Is the evidence clear on when life begins?

When does life begin? Is this a question to which science has established an answer? Or is it something scientists can’t agree on? It’s a pretty important question, given that to kill something or someone, they have to be alive, right?

I decided to do a little digging, and to look at the evidence – but it didn’t turn out so much of an arduous archaeological dig as a walk-straight-into-big-pile-of-information, if you’ll allow me to invent a crazy word for a moment. Turns out, there’s massive consensus in the scientific community on when life starts. I’m talking literally one voice here, in that no serious scientist disagrees that life begins at conception. Have a look at these four quotes from some of the most well-respected embryology textbooks and scientists:

“Development begins with fertilization, the process by which the male gamete, the sperm, and the femal gamete, the oocyte, unite to give rise to a zygote.” T.W. Sadler, Langman’s Medical Embryology, 10th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006. p. 11

“Although life is a continuous process, fertilization… is a critical landmark because… a new, genetically distinct organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte.” Ronan O’Rahilly and Fabiola Muller, Human Embryology & Teratology, 2001, p. 8

“[The zygote], formed by the union of an oocyte and a sperm, is the beginning of a new human being.”  Keith L. Moore, Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2008. p. 2

“After fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being… this is no longer a matter of taste or opinion, it is not a metaphysical contention, it is plain experimental evidence.” Dr. Jerome LeJeune, Professor of Genetics, University of Descartes

And if that didn’t do it for you, here are some quotes from leading abortion advocates:

“Perhaps the most straightforward relation between you and me on the one hand and every human fetus from conception onward on the other is this: All are living members of the same species, homo sapiens. A human fetus, after all, is simply a human being at a very early stage in his or her development.” David Boonin, A Defense of Abortion, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002, p. 20

“A human fetus is not a nonhuman animal; it is a stage of human being.” Wayne Sumner, Abortion and Moral Theory, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981, p. 10

“Whether a being is a member of a given species is something that can be determined scientifically, by an examination of the nature of the chromosomes in the cells of living organisms. In this sense there is no doubt that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm and eggs is a human being.” Peter Singer, Practical Ethics, 2nd Edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993, pp. 85-86

So… it would seem fair to say that science is looking fairly unanimous on this one. Proven: the unborn child is not only alive, but is an individual human being.

The evidence is totally clear. But unfortunately a massive amount of people are simply not aware of this – and that’s something which needs to change. We’ve all heard the fallacy that the unborn human being is ‘just a blob of cells’. But if even pro-abortionists concede that the words ‘embryo’ and ‘foetus’ simply describe a stage of human development, comparable to ‘toddler’ or ‘adolescent’, then this argument falls to pieces.

If you took a sample of the skin from my hand, you could say that it is alive, but you could never say that it is an individual human being. An embryo on the other hand – now that’s another story. From the moment of conception, it is undeniably a unique, irreplaceable human being, completely separate from its mother in personhood, yet totally dependent on her. And just 8 weeks after that, all of the organs that will be present in the newborn baby are present, including a beating heart. From this point on the baby will simply grow in size.

If life starts at conception – and the evidence indisputably shows it does – then the foetus is a human being. If the foetus is a human being, then abortion is the killing of a human being. That’s a basic fact that the pro-life movement needs to keep on explaining until its understood by everyone.



Author: Pio


Young, enthusiastic, pro-life, living in Galway with lots to say. Hear me out!

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