Images, science, and rights of the early modern fetus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How do we define the beginnings of human life? Images, science, and culture have offered insight into this question. The early modern period (1500–1800) is particularly rich for examining the understanding of the human fetus. Using the 1712 Essay on the Possibility and Probability of a Child’s Being Born Alive, and Live, in the Latter End of the Fifth Solar, or in the Beginning of the Sixth Lunar Month, this paper argues that evolving knowledge of the fetus failed to modify cultural norms for defining the beginning of human life. This compares with contemporary 21st century observations and how our definition of the beginning of human life has not been modified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-427
Number of pages4
JournalBaylor University Medical Center Proceedings
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


  • Early modern period
  • fetal life
  • human life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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