Understand the Issue

The science and logic behind pro-life

1. When Does Life Begin?

Science shows us that a new human being begins at the moment of sperm-egg fusion, otherwise known as fertilization.[1] Sperm and egg, by themselves, only contain half the genetic material needed to form a human being. When these cells fuse, however, a new individual who has a full set of DNA genetically distinct from both parents comes into existence. There is a wealth of testimony from medical texts that backs this up, from “The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th Edition” by Keith L. Moore to “Langman’s Medical Embryology, 10th Edition” by T. W. Sadler. [2]

At the moment of fertilization, the entire genetic makeup of a unique human being is formed – this includes sex, eye color, and other traits. The difference between someone at fertilization, four months in utero, two years old, 17, 35, and 80 is development, aided by nutrition and time.

40 quotes from medical experts that prove human life begins at fertilization
Baby Development: Week-by-Week

The basic fact is simple: Life begins not at birth, but fertilization.

2. Human Rights

Identifying the moment an individual person’s life begins also pinpoints when his or her human rights begin.

Since “human rights” are grounded in being human[5]—not in a person’s age, level of development, or location — human embryos and fetuses have the same inalienable and universal right to life as human infants, toddlers, teenagers, and adults.

In other words, all human beings have human rights, and we possess them by virtue of our humanity and not because they are granted to us by government or other people. The most foundational human right is the right to life.

The Declaration of Independence states, “…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

If we hold to the validity of not only our history, but also of medical science, there can be no conclusion other than preborn children are human beings with the same inalienable right to life as those who are born. When abortion supporters say things like, “My body, my choice,” they are neglecting the very fundamental fact that in a pregnancy there are two bodies — and two human beings — involved.

Understanding Human Rights

"The right to life is the first among human rights. To abort a child is to kill someone who can't defend themselves." -Pope Francis

3. There is never a reason for abortion

Because life begins at fertilization and preborn children have human rights, there is never a reason that justifies the killing of a preborn child through abortion.

There are many who defend abortion based on cases such as life or health of the mother, rape, or incest. While rape and incest are horrible crimes and the victims deserve all the help and support we as a society can give them, if a human being exists in the womb from the moment of fertilization, there can never be a reason to kill that person, no matter the circumstances surrounding that life. And as you will see below, abortion is never medically necessary to save a woman’s life.

Abortion is never medically necessary to save a woman’s life.

The Dublin Declaration[5], which has been signed by more than one thousand obstetricians, neonatologists, pediatricians, midwives, and other medical professionals, states the following:

As experienced practitioners and researchers in obstetrics and gynaecology, we affirm that direct abortion – the purposeful destruction of the unborn child – is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman. We uphold that there is a fundamental difference between abortion, and necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the loss of life of her unborn child. We confirm that the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women.

Abortion does not heal or fix the violence of rape

It is never fair or just to punish an innocent child with what amounts to the death penalty because her father committed a heinous crime. We do not even sentence the rapist to death. Yet by aborting a child conceived in rape, we treat her with less rights than we give to rapists. We consider her life as less valuable than the rapist’s.

A woman who has survived sexual assault has suffered a horrific violence and injustice and is deserving of support, healing, and advocacy, not another violent act. But abortion does nothing to give the woman the healing that she needs and deserves. Abortion does not erase the rape or undo the violence that has been committed on the woman. Instead, abortion subjects this woman – and now, her child – to yet another act of violence that also cannot be erased or undone. As many rape survivors have poignantly testified, abortion is actually an obstacle to healing after rape. Abortion adds trauma to trauma, and it creates another innocent victim, although this one will not survive.

A woman who chooses not to raise a child conceived in rape always has the option to put that child up for adoption, as there are many families willing and waiting to adopt children from difficult circumstances.

As human beings, we are more than how we were conceived. We had no power over that moment, and our value – or our inherent right to live — is not based on it.

4. Learn More

To learn more about why abortion is never a valid alternative in these and other “difficult cases,” please check out our additional content on our apologetics page.

She chose life after rape