Despite the debate being settled by science, the question of when life begins is an oft-cited point in the abortion debate. Science is already clear that life begins at conception. Cecile Richards, the outgoing CEO and president of Planned Parenthood, however, hasn’t gotten the memo.
In a recent interview with Playboy, quoted here by Katie Yoder for Newsbusters, Richards was asked what her position was on when life begins. Richards says that for her, it was, “when my babies were born.” When asked if there’s “any point during pregnancy when an abortion would be terminating a life,” her response is even more subjective:
“That’s a question medical folks have dealt with, and I’m not a doctor,” she said. “I’ve spent a lot of time with ob-gyns, and they will tell you there is no specific moment when life begins.”
“It depends on the pregnancy, and that’s frankly why doctors and their patients should be in charge of these decisions and not government,” she added. “For Planned Parenthood, it depends on the state and what kind of abortion services we provide. We go to whatever the legal limit is, but it isn’t the same state by state.”
If the Ob/Gyns Richards has spent her time with are the ones who work for Planned Parenthood, then it’s no surprise that life, to an abortionist, is suddenly a grey area where dollar signs are involved. If life doesn’t begin at conception, then when does it begin? Where do we draw the line? For Planned Parenthood, there’s no line to be drawn on abortion, as the organization (which commits more abortions than any other entity in the country) opposes virtually all regulations or restrictions on abortions.
Fortunately, science already gives us an objective answer about when life begins. To say that “[i]t depends on the pregnancy” not only rejects science, but conveys the message that some lives are less important or less equal than others.
This pattern from Cecile Richards is not new. In 2014 she stumbled her way through such a question where she claimed knowing when life begins wasn’t “really relevant to the conversation.” It’s not just Richards, however. Also in 2014, Vicki Cowart, president of Planned Parenthood the Rocky Mountains, said, “All women need to have the right to decide for themselves when life begins.”
To think that some preborn lives are not worthy to be considered life by Richards and others who share her view has life and death consequences. When a doctor sees and hears a fetal heartbeat — which may begin to beat as early as 16 days after conception — clearly, there is a life there. But even if that were difficult for a pro-abortion individual to believe that a human being is alive in the first trimester, surely no one can debate that late in term, preborn children are clearly alive. It’s not possible for a child to be non-living and then suddenly living simply because he passed through the birth canal. And yet, the United States is one of seven nations in the world which allows for elective abortions past 20 weeks, when science tells us preborn babies can and already have been able to feel pain for months.
There are some who will admit that life begins at conception, that it’s a baby, while still being pro-abortion. At least they’re honest about it, which is more than we can say for Cecile Richards and Planned Parenthood.