Bill Nye the Science Guy

Quote of the Day: Bill Nye schools anti-choicers on science

In a Big Think video entitled “Can We Stop Telling Women What to Do With Their Bodies?” a visibly frustrated Bill Nye the Science Guy valiently tries to convince anti-choicers who insist that a fertizilized egg is a full human being to respect science. 

Many, many, many, many more hundreds of eggs are fertilized than become humans. Eggs get fertilized, and by that I mean sperm get accepted by ova a lot. But that’s not all you need. You have to attach to the uterine wall, the inside of a womb, a woman’s womb. But if you’re going to hold that as a standard—that is to say, that when an egg is fertilized, it therefore has the same rights as an individual, whom are you going to sue? Whom are you going to imprison? Every woman who’s had a fertilized egg pass through her? Every guy whose sperm has fertilized an egg and then it didn’t become a human? Have all these people failed you?

It’s just a reflection of a deep scientific lack of understanding. You apparently literally don’t know what you’re talking about.

Of course, we know that the answer to “whom are you going to imprision?” is pregnant people. In some states, women, particularly low-income women of color, are already being held criminally liable for not doing everything possible to ensure that a fertilized egg successfully makes the long, perilous journey to become a healthy infant. (Read this recent Mother Jones article on how bad it is in Alabama.)

Nye continues to sigh deeply and reach into a deep reservoir of patience as he goes on to plea for a fact-based approach to sex education and access to birth control too. Ultimately, “we have so many more problems to be squandering resources on this argument based on bad science,” he says. “Come on. Come on.”

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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