A Disappointing “Assault on Science” by the Pro-Life Community

May 16, 2024 by David Fowler

A Disappointing “Assault on Science” by the Pro-Life Community
The lead article in a mailer I received this week from a national organization “dedicated to building a culture of life” was titled, “Assault on Science.” I thought, “About time.” But the assault was nothing like what I hoped it might be. It sure wasn’t the assault that is needed if a culture of life is to be created.
The article noted what I covered in a recent episode of the God, Law & Liberty podcast, namely, that “Roe has awakened the [pro-abortion] Beast in ways that have stunned even seasoned pro-life leaders.”
I had hoped that this realization would result in a change in approach by pro-life leaders, but the article demonstrates that a greater awakening is needed.
The Science at Issue Was, Sadly, only Science
The article was addressed to two cases argued before the United States Supreme Court in February over the Federal Drug Administration’s approval of the chemical abortion pill.
The gripe of the pro-life organization was that “a month before oral arguments were heard” a “global academic publisher retracted, for political purposes, three research papers related” to the cases. Each of the retracted research papers would have supported the pro-life community’s argument that the FDA should not have approved the drug because of dangers it presents to women.
The article said the retraction was an attack on science, because it was driven by politics.
The “Attack on Science” That Was Needed But Missed
The attack on science that I had hoped for was not made. Rather, the objection by the pro-life community effectively bolstered the claims of abortionists that science is relevant in these cases.
But the real issue upon which all abortion-related determinations rest, including government approval of abortifacients, is human meaning, and the empirical sciences cannot speak to that issue at all.
Science can tell us what a thing is made of, what it can do, and how other things may affect it, but it cannot tell us what a thing is—the nature of its being and what it is for. Science cannot help us with issues of human meaning.
I understand that pro-life arguments over whether approval of the drug is within the meaning of the words used to describe the FDA’s power and whether the drug is too dangerous to women’s health are hoped-for ways to “win” in court. But 50 years of “wins” in Court over peripheral issues—waiting periods, informed consent, clinic regulations, and the like—did not create a culture of life as pro-life leaders now admit. I suspect more of the same approach will bring more of the same results.
The Fundamental Legal Issue
I had hoped the admittedly adrift pro-life community would attack the idea that science is even probative with respect to the most fundamental legal issue at hand:
Are the unborn “persons” possessing the “life” protected by the Fifth Amendment which, by its terms, would prohibit the federal government from exercising its powers in any way that would authorize a person to take that life without due process of law, even if the taking is “only” by authorizing a drug to be prescribed expressly for that purpose?
This legal question makes irrelevant scientific questions about how “safe” the drug is for women.
The Changes Needed to Create a Culture of Life
For the pro-life community to create a “culture of life,” I believe it must, at some point, shift the cultural and jurisprudential conversation away from the empirical sciences, the study of a thing’s physical properties, to one of metaphysics, that is, the nature and meaning of a thing beyond its physical properties.
I don’t think we will arrive at a culture of life if the pro-life community continues to agree that science is needed to determine whether a pill to kill another human being is “safe enough” for a mother to use.
We should argue that mothers should not intentionally kill their babies because of the kind of beings both the mother and her child are.
If physical stuff has no meaning apart from what we individually or collectively choose to ascribe to it from time to time, then meaning is made up. And that’s nothing more than make believe.
It’s time to for Americans to wake up from this make-believe world of meaning, and to that end I pray the pro-life community will awaken a bit more, too.
If you would like to read the portion of an amicus brief I filed with the Iowa Supreme Court on why the unborn possess the “life” that is protected by due process, send an email to info@factn.org

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