Spontaneous abortion in humans

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A common fundamentalist argument against abortion is that each human being is granted a soul at the moment of conception, and that destroying that "soul" is equivalent to murder. Taking this logic further, the argument is that most methods of birth control are equivalent to mass murder with the exception of condoms or other barrier types.

Few conceptions lead to a baby[edit]

So basically what these anti-abortion people are telling us is that any woman who's had more than one period is a serial killer!
George Carlin[1]

However, there's some serious problems with the logic of ensoulation at the point of conception. The CDC as well as the March of Dimes and several fertility experts have conducted studies to see exactly how hard it is to carry a pregnancy to term. In general, less than 70% of all fertilized eggs will even implant into the mother's womb causing pregnancy to continue [2]. From there, there is a 25-50% chance of aborting before you even know you are pregnant. If, however, you make it to your first month, your odds go up to 75% chance of carrying to term. So if you look at it from the fundamentalist point of view, all those little souls are being given a home, only to be miscarried before they even know they are alive.

Scientific research has compiled the following information about the rates of naturally aborted pregnancies in human beings (or, if you believe everything happens for a reason, pregnancies aborted by God himself).

This chart assumes that 200 eggs are in an environment with sperm nearby.[3]

Successfully fertilized 168 are successfully fertilised[note 1] 84% left alive
Successfully implanted in womb (1-2 weeks from fertilization) 138 68% left alive
Survive 4 weeks from fertilization 84 42% left alive
Survive to become a fetus (8-11 weeks from fertilization) 70 35% left alive
Survive to term and are born alive (38-42 weeks from fertilization) 62 31% born

Over several trials, this concludes that around 63% of all zygotes fail to be carried to term. There has been very little action by conservatives to defend against what must be an appalling source of infant death.

Due to all those zygotes that get fertilized but fail to implant, women in Virginia will probably need to go to the sheriff's office to get their tampons examined, as the zygote now has the rights of an adult there.[4]


In El Salvador if a woman miscarries it is frequently assumed she deliberately induced an abortion or could have saved the baby. Women who did not know they were pregnant or who could not have prevented a miscarriage face long prison terms. [5][6]

See also[edit]


  1. Sometimes, owing to genetic differences or other factors, the egg cell is not fertilised, despite being united with a sperm.


Abortion articles on RationalWiki
Abortion - Fetus/Fœtus - Gonzales v. Carhart - Nuremberg Files - Planned Parenthood - Pro-life - Pro-choice - Roe v. Wade - Schlafly, breast cancer and abortion - The Silent Scream - Barnett Slepian