1965 – Life Begins at Conception

LIBERTY ALERTS, LIBERTY COUNSEL

Long before the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, along with its companion case Doe v. Bolton, that purported to legalize killing an unborn baby for any reason and at any stage of development, the editors of Life Magazine recognized and documented life in the womb in the April 30, 1965 article, “Drama of Life Before Birth.”

This article, which is an unprecedented photographic feat for the 1960’s, documents the stages of growth of an unborn baby from fertilization to 28 weeks. In the section detailing fertilization, the article states, “The birth of a human life really occurs at the moment the mother’s egg cell is fertilized by one of the father’s sperm cells.”

In extraordinary photographs using a specially built wide-angle lens and a tiny flash beam at the end of a surgical scope, the photographer was even able to shoot a picture of a living 15-week-old unborn baby.

Despite Democrats’ recent horrendous push to pass legislation that broaden abortion laws, they once accepted the fact that life begins at conception. In 1994, the federal advisory board appointed by former President Bill Clinton, affirmed that “The preimplantation human embryo warrants serious moral consideration as a developing form of human life.”

The fact that human life begins at conception has also been confirmed by medical professionals for years. A 2014 research brief on the scientific view of when life begins, published by the Charlotte Lozier Institute stated: “Human embryos from the one-cell (zygote) stage forward show uniquely integrated, organismal behavior that is unlike the behavior of mere human cells. The zygote produces increasingly complex tissues, structures and organs that work together in a coordinated way.  Importantly, the cells, tissues and organs produced during development do not somehow ‘generate’ the embryo (as if there were some unseen, mysterious ‘manufacturer’ directing this process), they are produced by the embryo as it directs its own development to more mature stages of human life.  This organized, coordinated behavior of the embryo is the defining characteristic of a human organism.”

The research brief concluded in no uncertain terms: “The conclusion that human life begins at sperm-egg fusion is uncontested, objective, based on the universally accepted scientific method of distinguishing different cell types from each other and on ample scientific evidence (thousands of independent, peer-reviewed publications). Moreover, it is entirely independent of any specific ethical, moral, political, or religious view of human life or of human embryos.”

study published in March 2017 by the American College of Pediatricians stated: “The predominance of human biological research confirms that human life begins at conception—fertilization.  At fertilization, the human being emerges as a whole, genetically distinct, individuated zygotic living human organism, a member of the species Homo sapiens, needing only the proper environment in order to grow and develop. The difference between the individual in its adult stage and in its zygotic stage is one of form, not nature.”

Credit: Life Magazine photos by Lennart Nilsson


Used with the permission of Liberty Counsel.


Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.