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When does a human life begin? – Poll about abortion

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Last night, I was thinking of women who decide to abort when they find out their unborn baby has serious health issues or genetic conditions, such as Down Syndrome.

I remember a girl, a Paralympic champion affected by the syndrome, who went to Iceland to sensitize about abortion. Iceland is the country where almost all women decide to stop the pregnancy when the fetus is diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

The girl said “Am I loathsome? I’m not a bad person. Why do you want to kill people like me, and erase us from the world?”


However, I didn’t really want to talk about abortion in the case a fetus is diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

I was wondering about a matter that finds no official answer.

Is the embryo alive? Is abortion a murder? When does a human life begin?

I take the opportunity to ask you this. I will briefly explain the options.



It’s when the egg gets fertilized and starts to grow.

The egg then sticks to the womb and the pregnancy begins.

It is alive, technically, but it’s probably less smart and conscious than one of the many Escherichia coli bacteria living in our guts. At the same time, it has the potential to grow an intestine that will host the same Escherichia coli bacterium I mentioned before.


First Brain Activity (2nd month)

The brain starts its electrical activity after about 5 weeks from conception.

Of course, the brain is not fully developed, but the brain of newborn babies isn’t either.

Despite the neural activity, the embryo is not conscious. It’s like in a vegetative state.

Medical abortions, those induced by drugs, are performed until the 9th week of pregnancy.


Quickening (3rd month)

We no longer have an embryo, but a fetus. And it starts moving.

That’s what ‘quickening’ means.

However, most women can’t feel the movements until the 4th or 5th month.

This activity is spontaneous and doesn’t imply there’s consciousness.

At this time, it’s possible to take a screening test that tells if a fetus is likely to have genetic conditions such as Down Syndrome. If the result is positive, it can be confirmed by taking a diagnostic test, which is more invasive and may cause a miscarriage.

Surgical abortions eventually become the only possible solution to end the pregnancy.

I won’t tell more about surgical abortions because they’re gruesome.


Baby gender (5th month)

Here you can simply find out what the gender is via an ultrasound.

It makes the fetus more alive somehow, as you start wondering what name you could give.

Its senses are developing, it can taste what the mother is eating.


Viability (7th month)

This is the time where the fetus has high chances to survive outside the womb.

It can respond to averse stimuli, is able to perform voluntary actions and starts to recognize different sounds. We are now sure it’s conscious.

We no longer talk of abortion or miscarriage here, it’s either a premature birth or a stillbirth.

  • Question of

    What’s your stand on abortion?

    • I’m against abortion in all cases
    • I’m in favor of abortion in some cases
    • I’m pro-choice in all cases
  • Question of

    Would you end a pregnancy if the screening test for genetic conditions was positive?

    • Yes
    • No
    • I don’t know/I prefer not to answer
  • Question of

    When do you think an embryo, or a fetus, can start to be considered as a human being with a right to life?

    • Conception
    • First Brain Activity (2nd month)
    • Quickening (3rd month)
    • When gender is revealed (5th month)
    • Viability (7th month)
    • Birth


What do you think?

22 points

Written by sabtraversa

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