When you help someone up a hill, you get that much closer to the top yourself. -Anonymous
Question #1905 posted on 12/10/2003 4:02 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,
Why is Scott Peterson being charged with 2 murders? I thought that the murder of a pregnant woman and her baby was considered to be 1 murder and 1 abortion. (At least that's what I thought I heard on Law & Order.) Also, is there any church doctrine that tells us when the spirit enters the body?
- ProLife

A: Dear Prolife,

The states have the discretion of deciding if and when a fetus can be considered a life or not. For example, in Mississippi the State Supreme Court ruled that a fetus could be considered a life from conception. In different states the standard is different. This ruling only applies to cases when the mother chooses to carry the baby to term or to have it live. Therefore, in California Scott Peterson is able to be charged for two murders, but in NY or Mass he would only be allowed to be charged for one.

Several years ago I read that the spirit enters the body "soon after conception." I don't know exactly where the quote came from, but I know it was in a priest quorum lesson. The church handbook of instructions gives no absolute specifics, nor do the scriptures, Mormon Doctrine or the Encylopedia of Mormonism. They all give general references to what I wrote above. Elder Nelson stated in 1985:

It is not a question of when "meaningful life" begins or when the spirit "quickens" the body. In the biological sciences, it is known that life begins when two germ cells unite to become one cell, bringing together twenty-three chromosomes from both the father and from the mother. These chromosomes contain thousands of genes. In a marvelous process involving a combination of genetic coding by which all the basic human characteristics of the unborn person are established, a new DNA complex is formed. A continuum of growth results in a new human being. The onset of life is not a debatable issue, but a fact of science.

Approximately twenty-two days after the two cells have united, a little heart begins to beat. At twenty-six days the circulation of blood begins. 9

Scripture declares that the "life of the flesh is in the blood." (Lev. 17:11.) Abortion sheds that innocent blood

I hope that helps.

The captain
A: Dear Pro,
Thank you!!! You've brought up one of the great paradoxes of the idiotic arguments that pro-choice liberals use to justify murder. Explain this: A psychotic killer beats a pregnant woman to death, and causes her to lose the baby. Naturally the courts declare that he murdered two innocent people. Common sense, right? But a mother (the most sacred stewardship entrusted to human beings) decides to have doctors reach inside her, puncture her child's skull to kill it, cut the body up, and remove it piece by piece, and that's her constitutional right. Because the words pro-choice just sound so American don't they? What a ludicrous contradiction. They'd like you to believe that because one of the killings is done with sterilized medical tools it's perfectly acceptable. Sorry. The Captain already answered your question, so I felt OK about soap-boxing you with my opinions (which do not necessarily represent the views of blah blah blah....)