MSNBC host says that life begins when parents decide it begins.

How’s this for evil?

Over at MSNBC a nit-wit talker opined that life begin not at conception, but rather when parents decide it begins (and we know that parents doesn’t really include the father!).

Might I add that before this story I don’t recall of ever having heard of this person?

MSNBC Host: Life Begins When Parents Say it Does, Not Based on Science
by Steven Ertelt

MSNBC host Melissa Harris Perry drew negative reactions from people this past weekend when she wore tampon earrings during a broadcast, telling viewers they were made especially for her to wear to demonstrate her opposition to the ban on late-term abortions in Texas that Governor Rick Perry signed.

Now, Harris Perry is at it again — this time telling viewers that human life doesn’t begin at conception. Instead, it begins, the MSNBC host contends, when the parents think it begins — not when science says it does.

“When does life begin? I submit the answer depends an awful lot on the feeling of the parents. A powerful feeling – but not science,” Harris-Perry said on her show Sunday. “The problem is that many of our policymakers want to base sweeping laws on those feelings.”

That wasn’t the only outrageous thing Harris Perry said, according to a CNS News report:

Harris-Perry also said that women with unwanted pregnancies do not share the same experience as the Duchess of Cambridge, who gave birth Monday to an 8 pound, 6 ounce baby boy who is now third in line to the British throne.

“When a pregnancy is wanted . . . it is easy to think of the bump as a baby,” Harris-Perry said. “But not every pregnancy is a fairy tale.”

“An unwanted pregnancy can be biologically the same as a wanted one. But the experience can be entirely different,” she added.

Imagine the ramifications of this.

If I am in any position of authority or have anything to do with your care, when I decide you are no longer alive, or your life isn’t worth what it once did to me, ….

Life News has the video. HERE

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. truthfinder says:

    The irony of this is that pro-lifers (and Christians, too) are usually told that we’re totally behind and not accepting of science. Yet, when it comes to Harris-Perry, science is entirely irrelevant, and further, emotional reaction should be considered above all else. Quite ridiculous.

  2. wmeyer says:

    Based on what Wikipedia shows of her background, she has a Ph.D. in political science, and is a Unitarian. Based on her public statements (this is not the first I have encountered), she is an educated idiot. A deranged liberal (redundant?), and seemingly free from anything most of us would recognize as moral principles.

  3. Supertradmum says:

    Feelings rule. This is the age of complete anti-rationalism. And that leads to barbarism.

  4. george says:

    As a viewer, I decided that MSNBC talking heads’ life ended when they took their job.

    Would that hold up in court if I killed one?

    I didn’t think so…

  5. govmatt says:

    Interestingly, it does provide us on the good side to use some rhetorical skill and turn this into a teaching moment:

    Parents do have an important decision. Indeed, life does begin when the parents decide: it begins when they decided to have sex and, in doing so, created a child. However, once that decision was made, they have no more power to decide when that life ends than anyone else in the world.

    As a reflection, I find it funny (in a dark sort of way, I guess) that we are derided in the public square as being “backwards, woman-hating, dark aged, book burners” when we say that faith and morals should guide people’s decisions. Yet, when “feelings” govern, we are told that such things should even trump empirical evidence…. I suppose that when the empirical evidence and faith get closer together (considering both came from the same source) as we explore both more deeply, those who adopt “my will be done” have very little else to fall back on than their “backwards, family hating, science denying, self love.” (Not to be uncharitable, of course.)

  6. JohnE says:

    I don’t get it. She says that life begins based on the parents’ powerful feelings (not science) but then says “the problem is that many of our policy makers want to base sweeping laws on those feelings.” Which side is she arguing for?

  7. JohnE says:

    As follow up from my previous post, to clarify….

    Aren’t the sweeping laws legalizing abortion also based on the feelings some have that the unborn child is just a “clump of cells”?

  8. StJude says:

    This is the same person who wore tampon ear rings .

  9. pbewig says:

    On the other end….

    Does Melissa Harris Perry expect that, when she is elderly and confined to a nursing home, her children may decide for her when to end her life? Surely that decision depends an awful lot on the feelings of her children; a powerful feeling — but not science.

  10. iPadre says:

    Many people with their big degrees have not an ounce of common sense.

  11. frjim4321 says:

    Another reason why I don’t watch either MSNBC or FoxNews; both are so ideologically driven that neither of them almost ever makes any kind of logical sense.

  12. teomatteo says:

    Sadly twenty years ago I person like her said that two men or two women should be able to be married. We laughed. Well, I say expect her philosophy to be the norm in twenty years.

  13. acricketchirps says:

    I feel as though somehow if only I could grasp the connection between tampon earrings and restriction of late term abortions, everything would become clear and I could finally understand the “mind,” so to speak, of the MSNBC hive.

  14. DisturbedMary says:

    This must be what is being taught in schools now. I actually had a couple tell me this at an abortion mill. The young woman (17-18-19?) was crying her eyes out at the front door; her boyfriend was trying to console her. I asked him what was wrong. He said she had problems with her insurance and at 22 weeks, she only had 2 more weeks before she could have an abortion. I asked him did he know how well formed the baby is? How big the baby is at this age, etc. He told me it isn’t a baby unless they say it is!! I kept on, but his response was the same. We decide when it is a baby.
    This is such craziness. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is part of the sex re-education curriculum in NYC schools under the elite Nanny Bloomberg,

  15. Kathleen10 says:

    frjim, Fox News often has Democrats on virtually all of their news programming, and absolutely tolerates their opinions. MSNBC does neither. They are not polar opposite networks due to ideology, they have nothing in common. MSNBC is only considered a “news source” by something like 1% of respondents to a poll on what news source people considered their “go to” news site. Fox has a huge audience, not because they are partisan, but they are much more balanced than any other news outlet, not outright hostile to the right as every other outlet is, and they seem to try hard to get the facts straight, knowing they’ll be called out. But, to each his own.

    This Perry person is an embarrassment to the female sex, and I’m going to indulge in a little name calling by saying such behavior (i.e. the earrings) makes her what I would call “a slob”. We are all trying hard to be good Christians and myself included, but, sometimes a spade is a spade and has got to be called out. I mean, that’s just nasty, dirty, and an unfortunately not uncommon type in today’s world where being a female slob is considered cool. Women have been encouraged by feminism for so long to denigrate motherhood, lose all interest in children, hate their husbands and treat them like little boys and not particularly bright ones, pursue a career as if it’s oxygen and find life’s fulfillment in career not family, swear like a sailor, drink like a fish, sexually experiment in as many ways possible, and do your best imitation of Oscar Madison by avoiding cleaning your home. This is what girls and women are subjected to by our culture today! We see many have taken the bait, because thinking apart from the culture is HARD. Most people don’t seem capable of independent thinking anymore. Hence, we have embarrassing representatives of our female sex in every place. It’s discouraging, especially if you have sons, because how can your son find a jewel with these duds around? Ugh! Think of your poor potential grandchildren! It makes the head spin. The jewels are still there but one must look in a church. (not many guys think to look there)
    These horrible examples of womanhood are what networks like MSNBC promote and celebrate, and, it works because look how much press she got by wearing those stupid earrings and sputtering morally vacuous nonsense. It’s our culture today, the more idiotic, the more attention.
    Here’s a perfect example. My dog Daisy leaves something out in my yard every day and I may have to wear two of those as earrings to protest what I see as the disintegration of womanhood and authentic femininity.

  16. This is just a logical extension of thought that’s being pushed in those bastions of ‘education’ such as Princeton, where ‘professor’ Peter Singer has been tooting that line for years, to the point that parents should be able to euthanize their children up to the age of 2, since they’re not really ‘persons’ capable of independent thought before then. Really. And people take him seriously, nod their heads thoughtfully, and pass that excrement on as ‘modern thought’. And his professorship is in, of all things, bioethics.

    Nothing new here…and proof positive that the more secular education you sit through, the more muddled and self-reverential you become, since you begin to believe that because you ‘know’ so much, you must be a superior person whose opinion, vice those of the hoi polloi, should be taken seriously.

  17. tonyfernandez says:

    I like to assume the best of people, but how can this but not convince everyone that the devil exists and is out for souls?

  18. keithp says:

    The question of when life starts is answered mutually by Faith and Science.

    Try some of these on folks who think otherwise…

    “Human development begins after the union of male and female gametes or germ cells during a process known as fertilization (conception).” (Essentials of Human Embryology. Toronto: B.C. Decker Inc, 1988, p.2)

    “The development of a human being begins with fertilization…” (Langman, Jan. Medical Embryology. 3rd edition. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1975, p. 3)

    “The time of fertilization represents the starting point in the life history, or ontogeny, of the individual.” (Carlson, Bruce M. Patten’s Foundations of Embryology. 6th edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996, p. 3)

    Apparently the concept that life begins at conception is a fact so basic to the study of embryology that it is presented almost on the first page of these textbooks

    “Although life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed…. The combination of 23 chromosomes present in each pronucleus results in 46 chromosomes in the zygote. Thus the diploid number is restored and the embryonic genome is formed. The embryo now exists as a genetic unity.” (Human Embryology and Teratology, 1996, p 8)

    This fertilized ovum, known as a zygote, is a large diploid cell that is the beginning, or primordium, of a human being.” (Essentials of Human Embryology. Toronto: B.C. Decker Inc, 1988, p.2)

  19. Magash says:

    Not surprised at all. I would disagree that she is being illogical. Her stance is the logical conclusion of a complete rejection of morals and their underpinning natural law premises. This was clearly seen nearly a century ago by G.K.Chesterton.
    The real problem is that a dwindling number of people are able to perceived this. Luckily a growing number seem to be able to figure off that she’s off the rails through the “icky feeling” that strikes anyone who has a conscience that is in any way properly formed. Unfortunately those able to articulate a strong defense of natural law based on Augustine logical inference has declined, at least in the U.S. Fortunately in recent years there are institutions of higher learning that are attempting to provide these tools to their students. Almost all of them are orthodoxly Catholic, and deserve our support.

  20. Geoffrey says:

    As my uncle is fond of saying “all college, no knowledge”.

  21. rcg says:

    We have become things to each other.

  22. JoyfulMom7 says:

    Let’s all say a Memorare for Melissa Harris Perry’s conversion to Christ!

  23. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Hmm. How strange. When slavery was legal, the law said an African American was human when the master said so. Oppression in every age uses the same justifications.

  24. frjim4321 says:

    Unfortunately many viewers seem to consume what they hear on cable “news” outlets like MSNBC and FoxNews uncritically. They will sit there nodding their heads in agreement with the likes of Harris-Perry and O’Reilly without engaging their common sense. Thus I do agree that the silly things that Harris-Perry is saying are indeed something to be concerned about. She is basically copy-catting her peers over at the competing network, and denigrating herself in the process.

    Back in the days when I watched MSNBC I could resonate with a lot of their political commentary, especially Schultz and Maddow. However they’ve become so entirely over-the-top with their pro-abortion zealotry that I really can’t stomach them. They refer to abortion almost as if it is some kind of civil sacrament.

    This summer I’ve cut out MSNBC, FoxNews, EWTN and The Catholic Channel and I find that I have become a happier, less sarcastic person.

  25. Athelstan says:

    “When does life begin? I submit the answer depends an awful lot on the feeling of the parents. A powerful feeling – but not science,” Harris-Perry said on her show Sunday. “The problem is that many of our policymakers want to base sweeping laws on those feelings.”

    The problem is that too many adults want to base sweeping and life-ending moral acts based on these feelings.

  26. frjim4321 says:

    Agree with Athelstan that he statement makes no sense.

  27. Hank Igitur says:

    self deception at the service of wicked selfishness: I want it, therefore it is okay to do it. The ultimate in atheistic consumerism culture.

  28. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    It happens rarely, but it happens: I find myself agreeing with Fr. Jim on the distinctions which separate MSNBC and Fox. Fox is, after all, the network which produced Beverly Hills 90210. (Our gracious host excluded, of course, most commentators seem to be wedded to automatonic “Republican” thought.

    As to this woman commentator, since I no longer receive television signal, is she unusually bad for MSNBC, do you think, or is she now “the new normal” at this network?

  29. Gail F says:

    She’s the one who made headlines saying we have to get over our notion that our children belong to us — that htey belong the whole community. I guess she has to keep getting more outrageous to top what she said last. I don’t see how MSNBC is still on the air, as they are said to have almost no viewers. It is infuriating to me that people like her get big paychecks when real journalists are losing their jobs right and left.

  30. robtbrown says:

    FrJim says,
    Back in the days when I watched MSNBC I could resonate with a lot of their political commentary, especially Schultz and Maddow. However they’ve become so entirely over-the-top with their pro-abortion zealotry that I really can’t stomach them.

    Schultz seems dumb. Maddow is armed with lots of facts, but has no insight into what they mean. At one time I like Chris Matthews, but he folded up when he interviewed Ron Dumsfeld. Now CM seems a caricature, trying to keep his $5 million a year salary.

    Fox News is actually more than O’Reilly and Hannity.

    I usually watch business channels, C-SPAN, or a ball game.

  31. scarda says:

    OK, and how about deciding that the parents’ lives end when the child says they end. That should balance the equation quite nicely. Bet she would have some objection.

  32. Johnno says:

    Someone should’ve shot back right away –

    “So who do you think gets to decide when life ends and why?”


    “When did your parents decide you were alive? Do they still consider you alive? Can they end your life now if they didn’t? Why not?”

    If we can make up when life begins, we can then make up when it should end. Hitler was just doing the world a favor, no one liked or wanted the Jews anyway, right?

    But this is MSNBC so he co-hosts probably shared the same dangerous opinions that she does. Someday there will be committees deciding who lives and who dies based on the feelings of the current regime in power… again!

  33. NoTambourines says:

    Adding her conversion to my Rosary intentions tonight.

    The pro-aborts are getting backed into a corner by a number of stories lately that show how flimsy and arbitrary their “fetus”/”baby” distinctions are. One is the royal birth and much of the world’s delight at waiting for a *baby* to be born. The horror story out of Cleveland in which the creep who abducted those three women and forced miscarriages to end multiple pregnancies is another.

    Surely, on some level, they must realize the horrifying precedent it sets to peg personhood to being wanted or unwanted. At least one would hope.

  34. benedetta says:

    Shall we add NPR to this list? I quit listening to them a long time ago also. So smugly biased. TV is pretty much worthless, certainly not worth relying for in terms of unbiased, independently reported daily news. Even the ball games have terrible loud and uncouth commercials.

    This woman sounds nuts. Wearing tampons on her ears certainly sounds like a cry for help or a quest for fame. It’s consistent with what happened in TX, that abortion activists are foul and desperate for attention and validation. Think about it, if you really believe as they do that a fellow human being is as disposable as you snapping your fingers, your inner life is going to be pretty miserable, regardless of appearances.

  35. Alanmac says:

    If it’s not a baby, then you’re not pregnant!

  36. Jeannie_C says:

    Modern society is becoming more and more twisted. I watched a pet food commercial this afternoon where the owner was referred to as a “pet parent” who would purchase this food wanting only “the best for their boys and girls”. Passing by a pet shop the other day there was a rack of little outfits – clothes for dogs, I’m assuming these would be purchased by “pet mommies”? Another pet food commercial depicts a single woman dressed in business attire coming home to her little dog, feeding it, baby talking to it. What is it with people who think nothing of killing a human child but will make children out of animals? I think Pope Francis had something to say along these lines some time ago. I’d like to know who or what organization, if any, is promoting this preference for companion animals over children. Insane!

  37. Suddenly they take the side of the parent . . . until it comes to the education of the children, this host will suddenly turn and say the public school system overrules the parent.

    These people are liars and say whatever low information voters will swallow up. The majority of Americans could care less to pay attention to when life really begins or how their children are educated as long as they get the most “likes” on FB for their latest self-aggrandizing post.

  38. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    With people (including the many ‘bioethicists’ more or less) like Peter Singer, there is a sort of pseudo-scientific element, ‘X is a potential/former human person because it is empirically not yet/no longer exhibiting characteristic Y’, but this is in fact governed by pseudo-‘philosophy’, in which one (say, Peter Singer) can decide which collection of characteristic are decisive, and decide one can isolate periods in the life of someone in a way that exempts him from respect, protection, etc. , during such a period.

    The centrality and pre-eminence of ‘will’ is slightly masked there, but clearer elsewhere. George Grant has an interesting essay on abortion, liberalism, and fascism called “The Triumph of the Will”. And then there is C.S. Lewis’s Abolition of Man (with its analysis re. ‘sic volo, sic jubeo’) and its ‘modern fairytale’ complement, That Hideous Strength. And wasn’t one of Pope Benedict’s points in Regensburg the recuurent danger throughout history of theological as well as ‘philosophical’ voluntarism(s)?

    But as Gail F and Absit invidia have pointed out with respect to Melissa Harris Perry, there is the glaring inconsistency of ‘whatever mother wills’ up to and including during delivery, but ‘that child belongs to The Village, not you’ thereafter. Yet again, following Lewis and Grant, there is also some deeper consistency: some Übermenschlich people get to use the instrument of the State to impose their will(s) on all the others.

  39. Scarltherr says:

    Absit invidia, actually I believe Miss Harris-Perry advocated that the state be responsible for all children and made a commercial about it. Parents, according to her do not have primacy in the care and education of children. I really think she’s hoping for assembly line humans, as in Brave New World. We are perilously close to that now in IVF treatment centers. May God forgive us all.

  40. italyportugal says:

    I’m wondering if some poor soul will take Harris-Perry’s claim to its “logical” conclusion and try to claim another dependent on the family tax form after insisting that she “feels” that she is carrying a life within her when she scientifically isn’t.

  41. Athelstan says:

    Venerator Sti Lot,

    … there is the glaring inconsistency of ‘whatever mother wills’ up to and including during delivery, but ‘that child belongs to The Village, not you’ thereafter.

    Actually, they complement each other in one important sense: Both are flights from responsibility. Before birth, the life can be terminated at the pleasure of the mother; after birth, responsibility for its upbringing can to some real degree be outsourced to the state.

  42. Kerry says:

    “Ahhh! The stupid, it burns!”

  43. markomalley says:

    …“When does life begin? I submit the answer depends an awful lot on the feeling of the parents. A powerful feeling – but not science,”…

    At last a pro-abort admits that the pro-abortion position is anti-science.

  44. wesleydhardin says:

    This from the same woman who said that children don’t even belong to their parents…so, my questions is: If the life of the child begins when the parents say it does, when do children stop belonging to their parents, and who decides?

  45. Michael_Thoma says:

    She seems to be the lefty version of Ann Coulter – both blowhard media whores.

  46. The Masked Chicken says:

    All I can do is repeat the words of Dr. Leonard McCoy of Stat Fleet Medical:

    “Her words have no meaning and we do not hear them.”

    For ten Chicken points, name the episode. It is very relevant to the discussion.

    Of course, I won’t comment on her insanity. Since her parents never actually decided when Harris-Perry’s life began (someone find me the record of when they did), then I have no responsibility to consider her alive. It makes no sense, then, to either listen to or argue with inanimate matter.

    The Chicken

  47. trad catholic mom says:

    If I could just decide when life begins I’d never had struggled with infertility.

  48. APX says:

    This woman has about as much class as a click sandwich and sounds like she’s a few Timbits short of a Snack Pack. I think even the majority of liberals would think she’s a left wing nut job and should just be ignored.

  49. CarpeNoctem says:

    I’m reminded of Cosby’s threat to one of his kids who was misbehaving: “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.” Obviously he was speaking in hyperbole as part of a comedy sketch, but that was 40+ years ago.

    Now that is what (some) parents are looking for – unrestricted dominion over their offspring– parenthood begins, ends, and is centered around them, not their child(ren). I brought you into this world, I can take you out, you exist (or not) because of my choice, you fulfill my need or desire for (parenthood, family, offspring, a vicarious second chance, etc.)

    People thinking in this way are certainly no more than children in adult bodies trying to do adult things.

  50. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Thank you for that good point! Flight from the responsibility given in the natural order, to presumptious attempts at power over it.

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