Most Scientists Believe Life Begins At Conception, Ph.D. Recipient Finds

A Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago successfully received his Ph.D. after writing and defending his thesis that life biologically begins at conception. In fact, Steven Jacobs argues, most of American academia supports this notion.

Jacobs’ research and subsequent dissertation could change the fundamental and political debates surrounding the issue of abortion and the right to life, the Christian Broadcast Network reports.

According to the report, even 60 percent of the most liberal scientists polled confirmed “fertilization marks the beginning of a human’s life”:

Jacobs asked three questions in the survey. The first question asked biologists to respond to the contention that the development of a mammalian organism begins at the moment of fertilization. Around 90 percent of respondents answered in the affirmative. To the question that “fertilization marks the beginning of a human’s life,” fully three-quarters of respondents said yes.

The third question was an essay question, “When does life begin?” According to the website, while nearly 90 percent of “very pro-life” respondents answered that it begins at fertilization, still nearly three-quarters of “pro-choice” respondents answered the same. Around three-fifths of “very pro-choice” respondents felt the same.

Jacobs’ said his research was done from a biological background arguing the scientific nuances of childbirth and the start of a human’s life, but it could not stop political backlash and negativity.

The College Fix reports:

The University of Chicago PhD spent the last half-decade in a grueling fight to gather and publish research related to the American abortion debate. During that time he was ridiculed, mocked and defamed; accused of committing academic dishonesty, politicizing science and conducting his work with personal bias; compared to the Ku Klux Klan; and in general painted as an unprofessional radical who was, in one academic’s words, “not deserving of a PhD degree.”

The College Fix has been in contact with Jacobs since March. The scholar did not want to discuss his situation on the record with any media prior to arguing his dissertation for fear of professional consequences.

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And, concerning the survey:

To bolster his thesis, Jacobs actually conducted “pilot work” on this question. He surveyed 2,899 American adults, finding that a large majority of respondents believe that the question “When does a human’s life begin?” is important to the abortion debate. The poll also revealed that a large majority of respondents, including a larger share of pro-choice individuals, “selected biologists as the group most qualified to determine when a human’s life begins.”

The survey questions were directed specifically at determining respondents’ beliefs about when individual lives begin. Respondents were asked to agree or disagree with two “implicit statements.”

The first read: “The end product of mammalian fertilization is a fertilized egg (‘zygote’), a new mammalian organism in the first stage of its species’ life cycle with its species’ genome.” The second declared: “The development of a mammal begins with fertilization, a process by which the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote.”

A subsequent “explicit statement” asked recipients to respond to this premise: “In developmental biology, fertilization marks the beginning of a human’s life since that process produces an organism with a human genome that has begun to develop in the first stage of the human life cycle.”

The College Fix reports Jacobs said he ran into obstacle and obstacle trying to conduct his research, he was even forced to cancel his study on several occasions.

“I was told that my survey seemed like it was developed by the Ku Klux Klan; I was told that my work could expedite the extinction of the human race; I was told that I should be ashamed of myself since I was damaging the reputation of the University of Chicago,” Jacobs said per the report.

And, amid receiving seemingly countless critiques of his work, Jacobs said: “I have gotten the sense that this has been talked about a lot. I’ve been regularly told I can’t get a job in academia. I’ve been told don’t try. I’ve been told maybe a Christian school would hire me.”

“I knew what was going to happen before it happened. I told myself I was going to do this for the sake of the research, not for the sake of my career,” he added.

Jacobs said his research ought to change the question of abortion in the country away from “When does life begin?” and instead ask “Is it okay to kill unborn humans?”

“A human’s life begins at fertilization,” Jacobs contended. “An abortion is the intentional killing of a human, and thus should be recognized as a homicide. When is that homicide justifiable?”

“Let’s stop debating whether a fetus is a human and start debating whether all humans have rights and, if so, how to balance one human’s right to abort and another human’s right to life,” he concluded.