Melissa Harris-Perry described a pre-born baby as “this thing” that costs money when born, implying that it’s better to kill him or her rather than give birth. Here’s what she said on her MSNBC morning show:
“But the reality is that if this [as she holds up a marble-sized object representing the fertilized egg] turns into a person, right, there are economic consequences, right? The cost to raise a child, $10,000 a year up to $20,000 a year. When you’re talking about what it actually costs to have this thing turn into a human, why not allow women to make the best choices that we can with as many resources and options instead of trying to come in and regulate this process?”
So because a child costs from $10,000 to $20,000 per year, women should have the right to kill their pre-born children. Why not extend that right to children already born. Some children might be “worth” keeping around. Maybe we should wait to a baby is born, give him a few years, and if she doesn’t measure up, take her to a State-sponsored and licensed extermination center.
Melissa Harris-Perry says that she understands how religious people argue that personhood begins at conception, that it’s “a particular kind of faith claim,” but such a claim “is not associated with science.” So what is it about science that says a 5 or 7 year-old child is a person?
Science is not in the value judgment business. Scientists can measure brain waves, but they can’t say there’s a mind or if there is a mind whether it has any significance in a matter-only universe. Science can determine if a human meat bag is dead or alive, but it can’t say whether that meat bag’s life was worthwhile.
Evolutionist Stephen J. Gould (1941–2002) described religion and science as “Nonoverlapping Magisteria”:
“The net of science covers the empirical universe: what is it made of (fact) and why does it work this way (theory). The net of religion extends over questions of moral meaning and value. These two magisteria do not overlap, nor do they encompass all inquiry (consider, for starters, the magisterium of art and the meaning of beauty). To cite the arch cliches, we get the age of rocks, and religion retains the rock of ages; we study how the heavens go, and they determine how to go to heaven.”
But evolutionists don’t believe in the reality of religion or the moral universe that is derived from God. Gould and other atheists borrow their morality from a worldview that they work day and night to prove false and irrelevant.
Science can’t say whether what Adolf Hitler did was moral or immoral; it can only count the bodies and determine how they expired.
Melissa Harris-Perry finds it easy to argue for the pro-abortion position when she starts with a fertilized egg and moves toward birth since what can be seen is so small. Yet everything a human being is can be found in the union of sperm and egg.
By the way, Melissa Harris-Perry couldn’t argue the same way if she were holding some bird eggs. “The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) prohibits the taking, killing, possession, transportation, and importation of migratory birds, their eggs, parts, and nests except as authorized under a valid permit (50 CFR 21.11).”
But what if the abortion argument started with a newly born baby and moved backward second-by-second to the point of conception?
Here’s a line of reasoning that I use with people who have not thought through the abortion issue but who would say that it’s up to the mother to make the decision.
I draw a horizontal line on a piece of paper capped on both ends with short vertical lines that represent the beginning and end of a nine-month pregnancy. I then ask: “At what point on this nine-month horizontal timeline would you say that it would be wrong to kill this pre-born baby?”
They are initially reluctant, so I facilitate the process. “Would it be OK to kill the baby as soon as he or she is born?” (I draw an oval, representing the just-born baby, at the right-end of the vertical line.) No one says yes.
“How about when the baby is half in and half out of the birth canal?” (I draw an oval so half the oval is bisected by the end portion of the vertical line.) Again, I get a “no.” “Would it be OK to kill a pre-born baby when the crown of the baby’s head begins to show? “No” is still the most universal answer.
It’s at this point that I offer the pencil to anyone to mark on the line where it would be morally justifiable to kill the pre-born baby. Most are non-committal because they begin to see the logic of what I’m doing.
So I pick a point around three months, the end of the first trimester. I make a vertical mark on the line. To the left of the line, abortion is morally justifiable. To the right of the line, abortion is not morally justifiable. Some will agree with this.
I then ask what has changed from one second before the three month period when abortion is legal and one second after when abortion would be illegal and morally unjustifiable.
Melissa Harris-Perry, who is black, has her own personhood problem. There was a time when it was thought that “the average intellect of the negro race . . . was exactly intermediate between the superior order of beasts such as elephant, dog, and orangutan, and Europeans or white men.”1
There’s nothing in science that says that it’s immoral to view blacks or whites as morally insignificant. They just are. Without God to impute value, there is no value. What’s true for Melissa Harris-Perry’s fertilized egg is also true of Melissa Harris-Perry herself.
- Richard H. Colfax, Evidence Against the Views of the Abolitionists, Consisting of Physical and Moral Proofs, of the Natural Inferiority of the Negroes (New York: James T. M. Bleakley, 1833), 23. [↩]