When Does Life Begin?


When Does Life Begin?

In our new book, The Christian and Abortion: A Nonnegotiable Stance (Credo House Publishers), we seek to provide medically-sound and crystal-clear answers to some of the most important questions surrounding this highly controversial topic.

So, when does a human being’s life begin?

All but the most ardent supporters of abortion will agree that a baby who is inside its mother’s body is considered a human being just a few seconds before birth. The reasons most would say this are based on logic and experience.

In the moments before birth there is always anticipation. What will she look like? Will he look like the mommy or the daddy? Whether the moments are before birth or after birth, a mother or father will consider the baby to be a human being.

After all, what does a woman say after she has a pregnancy loss? She says, “I lost the baby,” not “I lost the fetus.” This is because the experience of every woman is that if she is pregnant, then she is carrying a life.

What if the baby is unwanted?

What, you may be asked, is the difference if the mother and/or father does not want the baby? Does calling it something else change what it is?

Sadly, our culture has tried to draw a line of distinction in which a desired fetus equates to a human being but an undesired fetus does not.

In reality, no such line exists, but proclamations that it does make the decision to support abortion on demand much easier.

Why is there a distinction between before and after birth?

Why, then, do ardent abortion supporters claim that a moment before birth the baby is not a human being and, therefore, is without rights?

The obvious answer is that if the baby has rights, then the high court’s decision to allow its destruction is turned upside down and would have to be reconsidered. For this reason alone, you likely will never convince an abortion rights activist to agree that a moment before birth a baby is a human being, but this is an excellent place to start.

I would ask them, “What happens to make the baby a human being at the moment it takes a breath?” This is a question without a clear answer because there is nothing other than the court’s arbitrary decision to deem it to be so.

What’s more, Is there a clear point at which the substance of what is inside the womb changes? When does the fetus-to-human transformation take place?

Let’s look at all the points along the process of intrauterine development to see if we can determine a clear point of demarcation:

A common claim is lack of viability.

The most common point to which many abortionists might agree is that when a baby is viable outside of the womb, they would not support an abortion. After all, they may argue, even if we removed a baby at a certain gestational age, it could not survive outside of the womb on its own.

This is a pragmatic and non- scientific answer to the question because viability is not a static point in time.

Viability is possible at early gestation.

As a point of reference, my youngest son was born at 26 weeks in 1982. There was little hope that he would survive at that gestational age in 1982, but he beat all the odds and not only survived but is a computer genius today.

Due to advances in medicine, the prospect of survival is much greater at 26 weeks today than it was then. Viability is dependent on the level of medical expertise to care for the extremely premature infant. However, from a medical standpoint, viability is also not associated with a dramatic alteration or change in the structure of the baby in utero.

I would argue that the baby didn’t go from being nonviable outside the womb on April 22 to being viable on April 23. The viability argument is designed only to placate those who would say that only a viable baby should not be destroyed. It does not answer the question of when the baby becomes a human life.

Viability always requires care.

I would also add that a newborn of any gestational age requires care and nourishment from a parent to live. If you take the healthiest full-term baby girl or boy and ignore its needs for food and shelter, it would not survive.

Thus, viability outside the womb does not end with birth. Furthermore, neglecting to meet the needs of a newborn can be considered murder by the courts.

Some point to an arbitrary ‘quickening’ as the beginning of life.

Beyond viability, another developmental milestone that some may point to when describing when life begins is the point of quickening, or the mother’s recognition of a baby’s movement inside her.

This is also arbitrary, as some women feel this occur at 14–15 weeks, while others may not feel it until 20–22 weeks or later. Fetal movement is seen on real-time ultrasound as early as 7–8 weeks, so perception by the mother is certainly not the first movement of the baby, but only the first perceived movement.

Furthermore, movement is only a characteristic of the neuromuscular development of the baby, not a landmark for determining its humanity.

Some say life begins upon implantation of a fertilized egg.

Implantation is another point of development that people may reference. This is the point at which the fertilized egg or zygote burrows into the uterine lining to get nourishment.

10 Tourist Attractions Where You Should Spend a Little Extra Time

Travel Trivia

When exploring a new city, it ca be easy to pass quickly through tourist attractions, checking them off the list and moving on to the next. You pay admission, see the most popular part, and hurry through the rest of it. But if you find yourself rushing, you could be doing yourself a disservice. Some tourist attractions offer more than meets the eye and are worth spending a day or even two to explore. Here are 10 tourist attractions where you should spend a little extra time.

The Louvre, France

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The Louvre is one of Paris’ must-see attractions and the most-visited museum in the world. Although much of the crowds gather for a glimpse of the Mona Lisa, there’s plenty else to see in this labyrinthian museum. In fact, there are so many pieces of art, one could spend days exploring the permanent and rotating exhibitions and never see it all. With renowned paintings such as Delaroche’s Young Martyr, sculptures by Michelangelo, and the preserved apartments of Napoleon III, give yourself plenty of time to see everything the Louvre has to offer.

Vatican City

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Even if you aren’t Catholic, Vatican City is an architectural feat that should be seen during your lifetime. And while you may be tempted to only visit St. Peter’s Square free of charge, there’s much more to see than the Basilica from afar. The Sistine Chapel isn’t the only place to see Michelangelo’s masterpieces, so opt for a tour that shows of his other frescoes as well as artwork by Raphael, da Vinci, and many more. There’s also the Hall of Maps, the Vatican Gardens, and the underground catacombs that are worth exploring. Plus, if you can manage to climb the 551 steps to the Cupola of St. Peter’s Basilica, there’s a café with gelato at the top.

Machu Picchu, Peru

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Much of what makes Machu Picchu so incredible is that it resides on top of a mountain. This means no matter how you arrive at the ancient city ⁠— whether by foot or switchbacking bus ⁠— you’re going to want to stay awhile. You’ll need to give yourself plenty of time to see the highlights such as the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of Three Windows, and the Intihuatana Rock. If you don’t mind death-defying heights, take the time to hike to the Sun Gate or Huayna cchu — both offer amazing views of the ruins and the surrounding Andes Mountains.

Palace of Versailles, France

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Just outside of Paris, the Palace of Versailles transports its visitors to a time when the French aristocracy lived a life of opulence and luxury. Although admission to the park and garden is (sometimes) free, you must go inside the palace to understand what all the fuss is about. Each room, from the Royal Opera House to Marie Antoinette’s Bedchamber, is more spectacular than the next. Since there’s so much to cover, nobody will blame you if you go back for a second day.

La Sagrada Familia, Spain

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The streets of Barcelona are lined with masterpieces by genius architect Antoni Gaudí and none are more famous than La Sagrada Familia. Although it’s been under construction for over 100 years, the massive Gothic church is roughly the size of a football field and every angle is worth careful observation. The exterior of the basilica with its elaborate façades and towers is spectacular. Visiting the interior, however, with its beautiful stained glass, tree-trunk columns, and enormous organ is just as breathtaking. Once inside, make sure to take the time to see Gaudí’s tomb, which can be viewed through a window into the crypt.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, USA

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Another one of the most visited museums in the world, Washington D.C.’s Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History offers incredible value for free admission. Visitors often go straight to the second floor to see permanent exhibitions like the Butterfly Pavilion and the Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals (featuring the Hope Diamond). However, the first floor has fewer crowds and will be easier to navigate. Plus, it’s home to amazing exhibits that feature underwater sea creature displays like sculpted narwhal replicas and mosasaur skeletons.

The Great Wall of China, China

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You may be asking yourself, “How much time do I really need to spend at a wall?” The answer is, more time than you’d think. Popular spots on the Great Wall like Badaling and Mutiayanu are a 3-hour round trip journey from Beijing, so day-trippers must arise early to get enough time at the wall. If you’re adventurous, we suggest allotting extra time to get further away from the crowds who congregate around the entrances. There’s plenty of great hiking along the wall, including a two-day overnight trip from Hexi Village to Gubeikou and Panlong.

9/11 Memorial and Museum, USA

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The 9/11 Memorial and Museum was built at Ground Zero, where thousands of people lost their lives in the September 11 terrorist attacks. In fact, the museum is built around the remnants of the Twin Towers, including a concrete stairway that survivors used to exit the building. Although the museum is sobering, emotional, and unbelievably sad (make sure to bring some tissues), it pays homage to the victims and heroes of 9/11. The memorial is quiet, reflective, and beautiful and shouldn’t be rushed. All in all, take your time through this worthwhile tribute to seriously contemplate the loss experienced that day.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

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While it may be tempting to schedule just one day at Angkor Wat, we suggest you spend at least two exploring this enormous complex of temples outside Siem Reap. Lauded as one of the most impressive ancient architectural achievements in the world, the complex covers 400 square miles and has hundreds of temples within its walls. From Bayon with its Gothic towers and hand-carved faces, to Ta Prohm half-hidden in a jungle of trees, each temple offers something extraordinary to see. And while hundreds of people gather around the lake for a sunrise shoot, head instead to one of the many, many underrated and under-visited temples in nearby complexes.

That’s It?


This devotional content is drawn from: Acts 16:25-35

“‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved––you and your household.’”  Acts 16:30-31

While I was a police chaplain, I would ride during the night once a week with 1 an officer. Over the months, one officer shared his story of burnout, family breakup, addiction, and little hope. In the middle of one night we stopped at a restaurant for a break. I remember saying, “Joe, for months now you’ve told me of the diminishing hope in your life. Isn’t it time you give Jesus a chance?” He looked into my eyes and said, “Yep.” There in that restaurant, he prayed and asked Jesus to come into his life. To this day, Joe walks with God, is a man of prayer, and remains a trustworthy friend.

You may know what it is like to feel as if your life is hopeless. The jailer in Acts 16 was ready to take his life. But God’s ambassadors, Paul and Silas, said, “Don’t harm yourself!” Overwhelmed, the jailer’s heart was ready for Jesus. The message was simple: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”

That’s it? Believe and you will be saved? Yes! It’s not complicated. Are you looking for hope? Look no further than to Jesus.

Becoming a Christ-follower is not complicated! God says, “Trust Me!”