Does abortion take the life of a human being?

From Top 10 Myths about Abortion by the FRC

At the time of fertilization, when a sperm penetrates the ovum or “egg” cell, a new human organism comes into existence, with a complete and unique genetic code.48 This is a scientific fact, not a religious claim. Those who claim not to know “when human life begins” are making a political statement, not a scientific one.Human beings develop at an astonishingly rapid pace. The cardio-vascular system is the first major system to function. The blood is circulating and the heart begins to beat at 21 or 22 days (3 weeks), and can be detected on ultrasound.49 By the end of the eighth week, the unborn child has developed all its organs and biological systems.50 20 weeks after fertilization (5 months), unborn children feel pain.51

Some try to distinguish among human beings, arguing that some are worthy of respect (because they possess certain characteristics), while others are not. This assertion contradicts the basic premise of Western law and of our Constitution—the equality of all human beings. As the Declaration of Independence says, all human beings are created equal. It would be perilous to abandon this point of view and to adopt a philosophy that puts into the hands of some human beings (the powerful) the right to decide whether other human beings (the weak, the unpopular, the defenseless) are to be counted as members of the human family.

48 “Human development is a continuous process that begins when an oocyte (ovum) from a female is fertilized by a sperm (or spermatozoon) from a male,” Moore, Keith L. and Persaud, T.V.N. The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 6th edition (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Co., 1998); “The Development of a human being begins with fertilization, a process by which two highly specialized cells, the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female, unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote,” Langman, Jan. Medical Embryology, 3rd edition ( Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1975): 3; “The time of fertilization represents the starting point in the life history, or ontogeny, of the individual,” Carlson, Bruce M. Pattern’s Foundations of Embryology, 6th edition (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996): 3.49 Moore, Keith L. and Persaud, T.V.N. The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 6th edition (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Co. 1998): 77, 350.50 England, Marjorie A., Life Before Birth, 2nd edition (London: Mosby-Wolfe, 1996).51 Anand, K. J, “Pain and Its Effects in the Human Neonate and Fetus,” New England Journal of Medicine 317 (November1987): 1321-9.


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