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By Jennifer Hartline

1/12/2011 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (

The truth is not elusive or hard to comprehend, but it will require some courage to defend. I'm just looking out for you, Bill.

Sadly, Bill O'Reilly continues to perpetuate the falsehood that the child in the womb is only a "potential" human being.  However unwittingly, he gives aid and comfort to those who profit from the extermination of babies. Every child in the womb is fully human from the moment of conception and must be protected by the law of our land. 

Every child in the womb is fully human from the moment of conception.

Every child in the womb is fully human from the moment of conception.


By Jennifer Hartline

Catholic Online (

1/12/2011 (4 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Bill O'Reilly, O'Reilly Factor, abortion, potential human being, Jennifer Hartline

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - The No-Spin Zone is once again in need of some actual truth.  I tuned in on Friday night to hear Bill O'Reilly read a letter from a viewer in New York who asked him why he keeps referring to the fetus as a "potential human being."  This viewer reminded Bill that as a Roman Catholic, he should know better!  How absolutely correct.  O'Reilly, however, responded this way:

"I'm absolutely factually correct when I say a fetus is a potential human being and no one can deny that.  I respect your opinion but until you become a Supreme Court Justice, it remains your opinion, your belief.  I can't run this program based upon my religious beliefs, so I try to put up arguments based on facts and I believe we are successful in doing that."

Bill, in that one small paragraph you have gone so very, very wrong in so many ways.

It is not "factually correct" to say that a fetus is a "potential human being."  For starters, it isn't scientifically correct.  The fetus is an unrepeatable, unique human child, created from the joining of a woman's egg and a man's sperm, possessing a brand new DNA never before seen in the world.  Human beings can only make human beings.  The fetus is never anything other than human.  The child is never a plant or animal.  This seems so obvious as to not need pointing out, but clearly, the obvious must be stated.

O'Reilly's reasoning is unfortunately, a favorite of the abortion peddlers - that the fetus is not fully human, but only potentially human and therefore, extinguishable without moral wrongdoing.  It's not actually a person being killed, they say, but only tissue that at best vaguely resembles a human.

Those who perpetuate this false argument justify it by placing subjective value on the child based on the stage of development, health, and ability to survive outside the womb.  But none of those things has anything to do with humanity.  The humanity of the unborn child is inherent from the first moment of conception, simply because the new person is an unrepeatable human being, endowed by their Creator with the right to life.  Humanity is not a function of utility!  Humanity is not merely an expression of size, ability, quality of health or even intelligence.

Every child in the womb - whether in existence for one day or fifty days or 200 days - is fully human, not "potentially" human. 

This is not an insignificant distinction.  It's not semantics.  It reveals the heart of two very different philosophies; one diametrically opposed to the other; one true and one false.  Those who refuse to acknowledge the full humanity of the child in the womb will eventually deny the full humanity of any person whose life becomes too inconvenient, too expensive, too unproductive to justify within their limited and selfish definition.  It is inevitable.  Once a human being can be justifiably eliminated at one stage of life, he can be eliminated at any stage.  Once the sanctity of life is put up for grabs, no one is safe.  Sooner or later, we are all vulnerable.  To declare the child in the womb only "potentially human" is a false, de-humanizing tenet that leaves no life at all sacred.

It's distressing that Bill continues to subscribe to the lie that this is merely a "religious" belief and not a knowable, undeniable truth.  He fails to see that abortion is the ultimate human rights issue, not simply a personal opinion based on cozy theology.  He tells his viewer that the only opinions that matter in the U.S. are those of the Supreme Court Justices, and anything else is relegated to "religious beliefs" that carry no weight and hold no value where laws are concerned.

In this he not only helps the cause of the abortion vendors but also those who insist that religious beliefs and principles have no place in the public square.

Bill asserts that he can't run his program based on his religious beliefs, but instead must present facts to support his arguments.  Well Bill, the good news is that you never need to check your faith at the door in order to do your show and present the facts, especially when it comes to abortion.  And since you brought it up, what are those religious beliefs?

Since you are Catholic, I assume you accept Church teaching regarding the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death.  I assume you accept the fact that every abortion kills a human being and is therefore always morally wrong.  I also assume that you understand your obligation to God's revealed truth and the duty each of us has to live our faith authentically out in the world (even on television).

This means that each of us who wear the name Catholic and claim to follow Christ must defend the revealed and knowable truth of the sacred humanity of every life, from conception to natural death.  We have only just celebrated the most incredible event in human history - the Incarnation, the Word made flesh.  Our God came to inhabit our humanness in every way, declaring it sacred.

Christ began his human journey the same way each of us did - as a child in the womb.  From the moment the Holy Spirit overshadowed the Virgin Mary, Jesus was fully human in order to fully redeem our humanity.  If it were not so, then His coming and His death gained us nothing.  This is the core of the Catholic Christian faith, Bill!  This is the heart of the faith you profess!  Would you yet insist that Jesus was only "potentially" human in Mary's womb?

Your passion for a solid argument is admirable, Bill, but in this case your pursuit of what you call "facts" is not leading you to the truth.  You needn't be a Supreme Court Justice to defend the truth of the sanctity of all human life. 

When the law of our land violates the revealed truth, when it violates the fundamental right to life that every human being must be granted, then our law is wrong and must be changed.  You can and should be part of the effort to hasten the day when U.S. citizens in the womb are protected by the law of the land.  In fact, given your influential platform, your voice could be a powerful ally. 

But as long as you continue to perpetuate the falsehood that the child in the womb is merely a "potential" human being, you are giving aid and comfort to those who profit from exterminating babies.  You're a smart man, Bill.  Figure it out.

The truth is not elusive or hard to comprehend, but it will require some courage to defend.  I'm praying that you will live your Catholic faith without compromise or fear.  That's your sacred duty as a Catholic Christian.  That's the no-spin truth.  (I'm just looking out for you, Bill.)


Jennifer Hartline is a grateful Catholic, a proud Army wife and mother of four precious children (one in Heaven).  She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online.  She is also a serious chocoholic.  Visit her at My Chocolate Heart.


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