David Magnus on when human life begins

"Wherever you want to draw the line about where life begins, biology seems to suggest conception is a bad place to do it."

- Dr. David Magnus as quoted in The New Scientist

Magnus is quoted in this weeks' New Scientist feature written by Alison Motluk in reaction to a new law in South Dakota banning all abortion in that state except when a woman's life is in danger. As this law directly challenges the Constitutional jurisprudence of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court will inevitably become involved.

Magnus, co-director of the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics, cites epigenetics (post-conception genetic reprogramming), identical twins who split off after conception, and the frequency of natural miscarriages as examples of why defining 'life' at conception is flawed. The rest of the article, which you can read here with a subscription, analyzes the other scientific claims used by the South Dakota task force to justify the new law, such as that abortion is bad for a woman's mental health.