Allow us to repeat ourselves because it’s a message worth repeating: Not every human being’s life begins at conception.
Did we really say that?
Yes. And we must continue to say it because the confusing message that “life begins at conception” gets repeated by well-intentioned pro-life advocates on social media practically every day. Pro-life organizations even create clever memes with similar messages and they go viral.
The result is a movement that misunderstands science.
Most people understand “conception” as the creation of a new person, namely the union of egg and sperm. That used to be the language of human embryology. Depending on whom you’re talking to, its meaning is often synonymous with the implantation of the human embryo. However, our lives began before we implanted inside our mothers, and it didn’t make us any less human. Think of IVF children created in laboratories. They exist completely OUTSIDE of their mothers.
Even if you’re talking to someone who firmly believes conception is the same as the union of sperm and egg, there’s another point to be made that makes “life begins at conception” a poor phrase for the pro-life activist. Not everyone is created this way. Laboratories are creating human embryonic children as “3-parent-embryos” for the sake of experimentation—an experiment that often results in their mass murder.
Starting in 2017, let’s resolve to describe the beginning of a person’s biological development as his creation, not as his conception.