One accuses Fox News host Bill O’Reilly of intellectual dishonesty cautiously and only with substantial reasoning. But for the third time, I think it’s warranted.
This week, he once again referred to unborn children in the womb as “potential human life,” which is just flat wrong.
It was in his ‘Talking Points’ Monday, captured here on The Blaze.
O’Reilly hammered the president’s secular progressivism, claiming that Obama is “the poster guy” for the anti-traditionalist movement. After showcasing statistics and information surrounding births out of wedlock, abortion and other societal issues, the host noted that secular progressives have done little to curb these phenomena.
“Abortion is settled law in the USA, but it should be discouraged, because human DNA is present upon conception,” O’Reilly said. “Thus the situation becomes a human rights issue.”
The host asked if Americans want to live in a nation “where potential human life…is terminated for convenience.”
This fails the test of reason, which struck me immediately and other bloggers have noted.
What on earth is he talking about here? There are a lot of problems in what he is saying.
First, abortion is not “settled law” any more than the Dred Scott decision “settled” the slavery issue.
Secondly, O’Reilly says abortion “should be discouraged, because human DNA is present upon conception.” “Thus the situation becomes a human rights issue.” Notice he avoids the use of the word “person.” He seems to be making the case that we are not talking about a full “person” here but a partial person because “human DNA is present” and that there is no just argument for banning abortion completely. The “human DNA is present” idea he has come up with to describe the new person in the womb reminds me of the “3/5 person” in Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution. The Constitution, in the Fourteenth Amendment, protects the rights of every “person,” and presumably O’Reilly knows that. So he’s come up with a “human DNA is present” characterization so that he can argue that abortion should be “discouraged” while offering no legal protection for what we pro-lifers know to be a person in the womb. O’Reilly’s position, then, is closer to the “3/5 person” argument than to any other legal argument that I’m aware of.
O’Reilly then switched to marijuana and rightly pointed out that “legalizing marijuana sends a message that it’s fine to use it.” It makes no sense that he does not apply this same reasoning to the legalization of abortion. Legal abortion encourages abortion just as legal marijuana encourages the use of marijuana. How can O’Reilly say that abortion should be “legal” but “discouraged” and then, in the next breath, say that legalizing marijuana encourages people to use it? He is not applying his reasoning equally to both subjects. Why?
The “folks at home,” as O’Reilly refers to his audience, should know that this is an example of incompetence on making one’s case regarding abortion law.
Just as with the slavery issue, either we are talking about a “person” here (with the rights of every other person) or we are not. There is no such thing as a partial person. You’re either a person or you’re not. We all now see that the Constitution was tragically flawed in referring to some as “three-fifths” of a person. So, why would anyone accept that flawed reasoning in regard to abortion? Further, if you understand that legalizing something acts as an encouragement, as O’Reilly notes in regard to marijuana, then how can you say with a straight face that something should be both legal and discouraged, as O’Reilly claims in regard to abortion?
It’s more of the same in terms of capitulating for the sake of staying in the discussion. If this election taught us anything, it’s that instead of equivocating on values for the sake of acceptance, people who see the essential values of human life and dignity and universal human rights as inalienable have to hold that line. And instead of talking about it less, or in culturally diluted terms, we have to talk about it more. With clarity and truth.