Ten days ago I put up a poll asking readers of this blog when they thought the life of a human being starts. The poll is above and you can still participate.
I purposefully tweeted this poll to as wide an audience as possible. We have gotten a lot of responses and interestingly the most frequent answer with 40% of the vote was that the life of a human being begins “When fetus can survive outside the womb”. This was far and away the top answer. Most respondents seem to think that human life begins when a fetus has in essence crossed a line after which it can survive independent of the mother.
What I also found interesting is that there was no clear 2nd place answer. Basically tied for second were “conception”, “1st trimester but not at conception”, and “at birth” with a sprinkling of other answers.
So there does not seem to be a polarized group here between only 2 answers.
Also, keep in mind that our readership is fairly diverse including scientists, students, investors, policy makers, funding agencies, anti-ES cell research people. This diverse group still 85% of the time choose an answer that was not “at conception”.
I still believe there is no “right” answer and I would argue that this is a question that science cannot prove. Each person has to decide on a personal level. I’m still thinking it through myself and will post in the future.