In my last post I began my series of posts about why abortion is wrong. I want to formally apologize for posting a graphic image of an aborted baby; I understand that it was extreme and I need to respect how broad my audience is on the internet. So I apologize. The image has been deleted and you can read the first of this series of posts here.
Right, on to part two:
To ascertain the truth as to whether what is growing in the mother’s womb is a human person, a presentation of scientific facts is needed. Human life must first begin through the unity of a man and a woman. Then: “It is the penetration of the ovum by a spermatozoan and the resultant mingling of the nuclear material each brings to this union that constitutes the culmination of the process of fertilization and marks the initiation of the life of a new individual.” (Patten). As Patten states, life begins when a sperm (spermatozoan) gamete, which is a cell made solely for reproduction, fuses with an egg (ovum) gamete, and by joining their nuclear material, human life is formed.
The new organism possesses a unique genetic code, different from that of the mother (Chacon and Burnham 15). The genes of this new human being are the result of the donation of chromosomes from the father and the mother (George and Tollefsen 30). Chromosomes are packages of DNA (Wile and Durnell 207). Human cells have forty six chromosomes, or twenty three pairs, and a gamete contains half of these chromosomes. Therefore, the sperm cell of the father and the egg cell of the mother contain half of the chromosomes of their parent cells, and this contribution of chromosomes helps form a new human (George and Tollefsen 38). George and Tollefsen state:
Fertilization, as used to describe the transformation of two parts, sperm and egg, into a single entity, the human embryo, is certainly complete by the time the two sets of chromosomes have intermingled. The zygote (the fertilized egg) is now genetically unique and its sex is established. Both features are a result of the haploid nature of the gametes, and their subsequent fusion. This fusion brings about a combination of chromosomes that includes both maternal and paternal DNA….In consequence, the newly formed zygote is genetically distinct from either of its two parents. (George and Tollefsen 37-38)
Once the egg is fertilized, it moves down the oviduct to the uterus (Sandra). Once attached to the uterus, a two layered disc is formed around the new organism by the same cells that will form the embryo (Sandra). Next, the outer ring of cells and the uterine wall form the placenta, through which the infant will receive the nutrition it needs and remove any waste materials (Sandra). For weeks the new human will continue to develop and grow, until it reaches the fetal period, which begins eight weeks after conception (Sandra). By six weeks, the baby will already have a human-shaped body—although disproportional, having mere stubs that will become arms and legs—a brain, and a beating heart (American Baby 12).
The fetal period is when the baby experiences an increasing need for nourishment and will begin to develop and grow at a faster rate than ever before (Sandra). At this point, the only biological difference between the fetus and a fifty-year old man is time for further development, and meals to support this development (Chacon and Burnham). The fetus and the fifty-year old man are the same thing; only a bridge of time and nutrition separates them.
If there is no difference between a fetus and a fifty-year old man, save for that of time and meals, what right is there to kill a fetus any more than a fifty-year old man? The fetus is a person, as we have already discovered. Thus, the only biological differences exist between the fetus and the man. Humans possess an individuality, freedom, and right to life that is owed to them from the time they are conceived, possessing the capacity to be born and live and grow in society. Therefore, a fetus is more than “just a clump of cells”. Because of its capacity to grow and to develop into a full-grown, rational human, separated from this state of being by merely time and the need for nourishment and a stable environment that naturally belong to it, there is no justification that allows an unborn child to be killed by being called a “clump of cells”. I was once a “clump of cells”; those cells are me at a different stage of development (Chacon and Burnham 15).
A common argument for pro-abortion women is: “It’s my body; I have the right to choose” (Chacon and Burnham 15). We can refute because, as we discerned while discussing embryology, it’s not solely the woman’s body we’re dealing with when it comes to abortion. The baby is not a part of the woman. As we determined, the baby is a genetically unique person, separate from his mother. To be a part of his mother, he would have to have the same genetic code. Also, looking back at the words of Alexander Sandra, the baby is merely “attached” to the uterus. The woman is carrying her child, but they are not one and the same thing; they are not of the same body.