Personhood: Settling The Science
"I'm pregnant. At what point in my pregnancy is it called a baby?" 1
According to Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States of America: "Most medical authorities, including Planned Parenthood, agree that it becomes a baby after birth when it takes its first breath." 2 When addressing pregnancy itself, Planned Parenthood says: "Pregnancy begins when a fertilized egg implants in the uterus." 3 To help us understand the relationship between "pregnancy" and "implantation", Planned Parenthood has this to say: "Pregnancy begins when the ball of cells attaches to the lining of the uterus. This is called implantation. It usually starts about 6 days after fertilization and takes about 3-4 days to be complete." 4 Okay, ladies, there you have it! "Most medical authorities" agree with Planned Parenthood. You're not pregnant until "implantation" and it's not a baby until it takes its "first breath." Finally, science has settled the issue. Or has it?
Personhood: Settling The Science
"I'm pregnant. At what point in my pregnancy is it called a baby?" 5
"Any attempt to interfere with the development of the fertilized ovum is called an abortion." — Margaret Sanger, Family Limitation, Revised Sixth Edition, 1917.
Marian Anderson (1920)
The answer to this question tugs at the heart of the Pro-Life movement. So its important we hear from both sides of the debate. According to "most medical authorities" and Planned Parenthood a baby can exist at different states of human development. For example, when "it" (i.e., the baby) is delivered prematurely and breathes, he or she is a baby and therefore a person that should be protected by love and by law. However, when "it" (i.e., the baby) continues to grow in the womb (even to "full-term" 6), "it" is not a baby until after birth when "it" takes "its" first breath. Hmmmm … this is confusing. Apparently, "it" can become a baby and by means of that process a person, at any time. At this point, I can't help but wonder why "most medical authorities" and Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States of America, would choose to embrace such faulty logic. Perhaps Marian Anderson, one of the most celebrated singers of the twentieth century and an important figure in the struggle for Black artists overcoming the illogical nature of racism and racial hatred in the United States can suggest an explanation. 7 According to Anderson, "Fear is a disease that eats away at logic and makes man inhuman." 8 From my vantage point and because I believe truth as the power to set us free, it appears to me that "most medical authorities" and Planned Parenthood's are deathly afraid of the financial consequences of the truth.
Personhood: Settling The Science
"I'm pregnant. At what point in my pregnancy is it called a baby?" 9
"Embryonic life commences with fertilization, and hence the beginning of that process may be taken as the point de depart of stage 1. Despite the small size (ca. 0.1 mm) and weight (ca. 0.004 mg) of the organism at fertilization, the embryo is "schon ein individual-spezifischer Mensch" [ Translation: "even one individual-specific human" ]" — Blechschmidt, 1972 10
According to the Carnegie Stages of Early Human Embryonic Development, since 1942, and already documented for almost 60 years before then, at the first contact of the sperm with the oocyte you have the earliest stage of human life and human DNA. 11 WOW! It appears, regarding the question: "I'm pregnant. At what point in my pregnancy is it called a baby?" that the science is settled after all and that "most medical authorities" and Planned Parenthood are wrong. At the moment of conception, that is when the spermatozoon makes contact with the occyte, momma is pregnant with child. (12,13,14,15,16) The California Human Rights Amendment, understands this profound truth. Click here to read our campaign message "Why Personhood?"
Recently, in an online New York Times opinion column, Notre Dame philosophy professor Gary Gutting argues that "those who do not agree that a fertilized egg is a person cannot argue that abortion is wrong because an embryo or fetus has human DNA." 17 Wesley J. Smith, J.D., my friend and Special Consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network put it this way on the back of a Starbucks Cup on Father's Day, Sunday, June 18th, 2006: "The morality of the 21st century will depend on how we respond to this simple but profound question: Does every human life have equal moral value simply and merely because it is human?" 18 For Christ's sake, I hope we're all answering YES!
Brothers, we really need to talk.
01. Planned Parenthood, Health Topics Q & A (http://bit.ly/fYVM7S).
03. Planned Parenthood, Stages of Pregnancy at a Glance (http://bit.ly/m0qrA0).
04. Ibid., Weeks 3-4.
05. Planned Parenthood, Health Topics Q & A, op. cit.
06. Abort73.Com, "U.S. Abortion Law" (http://bit.ly/hnGIzT).
07. "Marian Anderson", Women In History, Living vignettes of notable women from U.S. History (http://bit.ly/9qqbFe).
08. "Fear is a disease that eats away at logic and makes man inhuman." — Marian Anderson,The James Logan Courier, Sunday, February 27, 2011 (http://bit.ly/uDc7D7).
09. Planned Parenthood, Health Topics Q & A, op. cit.
10. Carnegie Stages of Early Human Embryonic Development, Stage 1 (http://bit.ly/1954ndX).
12. "The term conception, however, may refer either to fertilization or to implantation and hence (like gestation) is best avoided." [Ronan O'Rahilly and Fabiola Muller, Human Embryology & Teratology, (New York: Wiley-Liss, 1994), page 19]
13. "Human pregnancy begins with the fusion of an egg and a sperm … finally, the fertilized egg, now properly called an embryo, must make its way into the uterus." [Bruce M. Carlson, Human Embryology and Developmental Biology (St. Louis, MO: Mosby, 1994), (page 3)]
14. "Human pregnancy begins with the fusion of an egg and a sperm, but a great deal of preparation precedes this event. First both male and female sex cells must pass through a long series of changes (gametogenesis) that convert them genetically and phenotypically into mature gametes, which are capable of participating in the process of fertilization. Next, the gametes must be released from the gonads and make their way to the upper part of the uterine tube, where fertilization normally takes place. … Finally, the fertilized egg, now properly called an embryo, must make its way into the uterus … ". [Bruce Carlson, Human Embryology & Developmental Biology (St. Louis, MO: Mosby, 1999), (page 2).
15. "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 [not the uterus] … resulting in the formation of a zygote containing a single diploid nucleus." [William J. Larsen, Human Embryology (New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1997) (page 1).
16. "The organism proceeds along the uterine tube by means not entirely understood (reviewed by Adams, 1960). It leaves the tube and enters the uterine cavity during the third or fourth day after ovulation, when probably 8-12 cells are present, and when the endometrium is early in the secretory phase (corresponding to the luteal phase of the ovarian cycle)." [Carnegie Stages of Early Human Embryonic Development, Stage 2, at: http://bit.ly/1aszX8L.]
17. Gary Gutting, The New York Times, "On Abortion and Defining a 'Person'", November 30, 2011 (http://nyti.ms/tFgd4M).
18. Wesley J. Smith, Featured on Starbuck's take-away coffee cups as part of its "The Way I See It" 2006 Campaign (http://bit.ly/b83dKq).