Pro-Life Fast Facts

By Steven A. Christie

Photo Credit: Suhyeon Choi

Here are a few basic fast facts to help prepare you to defend the right to life.  

Helpful Definitions 

Embryo: The unborn from the end of Week 1 through Week 8  

Fetus: The unborn from the end of Week 8 until birth  

Human Being: A member of the species Homo sapiens  

Life/Alive/Living: Whether something is “alive” is a purely scientific question that science has fully settled. To be “alive,” the following criteria must be met: 

  • Cellular organization  
  • Growth and development  
  • Metabolism (ability to capture, make, or utilize energy)  
  • Homeostasis (ability to maintain an internal equilibrium)  
  • Responsive to stimuli  
  • Reproductive capacity  
  • Contains all the genetic information needed to control its development for its lifetime 

All seven of these criteria for life are met at conception. This is a biological fact attested to by the American College of Pediatricians and nearly every embryology textbook used in medical schools.7 Even Planned Parenthood has admitted that life begins at conception, stating in one of their very own publications that “abortion kills life after it has begun.” 

Person: Defining “person” does not require complex philosophical or metaphysical analysis, despite claims to the contrary. Its definition is clear and simple, and found in nearly every dictionary. As Merriam-Webster states, as its very first definition, a “person” is a “human.” 

Body Part: Science defines “body part” as a structure that shares the same genetic code as the rest of the body (e.g., appendix, arm, tonsils, or heart) and does not direct its own development. 


Basic Developmental Milestones  

Day 1: A fully alive human being, with unique DNA  

Week 5: Heart beating  

Week 6: Brain activity; kidneys producing urine  

Week 9: Baby sighs, stretches, moves head, opens mouth, sucks thumb  

Week 13: Body sensitive to touch  

Week 21: Potentially viable 

Dr. Steven Christie is a physician specializing in oncologic radiology and body imaging. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Radiology. He is also an attorney and member of the Florida Bar. Aside from his medical and legal work, Dr. Christie also lectures regularly on Catholic social issues, particularly marriage, family, and the dignity of life. He and his wife, Dr. Grazie Christie, live in the Miami area and are the proud parents of five children.

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