How Science Supports the Pro-Life Position

By Scott Klusendorf
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The science of embryology affirms the humanity of the preborn, and defenders of abortion concede the inhumanity of the procedure. Simply put, support for the pro-life position is strong.

The pro-life argument can be put formally as follows:

Premise 1:

It is morally wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being.

Premise 2:

Abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being.


Abortion is morally wrong.

The science of embryology establishes that from the earliest stages of development, the unborn are distinct, living and whole human beings. They are distinct. (Meaning they are not part of another human being.) They are living. (Dead things don’t grow!) And they are whole. (Sure, they have yet to grow and mature, but the kind of thing they are is not in question.) Human parents produce human offspring.

Leading embryology textbooks affirm this. For example, in The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, Keith L. Moore and T.V.N. Persaud write: “A zygote is the beginning of a new human being. Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm … unites with a female gamete or oocyte … to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”

T.W. Sadler’s Langman’s Embryology states that the development of a human begins with fertilization, in which the male sperm and the female oocyte “unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote.”

Embryologists Ronan O’Rahilly and Fabiola Müller write, “Although life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed.” For sources cited above, see T.W. Sadler, Langman’s Embryology, 5th ed. (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders, 1993) p. 3; Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1998),pp. 2-18. O’Rahilly, Ronand and Muller, Pabiola, Human Embryology and Teratology, 2nd ed. (New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996) pp. 8, 29.

Telling the truth

Many contemporary defenders of abortion agree that we can know when life begins.

For example, in his book Practical Ethics, Princeton University bioethicist Peter Singer – a supporter of both abortion and infanticide – writes: “Whether a being is a member of given species is something that can be determined scientifically, by an examination of the nature of the chromosomes in the cells of living organisms. In this sense, there is no doubt that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm and eggs is a human being.”Peter Singer, Practical Ethics, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993) pp. 85-86.

That elective abortion kills a living human being is actually conceded by many who perform and defend the practice.

Dr. Warren Hern, author of Abortion Practice – the medical textbook that teaches abortion procedures – told a Planned Parenthood conference: “We have reached a point in this particular technology [D&E abortion] where there is no possibility of denying an act of destruction. It is before one’s eyes. The sensations of dismemberment flow through the forceps like an electric current.”footnote text

Liberal professor Ronald Dworkin, in his book Life’s Dominion, writes that abortion deliberately kills a developing embryo and is a choice for death.Ronald Dworkin, Life’s Dominion: An Argument About Abortion, Euthanasia, and Individual Freedom (New York: Vintage, 1994) p. 3.

We’ve known these facts for years, despite attempts to hide them. As far back as 1970, an editorial in California Medicine conceded the scientific ground to pro-lifers. The authors – sympathetic to abortion – note that language can be used to get around inconvenient truths: “[T]he scientific fact, which everyone really knows, [is] that human life begins at conception and is continuous whether intra- or extra-uterine until death. The very considerable semantic gymnastics which are required to rationalize abortion as anything but taking a human life would be ludicrous if they were not often put forth under socially impeccable auspices.”Malcolm S.M. Watts, “A New Ethic for Medicine and Society,” California Medicine, September 1970.

Naomi Wolf, a prominent feminist and author, defends graphic depictions of abortion in a New Republic article. In it, she warns fellow abortion supporters to stop lying: “Clinging to a rhetoric about abortion in which there is no life and no death, we entangle our beliefs in a series of self-delusions, fibs and evasions. And we risk becoming precisely what our critics charge us with being: callous, selfish and casually destructive men and women who share a cheapened view of human life. … [We] need to contextualize the fight to defend abortion rights within a moral framework that admits that the death of a fetus is a real death.”Naomi Wolf, “Our Bodies, Our Souls,” The New Republic, October 16, 1995, 26

Feminist Camille Paglia is even more blunt: “I have always frankly admitted that abortion is murder, the extermination of the powerless by the powerful. Liberals for the most part have shrunk from facing the ethical consequences of their embrace of abortion, which results in the annihilation of concrete individuals and not just clumps of insensate tissue.”Camille Paglia, “Fresh Blood for the Vampire,” Salon, September 10, 2008.

Simply put, support for the pro-life position is strong.

The science of embryology affirms the humanity of the unborn.

Contemporary defenders of abortion concede the inhumanity of the procedure.

You can move forward in defending life with confidence!

Listen in as pro-life apologist Scott Klusendorf gives a compelling defense for the value of pre-born life and encourages listeners to share the truth about abortion on Focus on the Family’s broadcast,Stepping Up to Defend Life.”


© 2017 by Scott Klusendorf. Used by permission.

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About the Author

Scott Klusendorf

Scott Klusendorf is the founder and president of the Life Training Institute which was established to equip pro-life advocates for defending their views in the public square. A passionate defender of pre-born children, Scott has participated in numerous debates with abortion advocates at the collegiate level, and he has lectured student groups at more than 80 colleges and universities including …

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