Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Scientific Basis for a Prolife Position

The Scientific Basis for a Prolife Position by Rich Deem from God And Science.org

Does science have anything to say about abortion? Those who have taken embryology know full well the answer to this question. If you examine pro-choice arguments for abortion, you will find the proponents using such terms as "tissue" and "grams of material" (a weight). What they do not like to discuss is what that "tissue" consists of. In fact, the preborn human fetus is genetically a fully human being at the point of conception. The aborted fetus is not just a "blob of tissue."

Stages of human development

Contrary to what many non-scientists believe, human beings are not constructed in the womb - they develop. In fact, all the major organ systems are initiated within the first few weeks after conception. The process of embryonic development is a continuous process, with no obvious point at which the fetus magically becomes a "person." In fact, the development process continues well after birth, including many characteristics that determine our personality or personhood. What are the stages in human embryonic development? Science tells us that the heart of the human fetus begins to form 18 days after conception. There is a measurable heart beat 21-24 days after conception. This is only 7-10 days after a women would expect to begin her menses. Since most women have cycles that can vary by this amount, they do not discover they are pregnant until after this point. Therefore, all abortions stop a beating heart, even "early" abortions. However, most abortions do not occur until 4-6 weeks after the fetus begins to form. The human brain begins to form on day 233 is formed enough to produce brain waves by 6 weeks, which means that most abortions destroy a functioning human brain.

What do embryology books have to say about human development?

The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology by Moore, K. and T.V.N. Persaud. 1998. (6th ed.), W.B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia. (pp 2-18):
"Zygote: this cell results from the union of an oocyte and a sperm. A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo). Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm ... unites with a female gamete or oocyte ... to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual."

Essentials of Human Embryology (pp. 1-17) Larsen, W.J. 1998. Churchill Livingstone, New York.:

"In this text, we begin our description of the developing human with the formation and differentiation of the male and female sex cells or gametes, which will unite at fertilization to initiate the embryonic development of a new individual. ... Fertilization takes place in the oviduct ... resulting in the formation of a zygote containing a single diploid nucleus. Embryonic development is considered to begin at this point... This moment of zygote formation may be taken as the beginning or zero time point of embryonic development."


Human Embryology & Teratology. O'Rahilly, R. and F. Muller. 1996. Wiley-Liss, New York. (pp. 5-55):

"Fertilization is an important landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed... Fertilization is the procession of events that begins when a spermatozoon makes contact with a secondary oocyte or its investments... The zygote ... is a unicellular embryo... "The ill-defined and inaccurate term pre-embryo, which includes the embryonic disc, is said either to end with the appearance of the primitive streak or ... to include neurulation. The term is not used in this book." (p. 55)."