By Katie Franklin
Amy Coney Barrett believes life begins at conception.
That is not a controversial notion. Virtually every scientific textbook in the world reflects this biological fact.
Yet last week, after the media went to work digging up “dirt” on Barrett, they discovered her noncontroversial viewpoint and decided to sound the alarms.
“Revealed: Amy Coney Barrett supported group that said life begins at fertilization,” reported The Guardian, a publication that openly supports abortion.
The story went on to describe how Barrett and her husband signed onto a newspaper ad created by Saint Joseph County Right to Life in 2006. The group, an affiliate of Indiana Right to Life which is now called Right to Life Michiana, had generated the ad as a pro-life educational piece surrounding the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion-on-demand.
The ad appeared in the South Bend Tribune, stating: “We, the following citizens of Michiana, oppose abortion on demand and defend the right to life from fertilization to natural death. Please continue to pray to end abortion.”
The story isn’t so much a revelation as it is a confirmation of what we already knew: Barrett is Catholic and—unlike several pro-choice Catholic politicians—she takes her faith seriously. She was a member of the Notre Dame Faculty for Life group, and in 2013, she delivered a presentation around the 40th anniversary of Roe, sharing her legal and historical analysis of the decision, as well as “her own conviction that life begins at conception.” During her time as a judge for the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, she has voted favorably for life.
Yet the media is still lingering on where she stands on the question of when life begins.
“Does Amy Coney Barrett Believe Life Begins at Fertilization?” asked Vogue (perhaps the last place anyone should be seeking political news, aside from Buzzfeed.)
But shouldn’t everyone? It’s not so much a “belief” as it is a scientifically proven fact.
The controversy, of course, revolves around Roe v. Wade and how Barrett would rule should an abortion case come before the Supreme Court.
Barrett is an avowed originalist. She believes a judge is bound by the law and the original meaning of the Constitution rather than her personal biases.
But what is “biased” about the understanding that life begins at conception? It is a verifiable fact.
What is biased, however, is the unscientific belief that an unborn baby is a human life….well….whenever a woman wants it to be.
If human life doesn’t begin at conception, where would The Guardian or Vogue say it begins?
A couple centuries ago, people believed it began at “quickening,” the moment a mother first feels her unborn child move—something that is inconsistent from woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy. Now, for nearly half a century, the Supreme Court has operated under the equally inconsistent and inadequate standard that says human life may be protected when it is considered “viable.”
Yet over the years, viability has changed. Tiny, premature babies are surviving delivery earlier and earlier, before the 24-week mark that has typically been used to determine “viability.” The reality is that “viability” changes depending on what time period we are in and what country we live in—a premature baby in the first world has better access to proper medical care than one in the third world. But don’t both lives have value?
The viability standard has become increasingly unworkable and archaic, yet it continues to determine public policy.
Abortion advocates have no better scientific standard to offer, so instead they ridicule the truth.
Local abortion advocates told The Guardian that Right to Life Michiana is an “extreme” group because of its adherence to basic science and morality, and The Guardian ran with that label in its subheading.
The day before her nomination, Bill Maher disparaged Barrett as a “f—ing nut” because of her Catholic faith. But when she is shown to understand a rather elementary scientific concept, she is also written off as a zealot.
As disturbing as these lies and inconsistencies clearly are, pro-lifers should take heart. Barrett is not married to a fantasy about the beginnings of human life, meaning she is already better qualified for the Supreme Court than the many men who decided Roe and the subsequent justices who preserved it.