by Roger Resler
Having just posted the transcript for the bulk of the conversation between Chris Cuomo and Marco Rubio during the Rubio interview on CNN last week, let’s now take a closer look and see what insight might be gleaned from this conversation.
Chris Cuomo Interviews Marco Rubio on CNN, August 7, 2015.
Chris Cuomo: Why do you not see rape and incest as areas for potential carve-outs even if you are pro-life?
Just so we’re clear about what’s going on here, as I pointed out earlier, this is side B of the catch-22 set-up pro-choice proponents adore employing. Side A: You believe life begins at conception? How can you support rape and incest exceptions for abortion? Side B: You don’t support rape and incest exceptions? You’re obviously a backwards thinking misogynist barbarian who’s out of touch with modern women. Classic no-win. Enter Rubio.
Marco Rubio: First, I think both of those instances are horrifying and fortunately they’re extremely rare. It happens. And any time it happens it’s horrifying. It’s a tragedy. But I personally and honestly and deeply believe that all human life is worthy of protection irrespective of the circumstances in which that human life was created. I personally believe that you do not correct one tragedy with a second tragedy. That’s how I personally feel very strongly about. I believe all human life – irrespective of the circumstances in which it came into being is worthy of the protection of our laws. And I recognize this is a tough question. It’s a very difficult question. And I understand that. Believe me, I do.
But by the same token, if I have to weigh the two equities here, I’m always going to err on the side of life. And that’s, that’s how – and I think that’s a timeless principle. Certainly our economy has evolved. But when it comes to issues like the value of every human life I think that’s a timeless principle. It was true before, it’s true now and it will be true in the future.
You do not correct one tragedy with a second tragedy. Bingo. To develop Marco’s point a bit further, pro-choice proponents love to sell abortion as though it solves the problem of unwanted pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. It doesn’t. That’s the glaring fallacy here very few people take the time to think through. Abortion doesn’t solve the problem. The woman is already pregnant and the rape already occurred. Nothing can change that. Abortion can’t put her in a time machine and transport her back to a time before the rape and then let her live her life from that point forward as though she had never been raped.
No. What abortion does is bring violence to her body a second time and rips up the developing child in the process. Sure, it will end the pregnancy, but it won’t change anything about the fact that she was raped against her will yet made the decision to respond in a way that guarantees a dead child.
I can hear my critics now – oh, what an outrageous thing to say! So what is your solution? Must I believe (naively) as you do that abortion does not kill a child, when all the evidence says you’re wrong? Must I not speak the truth because it’s not nice to call things as they are when a rape has taken place? As Marco points out both rape and incest are horrible things that should never happen. Period. They are tragedies and the perpetrators should be punished to the full extent of the law. But just because one tragedy has occurred doesn’t mean a second tragedy is morally acceptable.
It would only be morally acceptable IF the unborn child really were nothing more than a blob of tissue. This, of course, is what many pro-choice proponents want to believe (because it makes their stand on abortion so much more reasonable), but they’re simply dead wrong. IF they were right about that, then there would be no controversy over abortion. We wouldn’t be having this discussion. It would be a no-brainer. But they’re not right about that. And sometimes the truth is painful. One unplanned tragedy does not justify a planned tragedy. Only if the child in the womb is really just a blob of tissue is abortion not a tragedy; and in that case abortion would be morally acceptable at any time for any reason.
But Cuomo is looking to set a trap for Rubio and he’s confident he’s got the perfect trap:
Chris Cuomo: It’s interesting that you draw distinctions about the old and the new in certain regards but in this one you say, “It’s timeless,” because as you know, cultural mores in this country and certainly the opinions of women are not in step with what you’re saying right now. You’re comfortable with that?
Marco Rubio: But the value of life is timeless. No, no, no, the value of life is timeless. The idea that a human life is worthy of the protection of our laws is not something that over time anybody should evolve on. I mean you can change your economic policies…
Chris Cuomo: right but the idea – you’re, you’re deciding…
Marco Rubio: …to address the fact that the economy’s different. You can [inaudible] changes… The idea that human life is worthy of protection is a timeless principle. I don’t care how much the world changes.
Don’t you realize you’re out of touch with women, Marco? Doesn’t that bother you? As the guy who wants to look to the future, why do you want to go back to the past? More fallacious drivel.
Marco didn’t comment on it, but the premise of Cuomo’s question was flawed from the start when he suggested that Rubio’s position is “out of step” with the opinions of women, as though every woman in the United States disagrees with Rubio. It would be about the same to accuse a female who is not a fan of the Denver Broncos of being out of step with the opinions of men. Not all men are Bronco fans (sad to say) and certainly not all women are pro-choice. So Cuomo’s question was illegitimate from the start.
No matter. Rubio defeats the question anyway. The value of life is timeless and that value should not change over time. Period. Grand Slam. No disagreement about that from Cuomo.
Chris Cuomo: I know but you’re deciding when it is human life. Let me ask you something, you… Uh… When you’re looking at the future…
Did you catch that? “I know,” says Cuomo. What does he know? He knows Rubio is right when he says a human life is worthy of protection under the law and that’s a timeless principle that doesn’t or shouldn’t change. Cuomo has no choice but to agree, and he does; but then quickly moves on to: “but you’re deciding when it is human life.” Ah! So there we go! Finally. There’s the crux of the issue. Cuomo really wants to believe that Marco Rubio (and in essence everyone who is pro-life) is deciding when it’s a human life. And of course, the implication is that we’re deciding incorrectly.
Marco Rubio: No, science has decided when it is human life.
Chris Cuomo: Science has not decided it’s at conception.
Marco Rubio: No, no, let me correct you. Science has, absolutely it has.
Chris Cuomo: Not at conception.
Marco Rubio: Science has decided that… science has concluded. Absolutely it has. What else can it be? It cannot turn into an animal; it can’t turn into a donkey.
Chris Cuomo: No, but you know that the law has perused this. The fact that it…
Marco Rubio: The only thing it can become is a human being.
Chris Cuomo: Look, of course, I understand the logic but it’s a little too simple that…
Marco Rubio: Everything – it’s a human life, it can’t be anything else.
Rubio is, of course, correct. There is no question about it. This is basic biology. The only thing humans can reproduce is other humans. Period. A human zygote is simply a human at his or her earliest stage of development. Period. There’s no question here. There’s no doubt. It can be nothing else.
Now, of course, astute abortion proponents are quick to point out (although Cuomo didn’t) that not all zygotes develop into babies. That is correct, but that merely means something went wrong. What they’re describing is an abnormal situation, not a normal one. If something goes wrong then a zygote may not be able to develop any further, but virtually every human alive or who has ever existed – as in 100% – began as a zygote. Period. End of discussion.
So human life does indeed begin at conception. Look at any reputable embryonic textbook. There is no question. Biologists are not in doubt. Have I emphasized this enough yet? To be honest, it’s ridiculous we’re even having this debate. It’s like debating whether or not you can fall off the edge of the flat earth. The only reason the illegitimate “debate” persists in popular culture is because a substantial number of people want to be pro-choice and a debate over the beginning of human life greatly facilitates that desire. Take (as merely one example) this White Paper report for instance which concludes:
Based on universally accepted scientific criteria, a new cell, the human zygote, comes into existence at the moment of sperm-egg fusion, an event that occurs in less than a second. Upon formation, the zygote immediately initiates a complex sequence of events that establish the molecular conditions required for continued embryonic development. The behavior of the zygote is radically unlike that of either sperm or egg separately and is characteristic of a human organism. Thus, the scientific evidence supports the conclusion that a zygote is a human organism and that the life of a new human being commences at a scientifically well defined “moment of conception.” This conclusion is objective, consistent with the factual evidence, and independent of any specific ethical, moral, political, or religious view of human life or of human embryos.
– “When Does Human Life Begin? A Scientific Perspective,” Maureen L. Condic, Westchester Institute, Volume 1, Number 1 October 2008
There are no competing theories over the beginning of human life that are being debated by biologists. It’s settled science. As the paper aptly points out the question is not about when a human life begins but rather “at what point and for what reasons do we have an obligation to respect and protect that life.”
In other words, at what point do we get to the point where even Cuomo agrees that “human life is worthy of protection.” But Cuomo wants to have it both ways. He wants to suggest that the actual beginning of human life is legitimately questionable yet he can’t – or won’t – offer any other rationally acceptable possibility, 1. because there are none, and 2. because doing so would require him to rationally defend such a point, and 3. identifying any point defeats the useful ignorance that is central to pro-choice philosophy.
So Rubio is simply correct and Cuomo is simply incorrect. Cuomo, however, proceeds with the interview as though he’s perfectly and uniquely correct. We will, accordingly, continue to analyze this conversation in the coming blog posts. Stay tuned.