Biology of Pro-Life Arguments

The entire concept of being "Pro-Life" is not only under attack but also one that people are quickly saying should be eradicated for several philosophical reasons. However, the issue with approaching such an argument (human life) in a strictly sociological or philosophical sense is that you disregard the basis for Human Life - the biology of that life. In this summary, I would like to lay out various arguments that show the biological significance of and importance of being "Pro-Life". 

However, I would be in error to say that Philosophical statements cannot provide objective facts because they can. I study the logical formulas both in theory and objectivity. This will be a look at the Scientific nature of how human life develops. 

At the moment when a human sperm penetrates a human ovum, or egg, generally in the upper portion of the Fallopian Tube, a new entity comes into existence. "Zygote" is the name of the first cell formed at conception, the earliest developmental stage of the human embryo, followed by the "Morula" and "Blastocyst" stages.[1] 

The zygote is composed of human DNA and other human molecules, so its nature is undeniably human and not some other species.

The new human zygote has a genetic composition that is absolutely unique from itself, different from any other human that has ever existed, including that of its mother (thus disproving the claim that what is involved in abortion is merely "a woman and her body").[2]

This DNA includes a complete "design," guiding not only early development but even hereditary attributes that will appear in childhood and adulthood, from hair and eye color to personality traits.[3] It is also quite clear that the earliest human embryo is biologically alive. It fulfills the four criteria needed to establish biological life: metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction.[4]Finally, is the human zygote merely a new kind of cell or is it a human organism; that is, a human being? Scientists define an organism as a complex structure of interdependent elements constituted to carry on the activities of life by separately-functioning but mutually dependent organs.[5] The human zygote meets this definition with ease. Once formed, it initiates a complex sequence of events to ready it for continued development and growth:

The zygote acts immediately and decisively to initiate a program of development that will, if uninterrupted by accident, disease, or external intervention, proceed seamlessly through formation of the definitive body, birth, childhood, adolescence, maturity, and aging, ending with death. This coordinated behavior is the very hallmark of an organism.[6] 

By contrast, while a mere collection of human cells may carry on the activities of cellular life, it will not exhibit coordinated interactions directed towards a higher level of organization.[7] Thus, the scientific evidence is quite plain: at the moment of fusion of human sperm and egg, a new entity comes into existence which is distinctly human, alive, and an individual organism - a living, and fully human, being.[8] 

There is a substantial amount of evidence for how an early-staged embryo is actual human life but the science doesn't stop there: 

The cardiovascular system is the first major system to function. At about 22 days after conception the child's heart begins to circulate his own blood, unique to that of his mother's, and his heartbeat can be detected on ultrasound.[9] At just six weeks, the child's eyes and eye lids, nose, mouth, and tongue have formed. Electrical brain activity can be detected at six or seven weeks,[10] and by the end of the eighth week, the child, now known scientifically as a "fetus," has developed all of his organs and bodily structures.[11] By ten weeks after conception the child can make bodily movements.

Today, parents can see the development of their children with their own eyes. The obstetric ultra-sound done typically at 20 weeks gestation provides not only pictures but a real-time video of the active life of the child in the womb: clasping his hands, sucking his thumb, yawning, stretching, getting the hiccups, covering his ears to a loud sound nearby -- even smiling.[12]

Finally, the hardest and most abrupt form of biological information is the health of the baby. 92% of abortions in America are choice; done on healthy women to end the lives of healthy children. Therefore, arguing that the majority of cases are biologically necessary, is false. 

I truly hope these facts and the science behind the human life is enough to give you a solid ground to stand on when deciding where you stand on this moral, philosophical and sociological issue. 

 

 

Citations and Resources:

Marjorie A. England, "What Is An Embryo?" in Life Before Birth, Marjorie A. England (London: Mosby-Wolfe, 1996).

Keith L. Moore and T.V.N. Persaud, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Co., 1998): 77, 350.

Ibid.Carl Sagan, Billions and Billions (New York: Random House, 1997): 163-179. See The American Heritage Medical Dictionary: "The property or quality that distinguishes living organisms from dead organisms and inanimate matter, manifested in functions such as metabolism, growth, reproduction, and response to stimuli or adaptation to the environment originating from within the organism." The American Heritage Medical Dictionary, reprint edition (May 7, 2008), s.v. "Life."

For more on the definition of an organism see MedlinePlus, the online health information service of the National Institutes of Health: MedlinePlus/Merriam-Webster Online, s.v. "Organism," accessed January 21, 2011 , http://www.merriam-webster.com/ medlineplus/organism.

Maureen L. Condic, "When Does Human Life Begin? A Scientific Perspective," The Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person, Westchester Institute White Paper Series 1, no. 1 (October 2008): 7. Full article available at: http://www.westches-terinstitute.net/resources/white-papers/351-white-paper.

As a general proposition, every human being comes into existence by the fusion of a human egg with a human sperm, but twinning can result in multiple children from one human egg, and there is the potential for cloning of a human embryo. See Judith G. Hall, "Twinning," The Lancet, 362 (August 20, 2003): 735-43. See also, National Institutes of Health, Stem Cell Information Glossary, s.v. "Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT)," accessed March 15, 2011, http://stemcells.nih.gov/StemCells/Templates/StemCellContentPage.aspx?NRMODE=Published&NRNODEGUID={3C35 BAB 6-0FE6-4C4E-95F2-2CB61B58D96D}&NRORIGINAL URL=%2finfo%2fglossary.asp&NRCACHEHINT =NoModifyGuest#scnt.

For more on this theme, see Sam Brownback and Jim Nelson Black, From Power to Purpose: A Remarkable Journey of Faith and Compassion (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007), 44.

For more on this topic, see Christopher M. Gacek, "Conceiving 'Pregnancy': U.S. Medical Dictionaries and Their Definitions of 'Conception' and 'Pregnancy'," Insight, Family Research Council (April 2009) accessed March 16, 2011, http://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF09D12.pdf. See also Robert G. Marshall and Charles A. Donovan, Blessed Are the Barren: The Social Policy of Planned Parenthood (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1991): ch. 12 (pp. 291-302).

Moore and Persaud, The Developing Human: 350-358.

The Commission of Inquiry into Foetal Sentience (CARE and The House of Lords), "Human Sentience Before Birth," (2001): 3, 36.

England, Life Before Birth: 9.

See "Fetal Development," MedlinePlus, accessed January 21, 2011, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medline-plus/ency/article/002398.htm; and "Your Pregnancy Week by Week: Weeks 17-20," WebMD, accessed March 15, 2011, http://www.webmd.com/baby/ guide/your-pregnancy-week-by-week-weeks-17-20?page=2.

Sophie Borland, "The foetus who broke into a big smile...aged only 17 weeks," Daily Mail, October 11, 2010, accessed April 4, 2011, http://www.dai-lymail.co.uk/health/article-1319373/The-foetus-broke-big-smile--aged-17-weeks.html.

Aetna, Inc., "Clinical Policy Bulletin: Fetal Surgery In Utero," Aetna Insurance Clinical Policy Bulletin (last revised October 2010), accessed January 21, 2011, http://www.aetna.com/cpb/medical/data/400_499/0449.html.

 

 

RCProLife, Biology