Bill Nye Soothes Your Abortion Fears

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

If you are just joining me here on the World Wide Web, you might have missed the emotions-and-interruptions-fest that was Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards’ appearance before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Richards was defending the organization and how it handles fetal tissue in the wake of the undercover videos released this summer. Congressional Republicans are trying to strip the organization of its $500 million in state and federal funds.

There were testy questions about Richards’ salary. There were Planned Parenthood supporters relegated, controversially, to an overflow room. There were people disagreeing about whether they had agreed to disagree.

In this dark time, our nation turns its eyes, as it did on “laser disc” day in fifth grade, to one Bill Nye.

A few days ago, Fusion flagged a Big Think video by the famed science educator describing why, from his interpretation of the science, life doesn’t begin when an egg is fertilized. Fusion sums it up:

“Many, many more hundreds of eggs are fertilized than become humans,” he says, because not all of those eggs will attach to a woman’s uterine wall and result in pregnancy. But if you’re going to hold that as a standard—that life begins at conception and any egg that’s fertilized has the same rights as an individual—well, “Whom do you sue? Whom do you throw in jail?” he asks. “Every woman who has had a fertilized egg pass through her? Every guy whose sperm has fertilized an egg and then it didn’t become a human?”

“You apparently literally don’t know what you’re talking about,” Nye continued. “When it comes to women’s rights with respect to  their reproduction, I think you should leave it to women.”

NRO has several takedowns. “I am the same organism as I was when I was a one-celled embryo,” writes Wesley Smith.

Which is another reason why his blogging ability is so impressive.