When I walked into my classrooms in elementary, middle, and sometimes even high school, with the knowledge that we would be watching an episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy, the sense of relief was immense. Not only would I not have to do actual work, but I would be able to absorb the class material in an entertaining and easy way. Bill Nye was a hero of our time.
Last week, the well known scientist was featured in a “Big Think” video addressing politicians and lawmakers who stand against Planned Parenthood. People my age are used to seeing Bill Nye conduct fun science experiments that reinforce lessons we’re learning in class on his 1990s television program. We are not used to seeing him frustrated over the American people’s lack of scientific understanding.
The controversy over abortion is not at all new, but it is an issue that current Republican candidates are relentlessly attempting to tackle. They encourage each other and their fellow conservatives to do all possible to defund Planned Parenthood. And most of these anti-abortion politicians and civilians are of the Christian faith, which (apparently) teaches us that “life begins at conception.”
I am not trying to voice my own opinions here. However, I’d like to emphasize the main problem that Nye has with these…beliefs.
It would be unfair to say that Pro-Lifers are not looking into the best interest of humans. Nye does acknowledge this, too. The problem lies with the principle of “We know more about the female anatomy than what science tells us.”
“You literally don’t know what you’re talking about.” – Bill Nye
Nye asks, “whom are you going to sue?” If life begins at the fertilization of the egg, then by pro-life logic, every woman who has had fertilized eggs pass through her and every man whose sperm has fertilized an egg without it becoming a child, are murderers. Even though the beliefs are strong and genuine, they are based on what is ultimately incorrect science.
The scientific community is in agreement that it is not the place of politicians (or even men in general) to tell women what to do with their bodies. “No one likes abortion,” Nye reminds everyone. But it is highly encouraged that we, pro-life or pro-choice, look at the facts. It seems to be a trend in this country to get annoyed when we’re “fact-checked.” This is also a contributor to scientists’ frustration. We are not supposed to turn away from facts in an effort preserve our personal beliefs.
Nye also states that cutting off women’s access to safe abortions has never been a successful way to lower the abortion rate in the past. He is correct. His statements are based on historical and scientific research from organizations (such as the Guttmacher Institute). The research shows that restrictions on these procedures more likely to cause women to seek out illegal and unsafe ways to terminate pregnancy than choose not to terminate it.
The world has an enormous amount of problems and controversy, laws that need to be made, laws that need to be struck down, and solutions that need to be found. To scientists, and to an increasing amount of pro-choicers, it is time to focus more on those problems. It is time to focus on them instead of continuing to fight something that does not need to be fought and is “really in nobody’s best interest.”
Oh, and here’s the actual video
Perhaps it’s a good thing for millennials to see a man they’ve known to be smart for years teaching science to those who need it for more than a good grade. His message is clear at the end; “let’s work together.” It is not about what you believe, or what side of the aisle you stand, it is about accepting the facts, and accepting a woman’s right to control her body. And once these things are accepted, it will be easier to move forward with what we actually need to solve.
One man speaking for a few minutes is likely not enough for anti-Planned Parenthood advocates to back down. But I think it is extremely important that we are sure to have scientific understanding not just about “the beginning of life,” but about anything that will in the long run affect us. And with Bill Nye being who he is, perhaps his stance on the subject might sway young people in the pro-choice direction. That’s another interesting thing to discuss.
In all honesty, it may be necessary for us to take a step back, and be sure that we know exactly what we are talking about, before stepping in and governing vaginas. Maybe. Just maybe.
We would not understand anything, really, without the science behind it. In other words,
And we’re all human.