A slide from a university biology lecture went viral because it illustrated the “parallels between fetuses and cancers.” Many of the Twitter comments were disgusted that the professor’s slide referred to the fetus as a “legitimate parasite” that “invades” a mother and “manipulates” her immunity.
A picture of the slide was posted by Stanford Medical student Dylan Griswold who did so in order to address what he feels is the increasing tendency to describe pregnancy as a disease. He believes that makes it easier for Planned Parenthood to perform more than 300,000 abortions each year.
The course at the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine has the title “Evolution of Human Disease.” The slide attempts to explain the human tendency to develop cancer. Both a fetus and cancer invade the body, grow rapidly, and manipulate the body’s immunity.
The Twitter post generated thousands of “likes” mostly from people who were appalled that a university biology class would dehumanize an unborn child to the point of comparing it to cancer. Others defended the course, arguing that the slide was taken out of context.
After the slide went viral, the professor responded in an email to his class. He explained: “Most of you probably realize that my point was to show that mammals are especially prone to invasive cancers because mammals evolved invasion placentation.” He was not trying to indoctrinate students into believing “that fetuses are cancers.”
I take the professor at his word. But I also realize that in our politicized world today, proponents of abortion have worked very hard with language and imagery to dehumanize the unborn in order to make abortion acceptable to society. Describing a fetus as a “legitimate parasite” while also comparing it to cancer furthers that argument.