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The Role of Scientists in the Beginning-of-Life Debate: a 25-year retrospective

This article examines scientific testimony given during the past 25 years surrounding the issue of when life begins. Although the biological facts were presented clearly, the moral and philosophical issues proved to be problematic. Often those in government tried to use science to substantiate their own philosophical beliefs. Scientists need to present facts to society and to political leaders as clearly and as dispassionately as possible in order to continue to help the public understand complicated biological processes. Scientists also need to help ensure that science is not misused or misinterpreted to justify moral, theological, or philosophical beliefs.