When does human life begin?

When does human life begin?

hyacinthgirl hyacinthgirl
So the opposite side of the pro-choice coin, and one that is usually glossed over. At what point does human life actually begin?



I consider myself a practical pro-lifer, and as I'm not particularly religious, I 'm pro-life as a matter of bio-ethics and libertarian ideals not to take the life of another human being, because I honestly do not know when life begins. I tend to lean towards when an independent brain is formed, but I am worried that reveals my own bias towards intelligence as a basis for humanity, and that that could be used as an excuse to remove human rights from those deemed mentally unfit.
Answers (private voting - your screen name will NOT appear in the results):
At conception
32  (34%)
Once there is an independent brain
9  (10%)
Once it is recognizably human
1  (1%)
Once it is capable of survival outside the mother
35  (38%)
Once the entire body is out of the mother
1  (1%)
Once the first breath is drawn
2  (2%)
I honestly don't know
9  (10%)
At some point in between the options listed
4  (4%)
Total votes: 93
Poll is closed
09/13/2012
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Ansley Ansley
No one will ever be able to convince me that as long as the fetus is in the mother that she has no right to determine whether or not to terminate the pregnancy.

I'm not talking about throwing herself down the stairs, I'm talking legal and medically safe abortion.
09/13/2012
SneakersAndPearls SneakersAndPearls
I really can't say for sure, so I stay away from the concept of abortion. I consider it to be around the time of implantation to be on the safe side. I do know that there was a baby that was born, and survived, at 21 weeks. That's a about half way through pregnancy.

I just could never wrap my mind around the idea that it's just a thing inside the mother, but a baby once on the outside, even if they are the same gestational age. It makes no sense to me. Life can't possibly be based on location.
09/13/2012
Mwar Mwar
This comes with the idea that life is sacred. Is life truly sacred? As human beings, we want to think so and believe this with all we are. Believing life is sacred kind of gives us more of a purpose, doesn't it? The idea that life, and being alive is sacred is comforting for many people.

But it isn't. People kill. They fight wars. They kill if the other person doesn't agree with them. They kill for monetary gain. They kill because it's convenient. And some kill because they like it.

We are all human beings. And in striving for purpose, we have found in investment in sanctity of life. Yet, as human beings, we have found a way to twist such a moral idea to justify more horrible actions.

This is independent of my views on abortion. It's just an observation of human nature.
09/13/2012
Geogeo Geogeo
Quote:
Originally posted by hyacinthgirl
So the opposite side of the pro-choice coin, and one that is usually glossed over. At what point does human life actually begin?



I consider myself a practical pro-lifer, and as I'm not particularly religious, I 'm pro-life as a ...
Interesting point about independent brain and mentally unfit human rights. I'm pro choice myself.
09/13/2012
Khanner Khanner
The thing that comes to mind when people refer to "human life" is "human consciousness," or sapience, which can not really be achieved in the womb.

I would consider a fetus to probably really start to have living value at about 24 weeks, taking into account both viability and neural development. What helped me form this opinion was data from the British government concerning the medical ethics of abortion which you can read here: (pdf). Section 2, from page 17 on is particularly relevant here.

Despite my opinions, however, I believe that the beginning of life and its value is such a subjective and philosophical argument that it should stay out of law, except that abortion should be legal, safe, and accessible.
09/13/2012
Beck Beck
I believe life starts are conception. However, that doesn't make me against abortion. I believe in the women's right to choose.
09/13/2012
Ryuson Ryuson
I believe that it is a separate human being on conception because, though it is attached to the mother, it has a different genetic makeup. It has the full 26 chromosomes of a human, and they are entirely unique to itself.

While that is where I stand morally, I know that if we outlaw abortion women are just going to take terrible drugs until they miscarry or have it 'fixed' in a shady clinic in Mexico. I believe in life at conception, but for the good of society I don't believe it should be outlawed.
09/13/2012
sweetiejo sweetiejo
Quote:
Originally posted by Beck
I believe life starts are conception. However, that doesn't make me against abortion. I believe in the women's right to choose.
I like this view A lot, I fully agree with you.
09/13/2012
amazon amazon
The notion that life begins at conception is so ridiculous.
09/13/2012
FairyPrincess FairyPrincess
Quote:
Originally posted by hyacinthgirl
So the opposite side of the pro-choice coin, and one that is usually glossed over. At what point does human life actually begin?



I consider myself a practical pro-lifer, and as I'm not particularly religious, I 'm pro-life as a ...
I agree that it is when an independent brain is formed. This is not to say that people with defecits are not as "human" or not as "conscious" as people without them. Instead I'm saying that humanity is defined by consciousness, which according the the scientific community is a physical entity of the brain. Even if you are deaf dumb and blind, you are still conscious. You can still perceive the world around you, make rational decisions, plan, and you still have emotions. To me consciousness is what makes us alive, and one is only conscious when he/she can first begin sensing the external world in any way (which happens surprisingly early in the womb).
09/13/2012
Leather & Lace Leather & Lace
Conception
09/13/2012
Ganconagh Ganconagh
At conception, two LIVING cells unite to form a new offspring. So, the whole "when does life begin" argument is a false, or artificial, argument. From that moment of conception, it has its own unique, individual DNA identity...a human DNA identity. It will not grow into anything but a human.

The real debate is when does that life deserve the same legal protection as a born individual.

And, no, I am not a hardcore "pro-lifer."
09/13/2012
deltalima deltalima
Quote:
Originally posted by hyacinthgirl
So the opposite side of the pro-choice coin, and one that is usually glossed over. At what point does human life actually begin?



I consider myself a practical pro-lifer, and as I'm not particularly religious, I 'm pro-life as a ...
Life, begins at conception.
09/13/2012
Lildrummrgurl7 Lildrummrgurl7
I'm completely pro-choice and I think that a fetus could be considered alive once it passes the threshold of viability. If it can not survive outside of the womb, it can't be considered "alive"
09/13/2012
FairyPrincess FairyPrincess
Quote:
Originally posted by amazon
The notion that life begins at conception is so ridiculous.
Well not really in the true sense of the word "life." Bacterium are alive by the definitions of life. Fungi are alive. A zygote is a form of life. However, the question is when does this "life" become distinctly "human" and deserve rights is different. So "life" by definition begins before conception, really, since every cell is distinctly alive.

I think what you probably meant is that the notion that a zygote deserves the same rights as a fully fledged human is ridiculous, because in reality there is no question whether or not the cell is technically alive by the scientific definition.
09/13/2012
Missmarc Missmarc
Quote:
Originally posted by hyacinthgirl
So the opposite side of the pro-choice coin, and one that is usually glossed over. At what point does human life actually begin?



I consider myself a practical pro-lifer, and as I'm not particularly religious, I 'm pro-life as a ...
Once it is capable of survival outside the mother
09/13/2012
Gunsmoke Gunsmoke
Quote:
Originally posted by Missmarc
Once it is capable of survival outside the mother
I tend to agree but I assume you mean with medical intervention.

After about 18 weeks a premature birth has a 50% chance of survival. At about 24 weeks a fetus is considered viable - meaning it is almost sure to survive with normal care.

We go to extraordinary measures to save adults with a far lower chance of success. Shouldn't we do at least as much as that for mew life?
09/14/2012
Gunsmoke Gunsmoke
Quote:
Originally posted by Ansley
No one will ever be able to convince me that as long as the fetus is in the mother that she has no right to determine whether or not to terminate the pregnancy.

I'm not talking about throwing herself down the stairs, I'm talking legal ...
It's a good thing the law is more restrictive. Dismembering a viable fetus (post 24 weeks) fully capable of experiencing the pain of its death - prior to delivery is gruesome and uncalled for.
09/14/2012
Rey Rey
oooh slippery topic. i vote 'at conception'
09/14/2012
Upyourreviews Upyourreviews
Quote:
Originally posted by hyacinthgirl
So the opposite side of the pro-choice coin, and one that is usually glossed over. At what point does human life actually begin?



I consider myself a practical pro-lifer, and as I'm not particularly religious, I 'm pro-life as a ...
Touchy subject, and I think all arguments have their points. However, every woman should have a right to do what they want with their bodies.
09/14/2012
SneakersAndPearls SneakersAndPearls
Quote:
Originally posted by Upyourreviews
Touchy subject, and I think all arguments have their points. However, every woman should have a right to do what they want with their bodies.
Devil's advocate: I think the argument is that if the baby is a life, then the woman is not only choosing for herself, but for someone else.
09/14/2012
sweetpea12 sweetpea12
Quote:
Originally posted by hyacinthgirl
So the opposite side of the pro-choice coin, and one that is usually glossed over. At what point does human life actually begin?



I consider myself a practical pro-lifer, and as I'm not particularly religious, I 'm pro-life as a ...
Honestly I don't know, but I do know I am totally pro choice
09/15/2012
squire squire
I can't honestly day, but the idea of a fertilized egg = a child, as rational for outlawing abortion, doesn't work for me at all. To me there is a huge difference between a cell and a mother pregnant at 36 weeks, plus I don't have a uterus so I figure I should leave much of that distinction to those who have them.
09/15/2012
P'Gell P'Gell
I refuse to argue about abortion, but I do believe that if one wasn't born with the equipment to carry a fetus, one has little say in what those of us who DO have that equipment get to do with it.

Medically speaking "Pregnancy" doesn't occur until implantation. So, medically "conception" (the meeting and joining of sperm and egg) is simply NOT a "pregnancy." You are not "pregnant" until the fertilized egg is implanted into the uterine wall. That usually takes between 6 to 14 days after the infusion of semen into the uterus. So, there is a time where there is a fertilized egg, but it isn't implanted. So, no pregnancy. In fact, many times eggs will be fertilized and simply not implant. THAT isn't called a miscarriage (miscarriage only occurs if a PREGNANCY occurs, which requires implantation.)

Also, Fertility Clinics have THOUSANDS of fertilized eggs, sitting in Freezer tanks. Are those tanks "pregnant?" (Why not? "Conception" has taken place. Something must be "pregnant?" shouldn't it be?

Are you aware that a good 80% of those fertilized eggs (conceptions) will NOT become a fetus and will be "wasted" usually intentionally? Most will either be injected into a uterus and NOT become implanted, or be allowed to defrost, if the donors of the egg and sperm decide not to use them or are done having children. Is defrosting these eggs, which is done EVERY DAY an "abortion?" Not medically speaking, it isn't.

Also, I hope that most who call themselves "Pro-Life" know that virtually all hospitals, even "Christian" hospitals, CANNOT attempt to save a fetus born before viability. That is usually any fetus less than 23 weeks of gestation, OR older, if unhealthy. This is done every day in hospitals. Yes, we've all heard of those babies who were 21 weeks of gestation and "saved" (usually at a Catholic hospital, most of which are trying to push the age of viability further and further back.)

I was witness to the arrival and subsequent survival of one such "21 week fetus". He lived... he also racked up over 2 million dollars in NICU bills (this was when insurance agencies were allowed to put "Caps" on policies, and he "Maxed out" his insurance before he hit his due date.) As he was born breathing and fighting, an exception as made and he was brought to the NICU, most others born at 21 weeks are kept comfortable and usually expire in a few hours, if they are not born already dead. He also has myriad intellectual and physical issues.... and it's been discovered that he was most likely more like 24 weeks of gestation, not 21, as the hospital (which I worked for at the time) reported at the time of his birth.

The crux of this is that he WASN'T a 21 week fetus (I learned this recently from a physician friend of mine, who, along with others who work for this hospital, did some research into the case) but the hospital is still claiming they "saved" a 21 week baby, when the truth is most likely that the mother didn't know when she became pregnant and he was MUCH older and already past the date of viability.

Just saying. From what I've seen and learned (and I've worked in Maternal Infant care for many years) is that 22 or 23 weeks is about the dividing line between "viable" and not viable.... and that isn't about to change any time soon. The last significant effort in micro preterm birth strategy was the advent of artificial lung surfactant, which has improved micro preterm babies survival rate greatly. But, surfactant has been around for about 20 years, and we haven't had many advanced of note since then.

There is NO "artificial womb" nor is one in research or production. Just a plain old Isolette, used for the past 60 years or so. Yes, it's been improved, but there's nothing to say that any fetus born before 23 weeks has any chance of survival (and that's pushing it, as even here the survival rate is less than 40% and the permanent damage to the infant rate is nearly 100%)

So NO "artificial wombs" on the horizon, and the date of viability is NOT going to change, most likely in our lifetime, if ever.
09/15/2012
P'Gell P'Gell
Quote:
Originally posted by Gunsmoke
I tend to agree but I assume you mean with medical intervention.

After about 18 weeks a premature birth has a 50% chance of survival. At about 24 weeks a fetus is considered viable - meaning it is almost sure to survive with normal care. ...
Gun, there have been NO 18 week fetuses survive. At 24 weeks, the survival rate is about 40-70%! 23 weeks is the age of viability and hospitals are not supposed to attempt to save a fetus below the age of viability. (Which is variable, but has a bottom age of at LEAST 23 wks of gestation.)

I work in Maternal Infant Care. I've seen that so-called "21 week baby" and worked WITH him. It was a HOAX perpetrated (on all of us, including the staff) with full knowledge that he was more likely a small 24 week baby. (The sole intent of this hoax was pushing back the "age of viability" in an effort to make abortion more and more difficult to obtain. I'm rather disgusted that I was actually fooled by these efforts at the time. I thank the MD who did some of the investigation to discover that this child was indeed above the agreed upon age of viability, although his parents have never been told that he wasn't a 21 week fetus.

NO 18 week pregnancies survive if born.

From a study by Moore and Pursaulde, fetal life specialists said, in a peer reviewed article in "The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology": There is no sharp limit of development, age, or weight at which a fetus automatically becomes viable. According to studies, 20 to 35 percent of babies born at 23 weeks of gestation survive, while 50 to 70 percent of babies born at 24 to 25 weeks, and more than 90 percent born at 26 to 27 weeks, survive. It is rare for a baby weighing less than 500g (17.6 ounces) to survive.

I'd post the graph, but it wouldn't orient properly.
09/15/2012
P'Gell P'Gell
Let me try this, from the above mentioned Moore and Pursuad study into fetal viability.

09/15/2012
Intrepid Niddering Intrepid Niddering
I believe life begins at conception, but I am pro-choice. It's anyone's choice whether or not to have an abortion. If I ever got pregnant and didn't want to keep the baby, I'd rather give it up for adoption than get an abortion, but that's simply my choice. Everyone else should be free to do what they choose.
09/15/2012
damnbul12 damnbul12
Once it is capable of survival outside the mother
09/15/2012
Zandrock Zandrock
Once it develops a nervous system. We do not care about killing plants because they cannot feel their death. I think the same holds true for a fetus. Once it has a developed nervous system then it is a person.
09/15/2012
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