Science supports pro-life view that birth is an arbitrary threshold to define life

Once again, science has unwittingly provided additional support for the pro-life cause.

The National Geographic channel recently broadcast a program called “Science of Babies”, which is available for viewing on their website here. It’s a really well-done program offering fresh insight into the science behind the development of babies in their first year. It’s also very cute, with lots of delectable footage of newborns goofing around. I recommend that you take 45 minutes of your time to watch it.

I’d like to draw your attention to a section less than 5 minutes long. It starts at 5:25 and ends at 8:55. This segment aims to provide a scientific explanation of why newborn babies are so helpless compared to newborn animals in the wild. Personally, I’ve always wondered why humans take 1 year to stumble through their first steps while some animals are literally running around just hours after birth. Their evidence is very persuasive and supports the pro-life view that the moment of human birth is an arbitrary demarcation for abortion legislation because it doesn’t correspond to any particular change in a baby’s development or state of being. They explain that a newborn is still a fetus, which undermines the pro-abortion argument that a fetus and a newborn deserve different protection under the law.

If you don’t want to watch the video, I’ve provided a transcript below for your benefit.


Most four-legged creatures can walk soon after birth. Elephants walk almost immediately. Monkeys can scamper around after only a month or two. And even our closest relatives, chimpanzees, can walk after six months. So why do human babies need a year before they can take their first wobbly steps?

[Dr. Daniel Lieberman, Anthropologist, Harvard University]:

Humans are born with really enormous brains for their body size and they keep growing them at a really fast rate of growth early-on after birth. And that’s one of the reasons why we take so long to grow up: because we’re actually spending the first few months of our lives still actually being a fetus, except we’re a fetus outside the womb.


Humans have larger brains relative to body size than most creatures on the planet. And needing to get such a big head through a mother’s small birth canal helps explain why babies are so helpless. Karen Rosenberg of the University of Delaware studies human fossils in order to understand why we’re born when we are.

[Karen Rosenberg, University of Delaware]:

If you look at human ancestors say, 8 million years ago — when we were similar to apes, like chimpanzees and gorillas — we would have given birth in a much simpler way, there would have been lots of room to spare.


But today, a baby’s large brain needs to fit through a mother’s narrow pelvis. Our upright stance means the fit is much tighter than for quadrupeds, like chimps.

[Karen Rosenberg, University of Delaware]:

What you have in apes, like this chimpanzee, the birth canal is the same shape from the inlet to the outlet, and the baby’s head can go straight through here with lots of room to spare.


Unlike other animals, which always give birth alone, humans need help from others, and it’s always been dangerous.

[Karen Rosenberg, University of Delaware]:

For a lot of human history, death in childbirth was the leading cause of death for women.


The baby must twist and turn to get out.

[Karen Rosenberg, University of Delaware]: (making a demonstration using plastic bone reproductions)

So this is a female pelvis in the view that a midwife would have, and the baby’s head can’t enter the birth canal in this orientation. But it can enter facing sideways, but then gets stuck, and so when it’s part of the way through the birth canal it has to twist to turn 90 degrees to come out like that.


If we stayed in the womb much longer, our brains would never fit. They more than double in size in just the first year after birth.

[Karen Rosenberg, University of Delaware]:

The point at which human babies are born is a balance. If we were born later in our development, we would be less helpless but our heads would be too big to pass successfully through the birth canal. If we were born early in our development, it would be easier to give birth but we would be less developed and we would be subject to all the kinds of risks that premature babies are subject to.

In a nutshell, the moment of birth is mainly about geometry. Because of our big noggin, we get ejected from our mom while we’re still a fetus. We’re all born prematurely, as it were. That’s why we’re so helpless. A newborn is just “a fetus outside the womb,” to quote Dr. Lieberman. So the notion that a fetus should be fair game to abortion while a newborn should be protected is illogical and unsupported by science. There is no change in the nature of the unborn child before and after birth. The timing of birth is arbitrary.

Remember, this came from a secular TV station that was quoting secular scientists. This is not pro-life “propaganda”. It’s just the plain scientific facts. Deal with it.

And the next time a friend or relative proudly shows you their newborn child, why don’t you tell them “What a beautiful fetus you have!” It’ll give you chance to gently education them on life issues. 🙂

4 thoughts on “Science supports pro-life view that birth is an arbitrary threshold to define life

  1. I don’t have your optimism. Saying that the baby is a fetus outside the womb will lead those such as Peter Singer at Princeton to further their argument that babies are not persons until they are two, and that having a baby to harvest its organs is perfectly acceptable.

  2. I appreciate your concern, Jeff, but I think that Singer’s position is so radical that it hasn’t gained any traction, even among the most avid pro-choicers.
    I think most people can see through his delirium, even in this deranged culture.

  3. An Alberta Judge let a woman go free after she strangled her newborn and threw him over the fence. Singer’s views seem to be becoming more mainstream in Canada. In the same way The Nazi’s passed over 400 laws legalizing their holocaust? Technically they did not break their laws. This is what happens in a Christian democracy when citizens allow the Christian worldview to be taken out of government, law and education and replaced with the worldview or religion of Politically Correct Relativism by Government decree and court enforcement.
    What kind of freedom would a democracy have with Sharia Law?
    Everyone has a worldview or religion they live by. In a democracy the citizens choose which one will govern their lives.

  4. An Alberta judge let a woman who strangled her newborn, and threw him over the fence go free. Looks like Singer’s views on infanticide are becoming accepted here.

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