Live Action: BuzzFeed’s attempt to discredit ‘Baby Olivia’ prenatal development video is the weakest yet
June 3, 2024

by Nancy Flanders in Live Action

BuzzFeed attempted to invalidate Live Action’s “Meet Baby Olivia” video this week, claiming that there are six misleading or inaccurate statements made in the video about prenatal development. But the outlet’s arguments fall far short of debunking anything in the expert-endorsed animation.

Live Action’s video depicts life in the womb using ground-breaking animation and expertise from medical doctors as well as from the Endowment for Human Development (EHD), a self-described “nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health science education and public health” that is “​​committed to neutrality regarding all controversial bioethical issues.” EHD’s own award-winning prenatal development DVD — featuring the same milestones and timelines for prenatal development — is distributed by National Geographic.

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Let’s take these alleged “misleading” claims one by one:

1. The moment when life begins

BuzzFeed claims that when life actually begins is “subjective,” and therefore, Live Action’s statement that life begins at fertilization is deemed by BuzzFeed to be “inaccurate.” BuzzFeed staff writer Natasha Jokic writes, “Many people do not agree that life begins at conception, even within religions. For example, the Talmud [a primary source of Jewish religious law] states that life begins at birth in Judaism.” But Jokic is wrong in two ways.

First, it doesn’t matter what people “believe” about when life begins — it is scientifically proven that a new, living human organism comes into being at fertilization. Scientific journalstextbooks, and professionals are in agreement that the moment when a new, distinct human being begins to exist is the moment of fertilization when sperm and egg unite. The Human Embryology & Teratology textbook states

Although life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed. … The combination of 23 chromosomes present in each pronucleus results in 46 chromosomes in the zygote. Thus the diploid number is restored and the embryonic genome is formed. The embryo now exists as a genetic unity.

Second, while Jokic claims that Judaism states life doesn’t begin until birth, Jewish experts say otherwise. Rabbi Yaakov Menken explained, “The Jewish Bible’s position on life is unambiguous — and emphatically ‘pro-life.’” He added, “One who claims that fetal life is not precious to Judaism must not have read the Torah or Prophets, or studied our Oral Law.”

In addition, Cecily Routman, MSW, president of the Jewish Pro-Life Foundation, has said, “Judaism is the original pro-life religion. It was the first religion in human history to sanctify human life from conception to natural death and to prohibit child sacrifice.” She continued, “The Jewish case against abortion comes directly from the Jewish bible, which commands us to protect innocent life wherever and whenever possible…”

See the full article in Live Action

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