Does life start at conception?

This is a question Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were asked at Messiah College in Pennsylvania over the weekend. Here are their answers, but what’s yours?

“I believe the potential for life begins at conception. For me, it is also not only about a potential life. It is about the other lives involved. … I have concluded … that individuals must be entrusted to make this profound decision, because the alternative would be such an intrusion of government authority that it would be very difficult to sustain in our kind of open society.”

“This is something that I have not, I think, come to a firm resolution on. I think it’s very hard to know what that means, when life begins. Is it when a cell separates? Is it when the soul stirs? … What I know, as I’ve said before, is that there is something extraordinarily powerful about potential life and that that has a moral weight to it that we take into consideration when we’re having these debates.”

56 Responses to “Does life start at conception?”

  1. 1 Xie_Ming
    April 14, 2008 at 13:53

    The question is ill-posed, because it has an agenda in mind, i.e. the abortion issue.

    Clinton says that she is pro-choice, Obama says that we should be careful about when to say that a fetus is a person.

    The question itself refers to human life, although this is not specified.

    “What is conciousness and when does it begin?” This is an unknown and it may apply to single celled organisms.

    Separate sperm and eggs also have the potential of human life.

    Perhaps one could work back from the criteria of “When does life end?”

    Some religious ideology claims that, when there is a choice, the life of the mother must be sacrificed in favor of the life of the fetus (because spinkling water on the fetus will enable it to enter into joyous eternal life).

  2. 2 Fomba Kassoh
    April 14, 2008 at 14:32

    A politicain vying for public office should not be asked that question. It advantages an opponent who already hold the view that life begins at conception. Apart from the potential for political gain, pondering over such questions solves non of our problems of the day. I am pro life but that is my personal decision.

  3. 3 selena
    April 14, 2008 at 14:34

    This is an issue what is fascinating and intriguing and not likely to command a definite answer in our time, unless the current paradigm undergoes a profound change.

    Perhaps any change could reflect the relationship of human life to other life. The question might be asked: does life itself have a beginning and an ending?

    The Bible says “Dust unto dust.” What does that mean?

    Could it mean that dust itself is life and no matter what happens life is life, in whatever form? If so, is the question even valid, except from the selfish desire to control what others do?

    The notion that the human life form is somehow more valuable than other life forms and that SOME human life is even more valuable than other human life has been the source of woes since the first human killed the first non human and realized that there was power in the action. It didn’t take long for the power to be extended to power over the conquered and the less fortunate.

    No matter what we do, no matter what we say, our view of life is “power and domination over” something or other.

    Our stories will not change. It is our history. But our questions must change, if we are ever to be able to answer the life question in a fair and equitable manner.

  4. April 14, 2008 at 14:35

    every single human being on earth had their life start at conception. so, the answer is an absolute and resounding YES! the male sperm and the female egg are living but they are not individual, unique human beings, which are distinguished by their own genetic dna makeup. as soon as the sperm and egg join, then the unique genetic code for an individual human being forms. it is at this point when that person’s individual life starts. pro-abortion individuals can argue this point but it is fruitless, because the science has been revealed and there are not exceptions. there is absolutely no justification for abortion based upon when human life begins. as to a “woman’s choice,” it is shameless to say that this justifies abortion. women have birth control and the power to say no! if they act like feral animals then it is no wonder pregnancy occurs. there is a very small minority of women who seek abortion for rape, which was not the result of risky behavior, and incest. however, should that innocent life be murdered? does the one heinous action force society to allow an even more heinous action? two wrongs do not make it right. if the woman can not be counseled to love her child and be forgiving of the its path to conception, then adoption should be the societal norm. with today’s medical technology, that unborn human being can be saved. invetrofertilization is a normal procedure. it surprises me that this type of medical procedure is not used to save the victims of abortion. who could then be transplanted into women who are desperate to have children.

  5. April 14, 2008 at 14:37

    Does life start at conception?

    Yes. Is it a human being at conception? No, but it of course does have the potential to become one.

    I’m sure we will have plenty of differing views on this one. And as always, to gain the most votes possible, the politicians have been as vague as possible.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  6. 6 George USA
    April 14, 2008 at 14:47

    There is really no debate biologically:

    when the two sets of chromosomes come together you have a new individual.

    That means when conception occurs and egg and ovum join you have a new individual that has never existed before.

    Yes, without any debate that is a new life at conception.

    (actually the sex act of depositing sperm may is not conception, but the moment the sperm joins the egg to be specific)

  7. April 14, 2008 at 14:49

    Xie_Ming is right about the agenda. Hillary and Obama answer the question with that agenda in mind.

    Given current scientific knowledge, it is not reasonable to assume that there is more to life than just chemical reactions. A living organism is just a machine that can replicate itself in the right environment. In the near future we may be able to make such machines artificially (artificial life, nano-machines etc. etc.).

    Clearly, the mere fact that a machine can replicate itself does not tell us much about whether or not it is conscious. Also, thinking of the brain as a machine, it should be clear that it is possible, in principle, to make a robot that is conscious.

    Usually, people will stick to their believes until new technologies appear that make their believes ridiculous. In this case we’ll probably have to wait 50 or 100 years when Robots demand legal rights 🙂

  8. 8 George USA
    April 14, 2008 at 14:50


    “sperm and ovum join”

    real time hacker changed it again

  9. 9 George USA
    April 14, 2008 at 14:56

    Hacking on this question-

    I can write an answer here but it is changed before it can be posted.

    This must be a crucial issue to the hacker.

    WHEN EGG and SPERM JOIN- you have a new, never before individual on earth.

    That is a fact, not an opinion.

  10. 10 Drake Weideman
    April 14, 2008 at 15:00

    Xie Ming is absolutely correct…this question was never important, or even verbalized, until the abortion ‘debate’ started.
    Historically this ‘question’ would have been answered practically….when the baby cries after a successful birth…nothing else mattered, and should matter today.
    The whole ‘question’ is merely a technique of the anti-abortion folks to stop abortions.
    What I don’t get is that terminating pregnancies is not a new phenomena…it has been used throughout history, and no legal, religious, philosophical or any other style of punishment will stop it. The only thing that civilized societies can do is to make it safe for those who choose to do it, and try to educate folks so that better sexual habits can decrease the numbers of abotions that do happen.
    ((Of course that means talking rationally about sex, especially with kids, and that is something that will probably never occur in the US))

  11. 11 Ana Milena, Colombia
    April 14, 2008 at 15:04

    I agree with you, Brett. The miracle of life has its start in the conception.
    Some people agree it’s just a number of cells joined together, but it’s absolutely false. When analysing these cells, it’s incredible to observe its complex and fascinating dynamics. There’s no other conclusion, but THAT is life!

    When justifying abortion with this issue, it’s just a mediocre excuse!

  12. 12 steve
    April 14, 2008 at 15:08

    Of course life starts at conception. Anyone who disagrees does it so they can live with themselves for having had an abortion or to appease someone else. To the people who say a fetus isn’t human are rather silly, and again, say it so they can feel better about themselves. I ask you, is there any chance that it can grow up to be a chicken? A pig? a cow? Nope. Is it a full grown person? Of course not. Just an earlier stage. It’s kind of sad that there even needs to be abortion these days, as there are so many ways to prevent it, but people will always be irresponsible and will want the easy way out. if you can live with yourself, more power to you.

  13. 13 steve
    April 14, 2008 at 15:29

    @ Drake:

    I have no problem with abortion beling legal, I think the world has too many people, HOWEVER, do you honestly think there could even be a concept of “love” if a mother can kill their own child? I would think you would have to have a limited or non existance conscience if you could have your own child killed because it is an inconvience for you. But hey, we have police forces becuase people don’t act in a civilized manner unless scared into it, we have never had a moment without war. Why don’t we stop pretending we are some form of superior being and accept ourselves for what we really are? Selfish animals, the only ones capable of being evil?

  14. 14 selena
    April 14, 2008 at 15:32

    Steve: “if you can live with yourself, more power to you.”

    The vast majority of abortions take place because the male contributor to the human life is nowhere to be seen.

    I have often wondered how they can live with themselves!!

  15. 15 steve
    April 14, 2008 at 15:37

    @ Selena

    “The vast majority of abortions take place because the male contributor to the human life is nowhere to be seen.

    I have often wondered how they can live with themselves!!”

    Then I would advise the vast majority of women who have abortions to stop having sex with thugs. Also, because a guy is gone is a “good reason” to terminate your offspring?

    Like I said, if you you can live with yourself for whatever selfish reason you have for having an abortion, more power to you. But let’s be honest, it’s all about selfishness. So long as you can admit that, I have no problem with what one does.

  16. 16 Katharina in Ghent
    April 14, 2008 at 15:40


    “invetrofertilization is a normal procedure. it surprises me that this type of medical procedure is not used to save the victims of abortion. who could then be transplanted into women who are desperate to have children.”

    (Sorry, I couldn’t figure out how to transform the quote into italics…)

    The problem is that abortions take place when the embryo is at least 5 weeks old, most of the time older. In any case, at this stage it is safely embedded in the wall of the mothers uterus, and if you remove it from there, it will never implant somewhere else. In vitro fertilization takes place when the sperm and the ovum are not even joined yet (hence the name), and a few days after successful fertilization, when the embryo is literally not much more than a clump of cells, the embryo will be inserted into the uterus where it will hopefully implant and grow to a healthy baby. So somewhere between 3 days and 5-? weeks lies the problem.

    While I generally agree that life begins at conception, many, many things can go wrong in the first few weeks of pregnancy. There’s a reason why you sometimes hear that God is the greatest abortionist, after all more than 20% of pregnancies end unvoluntearily before the first trimester.

    As a woman and mother, I do not particularly embrace abortion, but I can absolutely understand that there may be circumstances where the woman just does not see another way out of a difficult situation. I don’t think that any woman would take this decision lightly, and they may even suffer emotionally through this, but we HAVE TO BE ALLOWED TO HAVE THE CHOICE!!!

    Abortion has always been there and will never go away, but the only thing you get when you prohibit abortion are a lot of women who will go to the butcher with the rusty knife, and then possibly either die of never be able to have children, when it better suits them (ie because the potential father did not piss off when he sees the pregnancy test…)

  17. 17 John in Salem
    April 14, 2008 at 15:43

    An irrelevant question in the context of a presidential contest, but I have two possible answers~

    1. Unless you can point to a single atom or group of molecules in the human body that is unique from all the others in the periodic table I am forced to conclude that every particle in the universe is in some sense alive.

    2. Life begins when the kids are grown and the dog has died.

  18. 18 gary
    April 14, 2008 at 16:37

    Hello All,
    There certainly seems to be a lot of controversy about exactly when a fertilized egg becomes a human being. I have chosen the easy path: I know I am ignorant concerning the answer to this question; I believe killing people (of any age) is always murder; therefore, I must chose to err on the safest side possible. The result: I believe abortion is murder at any stage of pregnancy.

  19. 19 Drake Weideman
    April 14, 2008 at 16:52

    I said this in my previous post, but it obviously needs repeating….women have, throughout history, in all cultures and societies, taken the option of terminating a pregnancy.
    They have done this for as many reasons as there are women that have done it (in other words each has their own individual reason, specific to the incident)….but there have always been and always be ‘terminated’ pregnancies.
    Nobody can stop this, no religion, no law, nothing….all we can do is to make it safe.
    Now all of you perfect people out there can call this murder, you can call it abortion, you can call it what you want. You can say life starts at conception, or when folks start discussing having a baby, or when the child ultimately pops out.
    None of your words have the slightest meaning to some poor women trapped in a pregnancy that will change her life drastically for the worse. We can cry for the fact that she got into this, we can hate the man involved for doing this to her, we can wring our hands and beat our brows, but the bottom line is that it is that woman’s decision, her life, and anyone who stands back and tells her what she should and should not do, if full of, well, an unpleasant-smelling substance emitted out of one’s heinie.

  20. April 14, 2008 at 17:10

    a live sperm swims to an egg, the ‘life’ clearly is in the sperm ,[in fact millions of ‘lives’ in each ejeculation] [millions of lives ‘died ‘to create just one ‘life’]

    but there is life and there is life [a sperm is at best a basic ‘life'[but the holy texts are firmly against ‘wasting’ life [as in masster bation]which strictly speaking is mass genocide [even when the ‘correct’ reason [to create ‘life’ ]is the intent

    we are splitting hairs ,in calling all life sacred [forgive me god]ok in time the life of the sperm becomes a child ,but even at birth it has not the ”life” its mother or father has ,

    that we make the life we would call the mother feel guilt [losing her quality of life] in futile guilt ,because she aborted a few ‘cells’ is the heights of absurdity

    if you ate bread today thousands of lives died that you could mindlessly ‘eat’ [the wheat clearly had life till it was ground up into flour ,if you ate rice [thousands of lives died so you could eat your fried rice

    a potato mashed into mush or chips was living till it was coldly and midlessly murderd ,so your life could sustain[your ‘meat’ was living till it was murdered to make your meat [LET YE WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE]

    in opur gut are 100 trillion living microbes [taking mindlessly a simple antibiotic is mass murder ,to ruin a young xchilds [mothers life mindlessly and thoughtlessly for aborting life god alone can create ] is regretable [but if god can have grace why the heck cant we]

    let ye without sin not cast any stones]
    dont force others to bear a burden we mindlessly refuse to even acknowledge

    either all life is sacred [and we are ALL sinners]
    now lets stop the guilt trip

    why pick on others when our own hands have been permantly stained just by ‘living’

    [now you know why prayer is so important]
    till we knew better we couldnt do better
    yes all life is totally sacred
    but only god is perfect

  21. April 14, 2008 at 17:10

    Unless my Biology teacher was wrong, then life does NOT start at conception.

    If, on the other hand, he was right, then for Heaven’s sake life starts at conception. Oxygen is one of the basic factors that enhances life and this is transferred from the mothers blood and circulatory system via ammonitic fluid, etc to the baby via the placenta or is my Biology wrong? Someone should help throw more light…..

  22. 22 Janet T
    April 14, 2008 at 17:14

    Drake- you are my hero- thank you for stating things so eloquently
    Jaent in Oregon

  23. 23 viola anderson
    April 14, 2008 at 18:10

    A NEW life starts at conception. Who could argue about that? The key word is “starts.”

    Is that newly started life a human being? Yes. Because of the genetics involved, it will not become anything except a human being; therefore, it is a stage a potential human being goes through on its journey toward self-responsible life.

    The question is whether it is appropriate for anyone to destroy that life after it has started.

    I believe that the destruction of human beings at any stage of life is the real issue here and that focusing discussion only on when a fetus or a clump of cells becomes “human” is avoiding the real issue. Human beings clearly believe it is alright to kill other human beings for just cause, such as self-defense or war. Singling out the unborn as the sole human being who can never be killed, which is what the right-to-lifers want, is silly.

    Does a woman have the right to decide for herself the uses to which her body is put? If so, does she lose that right if she allows a man to impregnate her? Even if she wasn’t raped?

    Why does nobody want to discuss the real issue: Is all human life sacred and not to be deliberately destroyed? If that question is answered in the affirmative, then pregnancy should not be terminated. If it is answered in the negative, then bite the bullet and admit women have the right to destroy newly started life in their own bodies for just cause.

    Figure out what just cause is and then shut up when it is invoked.

    Maybe it’s just a lot easier to prevent women from terminating unwanted pregnancies than it is to prevent a country’s going to war or a state’s execution of a murderer.

    To be fair, there are people who work hard to eliminate war and executions. If these people oppose pregnancy terminations, they have earned the right to oppose abortion. Others do not.

    Even so, it is offensive to me to destroy a completely innocent creature. There is something in me that rebels against that notion.

    Perhaps we need a new set of criteria. I propose that the human race set out to discover when a fetus becomes “lovable.” That would be the point at which any random human being would look upon a fetus and want to nurture and protect it against all dangers. Prior to that, it should be host-creature’s choice whether to let it live.

  24. 24 selena
    April 14, 2008 at 18:28


    Everything is about selfishness! But don’t you think it is simplistic to assume that pregnancy is about women and thugs.

    The majority of instances of unwanted pregnancies are for reasons other than an association with thugs.

    But I will concede that men who have sex with women simply as another brain candy with no intention of accepting responsibility are a sorry lot.

    The really reason for men shirking their responsibility is that society places the burden of child care on women. The feminist revolution, which was supposed to change all that, instead had the opposite effect placing more of that burden on women’s shoulders.

    Whether we like to admit it or not, the lot of women has not changed much over time.

    With many pregnant women not much older than children themselves, carrying the burden of another life is a daunting task.

    When intelligent men such as yourself place the responsibility of unwanted children on women who sleep with thugs, I fear this issue will always put the rights of women last.

  25. 25 Xie_Ming
    April 14, 2008 at 18:29

    This question was posed to up the response count indicator.

    It becomes evident that the audienece is more intelligent than the initiator.

    Let us have people propose topics that can utilize the brain power available!

  26. 26 steve
    April 14, 2008 at 18:33

    @ Selena:

    Are you saying women aren’t responsible for their actions in who they choose to sleep with and not using birth control? Remember, only women can get pregnant. That means YOU have to rely on YOURSELF to make your own decisions. If the guy refuses to use condoms, then refuse to have sex with him. If I had some special power, like super strength, I would have to realize this and take appropriate precautions. It’s not wise to pass on responsibility for your actions onto other people. If you will not be responsible for yourself, who else will? Just say no.

  27. 27 Sandra Patricia, Colombia
    April 14, 2008 at 19:47

    Hi, there! 🙂

    Does life start at conception? Absoutely YES. This answer is out of discussion. Brett has already said that, at conception, there’s a potential human being. Yet, there’s LIFE. And who are we to decide who deserves to live or die? People who aprove abortion say that women have the right to decide over their body, so who cares about the rights and LIFE of the little creature? Vain excuses are not enough to change a fact: abortion is murder, it does not matter the circumstances it happens.

    It’s also true what some of you say that politicians usually go around the bush just to say nothing. Here’s the reason: It’s not convenient to say their point of view because if their answer “no” to this question, it would be a scandal. If they say “yes”, desperate women and men would start to pressure for the aproval of abortion, and it’s not good when they are in campaign… Let’s see what happens when they get the power.

  28. April 14, 2008 at 19:50

    This is one point on which I have always sought to disagree with Democrats. As for Democrats, they are a wavering bunch rather preferin to let the matter be an issue of choice. Conservative Republicans come down firm on it and it will be interesting to hear what McCain thinks of this topic. Personally, I believe in the sanctity of human life and when the sperm fuses with a female egg, life begins.

  29. 29 Sandra Patricia, Colombia
    April 14, 2008 at 19:55

    Steve and Selena:

    A baby is done by two people, man and woman. If you’re a correct person, consider it would be selfish to say that only women are responsible of their pregnancy because they did not say “no” in the moment. It’s both’s responsibility. Period. Man and woman need to have control over their body and impulses – especially women, anyway. And I completely agree with Steve when he says you should never stay with a guy that uses no protection, but the same applies to men who want to stay with women who don’t protect themselves. The baby is a part of both!

  30. 30 Katharina in Ghent
    April 14, 2008 at 19:56

    Oh Steve, if life were only so simple… Condoms burst, pills get forgotten, the world is not just black and white. What I can’t understand is how the same people, who declare an embryo a sacred life form, can demand death sentences! Either all life is sacred, or none. As long as the USA justifies killing criminals who possibly were never given a real chance in their life (ie a lot of them suffer from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, guess a mommy doesn’t necessarily have to be a good mommy just because she’s having the baby…), your country has no moral superiority. (But we knew that all along, anyway.)

  31. April 14, 2008 at 20:11

    Life begins at conception but those who favour abortion want to destroy life and it sets a precedence to destroy all life.

  32. 32 selena
    April 14, 2008 at 20:15

    No Steve, I am not saying that women aren’t responsible for their actions. But I am saying the young girls/children are not responsible for their actions.

    Society gives young girls the message that the only thing they possess is their sexuality. They have no idea what they are getting into when they become involved (as objects) in societal games.

    For that matter, neither do the men. Society is all about sex. For goodness sake, you can’t sell a candy without bringing sex into it. Can young girls or boys be faulted for raised expectations?

    When society takes the sexual act out of the socialization process and assumes responsibility for the children it encourages woman to bring to term, then we can begin a serious discussion about the sanctity of human life.

  33. 33 Josh W
    April 14, 2008 at 20:22

    To John in Salem
    Diamond and graphite are very different, yet they are made of the same atoms.
    This is sometimes called the homo faber fallacy, in that you concern yourself only with taking things apart and putting them back together, not so much in managing their interactions. The properties of molicules are in their interrelations, and the same can be said for life. Even to a complete materialist, each of us is more a pattern than we are the atoms that obey it. The atoms come and go but a definate structure remains. So life and even a soul can have meaningful existance in a materialistic world, being words for a set of self-reinforcing properties of emergent patterns. Ever wonder why christianity has a resurection before the dead are judged? Couldn’t they just have gathered up their “immortal souls”?
    More directly, it seems to me that life exists in the sperm and egg before conception, and after conception that life is genetically unique, and so perhaps made new. It’s also obviously human, at least at a cellular scale. That life may end for all sorts of reasons, indirectly or directly related to the parents behaviour. When those are not good reasons, we should try to avoid it. Can there be good reasons? Well those who believe in God have ways of justifying natural occurances, can those be applied to natural abortions? If so there is a line of reasoning to apply to consciously chosen abortions, if not, we should try to stop them all. Every day we make choices that decide whether people live or die, we should be conscious of the effects of our choices, so we can make better ones.

  34. 34 Sandra Patricia, Colombia
    April 14, 2008 at 20:27

    Hi, again! 🙂

    I agree with Katharina: murder, abortion and capital punishment are the same thing. The only difference is that in the case of death sentence the person is punished for something he did, but it’s not enough justification: in all the three cases we are taking rights we’ve never been given.

    Is it fair to give capital punishment to a baby just for one (or both) of his/her parents ‘ irresponsibility?

  35. 35 Sandra Patricia, Colombia
    April 14, 2008 at 20:28

    Hi, again! 🙂

    I agree with Katharina: murder, abortion and capital punishment are the same thing. The only difference is that in the case of death sentence the person is punished for something he did, but it’s not enough justification: in all the three cases we are taking rights we’ve never been given.

    Is it fair to give capital punishment to a baby just for one (or both) of his/her parents ‘ irresponsibility?

  36. 36 steve
    April 14, 2008 at 20:33


    YOu act like the US is one entity. There are 50 different states with 50 different views ont he death penalty. Not all states have the death penalty. Japan has abortion and the death penalty. Why did you single out the US?

    “given a real chance” in life? Nobody is given anything unless they are filthy rich. THe rest of us have to work for what we have. It’s not easy, but if I failed, I still doubt I would be killing people. Fetal alcohol syndrome? What about people born during the middle ages when water was so dangerous people only drank alcohol? What does the US or any moral superiority have to do with this topic anyways?

    Condoms break, yes, but that’s rare. Pills get forgotten? Is that a valid excuse? My grandfather was on medications that if he forgot to take them, he would die. So guess what? He would always take it! How about REMEMBER to take the pill? Or better yet, use a condom too? There are always excuses. I’m really shocked about how irresponsible people can be. Just think, if you’re gonna be irresponsible about something, it probably shouldn’t be something high stakes. Like be irresponsible about making sure you fully closed the dish washer, but not about something that can get one pregnant. Just a bit of unsolicited advice.

  37. April 14, 2008 at 21:00

    From our Christiam up bringing, most of us were thought at sunday schools and in most cases public schools, before seperation of church and government, that; before we were born, “God knows each and every one of us”. I will agree with Mr. Obama, that it is difficult to arrive at a conclussion as to when life begins much more when it ends. What we need is a divine intervention as when LIFE STARTS. At the moment, I believe that a woman should have the right to make her CHOICE based on medical and on grounds of RAPE.

  38. 38 Will Rhodes
    April 14, 2008 at 21:05

    The potential of life starts at conception – where life actually begins is still up for debate.

    Not all fertilised eggs become a baby.

  39. 39 Nancy
    April 14, 2008 at 21:20

    I prefer to celebrate the conception of my children and grandchildren — it’s obvious that they did not “become” on the date of their birth. By the time they were born, they’d been learning and developing for nine months already.

  40. 40 Syed Hasan Turab
    April 14, 2008 at 21:54

    Concept always based on available society, religions, values, & pholisphy. Constant agreement & disagreement is human nature it is secret of human sucess & provide us an status of “LORD OF CREATIONS” too.
    Concept always transform according to available society, culture, race & requirements.
    The day concept got stagnant & stuckup sitution that will be the death of humanity.

  41. 41 Neal H
    April 15, 2008 at 00:44

    I resent that this question (not this blog as such but the question society poses as an entity) is so shaped by religious moralism.

    Take religion out of the consideration unless the people directly involved consider that to be an important factor to them. If all the people involved directly with a given pregnancy happen to be non-religious, then it would be unfair for them to be constrained by laws shaped by religious zeal.

    Take out religious passions and we have only two real competing or cooperating interests: the parent(s)/physician unit, and the governmental interest in protecting its citizens from harm.

    The government should have no real interest in a potential life that cannot survive except as an organ of the woman’s body. I would find a reasonable State’s interest (from my layman’s perspective) at whatever point that developing fetus could reasonably be viable outside of the mother’s body, as a surviving new member of the society with which the State is concerned. That would be probably around the 3rd trimester, when most premature births can live.

    Parent(s)/physician should hold the trump card though. In the end, it’s no one else’s business. You are all invited to hold religious opinions on the matter but not to meddle in the lives of others because you think God made you smarter.

  42. 42 Laura in Minneapolis
    April 15, 2008 at 02:29

    Oh selena, I always knew I liked you.

    I would generally pounce on this (shocked, aren’t you? Me? Talking about a gender issue?!) but there’s an internal struggle on this one.

    It’s one of the issues that I can really see the other side of the argument. Yes, the possibility of a human being begins at contraception. I like to think I would never make the choice of abortion if faced with the situation. But that’s the tricky part- I haven’t. Just because I wouldn’t make the choice to terminate a pregnancy… should I be able to tell someone else they can’t?

    On a lighter note, there’s a funny bumper sticker out there that reads,

    “If you can cut off my reproductive rights, can I cut off yours?”
    Obviously castration is a bit over the top…

    But it sort of has a point. As steve pointed out, pregnancy happens to the woman’s body, no matter what role the man plays. Therefore- should it not be her choice what happens in her own body? I personally think it is both party’s decision (just as parenting is both party’s responsibility). Ah, if only reality worked like that. Perhaps someday it will?

    Laura in Minneapolis

  43. 43 Sandra Patricia, Colombia
    April 15, 2008 at 03:49

    Hi! 🙂

    Well, Syed, you’re right when you say that concepts change acording to the society and time we live in. However, thanks to Science today we have new facts and we’re able to understand the pregnancy process. Unfortunately, today’s values and principles are not enough to understand how precious life is, and we look for justifications and own conveniences. Also, people have lost respect for God, their neighbour and life.

    Moses and Will, let me ask you: Does life start at conception (still if there’s no human being yet)? If so, is abortion murder? Is there any justification to kill an innocent creature? When women say they have the right to make the choice, why do they think only about themselves? What about the creature’s rights? 😦
    “I was raped, then I’ll kill him/her”. Is that fair?

  44. 44 Sandra Patricia, Colombia :D
    April 15, 2008 at 07:40

    Hi, everyone! 🙂

    Syed is right when he says that the beliefs we have may change according to our culture, time and society. However, today we have scientific facts that prove that a foetus is a LIVING thing, even if it’s not a human being yet (well, what else could it be 🙂 ?). If we look much deeper the process and evolution that the creature has, we should only get amazed and feel grateful with God. Then why should a woman – and even a man – consider to destroy its life just because they have the right of choice? Isn’t it just an innocent creature? Then why do they condemn a baby to death without any crime charged? That’s too sad!

    Greetings and hugs from Colombia!

  45. April 15, 2008 at 11:05

    Does life start at conception?

    I would hope so or no one could exist.

  46. 46 steve
    April 15, 2008 at 12:31

    @ Laura

    “But it sort of has a point. As steve pointed out, pregnancy happens to the woman’s body, no matter what role the man plays. Therefore- should it not be her choice what happens in her own body? I personally think it is both party’s decision (just as parenting is both party’s responsibility). Ah, if only reality worked like that. Perhaps someday it will?”

    In Britain recently, there was a girl that died that wished to leave a kidney to her mother, who was ill. The government refused, because they have a donation waiting list, so the mother doesn’t get the organ despite the wishes of the decedent. It’s a fairly common legal rule that you have no ownership of your body or your organs, hence why selling organs can remain illegal. You can be forced to get vaccinated, etc… So why should abortion be treated differently? It’s a double standard. If I cannot choose to sell my kidney, why can you kill your kid, who isn’t even part of your body, just happens to be inside of it. Having your cake and eating it too. Do you have problems that your “decision” can force a man into paying child support, yet he has absolutely no say in whether you have an abortion or not?

  47. 47 steve
    April 15, 2008 at 12:33

    @ Sandra:

    “When women say they have the right to make the choice, why do they think only about themselves? What about the creature’s rights? 😦
    “I was raped, then I’ll kill him/her”. Is that fair?”

    Me me me, I I I, Me me me. welcome to the 20th and 21st centuries. People care about nothing other than what they want, so if it means killing someone, so be it. Who cares about the “creature’s rights” it’s all about what I want!

    Sick world, full of selfish, sick people.

  48. 48 selena
    April 15, 2008 at 14:54

    Lee Roy Sanders Jr. you made me smile.

    Laura, thank you for your response. I like you too. 🙂

    The things you have said speak to a very charged and delicate issue.

    You are so right! Those of us who have never been faced with an abortion decision have no idea what we would do if we did have to look abortion square in the face.

    What interests me is the black and white nature of responses. No matter what men say, they have no idea of the terror and hopelessness women feel when they are pregnant and alone. But the other side is we, women, have no idea of the terror a man feels when he realizes that he will have to look after a woman and a child after a brain candy experience that meant nothing to him.

    Yet, the woman has always shouldered the greatest burden. No matter what, she cannot run away, unless to the *crazy* house.

    Which brings me back to society… how can we, responsible individuals that we are, let society make objects out of us all, in the name of profits for the few?

    Last night before going to sleep, I switched channels on the TV and came across an account of Ivana Trump’s latest wedding.

    It fascinated me. Here is a 59 year old woman who has dead human tissue in her lips, a strange face lift, silicone breasts and who knows what else? And she paid $100,000 for the flowers alone, while children are starving…

    Think about it for a moment. Why would a woman do this to herself? But the more important question is: why do we encourage her behavior by thinking there is something substantive in her life and actions? Why do we encourage our young women to emulate this type of *beauty*?

    As long as we promote this lifestyle to our children as something desirable, we can make no judgments on abortion, in my opinion. Who, in their right mind, would encourage bringing a life into this craziness of this world?

    Ever optimistic, I think we can change course. But we all need to step out of the accepted way of being to do it.

  49. 49 I Williamson
    April 15, 2008 at 17:12

    American politics should focus more on the people who are here in this world than pandering yet again to some men (mainly men) obsessing about having absolute power over women, point. Isn’t it about time people in America and some other countries finally came to terms that as long as this less than perfect system of gestation is the only one available then women are going to terminate and it’s been the same thoughout history. People are selfish because they have to survive, it’s an instinct, without it we would die.

    Animals do it too. If there are not enough resources available they often kill off their offspring. Women who are alone, boxed into poverty and struggling to look after just themselves are no different to a wild animal that is fighting to survive an ecological event. Women have the right to chose and no amount of micro analysing is going to change that, even if it is illegal. The vast majority of abortions are performed because the man has done a runner or pushed for it anyway.

  50. 50 steven/oregon
    April 15, 2008 at 17:13

    My question that have not seen purposed on here yet is. What makes human life so special? Is it because some people believe a make-believe spagetti monster in the sky (my opinion of what god looks like) made us? What about retarded fetuses should someone be forced to keep a baby with downs syndrome even though they could never afford the care it needed?

    I cannot fathom forcing a woman whom i do not know anything about (her sitituation etc.) To me reagardless of when life begins (my opinion is when the life form begins to think this includes animals) it is a womans decision to keep the baby or get it sucked out with a vacum.

  51. 51 viola anderson
    April 15, 2008 at 17:45

    Another thing: In addition to Steve’s concern that men get unfairly stuck with lifetime financial support of children they don’t want after the aptly-named “brain-candy sex” (Love it!) , some men are unfairly denied the opportunity of accepting that lifetime financial burden if the recipient of their sperm is the sole person who is allowed to decide the life or death of the resulting fetus. I cite the case of my deceased brother who never married but did have relationships with women, at least one of which resulted in pregnancy which the woman aborted with no consultation with my brother at all. My brother was a fine writer (poet) who left moving evidence of his grief at being denied a chance to father a child that he helped start but the mother thought should not have a chance to live, laugh, love, dance, and sing.

    My partner always tells me there are two sides to every issue. I always reply that issues are round and have many more than two sides.

  52. 52 Virginia Davis
    April 15, 2008 at 19:08

    For me, life begins at conception. Learning I was pregnant, I knew I would give my (first and only) child up for adoption.

    Much later I had an ectopic pregnancy – the fetus grew in one of my tubes and I did not know and lived on milk that July and was blissful. Until the pain and the necessary ending. Later in a poem, I call that “child” “Angel because it was never meant to walk the earth.

    Someone I know believes life begins with a child’s first breath.

    The world is mysterious and I imagine Steven and Selena in a paint ball forest.

    Virginia in Oregon

  53. 53 Laura in Minneapolis
    April 15, 2008 at 19:56

    “Sick world, full of selfish, sick people.”

    My goodness, we live in very different worlds. I hearby send you a blog-hug, as it seems like you could use one.

    Always optimistic,
    Laura in Minneapolis

  54. 54 Tatyana
    April 16, 2008 at 11:49

    They say, that life eternal is.
    We don’t know of it.
    How the first human being appearred,
    Who can explain a bit?
    ‘Life at conception starts’ we say
    I think that it is so.
    We’ve no right to stop,if done
    It’s obvious, I know.

  55. 55 Lameck Yonah Jr
    April 23, 2008 at 11:05

    Hi, Lameck in Dar es salaam Tanzania.
    If you a religious or scientist person the answer will be the same to me: that life starts at conception, although it we count ages after birth.
    I once read a book about human attitudes/behavior: it was said that some behaviors people adopt during pregnancy, let me tell one thing, I have a friend(a girl) who in her entire life she has always hated men, after some discussions with her I came to realize that her mother was abandoned by a man who impregnanted her. From there you can see that her mother had a tendecy of hating that man during pregnancy, this directly was experienced by unborn baby!!!

    So to my point of view, this to me sends a message that life start at conception!!!

  56. 56 Dennis
    May 12, 2008 at 16:47

    @ George USA

    I agree with you theory totally…..

    Dennis from Madrid, U.S.A.

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