A Response to Bill Nye’s Video on Abortion from A Woman

You have probably noticed a video popping up around Facebook from the Science Guy himself, touting how if we all just understood science then this whole abortion debate would be over and we would just let women do what they want, because SCIENCE!

Now as you probably read the title of this blog post, you should have an idea of what I am going to be discussing, but let’s delve into a few parts of that title before we get started. First, this is “A Reponse” to his video, which means I am going to be spending majority of my time disagreeing with him, otherwise this would just be a really long elaboration of “atta boy” and “I second that!” Second, you will notice that I put that this response is from “A Woman”, because you apparently cannot state any anti-abortion comments if you are male (but if you are a woman, everyone says “Why do you hate women! You are one!”). Third, this last bit I omitted from the title because I was not coming up with a spiffier way of saying “a woman who understands science”, i.e. I have both a bachelor’s and a master’s in Biology, so I feel comfortable handling the scientific information Nye presents but claims we just don’t understand.
So here we go.
1. According to Nye, fertilized eggs that do not develop into fetuses/babies and are passed out by the body equate abortions.
                While I suppose he is technically right, however an abortion is more commonly used to refer to medical procedures used to expel an underdeveloped fetus from the woman’s body, when referring to the body’s rejection or expulsion is it a miscarriage. Yes, the two terms can in some contexts be interchanged but the key thing here is whether the loss of the fertilized egg is caused by the body’s natural rejection, usually unbeknown to the woman, or an intentional medical procedure. You ask anyone vying against abortion and I’m sure you will find none of them wanting naturally occurring miscarriages to be included in laws regarding abortions.
2. Nye requests we “leave it to women” but in his example involving natural miscarriages he asks if men, who fertilize eggs that do not develop, should be sued.
                So by involving men in the hypothetical punishments, is he admitting that men have a part in the reproductive process and maybe therefore, ought to have a say in what happens to their unborn offspring?
3. “Men of European Descent”
                Nice dig in there that most lawmakers past and present are white men,  who  have no right in this conversation. You are clearly keeping this video purely based on science: objective and unbiased.
4. “Your interpretation of a book written. . . 50 centuries ago”
                Objective, unbiased, purely scientific, and not remotely condescending
5. According to Nye, laws pertaining to abortion are based on the belief that every act of sexual intercourse results in a pregnancy.
                Seeing as he claims to base his statements in this video on science and facts, where is he getting this information? Is he assuming because those that hold differing beliefs are so ignorant that their understanding of reproductive biology has to be this bad?
                Nye also (briefly) mentions birth control in the video, and here is the thing with birth control: birth control makes having sex an option for those whom having a baby would not be ideal. This leads to a higher amount of sexual intercourse across the population, which leads to higher probability of pregnancies (because no birth control, even when used correctly, is 100% effective), which leads to greater odds of those individuals who become pregnant electing to have an abortion. But that’s a side note.
6. “Nobody likes abortion”
                Please explain the #shoutyourabortion Twitter campaign to me again. Also, if nobody likes abortion, then why aren’t we coming up with more ways to avoid it?
7. He mentions rape.
                Here’s my thing when discussing abortion: if you cannot defend your views of abortion without bring up rape, life endangerment of the mother, and other extreme cases, then you need to work on your argument. One study found that only 0.3%of abortions were because of the mother being raped,  another at most 1% (and yes, statistics of rape can be hard to truly ascertain due to lack of reporting sexual assault and rape cases).
                When discussing abortions, on a larger scale we are dealing with abortions chosen because the child is inconvenient. Abortions due to extreme cases should be left for another conversation.
8. According to Nye, if an individual does not support abortion it is because they are clinging to an archaic belief system and do not have the correct facts nor understanding of science.
                Well here it goes. The ovaries release the ova (female gamete or sex cell), it passes down the fallopian tubes into the uterus and during sexual intercourse may make contact with the male gamete, spermatozoa, which will attempt to implant in the egg cell. Now these two cells are haploids, meaning they only have half the DNA of the human that produced them. When the two fuse, meiosis occurs and results in a diploid cell that has its own unique set of DNA created by the random combinations that occur in meiosis.
Now here’s the kicker, according to (wait for it) SCIENECE, human life begins at fertilization—when the egg and sperm fuse.
 So what have we learned, thanks to science (or rather scientists) that have shown us awesome things, like how big the ovum is, or the images of fertilization, etc.?
                1. Human life begins at fertilization
                2. Meiosis results in a brand new combination of DNA, meaning IT IS NOT THE WOMAN’S BODY rather it is inside the woman’s body
                3. An abortion or naturally occurring miscarriage is the termination of a pregnancy and ending of a human life (albeit unborn)
My conclusion, science has told us these things, yes, but that means that science is done and now we have the moral implications to deal with.
9. Abstinence is ineffective
                Because humans are apparently nothing but wild animals incapable of keeping it in their pants.
                Abstinence is the ONLY birth control that is 100% EFFECTIVE, using any other means of birth control means you are taking a risk that you might get pregnant (see point 5, third paragraph for how that turns out).
                Is it that abstinence is ineffective or that we have a society that perpetuates sex everywhere you go, negating the deep impact it has on individual’s lives (pregnancies for example), and anyone who gets paid to support abstinence clearly does not hold those convictions deep down?
10. “Clearly Objective”
                Nye claims that he is here because science has all the answers and just wants us to get along and make the world a better place because there are better things to do than worry about the moral implications of removing millions of human lives because they are “inconvenient”.
                Along this path paved with good intentions, he implies that anyone who disagrees is ignorant and knows nothing of science, insults the basis for an entire religion, and further proves that men can only have one opinion in regards to abortion.
Does he use science? Very little. Does his scoffs and sighs sound scripted? Yes.
Does he further alienate women who have issues with the rampant number of abortions in this country, by assuming that their gender dictates that they have to agree and that if they don’t they must have no understanding of basic biology and science.




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