When Does Life Begin? Medical Experts Debate Abortion Issue

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When Does Life Begin? Medical Experts Debate Abortion Issue

When does life begin? Two experts share their opinions on this issue, as it relates to abortion. They discuss scientific and religious views. Share your opinions here too.

[Editor’s note: This article was originally hosted on MyFamilyDoctorMag.com, our sister site.
It’s now featured here as part of our new general-health section.]

When Does Life Begin? Medical Experts Debate Abortion Issue | The Survival Doctor

 

Pro-lifers generally belief life begins at fertilization. So pro-choicers generally believe no, it doesn’t.

… Right?

Wrong.

In every political season, abortion emerges as one of the most hotly debated topics. It draws in everybody—from the religious to the political. But what about the scientists?

In 2006, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Ethics published their opinion on “Using Preimplantation Embryos for Research.” In it, they say, “If the preimplantation embryo is left or maintained outside the uterus, it cannot develop into a human being.” Did you catch that: “… into a human being”?

The question for many doctors and scientists is not, “When does life begin?” but, “When does that life become a human being?”

Pro-lifers say it’s a human from the start. How could it be anything else? “Scientific and medical discoveries over the past three decades have only verified and solidified this age-old truth,” says the conservative-leaning American College of Pediatricians on its website. “The difference between the individual in its adult stage and in its zygotic stage is not one of personhood but of development.”

Rules of Engagement

We invited each participant to write an argument, then read the opponent’s argument and, if desired, write a rebuttal. Neither was allowed to read the other’s initial argument before writing his own, and neither could read the other’s response before rebutting.

“Pro-choice docs would say that it is not their business to determine for a patient when life begins,” says Diana Philip, interim executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers and its sister organization, the Abortion Conversation Project. “Ultimately each patient determines the value and definition of life and that definition lies within her own mind and heart.”

So the question to our debaters was simply—and yet not so simply—“Do we know when human life begins?”

Now, let the debate begin.


Argument: YES, any biologist in the world can tell you when life begins.
Debator:

Donna J. Harrison, M.D., president, American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Since the mechanism by which mammals reproduce has been known for at least the last 150 years, any biologist in the world can tell you that a mammal’s life begins when the sperm from the father unites with the egg from the mother. This process is called fertilization, and when the DNA from the father and mother have combined, the egg is called a fertilized egg, or zygote.  When the zygote splits into two cells, it is called a two-celled embryo. When it splits into four cells, it is called a four-celled embryo, etc.  The definition of “embryo” is “the youngest form of a being.”

If this being is nourished and protected, it will proceed uninterrupted through the developmental stages of embryo, fetus, newborn, toddler, child, teen, adult and aged adult: one continuous existence. This being never develops into a pig, a frog or a tree, but only into a human. This being is therefore, by definition, a living human being.

This fact is very inconvenient for those who want to treat embryonic and fetal human beings as property. The real argument in the abortion debate is whether or not this human being is a “person,” with all the legal rights and protections of “personhood.”

Those who traffic in human tissue argue that he or she is not. This is the same argument used in the Dred Scott decision in which the Supreme Court of the United States declared that black Americans, though human, are not “persons” under the law.

As long as “personhood” is denied to human beings in their embryonic and fetal stages, the holocaust of abortion will continue.

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Argument: No, we don’t even know when life ends, much less when it begins.
Debator:

Suzanne Holland, Ph.D., bioethicist; chair, Religion Department, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Wash.

What makes us so sure we know when human life begins? Despite our best efforts, we do not even really know when human life ends, as the Terry Schiavo case reminded us. If it is so achingly difficult to know whether someone is dead or alive when she is in front of people who love her, how much harder it is to be certain when life begins, especially when we cannot see it with our own eyes.

Biologist Scott Gilbert, an expert in human development, tells us that there are at least four distinct moments that can be thought of as the beginning of human life. Each can be said to be biologically accurate.

The genetic view (the position held by the Roman Catholic Church and many religious conservatives) holds that life begins with the acquisition of a novel genome; it is a kind of genetic determinism.

The Survival Doctor's Guides to Burns and Wounds, by @James HubbardThose who hold the embryologic view think life begins when the embryo undergoes gastrulation, and twinning is no longer possible; this occurs about 14 days into development. (Some mainline Protestant religions espouse a similar view.)

Proponents of the neurological view adhere to brainwave criteria; life begins when a distinct EEG pattern can be detected, about 24 to 27 weeks. (Some Protestant churches affirm this.) Interestingly, life is also thought to end when the EEG pattern is no longer present.

Finally, one can say that life begins at or near birth, measured by fetal viability outside the mother’s body. (Judaism affirms something close to this position.) After all, somewhere between 50 and 60 percent of all embryos conceived miscarry.

So, when does life begin? I do not think we can know this with any more certainty than we know when life ends. People of faith, and people of good conscience, are going to have to agree to disagree—with a good dose of humility—on matters of life and death.

 

REBUTTALS

Dr. Holland’s
-
Dr. Holland declined to submit a rebuttal.
Dr. Harrison’s
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Dr. Holland’s arguments are essentially religious, obscuring the basic biological question:  When does mammalian life begin?
-
Her “moments” only highlight notable characteristics along a continuum of human life already biologically existing. The “views” she misrepresents are scientifically incoherent and biologically inaccurate. (In her “genetic view” identical twins would not be considered alive since they don’t have a unique genome, a human corpse alive because it has one.)
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The defining characteristic of mammalian life, including human life, is the continuous process of development, which starts at fertilization and ends at death.
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Original article appeared in July/August 2008 edition of My Family Doctor magazine. This general health-care information is not meant as individual advice. Please see our disclaimer.

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  • R

    The quote I referred to

    • R

      Image

      • R

  • R

    Background
    I have had two abortions and I am not a nasty person or a murderer or a child killer! I am sick and tired of reading comments from people who have NEVER been in that situation.
    Yes there are girls who have sex and have an abortion straightaway because they don’t want the child, this is wrong if they have lots as they should begin to use contraception, but not everyone who has ha an abortion is selfish or anything most pro lifers say!
    I was 17 on my first. I was on the pill and my then bf was 17. We had no way we could raise a child. He was from a strict catholic family and couldn’t tell them so even though we both would never imagine having to abort a pregnancy but ultimately that’s what happened. I was about six weeks. We felt sad after and never spoke of it again.
    My second was a few months ago I’m now 22. I had been with my bf two months when we found out. Our relationship was rows. We were having a huge row when we found out. We were both planning to break up before we knew. We both have always wanted to be parents, so we put our differences aside and tried harder. We told our parents and work too. Eventually a fter worse rows we broke up. It was stress everyday. We worked together in a call centre and it was awful. We both tried but it felt like it was over. We came to that hard decision and went together. I was 8 weeks then. I wasn’t sure I wanted to abort but everyone was saying to me it wouldn’t be fair bringing a baby into that and how I couldn’t change my mind to abort later. Seeing as I was only 8 weeks I thought it was for the best. The pain I felt. The crying in the clinic. The way I was pretty much pulled about to have my legs in stirrups. Your not spoke to in these clinics your made to feel like you shouldn’t speak.
    That was the first week of August and here I am still googling what I’ve done everyday. We are back together but we feel an emptiness. I would change it if I could but I cant. So its good to believe that a child born into how we were then would be completely different to a child we would bring in next year or so. Someone’s personality and being is a result of the society and background they’ve been bought up around and the stuff they have been through or seen in life.

    Do I believe life starts at conception? No. An embryo in the first trimestar is no more alive than the sperm it once was. Yes it has a heartbeat but that’s because it is connected to the mothers. Soon as the mothers stops, that heartbeat would not carry on inside. If I chose to starve myself whilst pregnant I would most definately miscarry through the embryo not being able to grow where its dependant on me so it would be rejected out my body the same way an unfertilised egg would. Women miscarry naturally at anytime in the trimesters just because for whatever reason the embryo or fetus didn’t make it to term.

    On biblical views, it says in the bible “and God breathed in his nostrils the spirit of life and man was a living being”. Something like that. Also it says in the bible if a pregnant woman is caused to miscarry the man will be fined. If the women is injured then something else. But basically the fetus is not considered a life.

    On pro lifers who say all life is sacred
    Yes I believe so too but there are different types. When you bleach your toilet it “kills bacteria” bacteria is alive and multiplies. Do you also eat meat? Because that was once alive, walking around with a family. And you eat your food at home whilst claiming how pro life you are.

    Is abortion always ok?
    I don’t mean to contradict myself but I personally wouldn’t have a termination over 8 weeks purely for my own reasons of you should know in that time whether its right or wrong to have a baby. I also couldn’t stand the thought of a late term fetus being removed from me that far in. It seems unnessacary.

    Speaking from experience
    You can not tarnish everyone who has had a termination with the same brush. I never in a million years believed I would have one let alone two. I love children and would love to be a mother. But I will not bing a baby into an unstable home being made to have there own issues once they’re older. I was not carrying a baby I was carrying an embryo which would develop in 30odd more weeks into one. 9 months is a long time. If it was a baby at the start you wouldn’t have to carry for 9 months and follow the rules like the healthy diet and no drinking and smoking.

    I have wrote a lot but I am tired of being made to feel judged and like a murderer. I feel bad because I stopped a potential life forming, but I never killed a life.

  • Delfin J Beltran MD

    On January 1, 1968 I began my position of Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology, Stanford University, Stanford, California. My MD was awarded at Madison, Wisconsin, June, 1953 from the University of Wisconsin, School of Medicine. On July 1, 1956 I started training in Anesthesiology at the VAC, Wood Wisconsin. The first day of training ended with a meeting of the new Resident Physicians under the direction of Sherwood Gorens, MD. During the meeting Woody asked if anyone would like to join Dr. Deward Lepley in the Dog Lab to learn the new (April, 1956) techniques of cardio-pulmonary ByPass that would permit open heart repair of cardiac disease. As the only volunteer to that program I joined Dirk Lepley as Cardiac Surgeon and Ace Adams as pump-oxygenator technician. Dirk had just completed his training in thoracic surgery in the Marquette Medical School Program at Wood VAC,Wisconsin. Six months later Dr. Lepley went to Minneapolis, MN to spend a year with Walt Lillehei who had been the first surgeon to successfully support a human on CPB in order to repair a funcitional cardiac abnormality.One year later Dr. Lepley returned to Milwaukee, St. Luke’s Hospital to initiate the new program in open-heart -surgery. I served as the main anesthesiologist in support of that first program. Within the next year the team and St.Luke’s realized the need to establish the first Intensive Care Unit for support of the post cardiac surgery patients and others requiring that intense level of life support facility. This was accomplished under the direction of Mert Knisely, Administrator; Gordon Sprenger, Asst. Hospital Administrator and the Architectural firm of ______________ of Minneapolis MN. Upon completion of the unit we had six beds available for Intensive life support proceedures, including the newly developed monitors and ventilators. Because of the prolonged periods of time away from my home and family I sought to change location and work responsibilities that led to the 1968 move to Stanford which had developed a larger staff of concerned physicians and nursed in this field but had not developed a formal ICU program. Dr. Norman Shumway had developed the concept of human heart transplantation and was prepared to proceed with the first such procedure. As the Medical Director of the Stanford ICU I found the need to define the appropriate clinical test to determine the newly conceived diagnosis of ‘ Brain Death’ that would permit the removal of a beating heart from the ” Brain-Dead” donor human for optimal preservation of the heart to be transplanted into the recipient human in need of a ‘ new heart’ to continue life., Using the physiologic knowledge associated with the practice of my specialty, I was Board Certified in Anesthesiology, I conceived of such a test that could determine that the respiratory centers of the brain were no longer functionally alive and thus the patient being sustained with a beating heart was in all reality, Brain-Dead. The test consisted of measuring arterial blood gases before and after the test to assure that adequate oxygenation needs for life were met, but that the ability to stimulate ventilation and respiration of normal carbon dioxide stimulus to these essential physiologic function no longer existed, thus brain control of life had ceased and that human individual was no longer capable of enjoying independent life functioning and was in fact ” Brain-Dead’. The test situation as to disconnect the artificially ventilated subject from ventilator support and connect the endotracheal tube to the lungs to a bag of 100% oxygen, before which a sample of arterial blood was withdrawn from the patient anaerobically and forward to the gas lab for analysis of oxygen and carbon dioxide partial pressures. After a period of apneic oxygenation, the patient was reconnected to the artificial ventilation and before which the second arterial blood sample was withdrawn and submitted to the gas lab for analysis. During the period of apneic oxygenation the ” Educated Hand’ of the anesthesiologist ;maintained contact with the oxygen filled resuscitation anesthesia bag to determine if any evidence of spontaneous resumption of patient ventilation occurred. The determination of Brain Death could be diagnosed if the no spontaneous ventilator effort was made during the period of apneic oxygenation that maintained normal oxygen levels while the carbon dioxide normal stimulus to ventilation failed to produce any spontaneous ventilatory efforts in response to the normal physiologic levels of carbon dioxide identified in the arterial blood samples withdrawn from the patient before and following the test period of apneic oxygenation as the carbon dioxide levels rose from below normal, through normal and into toxic levels without producing a living physiologic response to those normal stimulatory levels. The medical conclusion of these tests was that the patient was no longer able to sustain independent life and was therefore ” Brain Dead” Based upon my Fifty years experience in the field of cardio-vascular anesthesiology and ICU direction it is my medical opinion that the concept that life begins at conception, human sperm entering the cellular membrane of the ovum completes the genetic formation of a new human life and just just as the ovum cell membrane no longer permits the entry of additional genetic material into the fertilized ovum the conceptus must be considered to be a new human life form with all the rights of individuality that are conferred by human knowledge, morality and ethic to all human life. Thus the post-conception interruption of the normally developing individual must bear the identical respect and responsibilities due to any other human individual until a definitive medical test of that humans physiologic integrity can be determined to no longer exist. Delfin J Beltran, MD

  • jennyct

    It’s almost always less than 12%. It was obviously identical at one point. Our own DNA undergoes the same process.

  • Grn724

    I cannot help myself, for I find this entire debate complete foolishness. An egg is an egg. A sperm is a sperm. Neither are any thing other than what they are. Now, when an egg is fully ripened and a sperm has entered into it you have fertilization, thus the egg is no longer and egg and a sperm is no longer a sperm. What you then have is a zygote, which is the fertilized egg splitting in two, then four, and that my friend is the beginning of human life. There can be no other way you can dance around the facts. EEG measures only brain activity and brain activity alone does not constitute life. Terry Schiavo was not dead. She was breathing air and her heart was beating, yet these do not constitute life either. Life is far more complex that a single organ or its function. It is the sum total of each and every function and organ the body contains. Life, in its fullness can never be measure in definitive biological function, for it is the Spirit that gives life, but the Spirit must have a natural physical environment to operate within. God is the creator of ALL life, human and otherwise and God’s work cannot be measured scientifically, nor watered down, nor circumvented. Man cannot spew sperm onto a tree and produce life from either the tree or himself. A woman cannot produce an egg to become anything but an egg, otherwise it turns to blood and the body discharges it. Life begins at conception, which is when the Spirit has enter into the equation and the development of a human being takes place and any unnatural interruption in this process is the cessation of the process and of life itself. Death occurs when the Spirit leaves the body, which in some cases may take longer than the body stops to function. Life and death are not and will never be a measure of the body. The body exist solely for the purpose of the Spirit.

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  • Carter

    These are both very good arguments, and although I agree with the first one, I feel like it’s argument is invalid as soon as it mentioned Dred Scott vs Sanford, which was overturned by the 14th Amendment in 1868.

    For those of you who don’t know, Dred Scott vs Stanford was a case in which Dred Scott (a black man and former slave who had run away while being inslaved in a free state) was declared still the property of Stanford. This case also ruled that while African Americans were ‘people’ they did not have the same rights in the eye of the law that white people did. It also prohibited them from arguing in courts.

  • Beloved

    Bottom line…please read the below definition, weather or not we agree on when life begins…abortion is a choice to terminate a human life that we are fully aware is their.

    a·bor·tion
    əˈbôrSHən/
    noun
    noun: abortion; plural noun: abortions
    1.
    the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy.
    synonyms: termination, miscarriage More
    the expulsion of a fetus from the uterus by natural causes before it is able to survive independently.
    BIOLOGY
    the arrest of the development of an organ, typically a seed or fruit.

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  • GeniusPhx

    both arguments can be true. the big question is, why do pro lifers want to legislate their beliefs on the other half of the country? why must your beliefs have to become my beliefs by law? since it is mostly christians who want to legislate their beliefs on others, aren’t xns supposed to be inclusive, open minded, forgiving, able to look at the sinner not the sin? why would Jews, Hindus, Muslims, agnostics, atheists, have to obey christian views by law??

    my message to pro-lifers, get the hell out of my bedroom, my familys decisions, my sex live, who I can and cannot love, whether I can use contraception or not! Not your concern! Now go find some illiterate rice farmer and make him a christian!!!

    • jennyct

      By your reasoning, why impose the belief that newborns should be a protected class? That belief has become your belief by law regardless of religion. If you kill anyone in your bedroom, behind closed doors, it is murder, whether you are illiterate or not!

    • Guest

      i just hope one day, if you do have an abortion, you will feel the pain of knowingly killing someone that would eventually be your pride and joy, your bloodline, and your bearer to your grandchildren when you get older. And if you do get an abortion with a shot you could possibly never have kids again. Just saying.

      • southern feminist

        rude

        • myintx

          truth

          • southern feminist

            No one is EVER going to settle this dispute, and this issue is as old as time itself – women aborted in ancient Rome, in Greece, even Jerusalem. No one is saying embryos are not alive, but not all life is sacred. If it were, the pro-life movement would actually work to help those 26000 children that die of starvation on a daily basis, and there wouldn’t be any confusion over the immigrant kids right now. But, life is also a continuum if i use christian logic (i assume you are a christian), and that ideology, because it adheres to one belief system, can NOT be the basis of a society that incorporates an entire belief spectrum. The only thing you guys, and women – even us pro-choice ones b/c no one is pro-abortion, can hope to accomplish is to diminish the need for this procedure: support responsible and age appropriate sex education, be rational about birth control (an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure), understand that abortions are not the general result of some horrible uncaring person who uses it “because she feels like it” (i mean – they are not easy to get regardless of what FOX news states) – but many women, and 1 in 4 have had them) had to make that choice out of economic necessity. I am sure you understand that more and more men leave their families or never were involved to begin with (and there are probably women who chose to go for their own reasons), regardless – most children are in single parent homes, many of these women work at jobs paying at or slightly above min wage, then they are shamed for having sex, not staying with the child’s father (when he could have been an abusive drunk), and vilified by society for all of its ills (and while you are yelling at these women, all of the good paying jobs are sent overseas to sweatshops where other children are exploited for labor or they are getting heavy kickbacks from government). Did you know that american taxpayers contribute over 150 million yearly to walmart because they refuse to pay their employees, many of whom are women and mothers, living wages. If min wage had kept rate with inflation, our min wage would be over 20.00 hourly by now. You know what that means – very few would need the assistance of the government or your dime. also, maybe if women were protected in the workplace, many wouldn’t fell the need to choose between having a child or having a job to feed the child that they already have. FMLA leaves major loopholes – even some of the countries in Africa have better maternal protection than we do. i am just saying that oversimplification is only going to show how much someone does NOT understand an issue. and yeah, it is rude to wish that on someone. i do believe it was your own book that instructs you to 1: leave all judgment to your god, 2: all sin is EQUAL in the eyes of the lord (my abortion is equal to your judgement of my abortion, so you are no better in his eyes than i would be) 3: founding fathers were pretty adamant about that “wall of separation” between church and state 4: if you are going to be pro-life, you have to take it all the way, which means stop cutting funding for children’s programs like school lunch

          • myintx

            People owned slaves in ancient times… does that mean slavery should never have been made illegal in the US? Over time, people’s views evolved to recognize slaves as people with rights. Over time, more and more people are seeing the humanity of the unborn child. A majority of people in the US believe an unborn child should be protected after 12 weeks – that means they fundamentally disagree with Roe V Wade. Roe V Wade needs to be overturned so that states can make the laws their people want protecting unborn children and at the same time protecting the women too.
            Do you tell people who work to make the lives of the elderly more comfortable or work to provide housing to the homeless that they should drop everything and focus on the starving children? I doubt it… It’s a smokescreen to try to justify killing unborn children. In the US, there are 1 million unborn children being killed every year. How many die of starvation in the US every year? My guess is no where near the number that are killed in even one hour at the human extermination centers known as abortion clinics. Starvation is horrible – so is the senseless killing of unborn children.
            ‘economic necessity’ is no reason to kill a born child. It’s no reason to kill an unborn child either. A woman can work with an adoption agency to arrange adoption. Sometimes, adoption agencies can help with costs – as many other agencies can too.
            it doesn’t take religion to know that killing an unborn child is wrong. Take a look at a 4D ultrasound of an unborn child at 18 or 20 weeks. Should only take common sense to know that killing an unborn child is wrong.

          • southern feminist

            Slavery still exists, worldwide. And since I am assuming that you are referring to the history of slavery in North America, let me add – it ended in 1863, and in name only. Jim Crow was only recently done away with since maybe the 80s after much vigilance on the part of the Dems. Slavery is the exploitation and control over another individual; this property would have no access to any constitutional rights as they were only considered 3/5′s a person – they were bought and sold, children torn from their mothers, wives torn from their husbands, no marriages were recognized as the owners liked to stud out the strongest males with the healthiest females for breeding purposes, women were raped time and time again, and so on and so on – for you to dare compare a non sentient being to a independently breathing, fully aware and with years of memories to boot to a fetus is quite baffling. First and foremost, the majority of abortions are done within the first trimester. Secondly, i think it’s wonderful that one assists with the elderly and such, but to go on and on about the innocence of these unborn kids and then drop the concern for them when food stamps or school lunches are in question is hypocrisy at its finest. I truly believe that you can either complain about abortion/birth control or complain about welfare, but you can’t do both, because it looks ignorant. Secondly, the number of starving children in america is actually pretty equal to your abortion stat. Third, 1 in 5 women die from childbirth complications in america, so to simply say that a woman should carry to term with no prob and then be hooked up to an adoption agency is faulty at best. The workplace pregnancy discrimination issue still stands. Finally, there is nothing wrong with my morals – i am pro-choice because i trust that a woman making that decision is facing one of the hardest choices she will ever have to make, and it’s not for me or you, or especially some panel of beings that will never have to make the choice, to decide for her. Finally, on a side note – it was the evangelical christians who used the bible to support the existence of slavery and to relegate the southern black population to a second class existence, because the whites saw them as infantile and unable to function properly. Today, the bible is used to do this to women.

          • myintx

            An unborn child is a human being – just like a newborn. Birth does not a human being make. Sentience does not a human being make. For you to dehumanize an unborn child in order to justify killing it is what is baffling here. Look at 4D ultrasounds of unborn child at 23 weeks and at 24 weeks – they are BOTH human beings – they BOTH deserve to be protected.

            Did I say I was against food stamps or lunch programs? The problem is the exponential increase in these programs (when the economy is supposedly getting better) – where is the money coming from? what programs (Veterans programs?) might have to be cut or who will be affected (and how) to change the qualifying rules and give food stamps to more people? Can some money be recovered by reducing fraud (like Gov Jindal is trying to do by saying you cannot use food stamps at nail salons and liquor stores). You cannot go with the feel-good hopey-changey story of increasing handouts without looking at what the effects might be first.

            Oh, you ‘trust’ women.. like Emily Letts – who didn’t even TRY and killed for 15 minutes of fame (no ‘hard’ decision there!).. like women who kill because they want a girl instead of a boy (or vice versa)? like women who kill to hide the results of an affair? Or a woman who says she doesn’t want a C-section because of a scar and then one of her twins dies? or a woman who uses meth and gives birth to a baby with a birth defect? Some women can be trusted, but they don’t know better – they don’t know there is help out there and that killing isn’t the best choice. They need help, but PP just wants to sell abortions. There are places that can help – even financially.

            If you ‘trust’ women, why not make all laws apply to men only? women never steal, murder, commit fraud, etc… lol.

            “First and foremost, the majority of abortions are done within the first trimester” – so, you’re OK if they’re restricted after the first trimester? GOOD – that means you’re on the side of most Americans. And, that means you disagree with at least a part of Roe v Wade- OVERTURN that mistake :)
            It doesn’t take religion to know that killing an unborn child is wrong. There are atheists pro-lifers out there (secularprolife dot org). Pro-aborts pull the religion card when they run out of arguments to defend the senseless killing of unborn children.

          • southern feminist

            Yes i do trust women to make a choice that is fucking theirs to make! And sorry, but most women, especially single mothers who have to earn a living, are more important than a blastocyst. Pro-aborts?! We don’t hand out pamphlets trying to get a woman to terminate her pregnancy. Once again, pick a struggle – abortion or welfare because you can’t have both…

            As far as assistance – I said that if you are pro-life then yeah, i hope you put your money where your mouth is – or else you are pro-birth. Assistance is increasing because american jobs refuse to pay a living wage, not because women are having kids. Further, the repubs voted down veteran’s assistance and against their jobs act. oh, i am certain you are aware of the number of military personnel that receive assistance, so be careful who you call a freeloader. As far as EBT fraud – there is no way those businesses trade services for EBT (this must be people trading them for misc stuff) because you cannot even buy a hot food item with your card in alabama, much less a liquor store, not even dog food.

            I don’t know of any woman who has terminated for the reasons you mentioned above, but i have seen plenty of women who have put their baby in a ,microwave, or forget about their baby in a car while they bought and did drugs, put cigarettes out on their kids, leave their kids alone overnight – dirty – and with no food; and, i have seen plenty of men who have molested 3 year old little girls, shaken their girlfriend’s baby to death, and physically beat and/or force themselves onto their wives/girlfriends all while the kids were in viewing range. I have seen kids not even out of elementary school yet who are ultimately diagnosed with ptsd and still wet their pants at 11 years of age because someone accidentally slammed a door or shouted too loudly. so don’t talk to me about saving an unwanted fetus when i know what is waiting out here for them. every child should be wanted, and every mother should be willing.

            i am totally on board with men taking some responsibility for birth control! Vasectomies are cheap. There is also a pill, has a nasty name, but works kind of like birth control that they could take until they are married, and since we all know how responsible men are when compared with women, there would never be an unwanted child….

            And i didn’t say i was okay with anything – i personally don’t care for abortion unless it’s done like early enough to take the ru486 pill, but, once again – a woman’s private choice is her business and her’s alone. and no, i know it doesn’t take religion to know right from wrong, but it does take religion to convince an individual that it’s divine will to force a woman into reproduction and have complete autonomy over her person-hood while she remains a bystander to what happens to her, and then remove the very means by which she would be able to sustain that child emotionally, educationally, medically, etc. And i am not saying that you aren’t an atheist, but your banter certainly reflects much of what theists think.

          • myintx

            No one should have a ‘choice’ to kill an unborn child (unless absolutely necessary to save a woman’s life).

            If you are FOR abortion, you are pro-abortion. If you blast adoption as an option, you’re definitely pro-abortion (I’m not saying you do, but some do).

            Its the liberals who are voting against jobs acts. As far as the Veterans go – it’s the dems who are in charge now – the Veterans healthcare issues are the dems fault. And, the jobs bill was turned down because there were already several other separate Veterans jobs programs out there. All the republicans wanted to do was see why those other programs werent working before throwing money at a new one – common sense.

            “I don’t know of any woman who has terminated for the reasons you mentioned above,” – well, then google Emily Letts… and I assume you’d be OK with banning sex selective abortions?

            Child abuse is horrible. Parents should be responsible and turn their kids over to CPS or put them up for adoption if they cannot take care of them. And, women who dont want their kids when they are born should do the right thing and arrange to put the child up for adoption when they are born. No child – born or unborn – should be killed because he or she is inconvenient or unwanted.

            ‘Complete autonomy’ – no one has that. Prostitution laws, drug laws, laws against selling your organs, public nudity laws, etc. Besides, in a pregnancy, there is more than one body involved – BOTH human beings involved in a pregnancy should have a right to life. An unborn child should not be killed in the name of autonomy simply because it is inconvenient or unwanted.

            “i am totally on board with men taking some responsibility for birth control!” I’ll close on a good note – something we agree on.

    • missy

      Have a son that gets a girl pregnant, said son tells girl have baby and walk away I’ll raise it alone. He believes life starts at conception, she doesn’t. I wish there was legislation that would give the Father some rights before birth. He has no say and has to live with the fact that the love of his life killed his baby because it’s”technically” legal. Her point of view vs his. It’s a shame we even have to talk about whether or not it is human and worth saving. All life is precious no matter how tiny.

      • jennyct

        That happened to my nephew. Within six months he committed suicide.

    • David

      So, you say yourself that both arguments can be true. This implies that you believe, at least half way, that life starts at conception, and DNA defines that life as human. It also shows that you acknowledge that abortions are, in-arguably, being conducted. In fact, over a million abortions are conducted each year in the U.S. alone. So, that means that over 1 million human lives are terminated each year. What’s the definition of murder? Ahh, that’s right, disregarding the flock of crows, murder is the killing of a human being, which isn’t an exclusively Christian definition. I would hope that you agree with murder being illegal as universal, not just to Christians. Abortion isn’t accidental man-slaughter either. It seems pretty deliberate to me. Before you make fun of some “illiterate rice farmer” who is busy growing food to provide for people, check your grammar.

      • southern feminist

        if you are so adamant about abortion and anti-killing, are you also anti-death penalty, anti-war, and pro social programs that help to sustain life?

        • jennyct

          Many people are not blind followers of any one group or political party. I used to be a good democrat, and i still am pro-union and pro-child welfare. But I can’t reconcile abortion (undergrad child development, biology).

      • GeniusPhx

        you have a black and white answer for everything. problem is those arguments are old, they are the same as argued for roe v wade. in other words the law is the law. in one of their opinions the supreme ct wrote no one person should be able to decide for another when life begins. and thats what you want to do, legislate your views on me whether i like it or not. is that something Jesus would do?

        scotus only changes a decision if new evidence comes up that was not available at the time of the first time. that isnt the case here. the nervous system has developed at 24 weeks and thats why scotus decided that way.

        in the new movie Counselor a drug lord is talking to him about the murder of his wife. counselor keeps bargaining for the life of his wife while the drug lord explains its too late and he should accept shes dead and go on with your life. that’s what you ppl should do, stop bargaining and accept that abortions are a fact of life and go on. even if they outlawed it, the number of abortions hasn’t changed legal or illegal. if you think stopping abortion is hard when its legal, try stopping it when its illegal and it happens in ppls homes all over the country. that’s what happens when choice is no longer an option.

        • jennyct

          Yep. People make laws. People are fallible. As far as I know, science has advanced since the 1960s/70s. This is all a matter of personal freedom and social acceptance, not science. And since there are no survivors, there’s no one to object.

        • Remi

          Why do pro lifers want to legislate their beliefs on the other half of the country? Why pro choicer want to legislate their belief on an unborn human?

          • southern feminist

            why are you dismissing the human even having to make that choice? i find it humorous that once a female becomes preggo, then fuck all – she, as an individual with hopes and dreams ceases to exist, and she becomes some mere portal for forced reproduction. you guys really need to take into account that the country who can strip you of your right to choice can move the scales either way (look at china). the government strong enough to keep you from having an abortion can also force you to have one. it can also forcibly sterilize you if they decide that you are unfit to procreate – forced sterilization was huge in the US up through the 70s with regard to minorities.