Science Confirms Human Life Begins at Conception Despite What the Media Thinks

More pro-lifers won—see Dobbs reversal of the decision Roe—more pro-abortionists aim to revisit long-settled topics.

So we get stories from reliable pro-abortion National Public Radio with the headline “When does life begin? As defined by state laws, science, politics and religion are in conflict.”

Sarah Varney uses a familiar tactic. Arguing that since the definition of death is now fixed (“more or less”), we then ask “when does human life really begin? At conception, the cue of a heartbeat, a first breath, the able to survive outside the womb with the help of the latest technology?”

Notice how Varney repackages the question. Temporarily skip the last nine words:

Unlike the debate over death, which delves into fine medical and scientific detail, the legislature is scrambling to determine when the blocks of life reach a threshold that requires government protection as human professionals.


Medical professionals and bioethicists caution that the beginning and end of life are complex biological processes that are not defined by an identifiable moment — and do not lend themselves to the political realm.

“Unfortunately, biological phenomena are not events, they are processes,” says David Magnus.

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Moreover, asking doctors “What is life?” or “What is death?” might miss the point, says Magnus: “Medicine can answer the question ‘When does a biological organism cease to exist?’ But they cannot answer the question ‘When does a person begin or end?’ because those are metaphysical issues.”

During oral arguments about Dobbs, “That’s a religious view, isn’t it?” asked Justice Sonia Sotomayor. He is referring to the pro-life view. The implication is perhaps that, because it is religious, this view should not be reflected in our law, as Paul Stark of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life once observed.

But the pro-life position is about justice, not faith or dogma. Opposition to the killing of unborn human beings is no more inherently “religious” than opposition to the killing of teenagers.

Such opposition is supported by empirical science, which shows that embryos and fetuses are living members of our species, and by the principle that all human beings have human rights.

Secular pro-lifers have come to the same conclusion. “The human zygote is the first developmental stage in a human life cycle,” Monica Snyder of Secular Pro-life.

In the abortion debate, people treat this statement like a belief, rather than a fact. They seem to assume that the demarcation of the zygote as the beginning of a person is just a popular belief, brought up only to support an anti-abortion agenda.

But pro-lifers didn’t invent the idea that the zygote is the beginning; we’re just acknowledging that already existing reality. And I’ve noticed that whenever biology comes up outside the abortion debate, science reporters are quick to acknowledge this basic biological fact as well.

Varney skirts the issue of personhood, which is a very important but separate issue. And he takes a few shots at states whose laws he disapproves of:

“[R]States in most of the South and parts of the Midwest use language drafted by elected officials informed by conservative Christian doctrine, which often has little scientific basis.

Varney on the other hand, the case of when an individual person’s life begins is settled.

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