You've got it all wrong. Increased knowledge (a.k.a. science) is why ethics is more complicated today than the Bible or the Koran or any other religious tradition suggests. Without fetal studies, the issue of capital punishment for abortion would be noncontroversial.
Just read in the Old Testament and you'll see how violence by someone else against a woman who loses her child should be punished. What to do to women who abort their own fetuses isn't mentioned, I don't think. What punishment to apply to people who have test-tube babies or clones isn't mentioned either.
You can, however, see what should happen to you if you hit your parents, kidnap someone, curse your father or mother, practice witchcraft, worship anyone except Yahweh, work on the Sabbath, commit adultery or incest or anal sex (what about oral?) or bestiality but only some kinds of rape, for false prophesying, or saying really bad things about Yahweh (i.e. blasphemy).
According to the O.T. believers of Yahweh, the following are capital offenses:
-Hitting your parents -- Ex. 21:15
-Kidnapping -- Ex 21:16
-Cursing your father or mother -- Ex 21:17
-Killing an unborn infant -- Ex 21:22-25
-Witchcraft -- Ex. 22:18
-Worship of other gods/goddesses -- Ex. 22:20
-Working on the Sabbath -- Ex. 35:2
-Adultery -- Lev. 20:10
-Incest -- Lev. 20:11-12 & 14
-Sodomy -- Lev. 20:13
-Bestiality -- Lev. 20:15-16
-False prophesying -- Deut. 13:1-10
-Rape under some circumstances -- Deut. 22:25
-Blasphemy -- Lev. 24:16
Lev 24:16 And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD [Yahweh], he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the LORD [Yahweh], shall be put to death.
I guess all my anti-God writings qualify me for capital punishment, don't you think?
Using scientific knowledge, one can also argue that killing chimpanzees is capital punishment because human beings are just another species of chimp. One can argue that gays and lesbians should have marriage rights. Life is less black and white since we began to listen to scientists. Without science there would be little basis to doubt the religious traditions of the ancient shepherders and fishermen who first made these things up.
Children and immature adults think in black and white. The bad man is supposed to dress in black and look bad. As children mature they realize that bad men can be dressed in white and good men in black. They learn the world is not so black and white but many shades of grey. Divisions in society (including war) are based on the immature "us or them" mentality.
I consider the ability to see the spectrum of life as one key evidence of maturity. Religion teaches black and white and so is particularly attractive to immature minds. The more liberal religions are ahead of the majority of religions at seeing the full spectrum of life's challenges.
Religion can't decide difficult questions like what life is because the leaders are generally scientifically-backward. It's science that will tell us the answers to these questions. Religion can't even come to agreement whether abortion should be legal or not. Evidently, God isn't giving clear signals to those He loves.
It's unfair to complain that science is flawed due to the fact that because of it ethics is less black and white than what religious doctrine requires. If religion is true then there should be no debate in people's minds about grey areas. Either science is true and there is a dilemna about what life is, when it starts in humans, what are the rights of a fetus, should abortion be legal, etc. or religion is right and there is no dilemna. Which is it for you Brian, dilemna or clear?