In a sometimes testy debate with controversial Christian abortionist Dr. Willie Parker on whether abortion is a moral wrong, conservative University of North Carolina professor Mike Adams says he believes the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide deserves to be overturned because it's a “scientific and logical disaster.”
“That decision was a scientific and logical disaster and that is why it absolutely must be overturned,” Adams argued after Parker cited the decision in his defense of a woman’s right to choose whether she wants to carry her baby to term or not.
The debate between Parker, who believes he's doing God’s work by performing abortions, and Adams, a professor of criminology, took place Thursday night at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, where Adams works. It was sponsored by Summit Ministries, an organization working to help rising generations influence culture by understanding the Bible, refuting false worldviews, promoting the value of life, and championing economic and political freedom.
“I am here this evening to defend a very simple logical syllogism. The major premise or the first premise is that it is wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being. My minor premise, second premise, is that abortion does in fact intentionally kill an innocent human being and my conclusion is that therefore abortion is wrong,” Adams began in his opening remarks.
He then proceeded to defend his second premise by citing studies in embryology that state that life begins at conception because pro-choice supporters sometimes try to deny that abortion kills an innocent human being.
Citing excerpts from Parker’s book, Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice, Adams argued that the abortionist’s position that life is a “continuous process” is “absolutely preposterous” because Parker doesn’t clearly define when life begins.
“He (Parker) likes to say life is this continuous process. And he suggests that there is this continuous life process between the mother and the offspring. That’s absolutely preposterous. Dr. Willie Parker has performed over 10,000 abortions. And I ask you a simple question, in any of those 10,000 abortions, did he accidentally abort a mother?
"Of course he didn’t because he sees two distinct living and whole human beings in front of him and there is absolutely no confusion about which one is which,” Adams said.
“He continues on page 150 and he says that ‘between 22 and 25 weeks, that life is in a vague state.’ So in other words he is agnostic on whether we have a life between 22 and 25 weeks after conception. Now that’s bizarre because in the previous paragraph, also on page 150, he said that a human life is viable at 22 weeks. How do you become a human life that is viable at 22 weeks and then suddenly for three weeks float between this vague state between life and not life? It is absolutely preposterous. It is absolute junk science,” Adams said.
The UNC professor then argued after showing a video clip of aborted babies that it is wrong to intentionally kill a human being because everyone has a basic human nature which gives them value. He said the pro-life position is inclusive of all human life while the pro-choice position is not.
Parker, he said, couldn’t decide what gives human value and suggested that value starts to build when a baby becomes viable at 22 weeks but has performed abortions at 25 weeks.
“It is wrong to intentionally kill a human being and abortion kills an innocent human being therefore making it wrong,” Adams declared.
Parker, in making his case, said while abortion kills a human being, it doesn’t kill a person and insisted that life begins before conception.
“In order to have a conception you have to have a live sperm and a live egg. You can’t get a live conception with a dead sperm and a dead egg. So that means that life, if you’re going to use it as a definition of animation and procreativity and the ability to do so, it means that life had to begin before conception. So are you talking about life as an event or … life as a process of interrelated events?” he asked.
“I think Dr. King said when we pose tensions between science and religion, he describes it best. He said, ‘science gives humankind knowledge which is power. Religion gives humankind wisdom which is control. Science deals with facts, religion deals with values,” he said.
Parker argued that the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision on abortion made it clear that because there is no consensus on when life begins, abortion is should be a matter of choice between a woman and the abortionist.
“Women don’t give birth to puppies. Fetuses are human beings but they are not people. And if a fetus is not a person and a woman is a person, they may both have moral weight but that moral weight is not equal. And the question becomes, given that the fetus is inside of a woman, how do you give rights to a fetus that you don’t take away the rights of a woman that it’s inside of?” he asked.
He argued that conferring the definition of personhood on a fetus with the intention of taking away that right from a woman is problematic and it was on that basis that the Supreme Court made their decision.
“I think people have heard [of] Roe v. Wade but I don’t think they know what it actually says,” Parker said before sharing a bit of the thinking behind the Roe v. Wade decision as delivered by former Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun.
“Justice Blackmun said we need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins, when those trained in their respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary at this point in the development of man’s knowledge is not in the position to speculate about that answer. In other words, there is no clear consensus on when life begins even if you hold that deeply from the religious text you hold authoritative,” Parker said. “…the formal position on abortion is that it is a matter of conscience.”
“I have the position, that as someone for the first 12 years of my career as an OB/GYN did not provide abortion care for women, my position about not doing so was, until I was clear on what it meant for me to provide that care, I chose not to,” he said.
He explained that what changed his mind was a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King about what made the Good Samaritan good.
Adams argued, however, that the Roe v. Wade decision was “just simply absolutely wrong” in two ways.
“First of all, it said that there was no scientific consensus on when life begins, the fact of the matter is that there was scientific consensus,” he said.
“Roe v. Wade gave states the ability to ban abortions after viability but the very same day Doe v. Bolton was issued by the Supreme Court and it said that if a woman had a health interest it could trump the state’s interest in stopping that abortion,” he said.
“And they defined that health loophole in such a way that you could drive a Mack Truck through it. The health reasons didn’t just stick to life or just physical things but emotional problems and psychological problems so that if a woman eight months pregnant was simply stressed out by the prospect of having a child, then she could trump the state’s interest in killing a viable innocent human being,” he said.
Adams argued that Roe v. Wade is inextricably bound to the question of when life begins but explained that it is because of this lack of consensus that is stated why the decision should be overturned.
“Guess what? That means you don’t know the parameters of a woman’s right to choose. That decision was a scientific and logical disaster and that is why it absolutely must be overturned,” he said.
He further argued that the parable of the Good Samaritan is a pro-life parable and it was “obscene” for Parker to use it to defend abortion.
“You notice something about that parable. When someone was robbed and beaten and lying by the side of the road you know what the Good Samaritan didn’t do? The Good Samaritan didn’t stop by the side of the road and slit his throat and slowly and methodically dismember him. I believe that the Good Samaritan parable is a pro-life parable. And I don’t appreciate it being hijacked in the name of God, that is obscene,” he said.
“And so are you,” someone shouted from the crowd.