Federal judge: life begins at conception

Planned Parenthood’s request to block a provision of an Indiana law that requires doctors to tell women who are seeking abortions that “human physical life begins when a human ovum is fertilized by a human sperm,” was denied by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt last week.

“Plaintiffs contend that in the context of abortion, the meaning of these words, both individually and in combination, represent a plethora of opinions and beliefs about life and its inception. The Court respectfully disagrees,” wrote Pratt.

“When read together, the language crafted by the legislature in this provision supports a finding that the mandated statement refers exclusively to a growing organism that is a member of the Homo sapiens species.”

The judge disagreed with Planned Parenthood’s suggestion that the phrasing was “misleading.”

“Here, the mandated statement states only a biological fact relating to the development of the living organism; therefore, it may be reasonably read to provide accurate, non-misleading information to the patient,” the court wrote. “Under Indiana law, a physician must disclose the facts and risks of a treatment which a reasonably prudent physician would be expected to disclose under like circumstances, and which a reasonable person would want to know.”


Oh dang! Now judges are using real and plain scientific understanding to support archaic religious views that keep oppressing women. Don’t these ignorant judges know that life begins only when planned Parenthood deems it appropriate? :D:D:D

This is a very interesting decision as the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade specifically avoided addressing the issue.

Texas urges that, apart from the Fourteenth Amendment, life begins at conception and is present throughout pregnancy, and that, therefore, the State has a compelling interest in protecting that life from and after conception. We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.

There is no longer any scientific doubt about when life begins. If this question goes back to SCOTUS they won’t be able to dodge it again.



Maybe because science has evolved since 1973 and we know a lot more about pregnancy, and the human body now? If it is a scientific fact that human life starts at conception, then how can Roe vs Wade continue?

:stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue: I heartily agree! Good for him!

so could this set the stage for a challenge against Roe v Wade?


They sure can dodge it in the same way they did in 1973. By saying that the Court is in no position to determine when life begins, they can make their ruling based on a woman’s privacy, which is exactly what they did in 1973. If another abortion trial comes before SCOTUS, expect it to be shot down or dismissed. If a ruling is actually made, I don’t expect it to be favorable to life. The only way I can see a pro-life ruling is if a Republican president packs the Court with extremely conservative judges who are pro-life. Then a test case must be brought forward for a ruling to be given. That’s all speculation of course. But one can dream :o

Woo-hoo!!! Something to celebrate from a federal judge. :thumbsup:

This is a misleading title, it is only partially correct. Legally it just forces abortion clinics to say that human physical life begins when a human ovum is fertilized by a human sperm. This is more of an issue can the government force a doctor what to say,So the title makes it sound better then it really is.

Sounds like “him” is a “her.”

U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt for President!

Adding this: yes, He is a She and is the first
African American federal court judge in Indiana.


I seriously doubt that the Court would try that argument again, nor would the Court be asked to determine when life begins - science has already settled that question and it’s not likely even the pro-abortion side would contest the point. I agree that the could come up with some other dodge, just not that one. The point is, however, that this ruling poses some problems for Roe … such as this finding:

  • the right of privacy… is not absolute, and is subject to some limitations; and that,** at some point, the state interests** as to protection of health, medical standards, and prenatal life, become dominant.*

The Court referred to prenatal life as "potential human life". The lower court ruling stated unequivocally that human life exists a conception, essentially saying there is no such thing as potential human life.

  • it is reasonable and appropriate for a State to decide that, at some point in time another interest, that of health of the mother or that of potential human life, becomes significantly involved. The woman’s privacy is no longer sole and any right of privacy she possesses must be measured accordingly.*

Finally, Roe itself acknowledged the Achilles heel of its own decision:

The appellee and certain amici argue that the fetus is a “person” within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. In support of this, they outline at length and in detail the well known facts of fetal development. If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment.


Isn’t she also blocking the state from cutting off funds to Planned Parenthood?

Sorry, I read it fast:o

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.