For most of history, religion has said that the soul did NOT link up at conception. From a couple of other posts:

  Msg#: 1607                                         Date: 02-23-95  09:02
  From: Larry Sites                                  Read: Yes    Replied: No
    To: Crystal Mansfield                            Mark:
  Subj: RE: BRUCIE'S BRAIN

CM>   My religious beliefs tell me that the soul enters the body at
CM>   birth...

For most of history, religion has said that the soul did NOT link up at
conception. From a couple of other posts:

From me:

Hey fundi, why don't you check the historical rules of your own religion!
Until 1588, abortion wasn't killing till after "ensoulment", which happened
in typical biblical sexist fashion at 40 days for male fetus and 80 days
for female fetus. This "truth" was endorsed by no less than Thomas Aquinas
till pope Sixtus V tried to change god's mind by outlawing it. Three years
later Gregory XIV straightened god out again by making abortion legal and
noting that ensoulment happened at 40 days for both sexes. Abortion was ok
with the church till a mere 135 years ago when Pius IX changed god's mind
again and also had god teach him the dogma of papal infallibility and
immaculate conception. All these facts are reported in the Mar/Apr 94 issue
of that heathen magazine _The Humanist_  on page 43's article "What
Happened to Original Sin".

And:

Subj: Catholic Abortion Mythology
Date: 94-11-20 20:53:17 EST
From: [email protected] (RICK SHUMAKER)

A common Catholic claim is that their abortion position has
been unwavering. For instance, a priest recently claimed in
the leading Phoenix newspaper that the Catholic Church had
maintained a "consistent position on abortion for the last
2,000 years" It's not true.

Their current position, that abortion is murder from
conception on, is actually a relatively recent one.

For virtually all its history (excepting for three years
starting in 1588 when a pope changed the rules, which his
successor rescinded), until the late 19th century, the
Catholic Church held abortions to be penalty-free until
"ensoulment." That is, 40 days after conception for males,
80 for females. (The reasoning for that difference is
enlightening, too.) In practice, since there was no way of
determining the sex of the fetus, abortion was exempt from
punishment for the first 80 days. The current policy has
been in effect only since 1869.

For more, see Uta Ranke-Heinemann's book, _Eunuchs for the
Kingdom of Heaven_ (pp. 75, 211, 249). Heinemann is a
Catholic theologian/scholar. It's a great book for learning
of Catholic church history (read: hypocrisy, manipulation of
doctrine)  regarding celibacy, abortion, sexuality, women's
rights and more. That history ain't pretty. The book is
referenced, has an index, and is out in paperback.