When Does a Human Life Begin? (short version)


The view that we can’t know when life begins
is common among those who support legal abortion. And because we can’t know, they say, this
means pro-lifers shouldn’t impose their “religious belief” that life begins at
conception on others by outlawing abortion. But the claim that a human being’s life
begins at conception isn’t religious dogma. It’s actually a scientific fact. We can
know three things about the unborn that tell us when human life begins. We know the unborn
are alive, they are human, and they are whole organisms. First, the unborn take in nutrients
and grow via cellular reproduction. Second, the unborn are offspring of human parents,
and have human DNA. And finally, The unborn are human organisms like you or me; whereas
sperm, egg, and body cells are merely human tissue and do not have any rights. You, me,
infants, and the unborn are all human organisms. That’s because we all have an intrinsic
capacity to develop as organisms, a capacity that body cells do not have. This is true
even if we die before we grow up into mature members of our species. No matter how much
time or nutrients you give sperm, eggs, and other body cells, they can never develop into
a mature member of a species. That is because these cells are not organisms. They are instead
body parts that belong to a larger human organism. And it is that organism that deserves special
rights, including the right to life. Adult, teenager, child, infant, fetus, embryo, blastocyst,
zygote: these are all stages of development in the life of a human organism. Shouldn’t
we treat all human organisms, or what we usually call human beings, equally regardless of what
level of development they are currently at? Finally, experts, including those who support
legal abortion, agree that the life of an individual human being begins to exist at
conception, or what scientists usually call fertilization. The standard medical text Human
Embryology and Teratology states, “Although human life is a continuous process, fertilization
is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct
human organism is thereby formed.” Keith Moore and T.V.N Persaud’s textbook The Developing
Human states, “Human life begins at fertilization” Langman’s Medical Embryology also states
that, “Development begins with fertilization.” Finally, the fourth chapter of Scott Gilbert’s
textbook Developmental Biology is simply titled, “Fertilization: Beginning of a New Organism.”
The philosopher David Boonin writes in his book A Defense of Abortion, “[T]he most
straightforward relation between you and me on the one hand and every human fetus 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.”
Pro-choice philosopher Peter Singer writes in his book Practical Ethics, “there is
no doubt that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm
and eggs is a human being.” When does life begin? When it comes to members of the human
species, or human beings, the answer is clear: life begins at fertilization, or what we often
call conception. After fertilization, body parts like sperm and egg cease to be. In their
place is a new, whole body, or a human organism. Now we must ask this question: should all
human organisms–regardless of how able-bodied they are, or how mentally developed they are,
regardless of their age, race, sex, or any other factor–should all human organisms
be treated equally and have a basic right to live? The reason abortion is wrong is because
it violates the right to life of these very small human beings who are simply waiting
to be born.

13 Replies to “When Does a Human Life Begin? (short version)”

  1. WOW! What a great video! And so timely too, what with the present Planned Parenthood scandal going on. Kudos once again to Catholic Answers. Their production team is always on the cutting edge of current issues.

  2. Come on Catholics, Christians and everyone else who is against Abortion and comment on this You Tube by Catholic Answers. Do your part and stand up for what is RIGHT!!

    The others are doing their part and standing up for what is WRONG!
    and that's not RIGHT!

    RIGHT IS RIGHT WHEN EVERYONE IS WRONG!
    WRONG IS WRONG WHEN EVERYONE IS WRONG!
    Show Trent Horn that you care and will defend life.
    😴Wake up AMERICA!…
    we are DROWNING!😞
    Use Your GOD given talent.

    ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it will open.
    We are the BABIES voice
    now is the time to be heard…so speak to God!
    Ask him to guide us!
    God Bless You👨👧👶&
    🇺🇸God Bless America!

  3. The unborn are alive and organisms before conception, so this isn't a reasonable conclusion. They guy says "scientific fact," but sperm and eggs are not human tissue. That's just plain wrong. They are "living" cells. To add to this, the embryo doesn't even develop right after conception; they have to first attach to the uterine wall. So if your standard of life is right after conception, then most of the time the baby won't even form.
    Don't get your science info from religion, get it from a science book.

  4. Yeah development begins… a very important key element. For example development of a software begins but a functional program may not be functional until a beta version is released. That does not mean you have a Program, it means you have a concept of a program. The embryo is a concept of a human. It's only a human when starts functioning as one. And that is after it's cognitive functions start to work. Until then it's a clump of individual cells working to become a human.

  5. in my opinion a human is defined by the care and love it receives, so a baby that no one wants is no human being and thus has no more worth than some random animal.

  6. I agree that there is right to life, but I am still on the fence of this subject because there are factors you still have to and should involve, what about rape or life of the mother? Yes there is adoption but its still inhumane to make someone who was raped have to carry out the pregnancy, and if life of the mother is at stake then you are not only killing one human but two, also the biological father should not have a say in what the mother does because he is a guy and does not have to go through pregnancy and there could be a possible chance that he is controlling, like for instance we all hear those stupid stories of how a woman can get pregnant on purpose to stay with the guy, but sometimes if you are in an abusive relationship the guy could sexually harass you and get you pregnant on purpose and be more dependent on him, because we all know sexual assault is about control, and if you are going to be against abortion then you have to support better access to birth control

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