When Life Begins? – It’s NOT Above Your Pay Grade

Written by Wes Walker on December 4, 2013

The popular assumption is that, except for a few pro-life “nutters”, science places the beginning of life at some point long after conception.

Are you ready to test that assumption?  Clinton Wilcox is.  (h/t Wintery Knight)

His headline says it all:  “Even ‘Pro-Choice’ Philosophers Admit: Human Life Begins at Fertilization

(Before we move to where Pro-Choice acknowledges human life begins at conception, let’s trace out why it even matters.)

Politicians can finally stop dodging the beginning of life question, right?  But why do they dodge the question?

Simple.  As long as what is in the woman’s womb is conclusively something other than “human life” then we need not treat it with the dignity and care we give to other expressions of human life.  If we are certain that same womb DOES hold human life, we need to respond to it in a different way.

What is surprising — and we should absolutely hold politicians accountable for it — is when they claim ignorance of whether that fetus is a human baby (e.g. “alive”) or not, and still maintain that abortion is perfectly acceptable.

Why is this surprising?

Ask yourself: would that uncertainty be acceptable in the case of an autopsy?

How would you react if someone said “I’m not sure if he’s still alive or not.  Let’s start the autopsy anyway.”

You’d be outraged, right?

Proceeding with an autopsy on a confirmed corpse is perfectly normal.  But if there is any uncertainty whatsoever… any grey area at all whether the guy on the slab was still alive, to proceed with that same autopsy is tantamount to murder.  If you are not absolutely certain that life is not present, we are morally obligated to protect such life as precious.

Well, if that’s our starting point, and allowing that the logic that governs how you treat someone at the end of life is just as valid back at the beginning of it, the Pro-Choice position is on shaky ground indeed.

The article goes on with the following, and cites multiple sources:

 Embryologists, who are the experts in the field on human embryos, consistently agree that the unborn are alive and human from fertilization. Consider the following from the most-used textbooks on the issue:

He concludes with this:

In short, you didn’t come from an embryo, you once were an embryo. Sophisticated pro-choice philosophers also know that human life begins at fertilization:

“It is possible to give ‘human being’ a precise meaning. We can use it as equivalent to ‘member of the species Homo sapiens.’ 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 ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993, pp.85-86.)