What Does Science Say About When Life Begins?

By Jason McConahy,

Central to any abortion stance is the way an individual defines the personhood (or lack thereof) of the unborn. The pro-life position is based upon the assumption that the unborn is indeed a person, and therefore has rights independent of the mother. To terminate a pregnancy is to end a valid, thriving, and innocent life. The pro-choice position is based upon the assumption that the unborn is not a person (at least not until some subjective point in its gestation). Therefore to terminate a pregnancy is not ending the life of another human being, and therefore can be seen simply as a health-decision of the pregnant mother. 

Is this question ("Is the unborn a person?" or "When does the unborn become a person?”) something that can only be answered subjectively and emotionally by either side? Does one start with their abortion position and then try to answer this question as a way of supporting it? Or is there objectivity to this question? Here are two links to pursue this idea further. The first is a recent article that speaks into this question from a scientific perspective. The second is an article showing past scientific consensus on this question, and includes an engaging visualization of life in the womb from a scientist at Yale University.