A group of students gathered outside of the Supreme Court of the United States on the morning of Wednesday, May 3rd after the supposed “official” opinion drafted by Justice Alito back in February was leaked to the public, reported on by Politico. Many of these students affiliated with the Catholics for Choice group were photographed holding signs stating “Doctors Not Doctrine,” as shown below.
One of the students who captured this, was Noah Slayter, a student at Catholic University of America and an active member of Students for Life, made the following comment regarding the signs: “The signs are antithetical to the Catholic faith AND being pro-abortion. Abortion denies an entire group of people their human rights, making us no better than any other group of oppressors throughout history.”
These misleading signs deserve to be broken down further and examined for flaw and fallacy. “Doctrine,” as mentioned by these pro-choice Catholics, refers to religious ideology and implies the idea that being pro-life can only be based in Catholic or other religious or spiritual ideology. While this is an incorrect assumption and produces a basic “false dichotomy” fallacy, where many people of faith would state their views are stated in doctrine and supported by logic and reason (informed morality), we can still assume the absolute separation of “doctor” from “doctrine” and arrive at a consistent pro-life stance.
Most pro-choice individuals would claim theirs to be the “view of science” and many have stated that anyone claiming or be pro-life “denies science.” Rather, most doctors and biologists would not state their pro-choice values are rooted in science and would affirm the humanity of the preborn child. In fact, a 2018 study out of the University of Chicago found that 96% of biologists affirmed that life begins at fertilization.
Christina Francis, board-certified OB/GYN and Chairman of the Board of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), made the following comment on the signs: “Prolife physicians put their patients ahead of their politics. Abortion ends the life of one of our patients and often harms the other. It is also a question of basic Medical Integrity. Because the vast majority of OB/GYNs do not perform abortions, the abortion industry has allowed non-physicians and physicians not trained in women’s healthcare, such as ophthalmologists and radiologists, to perform abortion procedures – all with the backing of groups like ACOG. This is dangerous to our patients and they deserve better.”
The majority of the biologists in the 2018 study were pro-choice (85%), non-religious (93%), and held liberal ideologies (89%). Many of these biologists, rather, justify their pro-choice ideologies on philosophical bases, surrounding legal “personhood” and human rights. As referenced by Dr. Francis, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is a central example of doctors who value their doctrine over sound science.
The road to defining personhood is a very slippery one. The Equal Protection Clause within the 14th Amendment States states:
But what qualifies a human to be given these rights of equal protection? Historically, there have been many attempts to “qualify” humans for their rights. Generally, the equation HUMAN + ______ = PERSON has been used to give rights to (or revoke from) certain groups of humans. Attempted forms of this equation have manifested as:
Slavery: HUMAN + NOT BLACK = PERSON
Sexism: HUMAN + MAN = PERSON
Ableism: HUMAN + NOT DISABLED = PERSON
Any definition of personhood that does not directly equate HUMAN = PERSON will inevitably create stratified classes of humans where some are given a level of superiority or inferiority to other humans. Abortion is a human rights crisis, backed by flawed and outdated science. If the leaked Supreme Court opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is true and remains unchanged, we are one step closer to modernizing abortion law to current scientific knowledge and fact.