When Does Personhood Begin?

Howard A. Schneiderman Professor of Biology Scott Gilbert admits he can't answer the question he poses at the start of his popular talk. However, he adds with "absolute certainty" that there is also "no consensus among scientists." Gilbert, who teaches embryology and developmental genetics, is frequently invited to lecture on this subject and has given this talk to diverse audiences from around the country to the Vatican. This lecture was recorded at the annual conference sponsored by the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, Planned Parenthood of America, and the Society of Family Planning. Gilbert is the author of the best-selling textbook Developmental Biology, now in its eighth edition. He is also the co-author a volume on bioethics (written with two of his former students, Anna Tyler '03 and Emily Zackin '02) and of the recent book Ecological Developmental Biology (2009), which has received outstanding reviews in Nature, Science, and the American Scientist.