baby-question choice choose

If life doesn’t begin at conception, then where do we draw the line?

It is a scientific fact that life begins at conception. Live Action has already covered this at length, with an abundance of statements from experts in the field. Pieces have also been written to further demonstrate the humanity of the unborn and the miracle that conception is.

8 Week Old Human Fetus
Human fetus at 8 weeks old.

If we accept that life begins at conception, which is indeed a fact, not just an opinion, then there should be no confusion as to if the unborn is a life worth saving. There should be no confusion as to if the unborn is a life that will be killed as a result of abortion.

For those who do not accept this fact, then, it must be confusing. Where is the line drawn? When the heartbeat forms? When the child can feel pain? When does the child become a life? When is it wrong to kill this life? There exists a wide range of opinions as to when abortion takes a life, and when it is wrong. But opinions are not fact, and they become pretty arbitrary pretty fast.

If science were not clear that life begins at conception, there would understandably be some confusion and disagreement. But that is not the case.

There are still some who will concede that life begins at conception, but that the child is not yet worth saving from abortion until a certain point of gestation. If one accepts the proof that science provides, then that should be it. There should be no more dispute. To believe that life begins at conception but still be in favor of abortion is contradictory.

Just like there may be confusion as to where we draw the line, then, if life does not begin at conception, it is equally confusing as to where we draw the line as to when the child becomes worth protecting.

Some may claim that the unborn are not worth protecting from abortion because they are not developed enough. The child in the womb is merely in a different state of development and place of residence from those of the child outside of the womb.

Some may also claim that the unborn are not worth protecting because they don’t possess enough humanity or sentience. But by that logic, those who are in comas or severely disabled are not worthy of life, either.

The unborn can do many things which may make those who do not believe in the humanity of the unborn think twice. For instance, at just 22 days, the heartbeat begins. One of the articles mentioned above explains that the children in the womb can hear language by the third trimester. Testimony for the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act states that by 8 weeks, the unborn feel and react to touch. Pain receptors are in place by 16 weeks, with the nerves linking them to the brain by 20 weeks. This means that the unborn child will not only feel pain, but feel so much more intensely. Children can also yawn in the womb at 10 weeks.

These are all amazing things which the unborn can do, but no specific one makes the unborn a human life, as he or she already is and has been one from the start.

Fortunately, most Americans oppose late-term abortion. That is all well and good to support saving a child at this stage from an agonizing death. But again, why is the child at this stage any more worthy of life than a newly conceived one? All unborn child have life to them – and a life worth protecting – not just the ones past a certain gestational age. To oppose late-term abortion but be in support of abortion up to a certain week is quite frankly inconsistent. If we are to truly stand up for life with compassion and humanity for the unborn, it must be for all life.

There is no question that life begins at conception. And since there is no question of this, there should be no question that every and all children in their mothers’ wombs, no matter their age or developmental stage, are worth protecting. Not only is it consistent – not only does it do away with confusion – but it is right.

  • Julia

    Thanks for the great article

  • A cluster of cells is technically alive, sure. But that same cluster of cells cannot possibly survive outside the womb and therefore IT IS NOT A HUMAN BEING.
    Cancer is also a cluster of cells, you know.

  • Dawn9476

    You draw the line at birth because you never see any articles on our hideous infant mortality rates pro-life sites. Infant mortality rates are particularly high in communities of color. And you know what the answer from so called pro-life politicians is to that? Cut, cut, cut. Even for mothers who have chosen to have a child but have to use Planned Parenthood for their health care needs after the birth because it is their only option.

    • fiona64


      There is no way to know when conception occurs; pregnancy begins with implantation. Many products of conception exit the woman’s body during menses without her ever being aware of said conception.

      We have not only a high infant mortality rate, but also a ridiculously high maternal mortality rate due to complications of pregnancy (we’re 50th in the world despite having such costly health care. Greece has the lowest maternal mortality rate in the world).

      Sadly, the anti-choice movement doesn’t care about things like infant or maternal mortality. They only care about punishing women who “didn’t keep their legs shut” (I cannot tell you how sick and tired I am of seeing that phrase).

      The line is drawn at birth because that is when a person exists, as opposed to potentially existing.

      • Rebecca Downs

        You must not understand biology then. Because the child in the womb is already a person existing. Why else would he or she have his or her own DNA, the makeup which has never before existed and will never before exist again.

        You people truly fail to understand the pro-life movement and just like to call us out and generalize and demonize us for disagreeing with you. Sadly this and sadly that. Well at least we don’t advocate for ruthlessly murdering children in the womb. How dare you say we only care about punishing women. You’re sick and tired? What you’re sick and tired of is a phrase that nobody has used on this site. I’m sick and tired of your assumptions and demonizations.

        • fiona64

          A fetus is not a person, no matter how much you want to romanticize it. Tumors have their own DNA; we don’t call them persons. It looks like I understand biology one helluva lot better than you do, since you imagine that *anyone* knows exactly when conception takes place. Not even physicians can do that; they can just estimate based on last menstrual period.

          You likewise clearly do not understand the definition of murder, which is the unlawful (illegal) taking of a person’s life with malice aforethought. Whether you like it or not, abortion is a legal medical procedure (and, again, the only *person* involved is the pregnant woman). No one is forcing you to undergo one if you don’t want or need to.

          You and your “movement,” on the other hand, seem to think that you know the circumstances of every woman in the world better than she does. You don’t know her medical situation, her financial situation … none of it. You just want to make sure she has the child, regardless. If you are not the woman in question, or her physician, guess what? It’s NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

          I never said that you used the phrase I cited, but plenty of people do and have. Your frantic rhetoric of “ruthlessly murdering children in the womb” romanticizes the fetus as though it is a tiny man just growing bigger. The medieval folk called this a homunculus. We now know that this is not the case. You reduce her to nothing more than a life support system for a uterus, which is likewise medieval.

          Embryos of various animals at similar stages of development look
          remarkably similar to one another, including skinks, fish and dogs
          ( Your “look, it’s a tiny baby!” fails pretty badly when you realize this. I challenge you to look at these images and answer yourself *honestly* which one you chose as being human (even if you don’t publish the answer here). Me? I thought it was the skink embryo.

          I’m tired of the assumptions and demonizations your “movement” makes about every woman who seeks an abortion. If you aren’t her, or her doctor, once again, it is none of your business. Butt the hell out.

          • Rebecca Downs

            I know what I am saying to be the truth. I’m not romanticizing anything. And neither are you. You are an evil person who is propagating falsehoods and lies about abortion and I won’t stand to be tricked by you and yours ways as you seek to demonize a movement full of love and truth. You are trying to get me down and you know what, it’s you who is doing the shaming and punishing. I won’t stand for it and I won’t back down because you hurl such abuse and anger out. You know very little of what you speak of and what you do know you cling onto like a deep, dark mantra. The murder and death of innocent children will never be something to butt out of. The law may not call it murder, but the law is immoral and wrong, just as you are.

          • fiona64

            You keep telling yourself if it helps you get through the night, pookie. The rest of us live in reality-land.

          • Rebecca Downs

            I know a lot more than you think I do and again, your assumptions are so wrong and based off of anger and a higher sense of judgment than what I’ve ever done.

          • fiona64

            You keep telling yourself that, sweetie. I’m not the one going around accusing post-abortive women of committing crimes; you are. How is that anything other than a “higher sense of judgment”? Just ask yourself that; you don’t have to answer here. If you’re honest with yourself, I think that you’ll discover me pointing out a) the biomedical flaws in your argument, b) the legal flaws in your argument, and c) I’m older than you and have seen one helluva lot more of life as a result are merely statements of *fact,* not judgments.

            I lack your hubris, that’s for damned sure. In fact, you remind me of my favorite quote by Oscar Wilde: “I am no longer young enough to know everything.”

            Oddly enough, I feel kind of sorry for you.

    • Rebecca Downs

      Whether we draw the line at birth or conception has nothing to do with what you have actually said. And what you are actually saying is a gross misunderstanding and assumption of pro-life politicians. You clearly just want to go on an anti GOP rant…

      • fiona64

        Yes, actually, it does. The anti-choice movement (and that’s really what you are), doesn’t appear to give two shits about what happens to that “precious baby” (as you think of the fetus) once it exits the womb. Cut funds for low income womens’ health care? Sure! Cut funds for lunches for low income kids at school? Sure! But, by god, make sure that baby is born!

        • Rebecca Downs

          What you’re doing right now is still resorting to cheap generalizations and outright falsehoods. And God forbid you do so in a proper venue instead of turning to ignorant beliefs and language. Keep telling yourself that pro-lifers don’t take care of children after they’re born, but basically what you’re doing is believing the propaganda. It really is almost hilarious how the other side calls us anti-choice for simply being against one choice, murder, but I guess that’s the cheap tactics they need to turn to to further their own agenda.

          • fiona64

            It’s hardly my fault that you don’t understand biology, or legal terminology. Your assessment of a legal medical procedure as “murder” tells me that you think women who terminate their pregnancies are criminals.

            Tell me, Rebecca. How long should the woman spend in jail for accessing a legal medical procedure?

          • Danie

            Why are they “anti-life” but you not “anti-life?”

  • fiona64

    I missed your “miracle” nonsense on my first reading, BTW. A miracle is, by definition, something rare and unusual. Pregnancy, and childbirth, are hardly rare or unusual.

  • pmg

    I wonder if the author is vegan… But plants’ cells are alive too, right?