Myth #1: We don’t know when human life begins.
- “When Does Life Begin? It’s Not So Simple.” Elissa Strauss, Slate, 4/4/2017
- “Republicans Need to Be Countered on False Claims About Embryos,” Scott F. Gilbert, Huffington Post, 9/23/2015
- “Bill Nye: Can We Stop Telling Women What to Do With Their Bodies?” Big Think, 9/22/2015
- “Marco Rubio demanded people look at the science on abortion. So we did.” Philip Bump, The Washington Post, 5/15/2014
- “When Does a Human Life Begin? 17 Timepoints,” Ricki Lewis, DNA Science Blog, 10/3/2013
Biology and embryology textbooks and relevant quotes:
- Scott Gilbert, Developmental Biology, 11th Edition. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, 2016: “Fertilization accomplishes two separate ends: sex (the combining of genes derived from two parents) and reproduction (the generation of a new organism).”
- T.W. Sadler, Langman's Medical Embryology, 10th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006:"Development begins with fertilization, the process by which the male gamete, the sperm, and the female gamete, the oocyte, unite to give rise to a zygote."
- Erich Blechschmidt, Brian Freeman, The Ontogenetic Basis of Human Anatomy: The Biodynamic Approach to Development from Conception to Adulthood, North Atlantic Books, June 2004: "We talk of human development not because a jumble of cells, which is perhaps initially atypical, gradually turns more and more into a human, but rather because the human being develops from a uniquely human cell. There is no state in human development prior to which one could claim that a being exists with not-yet-human individuality. On the basis of anatomical studies, we know today that no developmental phase exists that constitutes a transition from the not-yet-human to the human." & "In short, a fertilized egg (conceptus) is already a human being."
- Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003: "Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm (spermatozoon development) unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual." And "A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo)."
- Scott Gilbert, Developmental Biology, 6th Edition. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, 2001:“When we consider a dog, for instance, we usually picture an adult. But the dog is a “dog” from the moment of fertilization of a dog egg by a dog sperm. It remains a dog even as a senescent dying hound. Therefore, the dog is actually the entire life cycle of the animal, from fertilization through death.”
- Ronan R. O'Rahilly and Fabiola Müller, Human Embryology & Teratology, 3rd Edition, New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001: "Although life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte."
- Ida G. Dox, B. John Melloni, Gilbert Eisner, The HarperCollins Illustrated Medical Dictionary, 2001: “An Embryo is an organism in the earliest stages of development.”
- Human Embryology, William J Larsen, 3rd Edition, 2001: “In this text, we begin our description of the developing human with the formation and differentiation of the male and female sex cells or gametes, which will unite at fertilization to initiate the embryonic development of a new individual.”
- William J. Larsen, Essentials of Human Embryology. New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1998: "Human embryos begin development following the fusion of definitive male and female gametes during fertilization... This moment of zygote formation may be taken as the beginning or zero time point of embryonic development."
- Bruce M. Carlson, Patten's Foundations of Embryology. 6th edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996: "Almost all higher animals start their lives from a single cell, the fertilized ovum (zygote)... The time of fertilization represents the starting point in the life history, or ontogeny, of the individual."
- Keith L. Moore and T.V.N. Persaud. Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology and Birth Defects. 4th edition. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1993: "Zygote. This cell, formed by the union of an ovum and a sperm (Gr. zyg tos, yoked together), represents the beginning of a human being. The common expression 'fertilized ovum' refers to the zygote."
- Clark Edward Corliss, Patten's Human Embryology: Elements of Clinical Development. New York: McGraw Hill, 1976. "It is the penetration of the ovum by a spermatozoan and resultant mingling of the nuclear material each brings to the union that constitutes the culmination of the process of fertilization and marks the initiation of the life of a new individual."
- E.L. Potter and J.M. Craig, Pathology of the Fetus and the Infant, 3rd edition. Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, 1975: "Every time a sperm cell and ovum unite a new being is created which is alive and will continue to live unless its death is brought about by some specific condition."
- J.P. Greenhill and E.A. Friedman, Biological Principles and Modern Practice of Obstetrics. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders, 1974: "The term conception refers to the union of the male and female pronuclear elements of procreation from which a new living being develops. It is synonymous with the terms fecundation, impregnation, and fertilization."
- Leslie Brainerd Arey, Developmental Anatomy, 7th Edition. Philadelphia: Saunders, 1974: “The formation, maturation and meeting of a male and female sex cell are all preliminary to their actual union into a combined cell, or zygote, which definitely marks the beginning of a new individual. The penetration of the ovum by the spermatozoon, and the coming together and pooling of their respective nuclei, constitutes the process of fertilization.”
Relevant Secular Pro-Life posts:
- “Even very pro-choice biologists acknowledge a human life begins at fertilization.” 2/26/2020
- “When we say ‘heartbeat,’ we don’t mean ‘fetal pole cardiac activity.’ We mean ‘heartbeat.’” 6/4/2019
- “Pro-choice embryologist contradicts his own biology textbook.” 8/31/2018
- “Slate hits peak science denial in article on ‘mystery’ of prenatal life.” 4/5/2017
- “Biology textbook writer claims we need emotion to answer ‘When does human life begin?’" 3/23/2016
- “Embryologist Moonlights as Philosopher. SPL calls BS.” 3/16/2016
- “Dear Bill Nye: Where's the science, guy?” 9/26/2015
Myth #2: Most or all late-term abortions are medically necessary.
- “The agony of ending a wanted late-term pregnancy: three women speak out.” Natalia Megas, The Guardian, 4/18/2017
- “I had an abortion to save my baby from pain. In my state, that didn’t matter.” Robin Uts, The Washington Post, 3/10/2017
- “These women needed late-term abortions—and they want Trump to know the truth.” Maria Kabas, Splinter News, 10/25/2016
- “No, Late-Term Abortions Don't 'Rip' Babies Out Of Wombs -- And They Exist For A Reason.” Tara Haelle, Forbes, 10/20/2016
- “Late-Term Abortion Was the Right Choice for Me.” Meredith Isaksen, The New York Times, 10/20/2016
- “Trimesters Still Key to U.S. Abortion Views,” Gallup, 6/13/2018
- "Millennials have a surprising view on later-term abortions," The Washington Post, 1/31/2018
- “Americans’ Opinions on Abortion,” Marist Poll, January 2018
- "Poll: Majority of Americans support 20-week abortion ban." CBS News, 7/25/2013
- "Abortion Poll Finds Support For 20-Week Ban," Huffington Post, 7/11/2013
- “Majority of Americans Still Support Roe v. Wade Decision,” Gallup, 1/22/2013
- “State Bans on Abortion Throughout Pregnancy,” Guttmacher Institute, updated February 2020.
- “Reasons U.S. Women Have Abortions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives.” Finer, LB, Frohwirth LF, Dauphinee LA, Singh S, Moore AM. Perspectives of Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2005 Sep; 37(3):110-8.
- Abortion Reporting, Public Health Statistics, Arizona Department of Health Services; see Annual Reports 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, & 2016.
- “Who seeks abortion after 20 weeks?” Foster, DG, Kimport, Katrina. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2013; 45(4):210-218.
Interviews of late-term abortion doctors:
- “Interview with Dr. Susan Robinson, One of the Last Four Doctors in America to Openly Provide Third-Trimester Abortions,” Jia Tolentino, The Hairpin, September 20, 2013
- “Abortion is never, ever a casual decision.” Kate Holmquist, The Irish Times, 9/21/2013
- “After 40 years in Boulder, abortion doctor Warren Hern is still at war.” Alex Burness, The Daily Camera, 5/30/2015
Relevant Secular Pro-Life posts:
- “Master Post: 21+ week abortions usually aren’t medically necessary.” 2/26/2019
- “The people want Roe to stay.” 9/25/2018
- “No, most late-term abortions are not medically necessary.” 10/20/2016
- “Apparently protecting embryos is more extreme than severing babies' spines.” 5/31/2016
Myth #3: Abortion restrictions don’t stop abortions.
- “Want to lower the abortion rate? Support pro-choice policies.” Jill Filipovic, The Guardian, 3/24/2018
- “Abortion rates go down when countries make it legal: report.” Maggie Fox, NBC News, 3/20/2018
- “We Already Know How To Safely Reduce Abortions.” Anna Almendrala, Huffington Post, 2/14/2017
- “A massive new study shows how to reduce abortions — and it's not more regulation.” Thom Dunn, Upworthy, 1/23/2017
- “The abortion rate is at an all-time low — and better birth control is largely to thank.” Emily Crockett, Vox, 1/18/2017
- “Global, regional, and subregional trends in unintended pregnancy and its outcomes from 1990 to 2014: estimates from a Bayesian hierarchical model.” Gilda Sedgh, et al. Lancet Glob Health. 2018 Apr; 6(4): e380–e389.
- “Abortion incidence between 1990 and 2014: global, regional, and subregional levels and trends.” Gilda Sedgh, et al. Lancet Global Health, 2016 July; Volume 388, Issue 10041, p258-267.
- “A Global View of Abortion Rights.” The Center for Reproductive Rights. 2013.
- “Abortion Worldwide: A Decade of Uneven Progress.” Susheela Singh, et al. Guttmacher Institute, 2009.
- “An Overview of Abortion Laws.” Guttmacher Institute, last updated August 1, 2018.
- “Unintended Pregnancy Rates at the State Level: Estimates for 2010 and Trends Since 2002.” Kathryn Kost, Guttmacher Institute, January 2015
- “Abortion by State of Residence.” Guttmacher Institute, 2013.
- “The Power of Abortion Policy: Reexamining the Effects of Young Women’s Access to Reproductive Control.” Caitlin Knowles Myers, Journal of Political Economy, Volume 125, Number 6, December 2017.
- “The Role of Restrictive Abortion Legislation in Explaining Variation in Oral Contraceptive Use.” Felkey AJ and Lybecker KM, Clinics in Mother and Child Health, 12:200, October 29, 2015
- “State Abortion Context and U.S. Women's Contraceptive Choices, 1995–2010.” Josephine Jacobs, Maria Stanfors. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Volume 47, Issue 2, June 2015, p71-82.
- “Analyzing the Impact of U.S. Antiabortion Legislation in the Post-Casey Era: A Reassessment.” Michael New, State Politics & Policy Quarterly, Volume 14, Issue 3, July 21, 2014
- “The Effect of Anti-Abortion Legislation on Nineteenth Century Fertility.” Joanna N. Lahey. Demography. 2014 Jun; 51(3): 939–948.
- “Utilization of oral contraception: The impact of direct and indirect restrictions on access to abortion.” Felkey AJ and Lybecker KM, The Social Science Journal, Volume 51, Issue 1, March 2014, p44-56.
- “Restrictive abortion laws, antiabortion attitudes and women’s contraceptive use.” Marshall Medoff, Social Science Research, Volume 41, Issue 1, January 2012, p160-169.
- “Variation in Pill Use: Do Abortion Laws Matter?” Felkey, AJ, International Journal of Business and Social Science, Vol. 2 No. 16; September 2011.
- “Analyzing the Impact of U.S. Antiabortion Legislation in the Post-Casey Era.” Michael New, State Politics & Policy Quarterly, Volume 11, Issue 1, February 15, 2011
- “Abortion or Pill Access Is Associated with Lower Birthrates Among Minors.” J. Thomas, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Volume 41, Issue 1, March 2009, p65-65
- “Fertility Effects of Abortion and Birth Control Pill Access for Minors.” Mealnie Guldi, Demography. 2008 Nov; 45(4): 817–827
- “Abortion as Insurance.” Phillip B. Levine, Douglas Staiger. The National Bureau of Economic Research, NBER Working Paper No. 8813, February 2002
- “Roe v Wade and American fertility.” P B Levine, D Staiger, T J Kane, and D J Zimmerman. Am J Public Health. 1999 February; 89(2): 199–203.
- “The role of access in explaining state abortion rates.” Patricia Gober. Social Science & Medicine, Volume 44, Issue 7, April 1997, pp1003-1016
- “The Effect of Medicaid Abortion Funding Restrictions on Abortions, Pregnancies, and Births.” Phillip B. Levine, Amy B. Trainor, David J. Zimmerman, J Health Econ. 1996 Oct;15(5):555-78.
- “The Impact Of Provider Availability On Abortion Demand.” Robert W. Brown, R. Todd Jewell, Contemporary Economic Policy, Volume 14, Issue 2, April 1996, pp95-106
- “Trends in rates of live births and abortions following state restrictions on public funding of abortion.” Korenbrot, Brindis C, Priddy F., Public Health Rep. 1990 Nov-Dec;105(6):555-62.
- “The impact of restricting Medicaid financing for abortion.” Trussell J, Menken J, Lindheim BL, Vaughan B. Fam Plann Perspect. 1980 May-Jun;12(3):120-3, 127-30.
Relevant Secular Pro-Life posts:
- “Pro-choice states have just as many unintended pregnancies, and far more abortions.” 9/11/2018
- “Link collection: Evidence that pro-life laws mean fewer unplanned pregnancies.” 7/31/2018
- “More evidence that abortion restrictions decrease abortion rates.” 7/25/2018
- “Pro-life laws prevent abortion primarily by preventing unplanned pregnancy.” 7/20/2018
- “Which decreases abortion rates more: contraception access or abortion restrictions?” 7/2/2018
- "International 'unsafe abortion' studies are highly flawed." 1/10/2018
- “Pro-life laws stop abortions. Here's the evidence.” 8/9/2017