Dear Abortion Supporters: When you spend decades repeating the mantra “blob of tissue” and somebody with some science shows up to point out you are full of crap, you should face the fact that you made a mistake relying on woolly rhetoric instead of science.
I have watched for years as abortion supporters have offered woolly philosophical nonsense (“When, precisely, does the soul enter the body?”) in defense of abortion while Christians have been the ones pointing to hard facts like 46 chromosomes, ultrasounds, and (my favorite from Atheists for Life) “For the Embryology Textbook tells me so.”
One of the fallbacks of pro-choice rhetoric for decades was the woolly and unscientific mantra “blob of tissue” to describe the unborn baby. It worked for a long time for ordinary folks who don’t actually know anything about human reproduction. It was a useful slogan for keeping uneducated people ignorant.
But the thing is, people who respond Pavlovianly to one simple image can be trained to respond to other simple images. Heartbeat bills are about marketing just as “blob of tissue” rhetoric is about marketing. Neither form of sloganeering is particularly about educating people to puzzle over things like “ensoulment” or “what is personhood?” or similar such theological and philosophical niceties. They are intended to offer a picture which the person mistakes for a thought. Ordinary people, once trained to picture a “blob of tissue” and to conclude “nothing happening here” are now being trained to picture a physical fact: a beating heart. The reality is that where the abortion champion tried to train people to picture an undifferentiated “blob” that was easy to dismiss, ordinary people now discover that it is not really undifferentiated but is complex, growing, and (here’s the key) possessed of something any normal person can relate to: a heartbeart. People understand what a heartbeat is. You can sell a heartbeat to the public as a simple idea that anybody can grasp.
That’s politics, not medicine or philosophy. And it’s working, which is why heartbeat bills are passing everywhere, to the consternation of abortion champions.
Live by “blob of tissue” rhetoric, die by “blob of tissue” rhetoric.