Mike Huckabee made waves at the debate last night saying that science has proven personhood begins at conception due to something called a “DNA schedule”:
A lot of people are talking about defunding Planned Parenthood, as if that’s a huge game changer. I think it’s time to do something even more bold. I think the next president ought to invoke the Fifth, and 14th Amendments to the Constitution now that we clearly know that that baby inside the mother’s womb is a person at the moment of conception.
The reason we know that it is is because of the DNA schedule that we now have clear scientific evidence on. And, this notion that we just continue to ignore the personhood of the individual is a violation of that unborn child’s Fifth and 14th Amendment rights for due process and equal protection under the law.
It’s time that we recognize the Supreme Court is not the supreme being, and we change the policy to be pro-life and protect children instead of rip up their body parts and sell them like they’re parts to a Buick.
What Huckabee is getting at is he thinks that as President he could declare fetuses/zygotes to be persons and that would invalidate Roe v. Wade. He couldn’t, and it wouldn’t, but boy the GOP’s voter base which largely doesn’t know any better are going to love hearing it.
But here’s the funny part: when it comes to evolution, climate change, the claims of the bible, Huckabee has no use for science. Then scientists are a bunch of elitists who have no place telling Bubba America how it is. But when he thinks science supports his position? Oh shit damn, son – then he’s all about it.
In this case he’s claiming that science confirms that personhood begins at conception because of “the DNA schedule.” This is apparently a term Huckabee’s been tossing around for a while. Now, I’m no scientist, but I’d like to think of myself as a fairly well-informed layman and I’ve never heard of that term. It turns out that scientists haven’t heard of it either. The best I’ve read is from Daniela Hernandez:
What is that, you ask? Is it a new world changing startup promising to disrupt genetics? Is it an ‘on-demand’ service, like an Uber for genes? Nope!
It’s what Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is touting as irrefutable scientific proof that life begins at conception. I have a PhD in neuroscience and have never heard the term ‘DNA schedule’ before. This appears to be a concept that Huckabee — who has a degree in religion — has invented.
On his website, Huckabee says: “Life begins at conception. This isn’t just a Biblical view — it’s affirmed by modern science and every unique human DNA schedule, which is present at conception.”
And at Thursday night’s Republican debate, Huckabee said this ‘DNA schedule’ is the reason we need to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.
What??!? I gasped and my face scrunched up when that garbage came tumbling out of Huckabee’s mouth.
But Hernandez demonstrated some humility: she’s a neuroscientist, not a biologist. So she double-checked with another expert just to be sure:
Just in case Twitter and I missed the ‘DNA schedule’ discovery, I decided to ask someone with some genetics chops. His reaction was perfect.
“I have no idea what he’s talking about,” said Duke University geneticist Misha Angrist, in an email. “but ‘DNA schedule’ has real potential as a name for a band, an app or maybe an erectile dysfunction drug.”
So…yeah. Huckabee is just making shit up. It won’t cost him with his voter base (you know, the one that screams bloody murder every time they think they’ve caught Obama in a lie), but that’s what he’s doing.
But a bigger point to make would be to ask just what personhood is? I mean, it can’t mean that something is alive since technically sperm and eggs are alive, and Republicans aren’t tripping over themselves to have sex with everybody to make sure the life of every sperm isn’t extinguished for naught. There is a vast difference between being alive and having a life. This is nowhere made more clear than with people who are brain dead but their hearts and lungs continue to work with the help of machinery. Sure, their body is alive, but that person is gone forever.
Whether or not something is a person means a lot of things: the ability to experience pain or even one’s own loss, the ability to feel emotions, make memories, connect to other people. A zygote has none of this at conception. It can no more suffer than the cells you destroy every time you scratch your ass. That’s not a person and it’s not a life, even though it is alive (just like your ass cells). To say that science reconciles all of this is not only untrue, it’s absurd.