Category Archives: Biological Humanity from Fertilization

Denying Science for Pro-Abortion Arguments

NRL News Today

Pro-Abortion Arguments Often Rest on Denying Science

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

Editor’s note. This appears in the current digital edition of National Right to Life News. Please be sure to read the entire 37-page issue and pass stories along using your social media contacts. We count on you to spread the word.

It is the height of irony that while the abortion industry often dismisses pro-lifers as lacking the necessary medical expertise, such as having a medical degree, many pro-abortion arguments rest on denying science.

For instance, I have never heard the CEO of the nation’s largest abortion operation, Planned Parenthood chief Cecile Richards, talk about the most basic milestones in the development of an unborn child’s life that the layperson can learn in five minutes of research.

Such as …that a heartbeat can be detected at 24 days after conception…that brain waves are apparent 43 days post-conception…that at six weeks after conception an unborn child resembles a miniature doll with arms and legs clearly visible.

And when science is inconvenient pro-abortion activists also quickly dismiss research showing the negative effect of abortion on women: the increase in depression, eating disorders, suicide attempts, and the increased likelihood of subsequent premature babies.

Abortion apologists fail to mention that an unborn child has a DNA separate from that of the mother and is often a different sex than the mother, indicating that the baby in the womb is a separate being.

Ultrasounds, once grainy black and white images, are now in 4 colors and show the baby in real-time. The abortion industry hides Ultrasound images which show preborn babies displaying the human characteristics of smiling, laughing, and crying. In fact, Big Abortion has tried to make Ultrasound the enemy, fighting common sense legislation ensuring that pregnant women have an opportunity to see their unborn baby’s Ultrasound image.

While it is true that many come to the pro-life position as a result of a faith-based perspective, empirical scientific evidence actually lends great credence to the pro-life stand. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, faith and science are like two blades of a scissors.

In the end, denying the humanity of the unborn child…turning a blind eye toward the psychological effects of abortion on the child’s mother…and dismissing technology which shows the wonder of the preborn child on full display place abortion activists in the role of science deniers. Not only is the pro-life side pro-child and pro-woman, it is also pro-reason and pro-science.

And that is why life is winning in America today.

Source: http://www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2017/07/pro-abortion-arguments-often-rest-on-denying-science/#.WXaPNDios74

When does life begin?

NRL News Today

 April 19, 2017   Life

It’s pretty simple

By Paul Stark Communications Associate, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life

“When does life begin? It’s not so simple.” That’s the title of a recent Slate essay by Elissa Strauss.

The assertion that “life begins at the bright line of conception,” Strauss writes, “is at odds with many ethical traditions.” For some religions, she explains, “when an embryo or fetus becomes a person remains a mystery, something that occurs not in a single moment but in a series of moments, none necessarily more important than the next.”

There is often an ambiguity when people talk about “when life begins”—a conflation of two separate issues. And Strauss falls headlong into that confusion. Clarity about this distinction is crucial.

First, there is the science question of when the life of an individual human organism begins. The answer (fertilization) has long been established by embryology. Human embryos and fetuses are living members of the species Homo sapiens at the embryonic and fetal stages of their lives. They are distinct organisms with human DNA who are growing and directing their own development toward maturity.

This is not in dispute. It is “simple.” It is empirical fact.

Second, there is the justice question of how we ought to treat human beings at their earliest developmental stages. When do they begin to matter morally? When do they acquire a right to life (or become a “person”) and deserve our respect and protection?

Regarding this second question, there is, as Strauss says, significant disagreement.

Strauss contends that the “beginning of life” is a “mysterious process” that is “grayscale” rather than black and white. She suggests that human beings in utero undergo a “gradual passage to personhood” and encourages us to “view life as evolving in stages.” Only with this view are we free to “experience all these moments in all their fullness and complexity.”

The bottom line, she writes, is that “[t]he creation of babies, of life, is a long, complicated, and often messy experience.”

It’s true that human beings “evolve” in the sense that they grow and develop and change over time. That’s the nature of living things. That’s biology.

But Strauss doesn’t say how any of these changes make a moral difference. She doesn’t tell us the characteristics she thinks are relevant to whether or not an individual may be killed.

Size? Big people aren’t more valuable than small people. Appearance? Looks have nothing to do with worth. Function? Superior physical and cognitive capabilities don’t confer superior rights. If “personhood” is acquired through a gradual process, as Strauss claims, then why doesn’t the process continue after birth? Physiological change doesn’t stop at birth—it is continuous throughout the entirety of someone’s life. But teenagers don’t deserve greater respect than toddlers.

Human beings are different from each other in countless ways. We have different races, ethnicities, genders, and religions; we also have different ages, sizes, abilities, and appearances. Some of us are more dependent and some are less dependent. Some are more intelligent and some are less intelligent. Some are loved by many other people and some are neglected and resented and ignored.

But we are all human. And we all matter.

“When does life begin?” Unborn children (from the time they come into existence as zygotes) are human beings. That’s the scientific fact. And all human beings have a right not to be intentionally dismembered and killed. That’s the moral principle.

It’s pretty simple.

Editor’s note. This appears in the April digital edition of National Right to Life News. Please share this story, and the entire 38-page issue, with pro-life friends and family using your social media contacts.

Source: http://www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2017/04/when-does-life-begin-its-pretty-simple/#.WPjSIjgks74

“A Baby’s First Months” follows the Development of the Unborn Child in Utero from Fertilization until Birth

NRL News Today

“A Baby’s First Months” follows the development of the unborn child in utero from fertilization until birth

National Right to Life’s wonderful educational pamphlet “A Baby’s First Months” is a truly remarkable, full-color brochure which follows the development of the unborn child in utero from fertilization until birth. It documents the development milestones that occur during a baby’s first months of life, including the development of her fingers and toes, ears, and her capacity to feel pain. A must-have for every pro-lifer!

All pricing includes regular United States Postal Service (USPS) or ground shipping in the USA. There is a minimal order of 5 pamphlets.

To place your orders, please email us at stateod@nrlc.org. If you are ordering from outside the United States, call 202-378-8843 for shipping information. The prices of the pamphlets are:

5 – 99 $.50 each

100 – 499 $.40 each

500 plus $.30 each

So stock up now and get your order in early for one of the best educational tools available in the pro-life movement!

Source: http://www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2017/04/a-babys-first-months-follows-the-development-of-the-unborn-child-in-utero-from-fertilization-until-birth-2/#.WOkrHzigs74

What Is The Unborn? A Case For Biological Humanity From Fertilization

NRL News Today

What is the Unborn? A Case for Biological Humanity from Fertilization

By Clinton Wilcox

ConceptiontoBirthAside from the sourced quotations and arguments in this article, it has been heavily influenced by “Justice for All.”

I have written before on how we know the unborn are persons from fertilization. But now I’d like to address how we know the unborn are biological members of our species from fertilization. This is a basic, undeniable fact of science and yet I still encounter many people who deny this reality.

Before you can even answer the question of whether or not abortion is moral, you must first decide what the unborn is. For as Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason observes, if the unborn is not human, then no justification for elective abortion is necessary. It would be no different from having a mole removed or a tooth pulled. But if the unborn is human, then no justification for elective abortion is adequate.

If it’s true that no one can tell when human life begins, then the benefit of the doubt should go to life. We should not be aborting the unborn because there’s a chance we could be aborting living human entities. If a hunter hears a rustling in the woods, does he shoot right away or does he make sure the rustling wasn’t caused by another human? Or if you’re driving down a road in the dark and you see the outline of something that may be a child or may simply be the shadow of a tree, do you drive into it or do you slow down? Or if you’re about to blow up a condemned building and you’re not sure if someone’s inside, do you blow it up anyway or send someone in to make sure?

However, it’s not true that no one can tell when human life begins.

The unborn from fertilization are alive because they exhibit the properties of living things. They grow through cellular reproduction and division, they metabolize food for energy, and they respond to stimuli. In fact, the only things the unborn need to survive are adequate nutrition, a proper environment, and an absence of fatal threats. That’s all any of us need. There is no point in human development at which the developing entity goes from non-life to living.

The unborn are also human from fertilization. We know that everything reproduces after its own kind; dogs have dogs, cats have cats, and humans have humans. They have separate human DNA from, and often a different blood type than, the mother. A white human embryo can be created in a petri dish, implanted into a black mother, and be born white. In fact, if the unborn organism were simply a “part of the mother’s body,” then following the law of transitive property (if A is a part of B, and B is a part of C, then A is a part of C), every pregnant woman would have four arms, four legs, two heads, four eyes, two noses, and roughly half the time male genitalia. But this is absurd. At no time during human development does the unborn ever go from non-human to human.

Finally, the unborn from fertilization are organisms. They are living human entities separate from the mother, with their own functional parts that work together for the good of the whole, developing themselves from within into a more mature version of itself, along the path of human development. Zygote, embryo, and fetus are not non-human entities, they are early stages of development in human life.

Philosopher Richard Stith once made a valuable observation. He discovered that the reason pro-choice people tend to think pro-life people are absurd is that they tend to think of the unborn entity as being constructed in utero, like a car on an assembly line. When does a car become a car? Is it when the frame resembles a car, or when the tires are attached, or when it drives off the lot? It requires an outside builder to put all the pieces together into what we understand is a car. A car is not present from the beginning, because the parts that make a car can be used in the construction of something else (such as a boat or a plane).

However, the unborn’s development is different. He or she directs his or her own development from within. He or she does not have an outside builder, he or she directs his or her own internal growth and maturation, and this entails continuity of being. Professor Richard Stith illustrates the difference with the following analogy:

“Suppose we are back in the pre-digital photo days, and you have a Polaroid camera and you have taken a picture that you think is unique and valuable — let’s say a picture of a jaguar darting out from a Mexican jungle. The jaguar has now disappeared, so you are never going to get that picture again in your life, and you really care about it. (I am trying to make this example comparable to a human being, for we say that every human being is uniquely valuable.) You pull the tab out and as you are waiting for it to develop, I grab it away from you and rip it open, thus destroying it. When you get really angry at me, I say blithely, ‘You’re crazy. That was just a brown smudge. I cannot fathom why anyone would care about brown smudges.’ Wouldn’t you think that I were the insane one? Your photo was already there. We just couldn’t see it yet.” (Richard Stith, “Does Making Babies Make Sense? Why So Many People Find it Difficult to See Humanity in a Developing Foetus,” Mercatornet, September 2, 2008.)

As pro-life philosopher Scott Klusendorf notes, “The science of embryology is clear. From the earliest stages of development, the unborn are distinct, living, and whole human beings. Therefore, every ‘successful’ abortion ends the life of a living human being.” (Scott Klusendorf, The Case for Life, Crossway Books, 2009, p. 35.)

Embryologists, who are the experts in the field on human embryos, consistently agree that the unborn are alive and human from fertilization. Consider the following from the most-used textbooks on the issue:

“Although life is a continuous process, fertilization (which, incidentally, is not a ‘moment’) is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte.” (Ronan O’Rahilly and Fabiola Muller, Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd ed., New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001, p.8.)

“A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo).” (Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th ed., Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003, p.2.)

There are many more examples I could give. In short, you didn’t come from an embryo, you once were an embryo. Sophisticated pro-choice philosophers also know that human life begins at fertilization:

“It is possible to give ‘human being’ a precise meaning. We can use it as equivalent to ‘member of the species Homo sapiens.’ Whether a being is a member of a given species is something that can be determined scientifically, by an examination of the nature of the chromosomes in the cells of living organisms. In this sense there is no doubt that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm and eggs is a human being.” (Peter Singer, Practical Ethics, 2nd ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993, pp.85-86.)

“Perhaps the most straightforward relation between you and me on the one hand and every human fetus on the other is this: All are living members of the same species, Homo sapiens. A human fetus after all is simply a human being at a very early stage in his or her development.” (David Boonin, A Defense of Abortion, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2003, p. 20.)

In fact, Alan Guttmacher, former president of Planned Parenthood, in 1933 (a full forty years before Roe v. Wade was passed), wrote:

“This all seems so simple and evident that it is difficult to picture a time when it wasn’t part of the common knowledge.” (Alan Guttmacher, Life in the Making: The Story of Human Procreation, New York: Viking Press, 1933, p. 3.)

Additionally, a Planned Parenthood brochure from 1964, when answering a question about whether or not abortion is birth control, states: “Absolutely not. An abortion ends the life of a baby after it has begun.”

In my next article, I will address objections to biological humanity from fertilization. But the facts of science are clear: human life begins at fertilization.

Editor’s note. This appeared at blog.secularprolife.org.