The Preborn As Living Beings

Author: A.L.L.


American Life League

Around the world, we find a systematic campaign clamoring for the destruction of the embryo and fetus as a cure-all for every social and personal problem. I, for one, find it a bitter irony that just when the embryo and fetus arrive on the medical scene, there should be such a sustained pressure to make him or her a social nonentity.

                                                   Sir William Liley, the 'Father of Modern Fetology.'[1]

Anti-Life Philosophy.

It is an advantage to have visited an abortion clinic. Your enthusiastic first-hand account of the process can be impressive. Describe how quick and safe the procedure is, how pleasant the clinic, how relaxed the patient, how the conceptus looks at ten weeks - a small bloody mass, very jelly-like, about an inch long, and weighing about 3/4 of an ounce. Absolutely no arms and legs - no "baby" at all!

                                                                National Abortion Rights Action League.[2]

The fetus isn't alive, not as you and I are alive. As the United States Supreme Court held in its landmark decision Roe v. Wade, abortion is performed only on "potential human life," so the procedure should not be restricted in any way. The rights of real, live human beings must always take precedence over mere potentialities.


Another cliche [used by doctors to refuse to do abortions] is the timeworn "life has begun and I cannot play god" bit, yet daily each doctor sees nothing unethical in excising a cancer, performing a vasectomy on a requesting male without question, or using antibiotics to frustrate the will of god regarding life and death.

                                                                                              Lana Clarke Phelan.[3]

The central issue of any debate over abortion must focus on the status of the preborn child. Any attempt to shift this focus of the discussion to 'women's rights,' freedom, tolerance, or to any other issue even related to abortion, such as overpopulation, is merely a diversionary tactic and should not be tolerated by pro-lifers.

The abortion battle will only be won when all Americans accept the preborn as their brothers and sisters, fully equal to born people in all fundamental rights.

Therefore, any meaningful discussion on the topic of abortion must first exactly define and clarify the status of the preborn.

A rigorous and logical analysis of the biological and social status of preborns can be performed in three simple steps.

(1) The first level of analysis must answer the question: Are preborns alive? There are only two possible answers to this question. Either they are alive or they are dead (there is no other possible classification the term "potential life," like the word "pre-embryo," is an impossibility, an artificial legal construct designed solely to dehumanize the abortionist's victims and to assuage guilty consciences).

(2) If this strictly biological question is answered in the affirmative (as it must logically be), we must then further classify this living preborn being as either human or non-human. Since every preborn's mother and father are human, they are therefore inevitably human itself.

(3) If this second strictly biological question results in the living preborn being classified as human, then we must answer the third, and most difficult question: Is this living human creature a person?

The first half of this chapter addresses the foundation of this three-step classification process: are the unborn living beings, or are they dead?

The second half of this chapter presents detailed information on fetal development and the capabilities of the preborn child.

The Pro-Abortion View of 'Life.'

Your [pro-life] opposition's tack is primarily emotional ... Discredit the opposition's statistics. They are mostly out of date (nowhere near as up-to-date as yours) and mostly distorted ... Remember, they'll try to hold you to these [when does life begin] arguments because they are about all they have in a meager arsenal ...

                                                                National Abortion Rights Action League.[2]

The Conveniently Blind Eye.

It is ironic and aggravating in the extreme that pro-abortion propagandists ignore the entire body of scientific and biological evidence to make an assertion whose only redeeming characteristic is that it supports their viewpoint.

Of course, pro-aborts really have no choice in the matter; they must ignore the evidence presented by modern fetology, because to embrace such evidence would be a tacit admission that they are murderers! Even Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, author of the Roe v. Wade decision, ducked the question when he stated in his opinion "We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins."

Pro-abortionists willfully reject any and all evidence, no matter how conclusive or authoritative, in their drive to keep their consciences dead. For example, Judith Pasternak of the American Civil Liberties Union's Reproductive Freedom Project, when informed about a new fetal surgery technique, simply stated that no scientific advance whatever would change her mind;

Intrauterine, prenatal surgery will no doubt bring joy and relief to many parents whose dreams of a healthy baby were formerly unrealizable. But this technological breakthrough is a medical one, not a moral one; the status of the fetus as patient may be different in degree from the status of the fetus of 10 years ago, but it is not different in kind. For thousands of years, healers have been trying to preserve the lives and health of fetuses whose mothers wanted them; only the sophisticated techniques and the rate of success are new.

But these [fetal surgery] techniques and this success are new indeed, so dazzlingly new as to blind us, perhaps, to the fact that the moral premise of abortion remains unchanged. The "issue of abortion" remains the issue of the right of the woman to choose whether or not to carry something in her own body. No technological advances can rob her of her right to choose whether or not to keep it there.[4]

This is the essence of close-minded arrogance: that one will not learn and will not change because one's current opinion is too precious to give up.

In essence, what our society is done is adopt a "social" definition of life and once this most basic parameter can be defined to fit the situation, nobody is safe nobody at all!

Planned Parenthood on Mold.

Of course, such verbal engineering has already begun. As just one of many examples, Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood distributes to its clientele a booklet amusingly entitled "Let's Tell the Truth About Abortion." This booklet asks; "Is the fetus alive? Is it alive? Algae is alive, and earthworms, and your appendix. Mold on the bread in the refrigerator is alive. People are not agreed on what a life is ... If you look at pictures of human, chicken, pig, and turtle embryos at the same stage of development, it is difficult to tell them apart."[5]

Notice that the pamphlet definitively declares that "Mold on the bread in the refrigerator is alive," then states baldly that nobody knows what life is. Since mold is alive and the preborn are only "potential life," Planned Parenthood therefore assigns a higher status to mold than it does to a nine-month preborn baby.

Notice also the subtle dehumanization of the unborn by likening them to mold and worms.

Say What?

As expected, when the United States Supreme Court issued its Webster decision in July 1989, pro-aborts immediately went ballistic with claims that women would soon be dying by the thousands in back alleys again. Just as predictably, all of the allegedly 'educated' pro-abort rabble began to crawl out from under their flat rocks when they first perceived that their precious abortion 'right' was in danger.

In a brief submitted to the United States Supreme Court for the July 1989 Webster decision that began to dismantle Roe v. Wade, 167 pro-abortion scientists and physicians, including 11 Nobel Prize Winners, produced a masterpiece of technobabble that the Court fortunately recognized as a cowardly cop-out. This bogus statement said that

There is no scientific consensus that a human life begins at conception, at a given stage of fetal development, or at birth. The questions of 'when a human life begins' cannot be answered by reference to scientific principles like those with which we predict planetary movement. The answer to that question will depend on each individual's social, religious, philosophical, ethical and moral beliefs and values ... The only 'consensus' that may be said to exist among scientists on the question of when a human life begins is that science alone cannot answer that question ... Science cannot define the essential attributes of human life any more than science can define such concepts as love, faith, or trust.

This statement made a number of very important points.

• The 'scientists' were essentially saying that "We acknowledge our ignorance and incompetence regarding this subject, but decide in our favor anyhow."

• Note that, in the first sentence, the 'scientists' claim that life may not even begin at birth. Such statements are cropping up more frequently as infanticide becomes more common (and must therefore be justified), and as the debate about euthanasia heats up. These 'scientists' are laying the groundwork for a definition of life that ultimately depends on a person's capabilities and social status.

• Using the 'logic' of these alleged learned men and women, it would be possible for a person, consulting his "social, religious, philosophical, ethical and moral beliefs and values," to decide that an abortionist is not alive. Of course, this type of logic, if used to murder an abortionist, would not stand up in court for an instant. The same logic used to kill tens of millions of preborn baby humans is not only upheld by the courts, it is enthusiastically promoted by them!

• If the alleged best minds in the United States are too frightened to even attempt to answer such a basic question, it is no surprise that our country is falling behind others technologically. These so-called 'scientists' vividly demonstrate the principle that there is a vast difference between being intelligent and being smart.

• Finally, we must ask ourselves this question: If 11 Nobel Prize winners thinking together cannot define what human life is, how can they claim that every woman in the country has the ability to do so?

Extending the Limits.

On a more 'academic' level, so-called 'bioethicists' Peter Singer and Helga Kuhse state in their book Should the Baby Live? that abortion and infanticide, applied even to healthy newborns, are identical, since "... in neither case has the life of the person begun."

This is the logical next step for those who are too blind to care what life is. 'Doctors' and 'parents' are now killing newborns by the thousands all over this country because, even though these babies have been born, they do not measure up to the decisionmaker's high standards.

Anyone for a rousing chorus of "Arbeit Macht Frei?"

The Consensus.

'Consensus' is defined by most dictionaries as 'general agreement' or 'the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned.'[6]

Figures 69-1 and 69-2 contain just a very few of the many statements made by leading scientists and physicians that support the logical view that life does indeed begin at conception. Please note that there are several quotes from standard medical textbooks in Figure 69-1. This is extremely valuable material for use in a debate. The medical textbooks listed in Figure 69-1 are used by more than half of the medical schools in the United States.


It is the penetration of the ovum by a spermatozoa and the resulting mingling of the chromosomal material each brings to the union that culminates the process of fertilization and initiates the life of a new individual. Every one of the higher animals starts life as a single cell the fertilized ovum. The union of two such sex cells to form a zygote constitutes the process of fertilization and initiates the life of a new individual.

Bradley M. Patten, M.D. Foundations of Embryology (3rd Edition, 1968), New York City: McGraw-Hill.

The formation, maturation and meeting of a male and female sex cell are all preliminary to their actual union into a combined cell, or zygote, which definitely marks the beginning of a new individual.

Leslie Arey. Developmental Anatomy (7th Edition, 1974). Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Publishers.

Zygote. This cell results from fertilization of an oocyte by a sperm and is the beginning of a human being ... Development begins at fertilization, when a sperm unites with an oocyte to form a zygote. Each of us started life as a cell called a zygote.

K.L. Moore. The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (2nd Ed., 1977). Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Publishers. Pages 1 and 12.

The term conception refers to the union of the male and female pronuclear elements of procreation from which a new living being develops. It is synonymous with the terms fecundation, impregnation, and fertilization ... The zygote thus formed represents the beginning of a new life.

J.P. Greenhill and E.A. Freidman. Biological Principles and Modern Practice of Obstetrics. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Publishers. Pages 17 and 23.

A human being develops from a mass of living material no larger than a pinhead, material contributed by both parents and capable of living and growing for a lifetime ... This genetic makeup was established at the beginning of your life, when a haploid egg and a haploid sperm combined to produce a diploid zygote, your first somatic cell.

J.H. Otto and A. Towle. Modern Biology. New York City: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. 1969.

The zygote is the starting cell of the new individual.

Salvadore E. Luria, M.D. 36 Lectures in Biology. Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Press, 1975, page 146.

It is widely accepted and widely taught that human beings as well as other organisms reproducing by sexual reproduction this is nothing unique to humans; this is a general biological principle start their existence at the time of conception or fertilization, as a single cell, the zygote.

Micheline M. Mathews-Roth, M.D., Harvard Medical School, quoted in the Report, Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, 97th Congress, 1st Session, April 23, 1981.

Every time a sperm cell and ovum unite, a new being is created which is alive and will continue to live unless its death is brought about by some specific condition.

E.L. Potter, M.D., and J.M. Craig, M.D. Pathology of the Fetus and the Infant. 3rd Edition. Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, 1975, page vii.

Based on my education and background, therefore, I believe that from the moment of the union of the sperm and the egg in the human species, there is present a new living human being. The human life is there from the moment of fertilization, and its very essence starts early but is not completed until the second decade of life. I submit that human life is present throughout this entire sequence from conception to adulthood, and that interruption at any point constitutes termination of human life.

Alfred M. Bongiovanni, M.D., University of Pennsylvania Medical Professor, before the Senate Judiciary Committee, April 24, 1981.


Since the old ethic has not yet been fully displaced, it has been necessary to separate the idea of abortion from the idea of killing, which continues to be socially abhorrent. The result has been a curious avoidance of the scientific fact, which everyone really knows, that human life begins at conception and is continuous, whether intra- or extra-uterine, until death. The very considerable semantic gymnastics which are required to rationalize abortion as anything but taking a human life would be ludicrous if they were not often put forth under socially impeccable auspices.

"A New Ethic for Medicine and Society," 113 California Medicine 67, 68 (1970).

Individual human life begins at conception and is a progressive, ongoing continuum until natural death. This is a fact so well established that no intellectually honest physician in full command of modern medical knowledge would dare to deny it. There is no authority in medicine or biology who can be cited to refute this concept. It is not a "theory," as Justice Blackmun wished to easily pass it off.

D.J. Moran, M.D., J.D. Gorby, M.D., and T.W. Hilgers, M.D., "Abortion in the Supreme Court: Death Becomes a Way of Life." Abortion and Social Justice, Sheed and Ward, 1974.

From conception the child is a complex, dynamic, rapidly-growing individual. At fertilization, a new and unique individual is created which, although receiving one-half of its chromosomes from each parent, is really unlike either.

B. Heffernan, "The Early Biography of Every Man," Abortion and Social Justice, Sheed and Ward.

Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being a being that is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings ... Those witnesses who testified that science cannot say whether unborn children are human beings were speaking in every instance to the value question rather than the scientific question. No witness raised any evidence to refute the biological fact that from the moment of human conception there exists a distinct individual being who is alive and is of the human species.

Report of the Senate Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to the Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, 97th Congress, 1st Session, 1981, page 7.

Life has a very, very long history, but each individual has a very neat beginning the moment of its conception.

Jerome Lejeune, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Fundamental Genetics, Paris Medical University, quoted in the Report, Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, 97th Congress, 1st Session, April 23, 1981. A complete text of his outstanding testimony, which neatly encapsulates the entire pro-life position, is printed as "In Re New Humans," in the Summer 1981 issue of Human Life Review, pages 60 to 64.

The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built the Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not; she has built something more magnificent than any cathedral: a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby's body. The angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God's creative miracle to bring new saints into Heaven. Only a human mother can. Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature. God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation. What on God's good earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother?

From Mother Teresa's 1979 Nobel Prize acceptance lecture, quoting Cardinal Mindszenty.

Notice that, in the long run, there is indeed a consensus among scientists about when life begins. No reputable scientist has ever stated that life does not begin at conception. They either say that it does, or that they simply don't know. If we treat this question like a public opinion poll and discount the 'don't knows,' we have virtually unanimous consent among scientists that, if compelled to select a point at which life begins, that it begins at conception.

As a clincher, the Nobel Prize Committee for Physiology and Medicine stated decisively in 1991 that

The Nobel Committee noted that life begins with the activation of ion channels as the sperm merges with the egg in fertilization. All cells have electrical charges within and outside the cell and the difference is known as the membrane potential. Fertilization changes the potential to prevent other sperm from joining the fertilized egg.[7]

Going All the Way.

Most pro-abortionists now realize that they have lost their battle to keep the preborn 'unalive.' Many pro-lifers have noticed that the status of the unborn, which was leaned on so heavily by pro-aborts just a few years ago, is now suddenly being disregarded by them.

The same people who frankly acknowledged that abortion would be immoral if science could prove that the preborn were alive are now saying that it doesn't matter whether they are alive or not now it is humanity or personhood that is the criteria!

It is obvious that, even if the humanity and personhood of preborn babies could be conclusively proven, the pro-aborts would declare these criteria to be irrelevant and would fall back to yet another rationale.

Many pro-abortionists now flatly and unashamedly acknowledge that the preborn are alive, but continue to strongly support the slaughter. This attitude is profoundly frightening to any pro-life person with a sense of history.

For example, Norman Mailer is certainly honest in his attitude towards the preborn; "Let me say something that's shocking. I am perfectly willing to grant that life starts at conception. If a woman doesn't want to have a child, then I think it's her right to say no. But let's not pretend that it isn't a form of killing."[8]

Even Faye Wattleton, former director of the largest chain of abortion mills in the country Planned Parenthood Federation of America acknowledges that the preborn "baby" is "new life;" "There are many sperm cells in the [seminal] fluid. If one of them meets an egg cell inside the mother, new life can begin to grow ... If one of your friends is pregnant, ask her to let your child 'feel the baby move.' ... A baby grows in a special place inside the mother, called the uterus not in her stomach. In nine months it is born."[9]

It is obvious where the pro-abortionists would like to lead us. While acknowledging the life of the preborn, they suddenly assert simply that, even though they are alive, they have no right to live.

'Bioethicist' Peter Seinter encapsulates this premise for us;

Once we free ourselves from a world view depending on some specifically religious premises, it can be shown that the early embryo has no intrinsic value and does not have a right to life. To put the point in a preliminary way, just as we regard brain death as the end of a person's life, so we should take brain birth as the start of a person's life.[10]

Once again, Planned Parenthood frames the question in the bluntest possible terms;

What is a life? People are not agreed on what a life is. Some believe that a birth of human tissue which is in generally human form but which has no brain (an anencephalic birth) or with only a tiny amount of brain tissue (a microcephalic birth) is not a "life," even though the tissue is human. Such births can be kept "alive" on machines for a long time. But then, individual organs such as hearts can also be kept "alive" on machines for a long time ... A profoundly retarded and totally unaware birth can live for twenty years or more, if provided with round-the-clock care.[5]

Of course, should the PP-type eugenics thinkers gain enough power to decree that personhood (or human life) actually only begins at the age of twelve, there are plenty of abortion clinic workers out there who would be perfectly willing to kill trusting toddlers.

Consider a recent interview with an abortuary worker;

Interviewer: "Oh, so as long as you make money, it doesn't matter?"

Clinic Employee: "As long as it's food in my stomach, no, it doesn't matter. It is legal ... It is legal ... It is legal!"

Interviewer: "So if they legalized killing four-year-old children, you would have no problem?"

Clinic Employee: "No, I would not have a problem ... My conscience is very clear ..."[11]

Refuting the Slogans.

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.

                                                                                                    George Orwell.[12]

Introduction: Beginnings of Life.

The statement that "I don't know when life begins" is the most cowardly, limp-wristed, and vacuous statement of all, and pro-lifers should treat it with the uttermost contempt. What this slogan really means is that: "I DON'T CARE WHEN LIFE BEGINS!" Any pro-lifer who hears this statement should really nail the person who says it.

Essentially, if anyone says that they don't know when life begins, they are admitting that abortion might be taking life, but really don't care one way or the other.

Often, pro-lifers will encounter pro-abortionists who assert that (1) we don't know when life begins and (2) life begins at birth. The pro-lifer should ask him or her how the two are compatible and consistent: How do they know that life begins at birth?

Parallel Situations.

It is useful to employ the principle of parallelism to consider the following situation, which uses precisely the same logic as that used by pro-abortionists when addressing the preborn.

A demolition crew prepares to knock down an old and decrepit apartment building in the inner city. A crew member approaches the foreman and asks if he should check inside the building to insure that no transients have taken up residence there. But the foreman says "We don't really know if anyone is in there. Go ahead and knock it down!"

Erring on the Side of Life.

A Boeing 747 jetliner packed with 400 people doesn't take off if the captain suspects any malfunctions. What would happen if a major drug company marketed a drug without testing it? In matters of public safety, we always err on the side of life!

Our society does not allow behavior that may take life, even if the chance is small. We are not allowed to discharge firearms in the direction of a freeway just because human life might not be taken. We are not allowed to poison Halloween treats food on a supermarket shelf, just because human life might not be taken. And we have many local laws and ordinances that forbid smoking in crowded areas, because second-hand smoke may be injurious to others!

Yet pro-abortionists are saying that abortion should be allowed, just because we might not be taking human life (since they really don't know when life begins, after all).

A pro-lifer can easily tie up a pro-abortionist by getting him to define precisely when life begins, then asking him what the difference is between a fetus one day before this mythical dividing line and one day after. This is particularly easy if the pro-abort says that life begins at 'quickening.'

'Potential Life.'

The term "potential life" never existed before 1965, because it was not needed. But the pro-abortionists found themselves in a difficult position as they mapped their strategy to obtain abortion on demand.

They could admit that the fetus was alive, because this would be an automatic admission that abortion is killing and they supported this killing. They also could not say that the fetus was nonlife (or dead), because the public would intuitively see this as incorrect and, even worse, as callous.

Therefore, the term "potential life" was invented.

For the last quarter-century, the term has only been used by pro-abortionists and their shills to achieve and maintain abortion on demand. To embryologists, fetologists, biologists, and geneticists, it is a nonsense term that has no application or use whatever. The term "potential life" will never appear in any medical textbook because such usage would destroy the author's credibility.

The 'potential life' argument can be refuted in a simple three-step process;

(1) show that there is no such thing as "potential life;"
(2) establish that the fetus is not dead; and
(3) conclude, by the process of elimination, that it therefore must be alive.

Bogus Definition.

"Potential life" is merely a bogus term cooked up by the Supreme Court to prop up its ridiculous Roe v. Wade decision. It is universally derided by biologists and fetologists. It is also leaned on heavily by pro-aborts who insist that "life" is a metaphysical term, not a biological term. In other words, every woman can decide for herself whether or not her 'fetus' is alive.

Every entity on the face of the earth, animate or inanimate, is either "alive" or "dead" (of course, the descriptive verb "dead" does not necessarily imply that the entity was previously alive). Bacteria, cattle, and people are alive. Clouds, rocks, and corpses are dead. There is no 'in-between' term, because either an entity possesses the spark of life or it does not. Just as a woman cannot be "potentially pregnant," an entity cannot be "potentially alive."

The argument that there is some in-between area between life and death is used by pro-abortionists and pro-euthanasiasts today just as enthusiastically as Nazis and slaveowners used it in the past. The use of the term 'potential life' is absolutely necessary to confuse the issue and prepare the ground for euthanasia on demand.

Given that all things are either alive or dead, the pro-abortionist must now be compelled to concede that the fetus is not dead. After all, if the fetus were dead, the natural miscarriage process would occur, and the woman would lose the child. Therefore, she would not need an abortion in the first place!

Abortionist or Exorcist?

Some pro-aborts insist that they and they alone confer existence upon their preborn baby by some nebulous process of "acceptance." In other words, if they don't want the pregnancy, the baby simply does not exist.

If a pro-abort subscribes to this view, the pro-lifer should ask why women need an abortion for a baby that doesn't exist! If every woman could decide for herself when life began by using a metaphysical process, she would need an exorcism for an unwanted pregnancy, not an abortion!

If the fetus were dead, it would not be growing, sucking its thumb, taking in and efficiently processing nutrients, and excreting. After three weeks, its heart would not be beating and its brain would not be functioning.

Ensoulment = Life?

Many pro-abortionists (including President Bill Clinton) have made the silly assertion that life does not begin until the baby gets its soul and, in their opinion, this 'ensoulment' invariably occurs at birth.

We must ask people who advance this vacuous argument a few pointed questions. To begin with, there is no way to measure the presence of a "soul" through any scientific method. How, then, do they know that the soul enters the body at birth? What if someone asserts that the soul only enters the body when the person reaches the age of reason say, at seven years old? Does that render a six-year old 'unalive?'

We should also inform "Slick Willie" and his pals that the question of 'ensoulment' is a purely religious one and for Bill to impose his idea of when life begins on the nation through his executive actions and judicial appointments is a gross violation of the separation of church and state!

Finally, the presence of a soul has never indicated life in a creature. Only the most radical and extreme animal-rights activists will assert that a fly or a pig has a soul. Even though animals certainly do not possess souls they are obviously alive.

What Clinton and his buddies are doing here is falling back to yet another trench in the moral warfare over abortion: They cannot deny that the preborn are alive and human, and so they are deliberately pegging their abortion stand on a question that science literally will never be able to answer. This is a classic use of the tactic of 'mystagoguery:' An attempt to render a question so complicated or unreachable that it can never be answered.

Of course, it really doesn't matter to Clinton and like thinkers when ensoulment occurs. If, through some scientific breakthrough, a person could prove that the preborn received their souls at the instant of conception, are there any pro-lifers out there naive enough to expect that people who think this way would immediately give up their abortion 'right?'

No way! They would just find some other justification.


The natural conclusion that stems from the above discussions is that preborn babies indeed fully alive in every sense of the term. Anyone who says otherwise is either deliberately dishonest or deceiving themselves.

A pro-lifer may also want to ask a pro-abortionist if he believes in the morality of fetal organ transplants for Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, and other disorders. The pro-lifer should also ask him if he thinks that fetal organ experimentation is ethical. The pro-abort will be compelled by his philosophy to answer "yes."

It is then easy to point out the obvious conclusion that fetal tissue used for such purposes is obviously alive it would be useless if it were dead! How can live tissue come from a non-living organism?

Additionally, the pro-lifer might ask his opponent his opinion of in-vitro fertilization (IVF). After all, if the sperm and egg combined in a dish are not alive, they cannot be implanted in a host uterus. Even at the very early 16- or 32-cell stage, the blastocyst or embryo is very much alive.

When Did Life Begin? An Alternative View.

The [pro-life] opposition will hammer away at life and murder themes - matters of theology and faith, rather than fact and reason. Dispose of these as quickly as possible (avoid the "When does life begin?" discussion) ...

                                                                  National Abortion Rights Action League.[2]

Two Beginnings.

Pro-lifers are sometimes puzzled and sidetracked by pro-aborts who claim that "Abortion is all right because life does not begin at conception. The sperm is alive. The egg is alive. Human life actually began millions of years ago!"

This assertion is very easy to handle if it is properly contemplated beforehand.

Many pro-lifers (and pro-aborts too, for that matter) hold the view that life does not begin at conception or at implantation, but instead began millions of years ago. For these people, the question "When does life begin?" can be answered very simply: Human life began with Adam and Eve (for evolutionists, human life began when the first being evolved to the point of humanity). Since that time, the quality named "human life" has been passed down from generation to generation. There is no point at which life suddenly stops and then restarts. The ovum and the sperm are alive. They arise from living building blocks. If they were not alive, fertilization would be impossible.

Pro-Abortion Manipulation.

This reasoning is also used by some pro-abortionists to justify abortion, but this type of manipulation really makes no sense at all. After all, what difference does it make when life begins?

When dealing with the question of abortion under this type of logic, it does not matter when life begins. It may have begun millions of years ago, or just eight weeks ago at conception. It makes no difference when it begins the important point to make is that it has begun!

The operative question here is when human life ends. It matters not if life begins at conception, with the first human risen from the apes, or with Adam and Eve; abortion kills a human life.

Since by any possible evolutionist or creationist definition life has already begun, the real question here is actually "When does personhood begin?" The pro-aborts would have us believe that any person can assign personhood based upon their own reasons and attitudes. In other words, there is no concrete definition of "personhood."

This attitude, of course, is desperately dangerous. If we can define classes of persons out of existence with our personal whims, we have already come far down the road already traveled by the Nazis.

References: Preborn Human Life.

[1] Sir William Liley, 'The Father of Modern Fetology,' quoted in Dr. Bernard Nathanson's book The Abortion Papers: Inside the Abortion Mentality. Idea Books, Post Office Box 4010, Madison, Wisconsin 53711. 1985, 192 pages.

[2] Looseleaf booklet entitled "Organizing for Action." Prepared by Vicki Z. Kaplan for the National Abortion Rights Action League, 250 West 57th Street, New York, N.Y. 10019. 51 pages, no date.

[3] Lana Clarke Phelan. "Abortion Laws: The Cruel Fraud." Speech presented at the First California Conference on Abortion at Santa Barbara, California in March of 1968 by the Society for Humane Abortion, Inc., San Francisco, California.

[4] Judith Pasternak, Reproductive Freedom Project, ACLU Foundation, New York City, in a letter to the New York Times Magazine. Also quoted in "Worth Quoting." National Right to Life News, February 3, 1983, page 19.

[5] "Let's Tell the Truth About Abortion." Pamphlet distributed by Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood. 1985, 22 pages. Fight Back Press, Post Office Box 61421, Denver, Colorado 80206. Pages 3 and 4.

[6] Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary. Springfield, Massachusetts: G&C Merriam Company, 1974, page 241.

[7] The Nobel Prize Committee for Physiology and Medicine. Quoted in the New York Times, October 8, 1991.

[8] Norman Mailer on the David Frost Show. Quoted in "Norman Mailer Speaks Out on Sex and AIDS." American Family Association Journal, March 1992, page 3.

[9] Faye Wattleton, former president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). How to Talk with Your Child About Sexuality. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1986, 150 pages. A detailed review of this book may be obtained from Jim Sedlak, Director, Stop Planned Parenthood (STOPP), Post Office Box 8, LaGrangeville, New York 12540.

[10] Peter Seinter. "The Ethics of Embryo Research." 1987 position paper published by the Centre for Human Bioethics, Monash University.

[11] "Abortion Clinic Staff Worker Gives Her Excuses." Life Advocate (publication of Advocates for Life Ministries, Portland, Oregon), April 1992, page 21.

[12] George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language." The Orwell Reader. New York, 1956, pages 355 and 356.

Further Reading and Resources: Preborn Human Life.

Fetal Models. 
Large pro-life groups, or those persons who do a lot of presentations on fetal development, may be interested in a high-quality set of eight fetal development models. These high-quality models are mounted on stands and include the uterus, placenta, and life-sized baby from four weeks to seven months. The baby models can be lifted out of the uterus. Information can be obtained from Life Cycle Books, Post Office Box 792, Lewiston, New York 14092-0792. Telephone: (416) 690-5860.

John Ankerberg and John Weldon. When Does Life Begin?: And 39 Other Tough Questions About Abortion
Brentwood, Tennessee: Wolgemuth & Hyatt Publishers, 1989, 252 pages. This book is one of the best primers the pro-life movement has, because it contains everything that a new activist needs to know. It has four logically laid-out sections: (1) the basic question on when human life begins; (2) answering pro-abort slogans; (3) a Biblical and theological analysis of abortion, and (4) what Christians and churches can do to stop the American Holocaust.

Larry Christenson. The Wonderful Way That Babies Are Made
Hardback. Order from: Life Issues Bookshelf, Sun Life, Thaxton, Virginia 24174. Telephone: (703) 586-4898. A good book for parent-guided sex education that treats the subject in the context of God's plan for us. The book includes beautiful illustrations and a short section on adoption. There are varying sizes of print and simplicity of language, so that small children and older ones may be taught out of the same book.

Marjorie A. England, M.D. Color Atlas of Life Before Birth: Normal Fetal Development
Year Book Publishers, Chicago, 1983. Oversize hardcover. Order from: Life Issues Bookshelf, Sun Life, Thaxton, Virginia 24174. Telephone: (703) 586-4898. This 224-page "coffee-table volume" is lavishly illustrated with color photographs and explains in detail the development of every organ of the unborn child through all stages of development. A bit pricey, but an invaluable tool for debate and for learning about just who it is we are fighting for. This book would make an outstanding pro-life gift to an individual or to a library or school.

Jerome LeJeune, M.D., Ph.D., Micheline M. Mathews-Roth, M.D., Hymie Gordon, M.D., and Herbert Ratner, M.D. "The Beginnings of Human Life." 
Decisive testimony before the Subcommittee on Separation of Powers of the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary on the subject of human life's beginnings by four of the leading geneticists in the world. Number 10 in a series of educational publications available from Americans United for Life, Inc., 230 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 915, Chicago, Illinois 60601.

Susan Schaeffer Macauley. Something Beautiful from God
Paperback. Order from: Life Issues Bookshelf, Sun Life, Thaxton, Virginia 24174, telephone: (703) 586-4898. A parent's read-aloud book that explains the miracle of life before birth. Includes beautiful photographs of babies in the womb, and treats the subjects of sex and babies in a reverent manner.

Bernard M. Nathanson, M.D. The Abortion Papers: Inside the Abortion Mentality
Idea Books, Post Office Box 4010, Madison, Wisconsin 53711. 1985, 192 pages. A former prolific abortionist exposes the anti-Catholic bigotry of the pro-abortion movement, discusses the role of the blatantly biased media in obtaining abortion on demand, and explores what the science of fetology has revealed about the unborn child. This enjoyable book is written in George Will's wry and acerbic style. Read especially Chapter 2, "Fetology for Pro-Life," pages 111 to 175. This chapter consists of a detailed and interesting history of fetology in the United States.

Bernard Nathanson, M.D. The Silent Scream
Order from: Life Issues Bookshelf, Sun Life, Thaxton, Virginia 24174. Telephone: (703) 586-4898. This is the book form of the film that provoked an international pro-abort scream of protest and a futile effort to discredit it. The book, like the film, describes a suction abortion from the baby's point of view. The book also includes pro-abortion rebuttals to the film The Silent Scream and the answers to those rebuttals.

Lennart Nilsson, M.D. A Child is Born: The Drama of Life Before Birth
Dell Publishing Company, 1977, soft cover, hardbound. This book is the sidewalk counselor's favorite. It includes riveting and beautiful color photos of the unborn child, which can be used in a most effective manner to quickly disprove the clinic escort's lies about fetal development.

Joan Lowery Nixon. Before You Were Born
Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington, Indiana, 46750. 28 pages, 1980. This is an excellent pro-life book that is basic enough to read to small children.

Sean O'Reilly, M.D. Bioethics and the Limits of Science
Christendom College Press, Route 3, Box 87, Front Royal, Virginia 22630. 1980, 176 pages. Reviewed by Robert E. Joyce, Ph.D. in the Fall 1980 issue of the International Review of Natural Family Planning, pages 274 to 276. Recommended for college students working in a Christian context. This book covers the definition of life and person, how technology has complicated the debate, the norms of bioethics, the definition of death, and a description of false and true humanist ethics and the foundation of Christian ethics and the authority of the Church.

Stephen Parker. Life Before Birth: The Story of the First Nine Months
Cambridge University Press, 1979; 48 pages. Order from: Life Issues Bookshelf, Sun Life, Thaxton, Virginia 24174, telephone: (703) 586-4898. Reviewed by John Hamlon on pages 170 and 171 of the Summer 1979 issue of the International Review of Natural Family Planning. Displays from the British Museum of Natural History are drawn to illustrate life before birth and prove beyond doubt that life begins at fertilization. This is an excellent book for parent-guided sex education, in that it includes line drawings of the human reproductive systems. An effective tool for educating people as to the humanity and beauty of the preborn. Children especially will love this book.

Scientists for Life (Edward C. Freiling, Ph.D., editor). The Position of Modern Science on the Beginning of Human Life
Order from: Life Issues Bookshelf, Sun Life, Thaxton, Virginia 24174. Telephone: (703) 586-4898. This book proves conclusively, using references from famous scientists, that human life begins at fertilization. This book cuts through the pro-abort's desperate attempts to obscure the issue and shows that science does indeed know when life begins! All of the book's material is based on fact, not opinion; logic, not emotion. comes with a study guide in question and answer format to assist teachers and discussion leaders.

Margaret Sheffield. Where Do Babies Come From? and Before You Were Born
Alfred A. Knopf, 1982 and 1984. Each book is 32 pages. Two more very good books for children as young as six years old.

Landrum Shettles, M.D., and David Rorvik. Rites of Life: The Scientific Evidence for Life Before Birth
Zondervan Corporation, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1983. Reviewed by Regis Walling in the Spring 1984 issue of the International Review of Natural Family Planning, pages 88 and 89.

Carol Van Klompenburg and Elizabeth Siitari, M.D. Loving Your Preborn Baby
Harold Shaw Publishers, Route 2, Box 152, Pella, Iowa 50219. Telephone: (515) 628-1307. 1990. Reviewed on page 54 of the Winter 1991 issue of ALL About Issues. Chapters on baby's development, meditations for expecting mothers, and how to choose a good name for baby.

Dr. and Mrs. J.C. Willke. Abortion: Questions and Answers
1985, 315 pages. Order from Hayes Publishing Company, 6304 Hamilton Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45224. Also available in state and local Right to Life offices. This book features extensive basic information on fetal development.

© American Life League BBS — 1-703-659-7111

This is a chapter of the Pro-Life Activist’s Encyclopedia published by American Life League.