Life Begins at Conception — The Science is Settled

choose-life-blasck-bg-featured-w480x300One day this week, I was checking out the latest tweets over at Twitter — did I really just write THAT!?!  Anyway, I stumbled upon a conversation between a solid, pro-life Catholic and someone who thinks that opposition to abortion is ridiculous.

So, did I quietly move on, recognizing that 140 character-limit tweets is no place to enter into debate on the culture wars? Nope. Against all common sense and good judgment, I jumped into the fray.

I wrote, “Children are always a blessing… always… and innocent.

Surely no one could take offense at this statement. Wrong!

I suppose that I could have expected someone to respond with, “Yeah, but even blessings need to be wanted…” or some other tripe that completely ignores the new human life that most moms and dads refer to as babies. But, I never saw the actual response coming…

“With all due respect, Deacon Mike, not everyone agrees. Also, preg/childbirth have significant risks.”

This was from a medical doctor, of all people. After several more exchanges, I replied to her…

“I know these are difficult questions… truly. But the intentional killing of an innocent baby is never the answer. God Bless.”

Here is where I was floored.  Another person joined the conversation and took exception with my phrase, “innocent baby”.

This new participant wrote, “Calling a zygote or a fetus ‘an innocent baby’ is not responsible.” And another one said we were talking about two cells, not a human being.

See why I say it is useless to get in the sound-bite-sized debates? Calling me irresponsible for stating the obvious is what is irresponsible.

The Science is in and It is Conclusive

Medical Science has long understood when a new, self-determining, unique human life begins. It begins at fertilization, also called conception; the coming together of the sperm and the ovum.

This is not religious thought or opinion – it is settled science.

This “product of conception”, a euphemism used by the pro-abort side to distract us from reality, is a new organism. Its DNA is unique from its mother and father. It is human. If allowed to mature, it will never become a fish, bird or animal – it is and always will be a human.

Most other arguments are distractions or distortions.

  • Pregnancy does not occur until implantation – Wrong! No matter how one defines pregnancy, the new, unique, distinctive human life begins at fertilization. Implantation is simply a stage on the continuum of life of that human.
  • Okay, it might be a human life, but it is not yet a human being, not yet a person – Wrong! Since when does one person decide when another human organism is a human being? The Nazis tried that regarding Jews. So did the newly-founded United States regarding African slaves. The world’s history is filled with such examples of injustice.
  • Well this question is best left between a woman and her doctor, you should not force your morality on me – Wrong! We force (legislate) morality all the time. Just look at our laws.
  • All you Catholics care about is the unborn ‘child’ and not the mother… and certainly not the ‘child’ after it is born – Wrong! We care about BOTH the unborn child and the mother… equally. And anyone who has eyes to see has to acknowledge the unrivaled charitable and social justice activities of the Catholic Church and its members.

You get the idea. The reality is far different from how it is portrayed by those who favor abortion. It is actually the Catholic Church with the science on its side. It is the pro-abortion crowd that often speaks, not with science, but with emotion and, dare I say, blind faith to the secular deity of self.

What is even more frightening is the trend by many over the past few decades who acknowledge the science yet argue in favor of abortion anyway.  God save us all.

Pray, pray and pray some more. And become involved in the pro-life movement.

Into the deep…


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Into the Deep by Deacon Mike Bickerstaff is a regular feature of the The Integrated Catholic Life™ and usually appears on Sundays and occasionally on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

Deacon Mike Bickerstaff is the Editor in chief and co-founder of the The Integrated Catholic Life™. A Catholic Deacon of the Roman Rite for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Deacon Bickerstaff is assigned to St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church where he is the Director of Adult Education and Evangelization.

He is a co-founder of the successful annual Atlanta Catholic Business Conference; the Chaplain of the Atlanta Chapter of the Woodstock Theological Center’s Business Conference; and Chaplains to the St. Peter Chanel Business Association and co-founder of the Marriages Are Covenants Ministry, both of which serve as models for similar parish-based ministries.

Looking for a Catholic Speaker?  Check out Deacon Mike’s speaker page and the rest of the ICL Speaker’s Bureau.


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About the Author

Deacon Mike Bickerstaff is the Editor in chief and co-founder of the The Integrated Catholic Life™. A Catholic Deacon of the Roman Rite for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Deacon Bickerstaff is assigned to St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church where he is the Director of Adult Education and Evangelization.

He is a co-founder of the successful annual Atlanta Catholic Business Conference; the Chaplain of the Atlanta Chapter of the Woodstock Theological Center’s Business Conference; and Chaplain of the St. Peter Chanel Faith at Work Business Association and co-founder and Chaplain of the Marriages Are Covenants Ministry, both of which serve as models for similar parish-based ministries.

He and his wife have two adult children, one daughter-in-law and three grandchildren.

NB: The views I express on this site are my own. I am not an official spokesman for either my parish or diocese.

Looking for a Catholic Speaker?  Check out Deacon Mike's speaker page and the rest of the ICL Speaker's Bureau.

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11 Comments

  1. therefore, preventing the union of the sperm and egg is not abortion. therefore, family planning using the the calendar method, condoms, pills, which prevent the union of the sperm and egg are acceptable means of preventing pregnancy. so whats all this hoopla about couples wanting to space / prevent having too many children they can afford to feed, clothe and send to school a big thing with many pro-lifers IF the couples choose to use the above methods. i am pro-life, pro choice of acceptable methods of preventing unplanned pregnancies and definitely ANTI ABORTION….

    1. Interesting take. i assume you are protestant…an assumption, not an accusation, brother.
      Yes. Life begins at conception. We Catholics also learn to be open to Gods will in our sacramental marriage. This means NOT taking measures, like condoms or pills to prevent conception.

  2. Your intentions are golden…but. Human life is present from conception but a person is not present because the cells are totipotential and can be teased into identical twinning for days to come by science so the dna for one person only is not present as long as identical twinning or tripuleting etc. can still occur which is c. 14 days after fertilization.
    Recent research out of Britain says that obesity militates against implantation. Under your paradigm, overweight Catholic women by their eating choices are killing persons. They are not.

  3. hi goodmorning… coz its past 12 in the morning here.. i am a catholic and i am aware of this thing im not infavor of abortion.. but o have to speak in favor of rh bill thats the law wnts to emplemented here in the philippines.. i read the law and i did not see the statement on pro abortion infact it is for the mother and sex education in early childjood the thing goes wrong when the state want to acknowledge sex education which is not fit to the mind of childreens and it will lead them on their coriousity to do such thing…

    1. Education isn’t the problem, per se. Many are skeptical of the form I takes. In the USA it has become almost promotional, rather than educational in some areas.

  4. Anyone that knows me will tell you that I’m pro-life. I’ve demonstrated this fact with my donations and certainly with my words whenever the topic comes up. But this article and subsequent comments have brought to mind the doubts I’ve harbored about when a unique human life actually starts and is worthy of being defended completely per the “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” doctrine that Americans hold so dear. I’ve heard about and pondered the “twinning” time table mentioned by bill bannon and I’ve also heard that after their split it sometimes happens that, for a short while at least, the resultant duplicates can unexplainably revert to being one again. I’ve also heard that many fertilized ovum fail to implant and simply wash away. Add to these two circumstances the strange fact that there are large quantities of fertilized human eggs currently being maintained in laboratory freezers and that they can be set back into developmental activity long after they’ve been frozen. My admittedly limited mind simply cannot reconcile these situations with ensoulment and the existence of actual personhood. I realize that at least two of the situations I’ve described above result in unique DNA (Probably not the twinning) but I don’t see why this means that there are individual souls present. If the 14 days mentioned by bill bannon is actual documented fact, and if implantation is an absolute requirement for there to be human potential, and if tiny little souls are not locked up indefinitely in some sort of frozen suspended animation, then my negative scruples about such things as morning after pills for rape and incest occurrences would need to be changed dramatically. Also, I would have to moderate my judgements about people that don’t share my religious beliefs taking steps to end their very very early pregnancies. I would appleciate sincerely considered comments.

  5. I agree that contraception is not abortion, but of itself contraception makes a negative statement about human life as something to be avoided, diminishing the value of every one of us. Further, not all methods of contraception are acceptable: the pill and other chemical-based contraceptives are known to have cancer-causing properties and are linked to thrombus formation with resultant heart attacks and strokes; condoms give the false impression of safety in that they do not and cannot prevent the transmission of a number of STI’s; the coil works only by aborting a newly conceived life. Indeed pregnancy does have risks –so does any medication we take at our physicians recommendation and every surgery we are advised to undergo by our surgeon.

    That a totipoential embryo (zygote, if you must) can divide into twins, triplets etc is irrelevant since stage of development has no bearing on personhood: a baby is no less a person than a teenager; a teenager no less than a retired person. The concept of personhood that is bandied around these days is mere sophistry employed so as to avoiding admitting that abortion is the intentional killing of human life. As for overweight women, they would be losing children, not killing them. It is not for any of us to decide who qualifies as a person and who does not.

  6. It is worth considering whether the term ‘baby’ is helpful to use ALL of the time when referring to the unborn. If it’s conversations and seed-planting that are of interest, why ‘distract’ pro-abortion people with the thought that a zygote is a baby? It throws them off immediately.

    Being pro-life, I don’t even think of a zygote as a baby or a child. BUT I do think – and know – it is a human life to be valued and cherished and protected.

    Yes it’s true (and noted within the post) that some will then not even see the zygote as a human being, but at least the argument (discussion?) has a starting place. If it’s not a human being what, exactly, is it? Oh, and, yes, when – exactly – did you begin to grow? What, somehow, months and months after conception? The absurd mental gymnastics can cease, and eventually we learn about how and when we value human beings.

    1. Unless you are willing to take complete financial and physical responsibility for both the prenatal care and the upbringing to adulthood of every unwanted, unplanned pregnancy out there, you are in no position to dictate to a woman that she must carry a fetus to term. It doesn’t matter when YOU think life begins. It matters what the woman thinks. If she is looking at terminating the zygote or fetus (and yes, that is what they are at the early stages of human gestation), then clearly her beliefs are not the same as yours. That doesn’t make her wrong, it makes her a person of a different opinion. I get that you are desperately trying to make yourself appear “right”, hoping for an impact. But I don’t buy your semantics: if you were to be considered correct, then an egg with a red dot on the yolk is a chicken, but good luck roasting and stuffing it for Sunday dinner. When it comes to personal beliefs, we can all find reasons to “prove” that our position is correct. I respect that you would not personally get an abortion if faced with an unwanted preganancy. I personally would not hesitate, and with a completely clear conscience.

      1. Opinions can often be in error. You are asserting your opinion over medical science. And it is you who is engaging in semantics. Science and logic has proven that human life begins at human conception.

        A fetus might not look like an elderly 80 year old man or woman, but then neither does a new born baby; yet each is alive and human. By your “chicken” comparison, you might as well say, for example, “good luck teaching a one-year-old infant to drive a car.” Just because we have different abilities and dependencies along life’s continuum, does not mean we are more or less human at those points.

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