human life a fetus, is the fetus not a human baby forming in the womb?

Cuomo accused Rubio of over simplifying the argument. But, what is complicated about it? If you look at the facts, it is simple. It only becomes complicated when you do not like the consequences of acknowledging the facts.

We have a habit in this modern world of calling things “science” when our intention is to end an argument. What we often call science is nothing more than opinions about facts that science reveals. Opinions are value judgments. We use science to hide our value judgments. We use science to prop up or obscure our value judgments. Our value judgments are not science. Our value judgments are what we are willing to believe or not believe, to concede or not to concede.

This truth is implied in Cuomo’s reference to societal consensus. Cuomo used “societal consensus” in the attempt to show that Rubio is out of step. Societal consensus is not science. Societal consensus is a value judgment. Some scientists may have been involved in reaching those value judgments, but that does not make it any more science or any less a value judgment.

Going back to the argument of when human life begins, Rubio rightly pointed out that, without interference, the fetus growing in the womb will become a newborn baby. The only way that a fetus will not become a newborn baby is if something interferes with the natural process. Without some intervening occurrence or human influence, that fetus will become a newborn, human baby.

People “know” that. For instance, when a mother intends to keep what is in her womb, she refers to “it” much differently than when she intends to get an abortion. We play these word games to avoid the reality that we “know” to be true.

We may convince our minds that the reality is something else, but our hearts and souls know better – at least initially. We ultimately have influence over our own consciences, too, and those consciences become callous when we ignore them (myself very much included).

The question is not whether a fetus is a human life; the question is not when a fetus becomes a human life; the question is: when do we choose to value that human life?

I am not at the moment getting into the subject of comparing the human life of the mother who carries the baby in her womb. I am not, yet, getting into the comparative value of human life. I am simply focusing, now, on the fact that a fetus is a human life; it can be nothing but a human life. A fetus is not plant, alligator or chimpanzee.

Yet, our societal consensus does not even concede that point.

That failure to acknowledge human life in the womb is not science. Don’t call it science, because it is not! Without conceding the fact that human life occurs in a mother’s womb, we can’t even honestly get into the discussion of the comparative value of the mother’s life and the life she carries in her womb. The discourse has been silenced, not by science, but by the fiat of societal consensus.

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One thought on “Science and Societal Consensus on Fetal Life

  1. Pingback: The Risk Factors Associated with Abortions | From guestwriters

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