When does life begin? At conception? When the fertilized egg begins to multiply cells? When the zygote embeds itself into its source of nutrition?
A growing number of scientists are beginning to assert that life can begin nowhere else but at conception, because at the moment when an egg is fertilized, it is either a human, a squirrel, an elephant or a dog. At that moment on, then, is when human life should be protected from planned destruction.
University biology textbook author Scott Gilbert teaches developmental biology, developmental genetics, and the history of biology at Pennsylvania's Swarthmore College. After receiving his B.A. from Wesleyan University, he pursued his graduate and postdoctoral research at The Johns Hopkins University and the University of Wisconsin.
“Traditional ways of classifying catalog animals according to their adult structure. But, as J. T. Bonner (1965) pointed out, this is a very artificial method, because what we consider an individual is usually just a brief slice of its life cycle. 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.”
Gilbert says a dog's life begins at fertilization and ends at that dog's death. How soon can we expect him and other scientists to define a human's life cycle the same? And in that case, will Roe vs. Wade face a new challenge?