What Krauthammer Has Wrong About When Human Life Begins
Genevieve Wood /
I like Charles Krauthammer. But he made some disturbing statements Monday when talking about the Planned Parenthood scandal and reactions to it.
“There is a difference between a fetus and a born adult or child human being,” Krauthammer said on “The O’Reilly Factor” when explaining why those defending Planned Parenthood’s actions thought the way they did.
“I think,” he added, “there is an honest division of opinion in the country between people who believe as you do [referring to O’Reilly] that life and personhood begins at conception and others who believe it’s a gradual process[.]”
If personhood begins at conception, says Krauthammer, “then why don’t we have a funeral at a miscarriage?”
He continues, “There are legitimate arguments that the very early embryo is not to enjoy the kind of protections that a nine-month-old fetus or certainly a child does. You’re working with a small clump of cells and deciding whether you should derive stem cells.”
A few questions for Krauthammer:
- What exactly is the difference between a “fetus and a born adult or child human being”? Their location, inside versus outside the womb? Their age?
- Is he suggesting that the grief many women experience when they have a miscarriage is unfounded?
- Is there anywhere between a “very early embryo” and a “nine-month-old fetus” when he believes that an unborn child should be given protection?
- Has he watched the Planned Parenthood video, which clearly shows not a “clump of cells” being dismembered for its stem cells, but the tiny arms, hands and fingers of a 12-week-old baby being dismembered for its tissue and body parts?
O’Reilly countered Krauthammer’s misguided logic by saying, “Human DNA is present [at] conception.” Not, he said, “after six months, or after nine months, no, not after it walks out of the hospital.”
Thank you, Bill.
For further reading, I would direct Charles to the Bible, which reads from Psalm 139:13:
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
(New International Version)
Or for a public policy perspective, consider the view of Sarah Torre, a policy analyst in the Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society. Torre writes:
Every human being, from the moment of conception, is a person with intrinsic value who possesses the right to life. That fundamental human right doesn’t belong only to the strong and the powerful. It belongs to every human being—regardless of age, dependency, or ability. A country founded to protect unalienable human rights should not deny those rights to the most vulnerable children in our society merely because they are small, dependent, disabled, or simply inconvenient.
And finally, as I know Charles has been a long-time supporter of stem cell research, to this article by Amy Otto on the financial and moral costs of fetal tissue research:
Richards has not identified one specific modern advance that has resulted from fetal tissue her clinics have generated. Nor will she. She will only allude to how it “could,” never considering whether it should. It’s a question worth asking, especially in light of how science is already finding better ways to produce these materials.
Those are the scientific, religious and public policy reasons Krauthammer, and others who aren’t sure when “protection of human life should begin” should consider.