Chris Matthews Discovers the Pro-life View

I have often observed that debates about abortion among political pundits tend to miss the point. There is no serious moral contemplation of the issue, but only crass calculations of how a particular point of view might help or hurt some politician.

That is why I was struck by this conversation on Chris Matthews’ program “Hardball” (see above). Matthews and his guests seem to have discovered for the first time that pro-lifers actually believe life to begin at conception. They are astonished and appalled by this revelation, and it is almost as if they have never even heard of this point of view before several GOP candidates signed the Personhood USA pledge. As a result, the panel lampoons the view as if it represented some extreme, unheard of ideology. They don’t seem to realize that the pro-life position consists precisely in the view that individual human life begins at conception. How could they not know this?

The entire pro-life debate hinges upon the status of the life that is taken in an abortion. If it’s just a blob of cells, then abortion on demand would be no problem. If it’s a person (as pro-lifers have been arguing all along), then that unborn person should be protected in law. I am happy to welcome Matthews to the national conversation now that he has discovered what it is really about.

I give you fair warning that what you are about to see is completely morally unserious. Matthews argues that the politics of abortion should be totally disconnected from “metaphysical” questions about personhood. The panel even suggests that the reality of miscarriages somehow constitute prima facie evidence against the personhood of the unborn. The arguments here are really weak, but they are precisely the kinds of opinions that proliferate among unthoughtful pro-choice advocates.


  • jigawatt

    I’ll bet that if someone tried to argue that the mother isn’t a person then Matthews would consider the metaphysical questions of personhood to be very important.

  • Dustin

    Egads! How dense of them. It’s incredible to me that these political analysts are so quick to criticize those of us who bring our metaphysical views to bear on issues like abortion, and yet their absence of metaphysical views is what makes them precisely so “progressive” in their views on this issue. We disagree about abortion because we disagree about having a higher authority. This cycle will continue until, as Hab. 2:14 says, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” Once God completes this promise of His, all abortions shall cease.

    • Mama Kelly

      Dustin, they also seem to ignore history all together. Until 1960, all faiths supported NOT using contraceptive. Unfortunately, Christians are not united in this stand, which has allowed Planned Parenthood’s secular view to dictate how the US sees life.

  • donsands

    I remember talking with a believer, who said he was pro-life, but only after 7 weeks, and if a woman is raped, then abortion should be allowed.

    I asked Rob, “Were you ever 6 weeks old?” Rob said, “Well, yes in a way.”
    I said, “No Rib, that was you at conceptional all the way to this day. You are who you always were, and God is the author of you.”

    Matthews gets under my finger nails. But thanks for posting this.

  • Bob Lewis

    Welcome to what we have been contending with since 1973. The argument relative to when life begins, when personhood comes to pass, etc. were all made, quite clearly back then. Still, even then, most Protestants put off serious consideration ’cause it was a Roman Catholic issue. Dabney had it right: the radical idea today, is given consideration tomorrow, and the next day is the accepted usage.

    • Christiane

      Chris Matthews was educated at a Roman Catholic College by Jesuits. He is VERY aware of the Church’s teachings on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death.

      The ‘extreme’ nature of the political fundamentalist-evangelical Christian far right is not something that Chris Matthews can relate to. Nor do most Catholic people relate to the ‘extreme’ nature that has shown up which on the one side demands strict adherence to the protection of a fertilized egg,
      but does intensely support also the death penalty.

      There is enough just in that one example to make Catholics cautious concerning the sincerity of what is called by many Americans ‘extreme’.

      • Mama Kelly

        Hi Christiane,
        I’m not understandting your comment. Are you saying Catholics do not support life from conception to natural death?
        Peace Be With You!

        • Christiane

          Hi YGG,

          at least your view is clear on the question of ‘what about the life of the mother?’

          and I just wish that ALL the candidates for office were as clear in their statements about it

          for some reason, that is not happening, at least not yet.

          When the Republican Presidential candidate is finally chosen, I’m hopeful that he (or she) will clearly answer that question so that voters are informed

          We shall see.

  • MamaKelly

    Thank you for posting this, Denny. It is certainly disappointing to see how our nation has turned away from life. I’m also glad to see the GOP finally taking a stronger stand on the life issue. In my opinion, if a person does not understand the importance of protecting life from conception to natural death, he/she cannot lead our nation with a moral compass. For Chris Matthews, the pro-aborts, and feminists, they are truly denying that there is a higher authority over us. For promoting abortion, they are also ignoring the unbelievable and unique gift that was given ONLY to women. Sigh, the “feminist” movement is so misguided!

    By the way, found your blog by accident. You were quoted in an article about Chris Hitchens. Was surprised to see your name. We went to Tech and Temple together. Glad to see you’re doing well! Kelly (Hughes) Hall

  • Don Johnson

    I do not think that Matthews discovered what pro-lifers have been saying all along. He is using a calculated strategy to paint it as extreme and allow repetition of the pro-abort talking points.

    It is true that many fertilized eggs inside a woman do not survive,it is a part of the miracle of life that some do. This does not affect whether they are life and given that they are life, that they are human life, albeit in a fragile stage.

    • Don Johnson

      The fundamental problem the pro-aborts have is trying to articulate the difference between a baby in the womb that can be aborted legally and a baby outside the womb that cannot be killed without it being murder. The reason they cannot articulate it is because in many cases there is no difference. So they just dodge the question and decline to discuss “metaphysics”. And it fools those that want to be fooled.

  • Daryl Little

    To follow on Don’s comment, the logic they use in that clip would say that we ought to be able to kill people in cars because they are such an inconvenience.

    After all, in accidents, many people die, so a car really is a slaughter house if you believe that folks in cars are really people…

    The blindness is so frustrating…

  • Brian Krieger

    I think the one gets the actual workings of planned parenthood wrong. On paper, perhaps, but haven’t there been enough exposes to prove that the workings is not close to that?

    And, yes, it is seen more in the light of political gains/losses rather than an actual look at the issue.

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