What restrictive abortion laws get wrong about… everything.

Matthew C. Woodruff

Pro-Life March(via USA Today)

Life begins at conception. Traditionally that is the common mantra pro-lifers use to explain why abortion should be restricted. Until the mid-1960s, the science of embryology acknowledged that human conception happened at the moment of fertilization. This, then, is the scientific basis anti-abortion activist and believers seize upon to insist abortion and miscarriages are the ending of a human life.

Since the 1960’s, there can be no doubt that science has advanced greatly. This includes the science of embryology.

Dr. Matthew Woodruff (no relation), instructor of Human Immunology at Emory University in the academic journal, The Conversation, makes the case that restrictive abortion laws (that criminalize miscarriages and insist life begins at conception) fail to take into account that MOST human embryos naturally die after conception.

According to Dr. Woodruff’s article, 60% of embryos disintegrate before people may even be aware they are pregnant. The emerging scientific consensus is that this high rate of early embryo loss is a common and normal occurrence in people. This ‘spontaneous’ abortion is natural and exceedingly common.

How then can restrictive abortion laws that insist life begins at conception account for this? These new restrictive abortion laws that ignore this natural occurrence could lead to a slippery slope that can put lives and livelihoods at risk.

The recent prosecution and conviction of Brittney Poolaw provides a chilling example: The mere allegation that the teen’s drug use contributed to miscarriage led to her arrest for first-degree manslaughter; she was eventually sentenced to four years in prison - for having a miscarriage.

Dr. Woodruff writes, “Between 1973 and 2005, over 400 women were arrested for miscarriage in the U.S. With the current shift toward restrictive abortion policies, the continued criminalization of pregnancies that don’t result in birth, despite how common they are, is a growing concern. I believe that acknowledging massive early embryo loss as a normal part of human life is one step forward in helping society make rational decisions about reproductive health policy.”

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Matthew is a free-lance journalist, and an internationally award-winning author best known for Dark Humor/Lite Horror/Supernatural short stories, as well as an ordained minister who served as a domestic missionary. He is a lover of the unusual, travel, cats and the spark that makes people tick. Matthew is based in Florida, USA.

Gainesville, FL

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