An overwhelming majority of Americans say biologist should determine when life begins after conception and nearly all biologist say life begins at fertilization, according to a new study.
In the study titled “Balancing Abortion Rights and Fetal rights,” Dr. Steven Jacobs examines Americans’ attitudes towards abortion and when life begins.
Jacobs surveyed a sample of 3,883 Americans, asking them if they would prefer religious leaders, voters, philosophers, Supreme Court Justices are most qualified when life begins.
After a decade of investigation, Jacobs found 80 percent of Americans believe biologist should decide the question of when life begins, while 96 percent of 5,500 biologists that were asked contend life begins during insemination.
Pro-choice participants, which comprised 86 percent of the participants, were more inclined to agree biologists’ have a greater capacity to determine when life begins.
When asked why they selected biologists, the group reportedly explained biologists are an authority on the subject because they are “experts in science and they are objective scientists.”
The sample was comprised of 62 percent of pro-life participants, 63 percent liberal, 54 percent socialist, and 66 percent Democrats. Fifty-seven percent of the participants were female and 43 percent were male.
The abortion debate “comes down to the question of whether we think personal autonomy is more important than the life of a human being,” an academic biologist argues in the study.
Sixty-three percent of the 5,577 biologists that participated in the study were predominantly non-religious, 89 percent were liberal, 92 percent were Democrats, 11 percent were conservative and 8 percent were Republicans.
Roe v. Wade legally settled the abortion debate in 1973, when the U.S. Supreme Court found that a right to privacy outweighed states’ rights to regulate abortion, with the ultimate compromise being a restriction on third-term abortions.
A subsequent court ruling in Casey v. Planned Parenthood doubled down on the third-trimester prohibition, eliminating the arbitrary trimester distinction, instead allowing abortion only until viability, which with modern medical care is usually in the second trimester.
Yet, Democrat lawmakers insist outlawing partial birth abortion impedes on women’s reproductive rights.
An abortion bill signed in February by New York’s Governor Cuomo allows for all abortion restrictions to be lifted until the moment of birth. A similar proposal was put forth by Virginia Democrat Delegate Kathy Tran which would repeal any and all abortion restrictions until the mother gives birth. The failed would have allowed abortion up to the moment that a woman is fully dilated, and a doctor would still be protected under the law if they performed an abortion.
Following Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court, a number of Republican-controlled states have passed legislation aiming to reduce access to abortion, in the hopes of sparking a legal challenge that could lead to the high court reconsidering its landmark 1970 Roe v. Wade decision which legalized medical termination of pregnancies.
Heartbeat bills have been passed in states including Ohio, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. Missouri and Louisiana have similar bills being considered. These bills ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, considered to be around six weeks, although the Missouri bill looks to ban abortion at eight weeks.
A recent Hill/HarrisX survey found the majority of American voters support banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected – usually at about six weeks gestation, according to The Hill.
The poll, conducted in May, shows 21 percent of registered voters found the heartbeat bills to be “too lenient.” Thirty-four percent said the bills are “just right” and agree with abortion bans that begin when a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Combined, that is 55 percent of Americans who believe that abortion should at least be limited to about six weeks gestation.
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