Accusations against Students for Life incorrect, without merit

Kaiti Capurro accuses Students for Life of “using scare tactics” and spreading “incorrect information.” We have been an RSO for eleven years now, put on at least two major public programs per year and distribute quite a lot of information, so if the claim were true one would think there would be quite a lot of evidence to cite.
Yet, Capurro can only lamely cite a display of fetal models we used at an information table as being “inaccurate.” Of course, one can say that with some validity about any set of fetal models, or any model of anything. There are better ones if one has hundreds of dollars to spend.
Of course, a 12-week old in the womb has translucent skin, and you cannot capture that in any model made out of rubber. Fingernails are developing at 12 weeks, and it is true that the model does not really capture that, for instance.
We double-checked the size of the models with the Mayo Clinic site. They said that at 12 weeks 2 ½ inches would be normal, and that is exactly what our model is.
If Capurro can put us on to affordable models better than the ones we have, we would be happy to look into them. We think it quite revealing that the display she refers to actually has more than fifty specific statements about developing life, but not one of them is questioned. If deceit is our goal, then why are all the factual statements accurate and uncontested? More puzzling still is what to make of the claim that the models attempt to “jar” students. If students were shown actual, live video of life in the womb, it is hard to see that such would be less “jarring.”
Given that no model made of rubber can really capture the complexity of real life, we think the topic of real interest is in fact scientifically accurate information about life in the womb, and we strongly encourage all students to obtain the best information available. Images are significant, but far more meaningful is to learn just how sophisticated life in the womb is by the end of the first trimester. And we would never and have never encouraged students only to trust pro-life sources for such information. If you want visuals, National Geographic, Nova and the Discovery Channel all have videos worth watching.
We believe that scientifically accurate photos and facts about life in the womb support our side. Pro-lifers have pushed for right-to-know laws mandating that scientifically accurate information about life in the womb be given to women contemplating abortions, and it is the pro-choicers who have always resisted. Moreover, the more science and technology advance, the more the abortion movement’s semantics about “clumps of cells”, “masses of tissue” and non-living matter lose their power.
The bottom line is that Capurro has no real scientific argument to advance against the pro-life position. Our national organization has a brief description of fetal development, on the Students for Life website. Feel free to search other sources. The truth is that there is a broad degree of consensus on these matters, and it is not at the center of most debates concerning abortion. Many scientists and medical professionals are pro-life and know the science quite a bit better than Kaiti Capurro. We invite all those who disagree with us to listen to our speakers, and we always encourage productive and informed debate.
We will close with some former testimony given to Congress by Dr. Alfred M. Bongiovanni, professor of pediatrics and obstetrics at the University of Pennsylvania, who stated, “I have learned from my earliest medical education that human life begins at the time of conception…. I submit that human life is present throughout this entire sequence from conception to adulthood and that any interruption at any point throughout this time constitutes a termination of human life….I am no more prepared to say that these early stages [of development in the womb] represent an incomplete human being than I would be to say that the child prior to the dramatic effects of puberty…is not a human being. This is human life at every stage.”

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