Study: 95 Percent of Biologists Say Life Begins at Conception

Despite his attempt to be as neutral as possible, (Steven) Jacobs drew a great deal of ire for his study. The biologists who supported life as beginning at conception claimed that he misinterpreted their answers.

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The following article was published in 2019 by PJ Media and authored by Tyler O’Neil.

After a five-year struggle, University of Chicago student Steven Jacobs finally published his study into biologists’ opinions on whether life begins at conception. That study won him a Ph.D., but it also angered the liberal biologists and many others in academia. Some have demonized him, saying his survey seemed developed by the Ku Klux Klan and that it would expedite the extinction of the human race.

Jacobs’ study found that a vast majority of Americans believe biologists should determine the question “When does a human’s life begin?” and that the question is important to the abortion debate. Then Jacobs surveyed biologists and found that 95 percent of them agreed that “a human’s life begins at fertilization.”

Jacobs insists that his paper is not intended to argue the pro-life position in the abortion debate. “This paper does not argue that the finding ‘a fetus is biologically classified as a human at fertilization’ necessitates the position ‘a fetus ought to be considered a person worthy of legal consideration,’” he wrote. Instead, he cites philosopher Peter Singer’s “is-ought” distinction, claiming that Americans can believe life begins at conception and support the killing of unborn babies up until viability or birth.

Despite his attempt to be as neutral as possible, Jacobs drew a great deal of ire for his study. The biologists who supported life as beginning at conception claimed that he misinterpreted their answers.

The study asked 2,899 Americans about the abortion debate, 58 percent of them female. These Americans identified as pro-choice (63 percent), liberal (63 percent), and Democratic (67 percent). Jacobs asked them a few questions:

  • How important is the question “When does a human’s life begin?” in the US abortion debate?
  • Americans deserve to know when a human’s life begins so they can be informed in their abortion positions and reproductive decisions (agree or disagree)
  • Which group is most qualified to answer the question “When does a human’s life begin?”

Eighty-seven percent said the beginning of life question is important to the abortion issue, while 84 percent agreed that Americans deserve to know when human life begins to be informed about abortion. As for who should decide when life begins, 81 percent chose biologists over religious leaders (7 percent), voters (7 percent), philosophers (4 percent), and Supreme Court justices (2 percent

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