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Contend Projects Advocates for Correct Science Standards

By Susan Ciancio

When Brooke Stanton and Christiane West founded Contend Projects—a nonpartisan science education nonprofit—in 2015, they had no idea the impact they would have on children, on families, and within communities. And now, after recently releasing their second book, the women are embarking on their greatest undertaking yet—convincing states to change their science curricula to reflect accurate science regarding the beginning of human life.

Why is this necessary? It may shock you to learn that schools do not teach the correct science about human embryology. These curricula teach that a baby’s life begins at birth rather than at fertilization. We know that this is not true.

Yet we also know that the truth behind the science is simple. And it’s not something up for debate. Embryologists agree that a preborn baby is a growing human being from the moment of fertilization. By teaching incorrect science, we as a society are doing an immense disservice to our children.

But how many people actually know that the baby’s life begins at fertilization? Further, how many people know about the Carnegie Stages of Human Development—the 23 stages of embryonic development that explain the science behind how a human being grows?

As a society, we must ask ourselves what kind of culture we are passing on to our children when our science textbooks emphasize animal and plant life and information about the environment but ignore the truth about when human life starts. This truth of human development is information that all human beings should know.

So, through the work of Contend Projects, Brooke and Christiane have set out to change this. Their first book, When You Became You (featured in our Spring 2021 issue), teaches young children about the continuum of life and about their development from the time they were created.  

They are now promoting their latest book and working with states to update their science standards to include the fact that human beings begin at fertilization.

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