Wesley J. Smith clarifies for those confused:
The anti-science liberals are denying again that human life begins with the completion of fertilization (without getting into an arcane debate of the exact moment that process is completed).
Thomas Edsall uses his NYT column to mock that embryology truth. From, “The Republican Conception of Conception:”
Fifteen percent of the Republican presidential candidates, including Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Carla Fiorina contend life begins at conception.
So do embryology text books. As I have written here and elsewhere before, the science notes that once conception is complete, a new human individual organism has come into existence, with its own distinct genetic makeup, a determined sex, etc. Here’s just one quote from such a text:
Human development is a continuous process that begins when an oocyte (ovum) from a female is fertilized by a sperm (or spermatozoon) from a male. (p. 2); … but the embryo begins to develop as soon as the oocyte is fertilized. (p. 2); …
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. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.
That’s the science. And if we are to be “pro-science,” accuracy in biology must inform our policy positions. When “life” begins is a different question from when “pregnancy” begins. Edsall notes that the government and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (as ideological as scientific) claim pregnancy begins on implantation. [more . . .]
Ramesh Ponnuru offers additional commentary: