Sensible in Mississippi

The Mississippi ballot initiative to define human beings as “persons” from conception, has failed.

This is good news. What irks me, though, is a detail in how this initiative is described in some reports (such as this one and this one), namely as an attempt to redefine the moment when “life starts”.

First, the ballot initiative does no such thing. It merely concerns the term that should be used to describe human life, it does not attempt to define when life begins.

Second, the idea that a scientific question such as “when does life begin?” can be answered by a political vote is ludicrous.

Third, the question of when life begins has only one proper answer: billions of years ago.

There is no magical moment at which each person’s life begins. The sperm and egg that join to form a new embryo are alive before they meet. Two live cells join to become one live cell.

In short, life is inherited, not created. The only time it was created was during the process of abiogenesis billions of years ago.


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