An October 2019 article in Quillette addresses the knotty problem of when life begins. A paper by Steve Jacobs, part of his dissertation shows the results of a question posed to 5577 biologists.
96% affirmed the view that life begins at fertilization.
Obviously, the question of when life begins is a key part of the abortion debate but whether is should be is another question. There’s no question that a potential human life starts at fertilization but some 50% at least of these potential lives are spontaneously aborted, the woman never knowing that she had conceived. Those people who believe that life is created by God might wonder why God should discard so many of his creation. This belief however is a key argument of those who oppose abortion to whom the fertilized egg is a “baby” and preventing it from attaching to the lining of the uterus is an act of murder. Even some birth control pills are abortifacients.
Basing the question of abortion solely on the question of when life begins ignores other factors: the health cost both physical and mental that carrying to term imposes on a woman’s body; the cost both financial, physical and mental of raising children particularly as is so often the case there is no father present; the question of whether a woman can be forced to give birth even though for her own reasons she doesn’t want to; the cost to society of so many unwanted children.
Does life begin at fertilization?
Should the question of when life begins be a deciding factor in the abortion debate?
Should the state involve itself in the affairs of the individual or should it be left to the woman and her health care provider?