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Pro-abortion pundits cannot debunk the scientific facts about life, conception

Attempts to counter the 2019 March for Life theme “Pro-Life is Pro-Science” have failed repeatedly and miserably.

A woman holds a pro-life sign during the 2019 annual March for Life rally in Washington Jan. 18. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

I can’t find anyone—including Planned Parenthood and the pro-abortion media—who disagrees about what science has to say about the beginning of human life.

What, you say that the March for Life caused the publishing of several public statements and articles that lambasted the “junk” and “debunked” science of pro-lifers and offered “existing science” as a substitute?

The March did proclaim as its 2019 theme that “pro-life is pro-science” and that humans are “unique from day one.” To counter “the only tenable argument” for abortion that “the unborn are not living human beings,” the March said that “none of the scientific evidence about the beginning of life supports the idea that life begins at any other time than fertilization.”

Now, let’s take a look at who said what about the “science” of life.  Harper’s Bazaar headlined “Anti-Abortion Activists Are Still Defending Forced Birth with Debunked Science.” Against the “pseudo-science” of “anti-choice activists,” the article cited the authority of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) that “fetuses” do not feel pain before 24 weeks. That was the extent of the debunking of the science of the “anti-abortionists.”  Of course, the ability to feel pain is not a definition of anything except the ability to feel pain. Persons who are anesthetized or stupefied on drugs or alcohol may not feel pain either. Overall, despite its aggressive headline, the Harper’s article made no effort to address the science about the fundamental reality of the humanity of the unborn child.

The Harper’s article is not the only one to cite ACOG to defend the pro-abortion position. I have made a diligent search of ACOG’s website and been unable to discover any statement or explanation of when human life begins.  With the extra publicity  generated by this year’s March for Life and President Trump’s open pro-life advocacy, one might have expected ACOG to make public statements debunking that part of “junk science.” It did not.

A search of Planned Parenthood’s website reveals the same result.  A page on that site entitled, “what facts about abortion do I need to know?” is solely about abortion procedures.

In a since-deleted article (reprinted in the newspaper of Spokane, Washington), the Washington Post changes the subject and gives up right in its headline: “The March for Life says it’s ‘pro-science,’ despite medical consensus favoring abortion access.”  So, it turns out that “access,” not definition, is what science is about.  Following up on the headline, the article offers the status and stature of “the medical establishment” as itself a refutation of the pro-life position.  Who’s who in the “medical establishment” is what science is about.

The Post quotes a representative of ACOG who states that there are miscarriages and other reasons that fertilized eggs do not implant.  She says that “science isn’t really designed to answer questions about the exact beginning of life” and then quickly changes the subject to assert that science does not deal with “the moral assignations of these sorts of things.” After pointing out that the pro-life American College of Pediatricians is small compared to the more recognized American Academy of Pediatrics, the writer extensively quotes that latter group on the importance of abortion access.  Overall, ACOG’s view of science is that it tells us how to perform safe abortions.  I have attempted a similar search of the pro-abortion American Academy of Pediatrics website and been unable to discover any statement or analysis of when human life begins.

In the New York Times, law professor Mary Ziegler cites ACOG and other “elite scientific organizations” to prove that the March for Life’s positions “fly in the face of the evidence.”  But nowhere in the article does she describe or deal with any such evidence that might refute the March for Life.

To the March for Life’s “co-opting of science,” its theme of  “unique from day one,” and its “extreme” position that life begins at conception,” Rewire.News, in an article that was widely reposted elsewhere, countered with “real science—the science backed by evidence and supported by experts.” Rewired retorts that all abortions are safe, that abortion does not cause mental or physical problems for the mother, that a fetus cannot feel pain, that heartbeat bans are unconstitutional, and fetal tissue has led to important medical advances.

But are there any attempt in the article to have the referenced “experts” refute that “uniqueness” from the moment of conception? No.

In answer to the March for Life’s contention that “life begins a conception,” the website Broadly says that “doctors have a different view of how science relates to their work.” Indeed they do.  Statnews tells us that “science says otherwise” to the contention of the March for Life that “pro-life is pro-science.” Dr. Sandy Horvath of ACOG is quoted as asserting “I think that all scientists consider themselves very pro-life. We believe very strongly in supporting the woman in front of us, and making sure she lives her longest, best life.”

Science, you see, is an attitude. It’s a matter of self-regard.

In none of these articles or organizations is a bona-fide scientist quoted or referred to.  And let’s recognize that doctors are practitioners, not scientists.  They deal with how things work, not what they are. They are just mechanics.  And according to those doctors who favor abortion, “science” is just a useful means to an already decided end.  From the empyrean heights of the moneyed and powerful “medical establishment,” any opponents are peddlers of “junk.” They can be disposed of by calling them names.

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About Thomas R. Ascik 22 Articles
Thomas R. Ascik is a retired attorney who has written on a variety of legal and constitutional issues.


  1. As Ascik suggests, in our supposed “scientific age,” it’s no longer about education; it’s about deprogramming…

    “Eppur si muove: ‘Nevertheless, it moves.’ These are the words that Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) might have whispered at the end of his trial for teaching that the earth moves around the sun. Is there possibly a connection between the evidence of Galileo’s sixteenth-century telescope and the scientific evidence of our twentieth-century’s modern ultrasound?

    The first enables us to search an overhead solar system and universe beyond an earth that moves. The ultrasound reveals a world and universe within that today is too often denied and that also moves. Galileo’s critics declined to look through the telescope, and the modern establishment shields an abortion client from the ultrasound imagery of her unborn child. In our self-flattering scientific age, it seems that the shoe now is on the other foot.”

    (The opening lines to the Introduction to my recent book: Beaulieu, A GENERATION ABANDONED, 2017).

    • There are a series of articles online that covers the Galileo controversy in some detail. The series is titled “The Great Ptolemaic Smackdown.” The URL for the table of contents is:
      The author of these articles gives a very lively presentation of the era. According to these articles many people were looking at the night sky with telescopes during the time of Galileo. These articles deal with the myths that have grown up around Galileo.

      • Many students of scientific history forget
        What REALLY happened to Galileo:
        Historians* (with many decades of historical research) tell us that the Roman Inquisition’s infamous “persecution” of Galileo was NOTHING OF THE SORT. Galileo is often portrayed as a perfectly rational scientist, ranting and raging against religious oppression. BUT is this an accurate picture of the man?
        Nowadays Galileo is ERRONEOUSLY portrayed as the hero of science over religion. What is conveniently OVERLOOKED is that most of his real enemies were fellow scientists [the vast majority of astronomers still supporting the Ptolemaic view of the universe. Ptolemy’s view, which placed the Earth at the center of the universe (geocentrism), was accepted as fact from the time of the ancient Greeks until the 17th century. Even after Copernicus raised serious questions regarding geocentrism, most astronomers clung to the Ptolemaic system].
        The MYTH we have of Galileo— as a faithless renegade attacked by a Church afraid of science—is FALSE on ALL counts.
        FACT – Firstly, he was teaching Copernican theory as fact, rather than hypothesis when there really was no scientific fact to back it up.
        – By elevating scientific CONJECTURE to a theological level … Instead of merely SCIENTIFIC DISPUTATION, Galileo was now mistakenly lecturing on scriptural interpretation.
        FACT: Galileo was NOT condemned, but Cardinal Robert Bellarmine asked Galileo to continue to present his theories as THEORY ONLY rather than fact and TO WAIT TILL FURTHER EVIDENCE COULD BECOME AVAILABLE.
        FACT: The Catholic Church was the principal source of funding for science in its day, so the story of Galileo has nothing to do with the Church being opposed to science and indeed Galileo’s works continued to be available to readers, and his arguments continued to be questioned by many of his fellow scientists… and as STILL happens today anyway, with ANY scientific papers published by ANY academics – in ANY reputable University – for proper and healthy debate to take place in exploring the facts.
        FACT: Therefore, it is a GOOD thing that the Church did NOT rush to embrace Galileo’s views – because it turned out that Galileo’s ideas were NOT ENTIRELY correct, after all:
        ŸFACT: Galileo believed that the sun was not just the fixed center of the solar system but the fixed center of the universe itself.
        ŸFACT: We NOW know that the sun is NOT the center of the universe and that it does move—it simply orbits the center of the galaxy rather than the earth.
        ŸFACT: As more recent science has shown, BOTH Galileo AND his opponents were PARTLY right and PARTLY wrong;

        ŸFACT: Galileo was RIGHT in asserting the mobility of the earth and WRONG in asserting the immobility of the sun.
        ŸFACT: His opponents were RIGHT in asserting the mobility of the sun and WRONG in asserting the immobility of the earth.

        ŸFACT: If the Catholic Church had rushed to endorse Galileo’s views without exercising caution the Church would have made the mistake of embracing pop-science which modern SCIENCE has now DISPROVED
        ŸFACT: The Church was CORRECT in showing suitable restraint and caution in waiting for ALL the facts to become available before unquestioningly rushing to accept “theories” which turned out to be only PARTLY correct.
        ŸFACT: It is ironic that it was only AFTER Galileo agreed to retract his theory in “Dialogue on the Two Great World Systems“, later found to be anti-empirical and entirely INCORRECT, including theory of the tides (this occuring during the time he spent in “mild detention” while supplied with staff and personal man-servant);
        Ÿ— during this time Galileo re-examined his prior theory during which Galileo wrote his NEW and greatest work: “Dialogue Concerning Two New Sciences” …

        The happy result:
        ŸGalileo’s NEW work – (which followed his retraction of his prior erroneous theories) was NOW praised by both Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein … and it became the foundation for Newtonian physics.
        Dr. Marian Horvat, Ph.D Ph.D. in Medieval History – THE HOLY INQUISITION: MYTH OR REALITY?
        Professor Henry Kamen – The Spanish Inquisition (Prof. Jaime Conterras concurs)
        Thomas Lessl, professor, University of Georgia – POP SCIENCE & FALSE HISTORY – The Galileo Legend – June 2000 By Thomas Lessl Thomas Lessl
        Kenneth D. Whitehead – The Truth on GALILEO
        George Sims Johnston – The Galileo Affair
        http://www.scepterpublishers.o… and
        Fr Robert Barron – Angels, Demons, and Modern Fantasies about Catholicism…... myths of Galileo’s persecution
        Professor Thomas F. Madden – The Truth about the Spanish Inquisition

  2. Ancient thought called anything that moves spontaneously whether field flower or ocean Leviathan possessor of a soul. As noted by Ascik supported by Beaulieu motion evident in reaction to pain also speaks to some however basic form of intelligence. Aquinas following the Ancients presumed the soul entered the wombed Infant after several weeks with self movement. However philosophers are not always correct even the greatest. The Church teaches life, Human Life begins at conception. Now the stark difference from ancient thought on the soul is the human soul that begins at its very conception motion toward a ‘soul’ with Human Intelligence or Intellect. An exact ‘point’ of determination when some form of intelligence is present is immeasurable. A movement intrinsic to that physical body however minuscule, which is why I prefer former Chief Justice Rehnquist’s definition in Casey that wherever we’re at in the process we’re dealing with Human Life.

  3. While I agree with much of what Ascik says, the last paragraph is very demeaning to physicians who are scientists. They are people first, people who have different opinions from our own. They are people who need to rationalize what they do. Pro-life is pro-science! I agree that some doctors choose to downplay the aspect of science that says human life begins at fertilization, but it’s a low blow to paint all doctors with the same brush.

  4. I like this post, and the secret of long and happy life has been discovered by Ph.D. Allen Omton and Serge Dobrow. They found the hidden in human’s mind internal program that needs to be activated to keep you out of suffer and death.
    John Logger

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