I read an interesting "pro-choice" question


Basically the question is that if life starts at conception, why don’t we tack on 9 months to our age? Whereas instead of being born at 0 months old, you’d be born at whatever amount of months you were in the womb for…


Who is this “we” they speak of? Catholics? City Department of Health? Society in general?

If the pro-choice argument is “Catholics don’t really believe life begins at conception because they don’t count the 9 months in the womb when telling someone the child’s age” then that argument lacks logic and merit.

As to why society does not count the 9 months, I don’t know for sure but it probably has to do with us celebrating “birth” days and not “conception” days. In practicality, it makes no difference (e.g. my sister-in-law has been 38 for at least a decade.:D)


Really, this is a legal question not an ethical or moral one. The reason is that not all babies survive until they can be born living. So, legally it’s impossible to say that a person is a legal person until he is living apart from his mother’s womb. This does not give carte blanche for abortion, however. Nor does it have anything to do with our real age. After all, many people who died one day before their next birthday are legally said to have died at the age they were one day before. What about all the months they lived up until that point? Legally they mean nothing in our method of determining legal age, but we wouldn’t say that it would have been all right to end that person’s life merely because he hadn’t reached his next birthday, now would we. :slight_smile:


Ironically, they do just that in China… When you’re born, you’re “9 months old.”




But don’t they generally say 1 year?


Probably because the birth date can be known with certainty, and in fact we register ‘births’ based on it.


I’ve heard this one many times before. It’s pretty weak as far as arguments go.

Birthdays are cultural tradition, not a bold commentary on the metaphysics of when persons come into existence. It’s a lot easier to publicly observe when a child is born rather than when he or she was conceived. :wink: Not everyone would know that date with any degree of certitude. And tacking on 9 months to everyone’s age wouldn’t work either because that wouldn’t account for babies born prematurely. When doctors say that a woman is X weeks pregnant, it is really an estimate based on when the woman started her last cycle. The actual conception date is not able to be discerned unless the couple is charting. For couples using NFP, it is much easier to figure out, but it is still not 100% certain (unless the couple only engaged in the marital embrace one time during that time frame).

But even so, that doesn’t tell us anything about when people come into existence. They use the argument to imply that if we really believed life began at conception we would break with the cultural tradition and lobby for the law to use conception days as the benchmark—something that very few would care to try and that would be next to impossible to actually change (seeing as how birthdays are used for everything). :rolleyes:


Because we celebrate “birthdays,” not “conception days.”

Just another silly distraction to avoid the 800 pound gorilla in the room that abortion is murder.


What a silly idea. At about 22 weeks it is possible to extract a baby from the womb and have it survive. It is technically 5 months in the womb.

As someone most notably called it, it is a BIRTHDAY not a conception or beginning of life day.

However I do use this line of reason to ask people who believe in astrology. Wouldn’t your conception day really be the indicator of the stars alignment?


Of all places- abortion is huge there.


Its a birthday, not a conception day. We celebrate coming into the world on the day of birth, and we celebrate with family and friends upon announcing a pregnancy (at least some do). Certainly you are living at conception, but age is applied when you are a fully developed human. Your age starts at your completion of growth or when you must leave the womb.


I thought we do by saying, for example, if we are 30 (I wish!), that we are in our 31st year.


That just means that we have wrapped up 30 years and are now living the 31st year of our aliveness. No biggie. Kinda like the IMNAAHO archaic practice of labeling the e.g. 1900s, as the 20th Century.

As others have pointed out, birth is an easy benchmark. There is another breathing body that wasn’t seen before. And because many are born preterm, simply adding nine months to the age wouldn’t cut it. It’s not a deep statement on the beginning of life.



When they launch a rocket, they count down to zero; then the rocket launches, and they beginning counting up to track the mission time. Nobody says that the rocket wasn’t a rocket before launch, or that it only became a rocket once it lifted off the platform. It’s just a way of marking the time.

It’s the same with birth and birthdays. The fact that we, as a society, choose to reckon our age in the context of the time of our birth has nothing to do with when human life actually begins.


I do not know why our ancestors chose to measure age from birth instead of conception. Perhaps because conception was hard to measure, and by the time they could measure it, it would have been confusing forcing everybody to learn a new age.

Plus I would honestly not want to blow out candles and eat cake every year to celebrate my parents conceiving me. On some level it’s a beautiful event, but not one I want to think too much about, if you catch my drift. :thumbsup:

There could also be different answers for different cultures, but I’m certain that “to give people license to crush the skulls of defenseless babies in their mothers’ wombs” was not the reason.


I’ve thought about this too. That, really, you are already nine months old at birth. That’s why, for longer than lately, birthdays are no longer special for me. I mean, they are, but I know I’ve already been the age I’m supposedly “turning” on that day for the past nine months. Literally, it is true. Also, what has always kind of annoyed me is the way they still refer to babies’ ages as in the months old once they have passed a year. Twelve months, you might as well say a year old. I really don’t get this twenty months, and so on. It makes the baby sound younger than they actually are. I’ve never understood this, actually.


Perhaps our parents would be too embarrassed to be constantly providing our “date of conception” :smiley:


Turns out we cant even agree on 9 months. Most babies are born at 40 weeks which is not 9 months and some are born even earlier.

4 out of 5 of our kids my wife was charting so we know the exact date of conception but most people don’t. It was just, Well, you were born 40 weeks from feb 14th soooooo…

By the way. Ever do that? Ever pick your own birthday and go back and see what was going on ten months prior? Ewwe.

Even more of an Ewwe factor. My son and I have the exact same birthday 40 years apart… So I guess history repeats itself.:eek::wink:


I’m still trying to figure out how my parents got enough privacy to make me. They were living in a tiny trailer with one of my aunts. :eek:

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