Three Bad Arguments against Life Beginning at Conception
by Amy K. Hall
A recent article on Romper argues “3 Ways Science Proves Life Doesn’t Begin at Conception,” and the arguments are not good ones. To begin with, the author is not actually arguing that embryonic humans are not alive (this is clear, since she also argues we should be allowed to kill them). Rather, she’s arguing that these reasons prove embryonic human beings are not valuable human life.
To test whether her reasons prove embryonic human beings are not valuable—i.e., 1) many embryos die, 2) many embryos have genetic abnormalities, and 3) embryos can’t survive without receiving sustenance from another human being—I’ve slightly adjusted the words of the three points in her article in order to apply her value-determining principles to newborns. Since we’re not used to hearing these arguments made about newborns, you’ll hear them with fresh ears, which should provide some clarity. See if you find them convincing.
1. A Newborn Can Turn into a Toddler—But That Doesn’t Mean It Will
Regardless of your viewpoint regarding newborns, it does make some sense that anti-infanticide advocates consider birth as the beginning of life. Once a baby is born, it has the chance to eventually grow into a toddler, who theoretically could become capable and self-aware and, thus, would be considered a person with all the associated rights. But as ethicists promoting after-birth abortion have pointed out, birth shouldn’t be considered the beginning of life, because, well, biology is much more complicated and flawed than our ideological opinions might like it to be.
Protecting the rights of newborns might seem like a good way to ensure they grow into toddlers, but the idea doesn’t even sort of align with the medical reality because there are newborns that never become toddlers, but instead die in various, natural ways…
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