Now that early abortion is essentially banned and criminalized in Texas, with other states soon to debate similar legislation, it's important to reflect on one of the key issues raised by this new law: When does human life begin? Here is a background primer on human prenatal development.
Understanding the biology is more important than ever, because the new Texas law is even more draconian than it appears to be at first blush, if that's even possible. It bans abortion at 6 weeks, but this cutoff is actually 4 weeks after conception when the fetus is 1/25th of an inch. Counting gestation from the last menstrual period is archaic, perhaps a holdover from the days when most obstetricians were male. And as anyone who has ever suspected she is pregnant knows, that reasoning is absurdly wrong. The "morning-after pill" is not a "two-weeks-later" pill. Nonetheless and unfortunately, much of the media have spread the meaningless 6-week factoid.
To conntinue reading go to Genetic Literacy Project, where this post first appeared.