When Does Life Begin?

Posted: January 17, 2012 by liftyourvoice1 in Abortion/Sanctity of Life

(Note: I have attempted to be very gentle in this discussion on the issue of abortion. However, I realize that one: I am a male and am less gentle than the females of our species, two: I can be very opinionated, and three: I am human and am flawed. I apologize ahead of time if my comments here come across as harsh or attacking. It is not my intent to come across that way. My intent is to teach the truth in love.)

This week’s topic of discussion, Abortion, divides many people. Since it has become a major ethical and moral issue there have really been two sides to this debate; are you pro-choice, or are you pro-life?  At the heart of this issue, the very core, the very thing that determines where you stand on this topic, is where you view life beginning. The issue of Abortion, for me at least, is really an issue on the sanctity of life.

I know very few people that would ever say that murder is not a crime. If I were to come up to you with a gun, shoot, and kill you, that would be a crime. I would be arrested and punished to the extent that the law saw fit. On this issue of abortion however, there are those that would say it is murder and those that would say it is the choice of the woman.  Since 1973 this particular country (The United States of America) has left it up to the woman to decide if her child lives or dies.  The reason it seems,  for this division is, as stated earlier, where one views life beginning.

If you view this issue as I do, from the stand point of someone who is pro-life, then you most likely believe that life begins at conception. There is much scientific proof for this view that life begins at conception.  In his book “The Complete Bible Answer Book,” Hank Hanegraaff states this on page 423. “Furthermore, abortion involves killing. The zygote, which fulfills the criteria needed to establish the existence of biological life (metabolism, development, the ability to react to stimuli, and cell reproduction), is indeed terminated.”

The website prolifephysicians.org states this “Biologically, from the moment of conception this new human being is not a part of the mother’s body.  Since when does a mother’s body have male genitals, two brains, four kidneys?  The preborn human being may be dependent upon the mother for nutrition, however, this does not diminish his or her humanity, but proves it.  Moreover, dependence upon a parent for survival is not a capital crime.” The website goes on to state that “At the average time when a woman is aware that she is pregnant (the fifth to sixth week after conception), the preborn human being living inside her is metabolizing nutrition, excreting waste, moving, sucking his or her thumb, growing, and doing many other things that non-living things just do not do.  As early as 21 days after conception, the baby’s heart has begun to beat his or her own unique blood-type, often different than the mother’s.”

On allaboutpopularissues.org, Dr. Albert Liley, the renowned physiologist known as the “Father of Fetology”  is quoted as saying, “Biologically, at no stage of development can we subscribe to the view that the unborn child is a mere appendage of the mother. Genetically, the mother and baby are separate individuals from conception.”

Yet, despite the scientific evidence, there are those that believe that life does not begin at conception but rather at some point after birth. There are so many differing views on when life actually begins. In one article I’ve read the author went so far as to say that we can have no idea as to when life begins or ends.  To a degree that is true, but ultimately this debate centers around the question of does abortion end a human being’s life, or is it simply the termination of an impersonal pregnancy.  Many in the pro-choice camp would seek to deny a truth about when life begins.

On allaboutpopularissues.org  it says this, “Dr. Landrum Shettles, sometimes called the “Father of in vitro fertilization” notes about life’s beginnings: “Conception confers life and makes that life one of a kind.” Continuing on his comments about the Supreme Court ruling on Roe vs. Wade he says, “To deny a truth (about when life begins) should not be made a basis for legalizing abortion.”

It would seem however that our society would deny a truth; a truth that points to life beginning at the moment of conception. This truth that they seem to deny allows for the brutal murder of innocent children.

In conclusion, the forming documents of our country allow for men and women to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately, despite the proof that unborn children in their mother’s womb are human beings, our country allows for women to choose whether or not this child lives.  So while most people would say murder is wrong, the denial or the choice to ignore the fact that life begins at conception as has caused many to engage in an act that normally they would view to be wrong.

—-The Bible has this to say on the beginning of life, and I am requoting the same verses that Andrea used in her post earlier in the week:

 Psalm 139:13-16:  ”For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.”

Jeremiah. 1:4-5:  ”The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Psalm 22:9-10: “Yet You brought me out of the womb; You made me trust in You even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast upon You; from my mother’s womb You have been my God.”

Isaiah 44:2: ”This is what the LORD says–He who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you … “

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Comments
  1. Sean Maguire says:

    Can I just wear the first paragraph of this blog on my forehead from now on? Well said, liftyourvoice1. This is a biologically verifyable fact, and no rational person denies it. Life begins at conception. Today in class the biology professor was talking about paleontology and casually spoke about fetal Mosasaur fossils being recovered in an adult Mosasaur fossil. It was just so obvious that from the moment of conception the baby is seperate from the adult, and is a unique being. There was no question in the case of fossilized Mosasaurs, there is no real question in the case of living Human Beings.

  2. Sean you may wear that first paragraph on your head as long as you like. I appreciate your comments on this site.

  3. galatians220life says:

    Thanks for bringing up the fact about how quickly the baby develops human-like characteristics in the womb. I think that happens faster than many realize because it’s not talked about in mass media. I also failed to mention in my post that when a woman goes in for an abortion, they typically don’t allow her to see the sonogram because it’s been proven that if they do see the image, they will want to keep the baby. I believe that’s a case of “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy that’s somewhat prevalent in our culture today.

  4. dochlyv says:

    For what it is worth, and perhaps a bit late to the discussion, here is some important information I share on that question in my college classes at Liberty University in Virginia.

    SO WHEN DOES HUMAN LIFE BEGIN?

    What kind of question is this? How should it be answered? Is it a scientific, legal, theological or philosophical question? Who is best qualified to answer it?

    “The question as to when the physical material dimension of a human being begins via sexual reproduction is strictly a scientific question, and fundamentally should be answered by human embryologists–not by philosophers, bioethicists, theologians, politicians, x-ray technicians, movie stars, or obstetricians and gynecologists. The scientific experts, who are the experts on the issue of when a human being begins to exist, and on subsequent early human development from fertilization on are human embryologists.”
    Diane Nutwell Irving, PhD – See: http://www.princeton.edu/~prolife/articles/wdhbb.html

    It is unlikely that any of us would disagree with Irving’s assessment of which scientists are most qualified to tell us what the human embryo is – the human embryologists.

    So what do these true “scientific experts” say?
    “A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo).” “Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm . . . unites with a female gamete, or oocyte . . . to form a single cell called a zygote.”
    Dr. Keith L. Moore, and Dr. T.V.N. Persaud, The Developing Human, pp. 2 and 18

    “The male and female sex cells or gametes, which will unite at fertilization to initiate the embryonic development of a new individual.” – Dr. William J. Larsen, Human Embryology, p.1

    “Every human being began his or her unique existence in this manner, as one cell.”
    Dr. Raymond F. Gasser, Beginning of Individual Human Life from Biological Perspective, p.5.

    “It is the penetration of the ovum by a spermatozoan and the resultant mingling of the nuclear material each brings to the union, that constitutes the culmination of the process of fertilization and marks the initiation of the life of a new individual. – Dr. Bradley M. Patten, Human Embryology, p.7.

    “Now we can say, unequivocally, that the question of when life begins is no longer a question of theological or philosophical dispute. It is an established, scientific fact . . . all life, including human life, begins at the moment of conception.” “Each of us has a unique beginning; the moment of conception . . . As soon as the 23 chromosomes carried by the sperm encounter the 23 chromosomes carried by the ovum, the whole information necessary and sufficient to spell out the characteristics of the new being is gathered.” – Dr. Jerome LeJeune – Renowned French Geneticist Testifying in Davis v. Davis, Blount County, Tennessee Circuit Court, 1989

    SO WHAT IS THE HUMAN EMBRYO ANYWAY?

    1. The human embryo is 100% HUMAN.
    “This new single-cell human being immediately produces specifically human proteins and enzymes (not carrot or frog enzymes and proteins), and genetically directs his/her own growth and development.”
    – Dianne N. Irving, Ph.D.
    Research biologist/biochemist for NIH.

    – This is the KIND of being that a human embryo is.
    – It is nothing ELSE, nor will it ever be anything OTHER THAN human.
    – “It” is really, without question, “HE” or “SHE” from the moment of conception.

    2. The human embryo is 100% LIVING.
    – In fact it is a CONTINUATION from life,
    – LIVING sperm and eggs uniting to generate a LIVING zygote and LIVING embryo. It has all the main characteristics of life, so its being “life” is a foregone conclusion. The HUMAN embryo begins at the moment of conception, as a zygote, thus HUMAN LIFE begins at conception.

    3. The human embryo is a UNIQUE, and INDIVIDUAL human BEING .
    – “Being” is the state or fact of existing or living. A “being” is “one who lives or exists.” – To “exist” means to “live, to be present or have being.” There is no question that an embryo is an EXISTING HUMAN PRESENCE OR BEING..
    – What is present after human conception is a human embryo, no longer an EGG or a SPERM. (Technically there is no such thing as a FERTILIZED EGG – Once the egg I is fertilized, it loses its identity as an egg and undergoes a complete and irreversible transformation into a zygote; a zygote is NOT and EGG.)
    – He or she is never a “PART” of someone else’s body, but instead its own separate body with its unique genetic make-up.
    – We should not speak of a “human embryo” as though it were a part of another human, like a “human arm,” or a “human brain,” but rather an “EMBRYONIC HUMAN,” drawing attention to the fact of his or her uniqueness as a SEPARATE HUMAN INDIVIDUAL

    4. To be an embryonic human is to be at THE EARLIEST STAGE of the human life-span, nothing less.
    – To be an embryo means to be at a particular stage, though IMMATURE, of development, the embryonic stage.
    – ALL humans advance, barring any disease process or external forces of destruction, through a process of development beginning as a zygote, progressing to an embryo, then a fetus, an infant, a child, an adolescent and finally an adult, even if they began their existence in a Petri dish.
    – This human being is the SAME individual, with the exact same genetic identity, throughout all of these stages of development.
    – Really, the question is not so much “when does life begin?” but rather, when did individual lifespan as a human being begin? There is only one answer; when we we were conceived.

    5. The human embryo is a distinct, SELF-DIRECTING, SELF-DEVELOPOING individual.
    – On account of its genetic endowment, every embryonic human possesses all the necessary genetic information to direct his or her own maturation and development.
    – The maturation and development comes from within itself, not from EXTERNAL factors.
    – Embryonic humans, like every other human, need a suitable environment and natural resources for him or her to survive and thrive. Deprivation of this environment or these resources will eventually result in death. “VIABILITY” is a term relative to the environment a given human is in. Even on earth, you could be placed in environments where you are not viable, because even you could not live, but this does not make you any less human.

    “A human embryo is a whole living member of the species homo sapiens in the earliest stages of his or her natural development. Unless severely damaged, or denied or deprived of a suitable environment an embryonic human being will be directing its own integral organic functioning, develop himself or herself to the next more mature developmental stage – the fetal stage. The embryonic, fetal, infant and adolescent stages are stages in the development of a determinant and enduring entity, a human being, who comes into existence as a single cell organism, the zygote, and develops, if all goes well, into adulthood by a gradual and gapless process many years later.” – Dr. Robert George, Law Prof. Princeton University

    Key Point: – To try to claim that the human embryo is anything other than human life is a display of pure scientific ignorance. If embryo destruction is justified, it cannot be because they are not living human beings since each embryo is exactly that. It would have to be that we place a different value on the human embryo than, say, a human child, but is this sliding scale for valuing humans justifiable?

  5. andersontwo says:

    I am not as familiar with the all the statistics and scientific concepts of when life began and what makes a baby a human or changes a fetus to a human. I would like to state that I think that life starts at conception. However, I do have something to say in regards to what people will say about life and why a fetus or baby isn’t a human and deserving of rights. Some have said that a fetus isn’t human because it doesn’t have the ability defend itself, needs the mother to survive and can’t dictate its environment. These three reasons are three main reasons that people will say a fetus is not a human. So, I’d like to trot out a toddler. No one is going to say that a one year old isn’t a human. If you do, I doubt your humanity… Let’s put that one year old at a pool shall we? Let’s say the one year old decides to wander, or crawl… and falls into a pool. At that moment the baby is not able to defend itself because it can’t swim. The baby absolutely needs his or her mother to save them because the baby can’t survive on its own in such a situation. At that point the baby can’t dictate its environment either… Still, in that instance every person in the pool is trying to get that baby out of the water and to safety because they know the baby is human and unable to fend for itself in such a situation. So, what’s the difference between that and a fetus?

  6. Dochlyv says:

    Great words Anderson two The analogy fits. Another argument is that if the mother cannot support the child she should be able to abort. That is a very common one. But using your similar logic, we could take the one year old again and ask ; “If, after the child is born and after one year the single mom decides this is too much for her to handle, can she then kill her totally dependent,but now inconvenient, child?” If not, why not? How is it any different than “if she can’t support it then she can abort it” argument?

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