“Biologists’ Consensus on ‘When Life Begins'”

Here is a link to a new paper by Steven Andrew Jacobs. The paper defends the view that there is “a large and robust scientific consensus” that a human’s life begins at fertilization.

The author doesn’t take a position on the normative issues. Jacobs states: “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’. The descriptive view does not dictate normative views on whether a fetus has rights, whether a fetus’ possible rights outweigh a woman’s reproductive rights, or whether a fetus deserves legal protection. However, presenting this view to Americans could facilitate such discussion. Resolving the factual dispute on ‘when life begins’ with biologists’ descriptive view could help parties focus on policy discussions related to the important ethical and legal issues of the U.S. abortion debate.”

Richard Myers

Richard S. Myers, the Vice-President of UFL, is Professor of Law at Ave Maria School of Law, where he teaches Antitrust, Civil Procedure, Conflict of Laws, Constitutional Law, and Religious Freedom. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Kenyon College and earned his law degree at Notre Dame, where he won the law school's highest academic prize. He began his legal career by clerking for Judge John F. Kilkenny of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Professor Myers also worked for Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue in Washington, D.C. He taught at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law before joining the Ave Maria faculty. He is a co-editor of St. Thomas Aquinas and the Natural Law Tradition: Contemporary Perspectives (Catholic University of American Press, 2004) and a co-editor of Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy (Scarecrow Press, 2007). He has also published extensively on constitutional law in law reviews and also testified before Congressional and state legislative hearings on life issues. Married to Mollie Murphy, who is also on the faculty at Ave Maria School of Law, they are the proud parents of six children - Michael, Patrick, Clare, Kathleen, Matthew, and Andrew. http://www.avemarialaw.edu/index.cfm?event=faculty.bio&pid=11705E7D4E0111010366