When asked by The New York Times, “When does human life begin?” Dr. Agustín Fuentes, Anthropologist at Princeton University, answered, “We think we are having a debate in the United States about when life begins, but we are not. We are having a debate about when society is going to decide when the person counts, and not only when the person counts, but which person counts more.”

Throughout history, humanity has grappled with the question of when human life begins. Dr. Fuentes articulates well the questions behind this question in our culture. We know when life begins, don’t we? It’s time that we dig deeper into the unanswered questions behind the question of when human life begins and how pro-life Christians can engage with these issues. Listen in on the newest CareCast, Care Net’s podcast on family, faith, and life with Roland Warren, Care Net President and CEO, and Vincent DiCaro, Care Net’s Chief Outreach Officer.


Want to hear the podcast?
Find full access to the newest CareCast episode.


Not on SoundCloud? Listen on iTunes or Spotify.


When does human life begin? Is this the real question?

The New York Times recently published a feature-length article about When Does Human Life Begin? The article shared lots of different perspectives and debated, when does life begin?

Dr. Agustín Fuentes, Anthropologist at Princeton University, was asked by a NYT writer about this question and the surrounding debate. He replied, “We think we are having a debate in the United States about when life begins, but we are not. We are having a debate about when society is going to decide when the person counts, and not only when the person counts, but which person counts more.”

Yes! Dr. Fuentes gets it. The actual debate is not about when human life becomes a life. We know this. The real questions are about when human life is really considered a person? When does the human life become a life worth protecting?

No, when is a human really considered a person?

On our newest CareCast episode, we dig deeper into this question with a strong example.

When does a Tesla become a Tesla? Is it when the first part starts on the assembly line? Is it when you add the wheels? When the logo is added? When does it actually become Tesla?

Roland and Vince argue that a Tesla is never intrinsically a Tesla. Why? Because at any point in the research, design, engineering, stamping, welding, and assembling processes you can turn a Tesla into a toaster. An electric toaster, anyone? Oh wait. 

Better yet, which human life holds more value?

Reminder: Humans aren’t constructed, humans develop. When we’re having these debates around, when does human life begin? We start talking about a human life in the same way we do the constructed Tesla, except we can’t do that. We know from science, books, and experience that humans are not constructed; we develop. Human development is something we’ve learned, right. Humans are intrinsically human from the beginning. We can’t be anything different than what we started out being.

At this point in the podcast is when Roland and Vince share a super-helpful illustration for those who sat in the back of the class, like me. They ask you to imagine taking a Polaroid picture. For the kids out there, a Polaroid picture was the image you had to wait to be developed before you could see the actual image. Remember shaking them? Point is, if you take a picture of a chair, while you’re waiting on the chair image to develop, you would never be surprised to find, after the image developed, that your image was of a table. 

The same is true with humans. We seem stuck debating conception and stages of life, pretending like nothing is telling us there’s a human life inside. We must move forward from debating when human life begins””and start addressing when a person is going to count? Or better yet, when does a person become valuable enough to sacrifice for?

I’ll leave it to Roland and Vince to wax eloquent about this in greater detail. Listen to them.

 


Looking for the full podcast?
Find the new CareCast episode right here.

Not on SoundCloud? Listen on iTunes or Spotify.