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Scientific American opinion piece tries and fails to use physics to justify 'abortion care'

For much of the past week, the national discourse has revolved largely around gun rights and gun control.

But in the days leading up to the Uvalde massacre, the big topic was abortion. From the moment Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion was leaked and word got out that Roe v. Wade’s days may be numbered, abortion advocates were fully dedicated to making sure that Americans didn’t forget about the importance of the federal government making it OK to kill unborn babies through all stages of gestation.


Many of these advocates have invoked Science™ to defend their position, which is easy to do when Science™ is determined by Scientific American:

Maternal-fetal medicine physician Cara C. Heuser writes:

Polarization on this topic is not accidental but rather a calculated political strategy designed to motivate voters (consider the term “pro-life” as an example of something misleading and intentionally divisive). So how do thoughtful and well-intentioned people then approach this topic? Is it possible to recognize the moral value many people place on a pregnancy and still believe that abortion is a fundamental right and, in many cases, a moral good? My personal experiences suggest that it is not only possible, but if we want to make progress on this issue, necessary.

Generally attributed to Carl Jung, “holding the tension of opposites” is how psychologists describe the ability of the human brain to accept seemingly contradictory concepts. My favorite example is the nature of light: is light a particle or a wave? Quantum mechanics, a discipline within physics, has demonstrated that both are true Sometimes light acts like a particle, sometimes a wave. This duality explains all the characteristics of light that have been observed experimentally, and has allowed scientists to explore the cosmos in previously unimaginable ways. That these two seemingly irreconcilable beliefs could come together gives me hope that similar harmony could be achieved in the discussion of other deeply polarizing topics, including abortion.

Given that one quarter of women in the U.S. have an abortion, many Americans have benefitted directly or indirectly from abortion care. I implore readers to emulate previous generations of scientists who changed our understanding of the universe by their willingness to consider seemingly opposite empirical truths:

Particle and wave, abortion providers and ethical physicians, pro-life and pro-choice.


Scientific American: pro-Science™ and anti-science.

According to our calculations, that’s correct.

We all do.

It uses some words that scientists use … that’s pretty much it.



Scientific American: The crisis doctors faced in the 1950s was having no idea what made people male or female


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