The Corner

Tom Friedman’s Ignorance About Reproductive Biology and Pro-Lifers

In the context of claiming that the real pro-lifers are gun-control proponents, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s current column denigrates the biological acumen of actual pro-lifers because of Todd Akin’s appalling comment about “legitimate rape.” But Friedman is in no position to look down his nose about ignorance: From his column:

“Pro-life” can mean only one thing: “respect for the sanctity of life.” And there is no way that respect for the sanctity life can mean we are obligated to protect every fertilized egg in a woman’s ovary, no matter how that egg got fertilized, but we are not obligated to protect every living person from being shot with a concealed automatic weapon.

There has never been, and never will be, a fertilized egg in any woman’s ovary. That’s high-school biology. They don’t get fertilized there. That happens in the fallopian tube, after which the egg transforms and an embryo is formed. Perhaps he meant “protect every embryo or fetus in a uterus.” But that’s not what he wrote. Friedman should know better and so should his editors. Good grief, this is the New York Times!

Also, automatic weapons are already legally banned. He probably meant a concealed semi-automatic weapon. There’s a difference. But what’s a little inaccuracy among friends?

From there, Friedman proceeds to the usual two-dimensional canard about pro-lifers. Yes, Friedman actually hauls out the tired cliché that pro-lifers don’t care about people once they are born:

The term “pro-life” should be a shorthand for respect for the sanctity of life. But I will not let that label apply to people for whom sanctity for life begins at conception and ends at birth. What about the rest of life? Respect for the sanctity of life, if you believe that it begins at conception, cannot end at birth.

Friedman considers himself a journalist. Perhaps before spouting off about matters about which he is clearly clueless, he might actually practice his craft and learn what real flesh-and-blood pro-lifers actually do in support of their principles — which extend to the born as well as the unborn. Gosh, here’s an even more radical idea: Perhaps between his rounds of extolling the Chinese tyranny and writing his next tome, Friedman could actually get to know a few pro-lifers in their actual habitat. He might learn something.

Oh, and get this: Mayor Michael Bloomberg is Friedman’s idea of a real pro-lifer because he supports abortion, wants to ban big sugary drinks, and fight global warming. Riiight.

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