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Monday, September 20, 2021

Book Review: "Angel in the Waters"


Here at Secular Pro-Life, we love children's books about pregnancy, prenatal development, and pro-life values! We've previously reviewed When You Became YouPro-Life Kids, and I Can Hear Music. Today, we turn our attention to Angel in the Waters, a 2005 picture book written by Regina Doman and illustrated by Ben Hatke. 

In my humble opinion, the best thing about Angel in the Waters is, without a doubt, its gorgeous illustrations. I mean, just look at this beautiful first trimester baby! Look at them!!


Hatke's style is reminiscent of the famous Lennart Nilsson photographs, yet unique and child-friendly. Absolutely love it. 

The story is less my personal taste, no offense to Doman. I'm just not a huge fan of works that are told from the perspective of the fetus. I've read too many bad poems which execute that premise poorly. As a literary technique, it's easily pegged by pro-choicers as emotionally manipulative; after all, we can defend a person's right not to be killed while acknowledging that the person does not yet have language. In fairness, though, Angel in the Waters is on the less manipulative end of the spectrum. It does not address abortion directly, and Doman does an admirable job imagining the warmth and comfort of the womb, and the strangeness of entering the outside world, from a baby's point of view.

Although it is published by a Catholic press, this book is not overtly Christian. The "angel" of the title refers to the baby's mother, not a supernatural being. I would be comfortable reading this story to a child without regard to the family's faith background. 

What children's book would you like us to review next? Buy a title from our wish list to help us compile the pro-life youth canon!

Friday, September 17, 2021

Andrew Cuomo and abortion: it's about power, not equality.

Former Governor Andrew Cuomo has finally left the executive office of the state of New York after a barrage of accusations of sexual harassment. While this was the final straw, the past year has seen a cry growing among even the left that Cuomo might have used a Trumpian tactic of appearing as a hero to his base, while actually poisoning the very causes he claimed to stand for. In a little more than a year, he has gone from Covid savior of New York to the guy who the hospital lobby used: “…to order elderly COVID-19 survivors out of their hospitals and back into nursing homes, leading to thousands of needless and gruesome deaths among New York’s most vulnerable elders.” Now, we also know him as a man who presented himself as a feminist but harassed the women around him.

So what kept Cuomo in office so long? What helped engender an almost sycophantic obsession with the man such that, despite his many cases of abuse, failures, and deceptions, celebrities and common New Yorkers alike proudly declared themselves “Cuomo-sexual”? The Jacobin (an unabashedly left-wing publication I regularly read) recently published the article “Elite Feminists Ran Cover for Andrew Cuomo,” which outlines a power structure where those who benefited personally and professionally from Cuomo’s governorship provided aid and support for the man to continue his misdeeds. As the article details, Time’s Up, an organization ostensibly dedicated to putting an end to sexual harassment and assault of women in the workplace, recently announced that its chair Roberta Kaplan was stepping down after it was revealed she aided Governor Cuomo as he tried to bury the accusations of sexual harassment against him. More recently, the abortion-promoting Human Rights Campaign has similarly fired their president for the same.

Pro-life feminists are no stranger to the idea that some feminist groups promote a cause that is less about all-around female empowerment, and more about a specific agenda. Look no further than the 2017 Women’s March, which went from “recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country” to make it clear that the just under 50% of women who identify as pro-life need not apply.

Or look to Expose Fake Clinics whose mission is to post negative reviews of organizations for the crime of being Crisis Pregnancy Centers. They don’t bother to read the streams of positive reviews from women who had no idea where to turn until they found the CPCs. They just care that when women go to CPCs, they are less likely to abort. They’d rather these women had no options unless it is an abortion clinic nearby.

 

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Two of the 100% positive Yelp reviews of my local CPC

The Jacobin details Cuomo’s feminist public persona that stood in contrast to the allegations against him:
Though Cuomo is pretending to be an unsophisticated knucklehead who doesn’t understand that times have changed, he’s long been a savvy exploiter of empty neoliberal feminism. Years ago, he started the Women’s Equality Party (WEP) — which the New York Times described as a “political shell company” — in order to defend himself from primary challenges from progressive women like Zephyr Teachout. The WEP is a fake organization boasting no actual feminists of any prominence. The governor’s cooptation of Time’s Up, for all its problems a group of actual activists, was much more sinister.
Reading the description of Cuomo as “long been a savvy exploiter of empty neoliberal feminism,” I was reminded of the first time Andrew Cuomo became a known person in my world. In early 2019, a year before anyone had ever thought a pandemic was in our future, former Governor Cuomo signed into law the Reproductive Health Act, codifying legal abortion and making allowances for abortion past 24 weeks gestation if “there is an absence of fetal viability, or at any time when necessary to protect a patient’s life or health.” As we have seen elsewhere, protecting a patient’s “health” has stretched abortion justification as far as “economic health” or “reported mental distress,” which made this a law for abortion up to birth in all but name.

To celebrate this death sentence for viable children, Cuomo lit the One World Trade Center bright pink; as empty a gesture to equality as I can imagine for a man who went about his days harassing and belittling women behind the scenes. It represents the way in which Cuomo could buy the allegiance and silence of elite feminists against the women that he oppressed.

Who needs actual equality when you can get a pink tower?

Abortion advocacy, at its heart, is the pinnacle of empty neoliberal feminism. This is not to ignore that many abortion activists in the country and around the world are marginalized people--the poor, people of color and LGBTQ+ folks--just as there are in the pro-life movement. But of all the concerns that feminists of all stripes might bring to the table, nothing gets elite feminists more energized--and thus pouring more money and support into a cause--than abortion. This means that while marginalized feminists might fight for a whole range of things, from equal pay to maternity leave, from reducing the maternal mortality gap to providing support for victims of sexual violence, rich, white women with a lot of power throw in their support only when they get a sense that they won’t be allowed to kill their kids in utero. And by throwing their support in on this one topic, they diminish the wherewithal to address all of these other issues and, as exemplified by Expose Fake Clinics, sometimes actively undermine them.

As another Jacobin article details, the idea that elite feminists may be working against the interests of other feminists and women outside of their bubble is not a new one. Hilary Clinton has long been seen as a flag bearer of an elite feminism that:

“…was the feminism of the professional-managerial class, of relatively privileged women — middle- or upper-middle-class women who are highly educated and mostly white — who are trying to get ahead in the worlds of business or the military or the media. Their project was to climb the corporate hierarchy, to be treated in the same way as the men of their own class, with the same pay and prestige.”
What do Lizz Winstead, Lindy West, Alyssa Milano, and Cuomo-enabler Ms. Kaplan all have in common with Hilary Clinton? They are all highly ambitious, public figure upper-middle to upper-class professionals who, in their career trajectories, came to believe that the ability to kill their unborn children was required to reach their level of influence, power, and status. They now use that power to maintain the status quo for themselves. So The Daily Show’s co-creator creates the Expose Fake Clinics group, a social media influencer who aborted her child on her way to becoming a nationally recognized comedian started Shout Your Abortion, an actress who held her tongue about Harvey Weinstein’s abuses won’t stop tweeting about her support of abortion, and a renowned lawyer and Time’s Up chair threw women under the bus to keep Cuomo, her abortion warrior, in power. They aren’t specifically interested in alleviating the problems of working-class women. They are interested in being “treated in the same way as the men of their own class, with the same pay and prestige.” Where are the people of their status throwing an equivalent amount of money, time, and effort into paid maternity leave? Where are they fighting against a culture that pressures women athletes to abort their own children or lose their livelihoods?

Poor women are more likely to be for total restriction of abortion and less likely to be for abortion for any reason. But our national conversation leads to this upside-down paradigm where typically white, privileged, middle-class-and-above Clinton supporters overwhelmingly support a repeal of the Hyde Amendment, while people on the pro-life side scratch their heads:
As Black and brown activists such as Christina Bennett have pointed out, there are disturbing racial implications to the federal government offering to fund a low-income woman's abortion, but not her yearly dental exam. As liberals and proponents of intersectional feminism, we cannot ignore that the United States has a history of targeted sterilization and eugenicist policies. In a country with the thinnest safety net in the developed world, subsidizing abortion rather than spending money to support families reflects a gross misplacement of priorities.
Unless you are a wealthy, powerful woman who wants to kill her own children, elite feminists are not your friend. Wolves in sheep’s clothing like Cuomo will ruthlessly bow to them in the name of preserving their own power. We can find better ways and better allies to improve the conditions of all women, safeguard their equal participation in a free society and give them better options than “abort or suffer.”

Guest post by KB.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Tell Bio-Cycle to Stop Enabling Jacksonville Abortionists

We have written a few times before about Project Weak Link, a pro-life campaign focused on "medical waste" disposal corporations that profit from carting away the tiny bodies of abortion victims. In their words: 
Medical waste companies . . . collaborate with Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry through their collection, transportation and disposal of aborted children and the instruments used to kill them.  At the 2013 National Abortion Federation conference, abortionist Renee Chelian said, “We are all one incinerator away, one incineration company away from being closed.” If we don’t act to persuade these medical waste companies to discontinue providing Planned Parenthood (and other abortion providers) these services, we will have missed a historic opportunity to stop the killing.
Pro-life petitions have succeeded in convincing several companies to end their contracts with abortion centers. Project Weak Link has now turned its attention to Bio-Cycle Medical Waste Management, which is enabling the "A Woman's Choice" abortion facility in Jacksonville, Florida (pictured). In addition to killing countless babies in the womb, "A Woman's Choice" has a history of injuring women

Sign the petition and contact Bio-Cycle directly to let them know that their support for this gruesome business is unacceptable!

Project Weak Link also maintains a list of "The Good Guys," that is, medical waste management companies that refuse involvement with the abortion industry. I'm pleased to see that the "Good Guys" list is much longer than the "Bad Guys" list. If you happen to be in the medical field, encourage your employer to contract with one of these ethical providers!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Secular Pro-Life Urges Federal Legislators to Preserve Life-Saving Hyde Amendment

Secular Pro-Life proudly joined a coalition of 60 pro-life organizations, led by the Susan B. Anthony List, calling on lawmakers to protect the Hyde Amendment and related pro-life budget riders. In a September 7 letter, we urged members of Congress to oppose any budget legislation — be it a regular appropriations bill or reconciliation spending — which funds elective abortions. The Democratic majority in the House of Representatives wants taxpayer subsidies for the abortion industry. The safety of countless unborn children depends upon Senators voting down that extreme proposal.

This is a matter of life and death, as the letter explains:

This Hyde family of pro-life riders together act as a bulwark against federal entanglement with and expansion of abortion. The original Hyde Amendment alone has saved nearly 2.5 million lives. This translates to roughly one in nine children born on Medicaid owing their life to Henry Hyde's amendment enacted in 1976. This longstanding policy has strong support from the American people. Polling consistently shows that a majority of Americans disapprove of their tax dollars being used to pay for abortion, including a third of self-identified pro-choice Americans.

If we may take this opportunity to toot our own horn, Secular Pro-Life played a key role in publicizing those statistics. Prior to 2016, low-income children and young adults whose lives were saved by the Hyde Amendment were rarely even acknowledged, let alone centered in the conversation like they are today. Instead, "taxpayer conscience" was the dominant pro-life talking point. That's largely because well-organized data on the life-saving impact of the Hyde Amendment was hard to come by. 

Person with sign: "The Hyde Amendment saves lives"
But when the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment approached in September of 2016, we saw an opportunity to shift the narrative. Since most of the large, national anti-abortion groups were occupied with electoral politics that fall, Secular Pro-Life took the lead on the Hyde anniversary celebration. And thanks to a partnership with Dr. New at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, we were able to calculate the lives saved and put a face to the issue. We packaged the work in such a way that other pro-life organizations could easily pick up and amplify the message, and we're thrilled that that's exactly what happened. 

Today, with the Hyde Amendment in pro-abortion legislators' crosshairs, that message is more important than ever. If all we had to go on was "taxpayer conscience," I truly believe the Hyde Amendment would be doomed. Thanks to groundwork we laid five years ago, approximately 60,000 babies a year still have a fighting chance to be born.

Much of our work follows this pattern: it is behind the scenes, with no demand for credit, and yields results on a long time horizon. We aren't all that flashy (spicy memes aside). That can sometimes make fundraising tricky, but it's necessary work and we love to do it. If you wish to support us with a donation, we would greatly appreciate it!

[Photo credit: Rehumanize International]

Friday, September 10, 2021

August Recap: A Hopeful Month?

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Projects

As you may have seen in our previous announcements, Monica Snyder has joined Secular Pro-Life as our Executive Director! If you missed Monica's introduction as ED, you can watch it here.


Monica hit the ground running with an appearance at the Rehumanize International conference this past Saturday, presenting "Deconstructing Three Pro-Choice Myths."

This month Monica jumped in on Midland, Texas podcast Schu Bro's Unfiltered, talking about the secular position in the pro-life movement.

Kelsey was busy this August. She presented "Secular Standpoint: Why Abortion Still Sucks" online to the University of Ottawa. She is serving as a Students for Life Stevens Fellowship mentor, where she's been paired up with a homeschool student from Virginia. She  also contributed an article to the summer issue of Human Life Review arguing reversing Roe would correct an egregious violation of church and state. An excerpt:

The Court treated the Stoics, Jewish scholars, Aristotle, and modern-day physicians as equally valid, competing sources of wisdom on the question of when a human life begins. They are not. No offense to Aristotle, but he never saw a sonogram.


We were at the Rehumanize Conference on Labor Day weekend! If you didn't make it this year, mark your calendar for next!

Twitter

For June we gained 225 new followers, bringing us to 14,530 total. We sent 228 tweets, which were viewed 569,000 times, including 36,962 views of this tweet again reminding readers that the "pro-choice women vs anti-choice men" narrative is a myth.

Also, note support for a ban is nearly as high for non-white and low-income people.

Facebook
We are at 33,314 followers on Facebook. Our content was viewed 304,166 times, including 35,400 views of this post, our response to a doctor arguing pro-life people should not be allowed to be OBGYNs.

Original FB post here. To check out our album on how pro-choicers regularly marginalize or erase pro-life women, go here.


Blogger
Our three most-read blog posts for August, in increasing order:Like what we do and have something to contribute? Consider writing a guest post. Guest posts help us cover a more diverse range of perspectives, topics, and experiences. If you have an idea for a piece you'd like to submit, please email us at info@secularprolife.org.

What You Can Do
There are plenty of ways to help with pro-life work. This month we recommend:

If you don't use Paypal, you can also go to our Facebook page and click the blue "Donate" button under our cover photo on the right.

Thank you to all of our supporters! If you haven't already, come find us on social media.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

NPR interviews abortion rights activists to determine if embryos have hearts

On Sept 3 (2021) NPR published the article “The Texas Abortion Ban Hinges On 'Fetal Heartbeat.' Doctors Call That Misleading” by Selena Simmons-Duffin. In NPR’s tweet of the article, the description said “What an ultrasound detects in an embryo at 6 weeks is electrical activity from cells - not a heart.” Here I will explain the incomplete and inaccurate ideas Simmons-Duffin’s uses to reach her incorrect conclusion. First, some important background information:

Embryos have hearts. Below is a diagram of the heart at 35 days postfertilization. (Note that pregnancies are typically dated from the first day of the last menstrual period (LMP), so 35 days (5 weeks) postfertilziation is 7 weeks LMP.) The heart has four chambers and uses coordinated muscle contractions to unidirectionally pump blood through the embryo’s veins in order to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide throughout the body. These facts and the below diagram can be found in “The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology” by Keith Moore, TVN Persaud, and Mark Torchia, 10th Edition, Copyright 2016, which I quoted and screencapped extensively in my 2019 post about this issue.

The embryonic heart 35 days postfertilization. Part D of Figure 13-12 from “The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology

You can find similar information here (“the formation of the 4-chambered heart by gestational week 7”), here (“The heart begins to pump fluid through blood vessels by day 20”), and here (“partitioning of the atria and ventricles...is complete by the end of the fifth week”). Myriad other sources on embryonic development will confirm the same.

Like many before it, NPR’s not-really-a-heartbeat piece rests on (1) interviewing doctors who work for abortion rights organizations (usually while glossing over their affiliations) and (2) euphemizing and obfuscating what the embryonic heart does.


Interviewing doctors who work for abortion rights organizations

Simmons-Duffin claims “fetal heartbeat” is misleading according to “physicians who specialize in reproductive health.” All OBGYNs specialize in reproductive health. Most OBGYNs don’t provide abortions or work for abortion rights organizations. It’s noteworthy, then, that not-really-a-heartbeat articles almost exclusively interview OBGYNs who work for abortion rights orgs. Simmons-Duffin’s article is no exception.

Simmons-Duffin quotes two doctors regarding whether there is an embryonic heart or heartbeat:
  • Dr. Nisha Verma. Simmons-Duffin is upfront that Dr. Verma is an OBGYN who “specializes in abortion care” and who works at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Simmons-Duffin doesn’t mention that ACOG is committed to increasing access to abortion or that Dr. Verma is a Fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health, another abortion rights organization.
  • Dr. Jennifer Kerns. Simmons-Duffin describes Dr. Kerns as an OBGYN “at the University of California, San Francisco.” Simmons-Duffin doesn’t mention that Dr. Kerns works for the Bixby Center. The Bixby Center describes itself as “one of the few institutions to unflinchingly address abortion,” including increasing abortion methods, providers, and international access. Out of the tens of thousands of OBGYNs in the United States, Dr. Kerns is repeatedly quoted by journalists writing not-really-a-heartbeat articles (as listed in her “In The News” section here).

Euphemizing and obfuscating embryonic hearts and heartbeats

Dr. Verma describes the heartbeat as simply “electrical activity.” Dr. Kerns similarly calls the heart “a grouping of cells that are initiating some electrical activity.” These descriptions aren’t incorrect — your heart and mine are also made of cells and also involve electrical activity — but the ambiguity clouds more than it clarifies. That electrical activity is part of the process of the embryonic heart pumping blood.

Dr. Kerns goes further and asserts “In no way is this detecting a functional cardiovascular system or a functional heart.” Neither Simmons-Duffin nor Kerns define what Kerns means by “functional cardiovascular system” in order to illustrate how the embryonic heart pumping blood through the embryo’s veins doesn’t qualify.

Meanwhile Simmons-Duffin’s article contradicts itself. In a passage distinguishing the terms “fetus” and “embryo,” the article contains the words “‘embryo’ is the scientific term” with a hyperlink to the Merck Manual passage “Development of the Embryo.” This passage specifically describes the embryonic heart, explaining (emphasis added):
Most organs begin to form about 3 weeks after fertilization, which equals 5 weeks of pregnancy (because doctors date pregnancy from the first day of the woman's last menstrual period, which is typically 2 weeks before fertilization). At this time, the embryo elongates, first suggesting a human shape. Shortly thereafter, the area that will become the brain and spinal cord (neural tube) begins to develop. The heart and major blood vessels begin to develop earlier—by about day 16. The heart begins to pump fluid through blood vessels by day 20, and the first red blood cells appear the next day.

Simmons-Duffin wrote an article trying to claim at 6 weeks LMP there isn’t really an embryonic heart or heartbeat, and in that same article she linked to a source saying the embryonic heart begins to pump blood by day 21 (3 weeks post-fertilization/5 weeks LMP).


Downplaying the significance of embryonic heartbeats

For the most part, Simmons-Duffin’s article follows the same formula (and fallacies) as the rash of other not-really-a-heartbeat political pieces. However she does take it a step further than some, by adding a section about how detection of the heartbeat is not meaningful anyway. She quotes Dr. Kerns claiming “There is nothing specific and meaningful and relevant about the detection of cardiac activity at this gestation that implies anything that's relevant for women's health or for pregnancies.”

Dr. Kerns’ statement isn’t accurate. An embryonic heartbeat (with a fast enough heart rate) is a significant indicator of a viable pregnancy, and either the absence of a heartbeat or a heart rate that is too slow are significant indicators of an elevated risk of miscarriage. My OBs have explained that connection to me during my prenatal visits for my own children, and there are studies that explain the same:Embryos have hearts and heartbeats. Embryonic heartbeat is a significant indicator of the viability of a pregnancy. And Simmons-Duffin may have discovered these facts if she interviewed doctors who weren’t also abortion rights activists.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Transcript: SPL President on Rob Schmitt Tonight

On the evening of Thursday, September 2, Secular Pro-Life President Kelsey Hazzard — who happens to be a lawyer — appeared on Rob Schmitt Tonight to discuss the Texas heartbeat case. You can watch the video here (starting at 8 minutes, 30 seconds). A transcript of their conversation is below.

Schmitt: For more on this let's bring in Kelsey Hazzard, attorney and founder of Secular Pro-Life. Kelsey, thank you so much for coming on, it's good to see you.

Hazzard: Thank you so much for having me.

Schmitt: So you guys are a pro-life organization that is secular, it's not based on any religious ideals, it's just how you guys, I guess, feel about this issue. The Supreme Court did not weigh in on whether the law is constitutional. And I think that has everybody scratching their heads, on both sides. Why do you think that is?

Hazzard: Well, that's correct. I think that the majority of the Supreme Court, the five... let me take a step back. This will be easier to understand if you have a basic knowledge of how these cases usually go. Usually what happens is that an abortion law is passed, immediately some abortion industry group will file a lawsuit, and then one of the lower federal courts — either a district court or a circuit court — will block the law while the lawsuit is pending. And the Supreme Court doesn't get involved until much later, if at all. 

Schmitt: Okay.

Hazzard: But what happened here is that the lower courts did not block the law, and so the abortion industry groups were at the Supreme Court, asking the nine robed Justices to intervene at a very early stage of the lawsuit, and that was procedurally quite unusual, and the five who ruled in the majority said "We're not going to do that at this point."

Schmitt: Yeah. 

Hazzard: The four in the dissent had some very angry dissents; they would have discarded the procedure and gone full steam ahead to resume abortions in Texas. So those four made it very clear what their bias is; they are never going to be open to correcting the Court's error in Roe. But the other five are leaving their options open. 

Schmitt: Understood. I mean, when I look at this — I actually called Alan Derschowitz before the show just to get somebody, because I'm not a lawyer — I look at this and you think about the fetal viability ruling, which is that it has to... they're legal up until the baby could survive outside of the womb on its own, theoretically, which is something like 24 weeks. When you look at the Texas Act, the Texas law, now, at 6 weeks, it does on its face just seem patently unconstitutional. Give me your perspective on that. 

Hazzard: Well, it's certainly a challenge to Roe v. Wade's interpretation of Constitution. 

Schmitt: Okay.

Hazzard: You know, our position, and certainly the position of legislators in Texas, is that Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey were departures from the Constitution, and so this is an opportunity to reflect modern science. You know, fifty years have gone by since Roe. Roe was decided in a time when sonograms were not prevalent; when, you know, the experience of going to the first prenatal appointment and having the Doppler and hearing the heartbeat, that was not common. We've advanced quite a bit and it's time for our laws to reflect that. So that was what the Texas legislature was trying to do.

Schmitt: Understand. Yeah, this to me has just always been a fascinating conversation on both sides of this thing. And I don't have any skin in this game. But is it true that Ruth Bader Ginsburg did not think that Roe v. Wade was constitutional?

Hazzard: She of course agreed with the result in Roe v. Wade, she was very pro-abortion, but she had some criticisms about the way that Roe v. Wade was written and the way that they tried to connect it to the text of the Constitution, which was very sloppy and has been criticized on both the left and right. 

Schmitt: Understood. And where do you think this thing goes from here?

Hazzard: Well, it's difficult to say. You know, in addition to the Texas law, there's also a major Supreme Court case coming up that your listeners may be aware of, which is the Dobbs case, and that concerns a 15-week ban. So we've got various points in pregnancy being presented to the Court, and they have different opportunities for how they can approach this, potentially to either overturn Roe entirely or kind of go in stages, backing off from the extremism of Roe

Schmitt: Okay. Attorney and founder of Secular Pro-Life, Kelsey Hazzard, thank you so much for taking the time, for clarifying some of that. We appreciate it. 

Hazzard: Thank you very much.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Sources for "Deconstructing Three Pro-Choice Myths," September 4, 2021

Today during the Rehumanize International Conference, SPL Executive Director Monica Snyder is giving her presentation "Deconstructing Three Pro-Choice Myths." Below are all the sources she used for today's version of the presentation.

Myth #1: We don’t know when human life begins.

Articles:

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.”
International survey of biologists:
Everyday examples:
Relevant Secular Pro-Life posts:

Myth #2: Most or all late-term abortions are medically necessary.

Articles:

Polls:
Data:

Interviews of late-term abortion doctors:

Relevant Secular Pro-Life posts:
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Myth #3: Abortion restrictions don’t stop abortions.

Articles:

Data (Worldwide):

Data (National):

American studies:

Relevant Secular Pro-Life posts: