On Fox News with host Shannon Bream Thursday night, on the eve of the March for Life, Daily Wire Editor-in–Chief Ben Shapiro, who is headlining the event, pulled no punches as he slammed pro-choicers who insist that life does not begin at conception, took apart the idea that abortions before 20 weeks were tolerable because babies might not feel pain, and dismissed the claim of Democrats who complained the pro-life movement was partisan by snapping, “That’s a bunch of crap … They marginalize every pro-life voice on the Democratic side of the aisle.” He fired, “What’s the pro-life movement supposed to do with that? Ask Nancy Pelosi to keynote?”
Bream began the discussion by noting that the theme of the March for Life this year is, “Unique from day one: pro-life is pro-science.” Turning to Shapiro, Bream said, “Not everyone thinks so.” Bream continued by citing a Media Matters article titled, “Anti-Abortion Groups Will Claim Science Is On Their side … Media Shouldn’t Let Them.” She also cited an article from Stat News that wrote, “As the March for Life approaches, anti-abortion leaders are rebranding as ‘Pro-science.’ Scientists say otherwise.”
It depends which scientists. Every scientist says that human life begins at conception. That is definitionally when human life begins. And if you want to argue about the gradations of when you think human life begins to matter, then you’re not talking about science anymore; you’re talking about a subjective judgment about when you think that a life should begin to matter. But if we’re talking about the formation of new DNA strands, the formation of a new human being that obviously begins at conception, and from the pro-life perspective once you have a human life that has begun, you cannot intervene.
That means that all the arguments that are being made by the pro-choice side are really not arguments about the baseline science; it’s just arguments that are couched in which human beings and which human lives are unworthy of being protected.
Bream noted that she had covered the March for Life for years, and her perception was that the participants had gotten younger and younger as young women viewed 3D and 4D ultrasounds and saw their babies in utero. She commented, “It seems to be reaching young people in a different way.”
I think it’s totally true. When I speak to young audiences, I speak to college audiences all the time, this is what I see: The focus on the pro-life movement among young people has never been religiously-based. And this is where the media really do lie about the pro-life movement. The impression that you get about the pro-life movement when you listen to media coverage from mainstream media networks is typically that pro-lifers are driven by religious zeal, that’s it’s a bunch if people who go to church and they learn the Psalms, and because they’ve read the Psalms, they decide that babies are worthy of protection.
But the truth is the real momentum in the pro-life movement is about young people who have seen 3D ultrasounds, 4D ultrasounds; they’ve actually seen the pictures; we now know what babies look like in the womb; we know what developmental stages babies go through, and that’s a very convincing argument to young people, and many of the same young people who are frustrated with the Right over their supposed inability to tackle climate change are pro-life because they are pro-science all the way through. Even if people on the Right may think they’re wrong on climate change, they’re obviously taking science seriously enough to take it seriously enough on life issues as well.
Bream asked about the movement among legislators to restrict abortion after 20 weeks because of the baby’s capacity for feeling pain at that point. She commented that pro-choicers said that the claim that babies felt pain at 20 weeks was a lie.
Shapiro saw the debate as a spurious one, and dismissed it outright. He started by saying, “I haven’t seen the evidence that it’s untrue that a baby can feel pain; I think it’s a controversial question as to when a baby starts to feel pain.” Then he went to the heart of the matter, bluntly asserting:
Frankly, I find that standard unconvincing, because I don’t think that you would actually need to feel pain in order to be respected as a human life. Any attempt to paint certain lives as more valuable than other lives because of subjective things like feeling pain, I don’t even see why, even from a Republican or conservative point of view, that should be the deciding factor. There are human beings who are full-grown adults who have genetic conditions in which they cannot properly feel pain; that doesn’t mean you can kill them, obviously. The root of life is life itself, not the capacity to feel nerve endings.
Bream commented that some on the Left saw the issue as partisan. She quoted a statement in The Washington Post from a former strategist for Barack Obama who stated, “Look, when you’re streaming in video from Donald Trump, and lifting up Ben Shapiro as your keynote, it doesn’t necessarily suggest that you’re too focused on broadening the tent … Democrats generally feel marginalized at the March for Life.”
Shapiro went full-bore: “Okay. Frankly, this is just a bunch of crap. The reason this it’s a bunch of crap is because it’s not my fault that there are no Democrats that are showing up at the March for Life. There is, in fact, a Democratic representative who is not only speaking at the March for Life, they’re a guest on my radio show next week because we’re looking for pro-life Democrats. The problem is the Democratic party primaried this guy. They marginalize every pro-life voice on the Democratic side of the aisle; they’ve decided that ‘safe, legal and rare’ should no longer be the rubric; ‘shout your abortion’ should be the rubric under which they operate. They’ve gotten more and more radical on abortion; this week, you saw a House Democratic committee try to propose a repeal of the Hyde Amendment so we could get back to taxpayer-funded abortions directly; they’re trying to scale back President Trump’s Mexico City policy so we can pay for abortions overseas. What’s the pro-life movement supposed to do with that? Ask Nancy Pelosi to keynote? It’s just absurd.”