It is uncontested, as a matter of basic biology and rudimentary embryology, that a new human being — a new member of the homo sapiens species — is formed at the moment a sperm fertilizes an egg in the womb. Removing morality or bioethics from the equation and focusing purely upon modern science, then, there is therefore no more obvious place in the gestational continuum to demarcate a new, discrete human life than there is at fertilization.
In 2018, The Daily Wire’s Paul Bois quoted pro-life leader David Bereit’s response to a tendentious Bill Nye video:
The predominance of human biological research confirms that human life begins at conception/fertilization. At fertilization, the human being emerges as a whole, genetically distinct, individuated zygotic living human organism, a member of the species homo sapiens, needing only the proper environment in which to grow and develop.
Similarly, a Princeton University web page helpfully cites many examples of medical/biological textbooks affirming this basic truth:
- “Development of the embryo begins at Stage 1 when a sperm fertilizes an oocyte and together they form a zygote.” [England, Marjorie A. Life Before Birth. 2nd ed. England: Mosby-Wolfe, 1996, p.31]
- “Fertilization is a sequence of events that begins with the contact of a sperm (spermatozoon) with a secondary oocyte (ovum) and ends with the fusion of their pronuclei (the haploid nuclei of the sperm and ovum) and the mingling of their chromosomes to form a new cell. This fertilized ovum, known as a zygote, is a large diploid cell that is the beginning, or primordium, of a human being.” [Moore, Keith L. Essentials of Human Embryology. Toronto: B.C. Decker Inc, 1988, p.2]
- “Embryo: An organism in the earliest stage of development; in a man, from the time of conception to the end of the second month in the uterus.” [Dox, Ida G. et al. The Harper Collins Illustrated Medical Dictionary. New York: Harper Perennial, 1993, p. 146]
- “The development of a human being begins with fertilization, a process by which two highly specialized cells, the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female, unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote.” [Langman, Jan. Medical Embryology. 3rd edition. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1975, p. 3]
Against this backdrop, many on the increasingly brazen pro-abortion Left are forced to argue not science, but “ethics” and “morality.” Cue this bit of claptrap from Rep. Kim Schrier (D-WA), who, as reported by The Washington Free Beacon, recently argued that Republican pro-lifers “conflate a heartbeat with a soul or with personhood”:
Congresswoman Kim Schrier (D., Wash.) complained Republicans “conflate a heartbeat with a soul or with personhood” during an interview with Hill.TV about the national conversations over abortion legislation.
“I can tell you about a single heart cell, a myocardial cell, in a petri dish in a lab at the University of Washington that will beat,” Schrier said during the Tuesday interview.
Schrier, the only female doctor serving in the House, went on to describe the science cited by supporters of so-called “heartbeat bills,” which outlaw abortion once a heartbeat can be detected, as a “gimmick” pushed by pro-life advocates to increase support for the legislation.
Alas, as the old trial lawyer aphorism goes: “If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither on your side, pound the table.”
Perhaps a similar principle applies here for the pro-abortion Left.