In this piece I suggest a shift in how contemporary culture values human life, that by addressing the subject of human blood as basic to the notion of human life and to the individuality of each person from conception onward. The commonality of humanity is better addressed by a cultural comprehension of the nature of its life-sustaining fluid, the blood, while redirecting the obsession of many with race, sex, and “identity”. Arenas affected are many, although each must make its case in the courts of natural law where the scriptures, traditions, and human legislative decisions of whatever culture must bow. But ‘one issue at a time’ will do for the moment, for the life is in the blood.

So I begin with the “science”, the medical part of the piece. I begin where life begins, although I am not solely addressing the abortion issue. The avenues branching off from this beginning are many. Neither am I simply making a religious statement. Some theological issues will come toward the conclusion. This tale also relates how the experiences of my more “rough-and-tumble” blue-collar days continually factor into my theological thinking.


January 22nd, 2023, is Sanctity of Life Day in many states of the U.S.A. It is also the 50th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton decisions. It is also my adopted daughter’s 34th birthday.

We know when life begins. This link from the Charlotte Lozier Institute cites the nearly unanimous opinions of embryologists on both sides of the abortion issue:

“According to a survey conducted for the nonpartisan Brief of Biologists as Amici Curiae in Support of Neither Party filed with the Supreme Court for the Dobbs case:

96 percent of the 5,577 biologists from 1,058 academic institutions affirmed that a human’s life begins at fertilization.

85 percent of the 5,577 biologists self-identified as pro-choice, 89 percent self-identified as liberal, and 95 percent held a Ph.D.

63 percent self-identified as non-religious.

The sample was composed of biologists from 86 countries.”

But Roe vs. Wade and its partner decision, Doe vs. Bolton, both decided on the same day, have imparted to us the notion of ‘viability’ although the latter decision was more pervasive than Roe in its expansion of access. This unscientific notion provides a litigative basis for lawyers and judges to contend not over when life begins, but when it is worth anything, when it is worth preserving. 28 weeks and the “trimester” artifice, 12 weeks and the ability of the child in the womb to “feel pain”, 15 to 20 weeks regarding the ability to survive outside the womb, the “viability” list of arbitrary legalese goes on. I rejected the idea from the very first, and still do.


I began to take more careful notice of this idea of viability in 2019, when Georgia and Alabama among other states passed ‘heartbeat’ laws. Such laws were enacted to protect the life of the child in the womb from the point when a heartbeat could first be detected, at about six weeks. In this view, the detectable presence of a heartbeat provides legislators with a device to further restrict no-questions-asked abortion on demand.

But I asked myself, why a heartbeat as a touchstone for valuation of human life. What does a heart provide that was not present before its detection? What does a heart do? A human heart is basically a pump. Its function is to pump blood… blood…


This point is where my blue-collar experience as a maintenance mechanic in heavy industry came into focus. As I troubleshot and overhauled a few hundred pumps in days of yore, I recalled immediately what happens to a pump when it has nothing to do, but instead sucks air or substances alien to its design. The pump destroys itself by burning up. And if these are made of industrial grade metals, a human “bellows pump” made of flesh would self-destruct far more quickly apart from the presence of its proper fluid, human blood.

So given that the function of the human heart is to pump blood, then blood must already be present when the heart begins to beat. Upon investigation I learned that blood is apparent and detectable at 18-21 days after conception, about three weeks. Hmmm, it seems that my argument so far has narrowed the time allotted in the ‘heartbeat laws’ by half.

Furthermore, the formation of the blood cells is apparent as early as the seventh day of embryonic development: For antagonists who desire to dispute over the seven days as a viability notion, I must refer you back to the beginning and those 96% of embryologists who would know far better than me. 😉

So the ‘three weeks’ are reduced to one? As blood type is also determined from the fusion of the male and female parents’ DNA, it seems that my backtracking is concluded in part. But that will prove relevant only to the extent that the presence of blood in the embryonic stage and its typing from conception serve as a determinant of pre-fetal individuality, and from that affirm the valuation of human life pertaining to the child in the womb.


But is the child in the womb an individual human?

My question concerns the child and its parents, especially the mother and whether the child shared the mother’s blood with the mother, and vice versa. And under what conditions? And when?? And to complicate matters even more, what about twins?

This question arose for two reasons. For St. Paul informs the Corinthians, “You are not your own”, in a pericope (I Cor. 6:19-20) of contradiction to the pro-choice and trans-sexualist agendas. The second is that my late mother’s blood type was incompatible with my own, and vice versa. My own mother’s blood type was ‘O’, the universal donor. Mine is type ‘A’. As the linked chart shows, A’s cannot donate to O’s as critical reactions may result:

No, the mother and the child in the womb do not share the blood. The mother does provide water and nutrients to the child through the placenta but not the blood proper, unless something unusual is occurring or at parturition. Blood type as well as the DNA of each are demonstrative of the child’s individuality as distinct from the mother’s own.


Identical twins do share the same blood type with extremely rare exception. For these share the same DNA that makes them identical in all respects. But non-identical twins are again distinguished as these do not necessarily share a mutual blood type

The Smithsonian Magazine of January 13, 2021, cited an article published in Nature Genetics claiming that of 381 pairs of identical twins only 38 had identical DNA. The research suggests that genetic mutations may occur in embryonic and fetal development period: But the DNA researchers can sort out the issues particular to monozygotic births.


I admit that my argument appears a bit useless as I opened with citations about life beginning at conception. However, I remind the reader that antagonists sidestep or ignore origins, instead persisting in arguments over viability as noted above. That is my purpose, to eliminate the diversions aimed at when life matters.

When someone asks me where I go to church on Sunday morning I answer, “Temple Israel”. The Jews have welcomed me (I’m the token heretic) to the Shacharit Prayer and the Torah Study that follows when I am not elsewhere. I have found their own commentary on Torah invaluable to many of my own ideas on the Scriptures and more.

“The life of the flesh is in the blood…” (Leviticus 17:11) was part of the pericope under discussion one morning. As some had in the past called me to account by restricting its scope to animal sacrifice, I asked, “Do you understand this text as axiomatic, even applicable to human flesh” (pulling on my bicep)? The response from the Jews was a unanimous ‘yes’, as I expected it might.

From Genesis 9:4-6 throughout Holy Scripture and beyond it, any concordance attests to the blood playing a significant role in the valuation that the God of the Hebrews and the Christians places on life, in all of its callings. For if it were otherwise, what need of the Incarnation of deity in the flesh (although a most peculiar blood type)? And what need to take upon Himself our nature in the form of flesh and blood in order to atone for our sins, by the suffering in the flesh, and the shedding of the blood (Hebrews 2:14ff.)?

It’s very reasonable. For the Life is in the blood…

Father David+

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