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Study: 96% of Biologists Agree Life Begins at Fertilization

The point at which life begins has been a hot topic for debate over the past few years, but one researcher went out of his way to put the debate to rest.

Not surprisingly, the beginning of human life, biologically, is relatively agreed upon and scientifically this topic is not nearly as controversial as the political debate over abortion would have you believe. In fact, according to research recently released, “finding that even biologists who vote for and support legal abortion admit the procedure’s victims were alive at the moment of fertilization.”

“even biologists who vote for and support legal abortion admit the procedure’s victims were alive at the moment of fertilization.”

This research comes from Steve Jacobs, a recent Ph.D graduate from the University of Chicago’s Department of Comparative Human Development. Jacobs released his dissertation, which was titled: “Balancing Abortion Rights and Fetal Rights: A Mixed Methods Mediation of the U.S. Abortion Debate.

The basis of Jacobs’ research came from his initial survey questions, finding that “82 percent of Americans recognize “when life begins” as important to understanding an issue, that 93 percent agree human life should be legally protected once it begins, and that 80 percent believe biologists were most qualified to answer when it begins.” With this information, Jacobs’ sent out his questions to biologists, which the public viewed as the most qualified to decide when life actually begins.

“82 percent of Americans recognize “when life begins” as important to understanding an issue, that 93 percent agree human life should be legally protected once it begins, and that 80 percent believe biologists were most qualified to answer when it begins.”

Steve Jacobs states the findings as follows: “As the usable responses began to come in, I found that 5,337 biologists (96 percent) affirmed that a human’s life begins at fertilization, with 240 (4 percent) rejecting that view,” Jacobs wrote. “The majority of the sample identified as liberal (89 percent), pro-choice (85 percent) and non-religious (63 percent). In the case of Americans who expressed party preference, the majority identified as Democrats (92 percent).”

An incredible majority of the almost 6,000 biologists agree that life begins at fertilization, with 92% of those agreeing identifying as Democrats. So if the scientific community agrees this strongly, why is it still a debate politically? Well, some of the responses from biologists who refused to participate in the survey may shed some light on this. As Jacobs’ states, although he worked tirelessly to ensure the questions asked were as technical and neutral as possible, some still attacked the survey as “some stupid right to life thing,” or “religious survey,” or even a “studied fund (sic) by Trump and ku klux klan,” with one respondent noting that he or she would “do my best to disseminate this info to make sure that none of my naïve colleagues fall into this trap.”

So now it is a “trap” to use science and biology in an abortion debate, apparently. It seems like facts are getting in the way of Liberal feelings. Jacobs’ explains some respondents are experiencing “cognitive dissonance when they recognize that their view of a fetus as a human complicates their political convictions,” fear that a straight answer “could lead to other people supporting abortion restrictions,” and fear that acknowledging the science “may serve to estrange them from pro-choice liberals, on whom they might rely for social, emotional, or financial support.”

“Academics’ fear of balanced research on the U.S. abortion debate cost me five years of my life,” he said. “I spent those five years in anguish at the realization that representatives of one of the finest academic institutions were willing to sacrifice their principles of academic freedom to protect their ideology; that they were willing to jeopardize their reputation of open inquiry to kill research that explored the dogma surrounding abortion rights. Despite those bad actors, stewards of the UChicago tradition displayed courage in putting aside their biases, upholding their academic principles, and helping me conduct my research.”

In summary, the debate of when life begins is over. According to 80% of Americans, biologists are most qualified to decide when life begins. 96% of biologists surveyed agree that life begins at fertilization. And 92% of respondents were democrats. This is not a bias study to help the pro-life argument, this is scientific fact that abortion is effectively killing a baby.