Sunday, November 23, 2008

WHEN DOES LIFE BEGIN (2)



Atty Jo Imbong of CBCP: Life begins at conception.

Rep Jannete Garin of Iloilo: Life begins at implantation.

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Meanwhile Rep Lagman in a House hearing says the RH bill would protect human life "from implantation".
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Maureen Condic, a senior fellow of the Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person,recently published a white paper on the subject. In the report she addresses the topic using current scientific data in human embryology.

Condic was interviewed for Zenith recently. Here are some excerpts from that interview:

“The central question of "when does human life begin" can be stated in a somewhat different way: When do sperm and egg cease to be, and what kind of thing takes their place once they cease to be?

To address this question scientifically, we need to rely on sound scientific argument and on the factual evidence. Scientists make distinctions between different cell types (for example, sperm, egg and the cell they produce at fertilization) based on two simple criteria: Cells are known to be different because they are made of different components and because they behave in distinct ways.

These two criteria are used throughout the scientific enterprise to distinguish one cell type from another, and they are the basis of all scientific (as opposed to arbitrary, faith-based or political) distinctions. I have applied these two criteria to the scientific data concerning fertilization, and they are the basis for the conclusion that a new human organism comes into existence at the moment of sperm-egg fusion.”

“...It is not important to somehow define a "moment" or a "process" of fertilization in the abstract. It is important to base conclusions and judgments about human embryos on sound scientific reasoning and on the best available scientific evidence.

Had this analysis led to a different conclusion -- for example, that fertilization is a "process" -- I would have accepted this conclusion as scientifically valid. However, a scientific analysis of the best available data does not support the conclusion that fertilization is a "process"; it supports the conclusion that fertilization is an event that takes less than a second to complete.

The events of the first 24 hours following sperm-egg fusion are clearly unique, but they are also clearly acts of a human organism, not acts of a mere human cell.”

“...That is not to say that the scientific facts lend equal support to any and all views of when human life begins. While people are free to formulate their opinion on when human life begins in any manner they choose (including belief and politics), not all opinions are equally consistent with factual reality. Those who choose to ignore the facts cannot expect their opinions to garner as much respect or to be given as much credibility as those who base their opinions in sound scientific observation and analysis.

The opinions of members of the flat-Earth society should not carry as much weight as those of astrophysicists in formulating national aerospace policy. The opinions of those who reject the scientific evidence concerning when life begins should not be the basis of public policy on embryo-related topics, either.”

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More here and here.
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8 comments:

sunnyday said...

The video is taking a looong time to load. Will watch the rest of it another time.

Funny this should be the topic of the discussion. A few days ago I had engaged in a "discussion" in another blog and the topic segued to when life begins.

Even if one provides scientific sources, people who refuse to look at truth will always find something to say on the contrary (no matter how silly it already sounds). Then they'll say something like "we can go on arguing for days..."

And then they will change the topic. Sigh.

sunnyday said...

Btw, Rep. Garin is an OB-Gyne. She probably knows the harm that some contraceptives are doing to women's bodies and to fetuses. I hope that whatever it is that's making her choose to say things contrary to what science shows and what the experiences of numerous women have shown, she overcomes soon. The truth will set her free!

And being in the medical profession, she is certainly aware of the politics involved in obtaining approval of drugs for public use.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

The following lines from Ephesians 1:3-4 somehow struck a chord."Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love..."

Doesn't this say that life is not an accident? That each one of us was chosen, even before the world came to be? Our conceptions were not random. There was a reason why that specific sperm, out of millions, was the one that fertilized the egg. You were chosen. As we all are. Just as every unborn was chosen. To prevent that conception unnaturally is to go against God's choice.

And there is a rather radical stand to this - that life began when God chose you.

And because all Christians, not just the Catholics, read scripture, this is not an issue for catholics alone. Artificial contraception is unchristian. Period. Those who support it should not call themselves Christian anymore. There is no such thing as a selective Christian. None of us can edit this lines of Scripture out.

- TE

WillyJ said...

sunnyday,
Well if she is an OB-GYN she surely knows that the fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tubes to attach to the endometrium , the process typically taking 1 week. Abortifacient drugs and devices damage the fallopian tubes and the endometrium to prevent the zygote in this life process. Now how can mere change of location be a determinant of the start of life? We see that a newborn baby also changes location from the womb to the outside world. It is at this point that the strict "securalists-scientists" will do the tap-dance and change the topic.

TE,
You pinned it down. There is utter confusion by those who think NFP and contraception are no different. When it is deliberately chosen to will to frustrate the will of God, it is also a deliberate rejection of natural and divine law. The use of contraceptives is described as a non-marital act, and as such undermines the very idea of a Christian marriage.

aeisiel said...

The key here is not the conception itself as it is the gift of life from God and only He knows when this actually takes place.

The main issue is that all forms of contraception (contra-conception) whether artificial or natural that will negate God's design is contrary to His will. Therefore the mere act of preventing the natural sexual union between married couple is already a grave sin.

WillyJ said...

aeisiel,
Indeed that holds true for us who persevere in adhering to natural and Divine law. In the public sphere though where the debate is taking place, we are up against atheists, agnostics, and cafeteria Catholics (I really hate using that term, but I have to call a spade a spade). The language they understand is the secular language. You know they just love to parrot the "separation of Church and State" thing at every instance. CBCP and the sponsors of the RH bill have indicated a willingness to sit down and perhaps make compromises if at all possible, but it is clear that the issue of contraceptives is a flash point upon which neither party is willing to budge, and predictably so. So we see here that the issue of the beginning of life becomes a central point in which I believe the debate will be decided upon. I believe likewise in this crucial point that Faith, secular law, science and common sense is decidedly on the side of the anti-RH bill.

Manny said...

Just want to post a new development: A position paper against HB 5043 ("Catholic Alumni United for Life") has been released. It's purpose is to speak out against HB 5043 and counter the confusion and falsehoods generated by the earlier position paper released by the 14 Ateneo professors in support of HB 5043.

The paper can be found at:

http://www.phnix.net/Position_Paper_Against_HB_5043.pdf

WillyJ said...

Thanks for the link, Manny. I downloaded it from your link. It is very well-written (but correct most of all).