A Lethal Philosophy
originally published at Live Action News, 2/17/21
An ob-gyn with over 40 years of experience has written a book with the goal of exposing the unstable ground on which the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision was established — and his hope is that it will motivate the pro-life movement to innovate its approach to reaching the culture.
Thomas W. Hilgers, MD is the founder and director of the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction and is the co-developer of the popular and renowned Creighton Model Fertility Care system — which can be used for natural family planning — and the pro-life women’s health science NaPro Technology. He has written over 190 professional books, book chapters, and research articles, and his book, The Fake and Deceptive Science Behind Roe v. Wade was published in 2020.
Hilgers explained to Live Action News that what drove him to write this book was hearing a senator ask whether Brett Kavanaugh considered Roe v. Wade “settled law” during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings. “They always ask this of the new justices, and they all say yes,” Hilgers said. This caused him to wonder: how can Roe possibly be “settled law,” when, Hilgers says, “the science they’re using is so phony”?
According to Hilgers, Chief Justice Blackmun “substitute[d] a theory [of when life begins] which is sort of like substituting the Flat Earth Society[’s theories] for the fact that the earth is round … [Blackmun] took the theory of a British lawyer, and definitely ignored the dominant science at the time.”
The adoption of “lethalism”
In choosing to cast pregnancy as a disease and sanction abortion as its “solution,” Hilgers suggests the Court — and now our society as a whole — has embraced a philosophy he terms lethalism.
“Lethalism,” says Hilgers, “is a clinical strategy which is aimed at solving what otherwise can be somewhat complex problems in a very simplistic and fatal way.” In other words, as a society, rather than put in the work required to devise life-affirming solutions to complex problems — which can themselves be complicated — we choose instead to “solve” these problems by killing whatever is seen to be causing or experiencing them. According to Hilgers, this explains not only abortion, but also the growing popularity of physician-assisted suicide. “Even if they are sick, [people] commit suicide mostly because they’re depressed. And depression is a disease. But [we’re] unwilling to treat the depression—[we’re] unwilling to walk with these people during these periods of time,” he said.
When asked if he believes this lethalistic philosophy will change and whether Roe might be overturned within the foreseeable future, Hilgers responded, “It has to change. We cannot continue to live with this policy towards women, and their babies, and their families.”
Changing the culture
In order to effect this change, Hilgers believes the pro-life movement needs to “attack the anti-life movement in a much broader way … We need to develop new approaches, new ideas, new ways of expressing ourselves—things that are educational, that can change a culture. We need to change the culture.”
Hilgers has several practical ideas aimed at doing exactly that, many of which he is already involved in executing. For example, he believes we should better publicize photos and video obtained using 3- and 4-D ultrasound technology, which “give identity to the pre-born child.” Another is building an alternative pro-life medical community which can provide education, training, treatment, as well as research and publishing opportunities. He told Live Action News:
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is probably one of the most influential of all of the pro-abortion organizations… and these are the people who are setting all of the standards for the training of young doctors… We need to train young doctors to provide positive alternatives …
There needs to be a national center for the investigation of abortion. And it needs to be well-funded, and it needs to have… people with Ph.Ds, and [people] who understand statistics and who know how to set up study designs… We need a good medical journal that’s dedicated to pro-life issues… so we really get some powerful things published.
Hilgers is also a strong supporter of pro-life pregnancy centers, calling them “the strength of the pro-life movement.” He believes they need to be better publicized, and steps could be taken to ensure that those working at these centers are all extremely well-trained, which he believes could help women more readily utilize the centers’ valuable resources.
Hilgers is keenly aware that all of these ideas require funding, but sees no reason why the pro-life movement shouldn’t petition the same sources of funding utilized by the abortion industry, but to save lives instead of end them:
We need people who are not afraid to… present the movement, present what we’re doing, present what’s happening, and ask [big corporations] for significant contributions to these efforts and [tell them] why — what it will do for the future of our country.
After all, he says, this is the most critical of issues, a true existential threat which “we have to change.”