Science & Tech

The March for Life Stands Up for Science

Participants in the 2012 March for Life in Washington, D.C. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
Life begins at conception.

Every year it seems that groundbreaking new documentaries debut on video-streaming services and in American box offices, promoting allegedly fact-based and science-driven narratives. If climate-change-focused documentaries like Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth have lost their novelty and urgency, activists such as Bill Nye are happy to fill the void, lending the thinnest patina of popular credibility to certain narratives by claiming things such as “sexuality is a kaleidoscope.”

But the political left avoids facts like the plague when those facts resolutely prove one of the most fundamental points of our existence: Conception marks the first moment of a new and distinct human life.

On January 18, thousands will gather in cities across the nation to join in the March for Life, where we will proudly show that Americans believe science, and we will proudly use scientific facts to prove that every human, from every background, should be welcomed in life and protected in law. Here are some of those facts.

Harvard Medical School’s Micheline Matthews-Roth says: “It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception, when egg and sperm join to form the zygote, and this developing human always is a member of our species in all stages of its life.” Matthews-Roth reaffirmed her statement in sworn testimony given in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, stating that “each member of the human species indeed starts his or her existence as one cell, the zygote.”

The Carnegie Stages of Human Embryonic Development show the twenty-three stages of development through the first eight weeks of gestation, called the embryonic period. The embryonic period begins at the moment the sperm penetrates the egg and continues until the tenth week of gestation. The Carnegie Stages, which is considered the global authority and the “Gold Standard” of human embryology research, affirm that upon the first contact with the male sperm and female egg, an “actual” human life begins.

Princeton University professor Lee M. Silver makes a case for personhood in his book Remaking Eden: Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World, showing that animal biologists use the term “embryo” to “describe the single cell stage, the two-cell stage, and all subsequent stages up until a time when recognizable humanlike limbs and facial features begin to appear between six to eight weeks after fertilization.” In recent years, a number of specialists working in the field of human reproductive health have proposed using the word “pre-embryo” instead of just “embryo,” to describe the developing human being that exists for the first two weeks after fertilization.

Lee says that some in-vitro fertilization (IVF) practitioners are seizing upon the updated term “pre-embryo” for political purposes, “to provide the illusion that there is something profoundly different between what we nonmedical biologists still call a six-day-old embryo and what we and everyone else call a sixteen-day-old embryo.” Such subtle manipulation of phrases to dehumanize infants in the womb is being unmasked by people in the medical community.

However, some people are much more blunt about their lack of care for unborn lives. For example, in 2017, Alabama abortionist Willie Parker was invited to speak at a D.C. bookstore about his book Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice, where he made the case against personhood at conception, telling the audience, “If I thought I was killing a person, I wouldn’t do abortions. A fetus is not a person; it’s a human entity.” But what exactly does Parker mean by “a human entity”? By dehumanizing the fetus as less than human, even though a fetus is well into its ninth week of development or further, Parker reveals his underlying philosophy lacks even a simple scientific grounding.

Instead of going off of what he learned in medical school, Parker made the argument that, because he was born male in a “patriarchal world,” his moral obligation is to “decide that [he] would not participate in a process that would subordinate women solely because of accidental biology.” Accidental biology?

Even staunch liberals like Jodi Jacobsen, editor-in-chief of the left-leaning health policy site RewireNews accepts that truth, stating in an article, “The fact that life begins at conception is why women and men use birth control to prevent it from happening and why they have been trying to prevent it from happening since time immemorial.” Jacobsen sees that there is science behind the argument that life does, in fact, begin at conception, and since that is a scientific fact, she cannot dispute it.

The Left blindly accepts anything flashing in front of its eyes claiming to be “science-backed” if it is explained by Bill Nye or narrated by Morgan Freeman. Yet if a scientific fact doesn’t fit into its close-minded agenda, that fact is likely tossed to the side. While science proves the humanity of a person from the moment of conception up to death, activists at NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and the ACLU gather to proudly “shout their abortions.”

But will they shout the widely-regarded scientific fact that the unborn are human beings that deserve basic human rights? I wish they would. Until then, we’ll shout it ourselves at the March for Life.

John Block is digital communications manager at Americans United for Life.

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