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November 7th, 2011
06:14 PM ET

Medical views: When does human life begin?

Mississippi residents vote Tuesday on a controversial ballot initiative that seeks to define a fertilized human egg as a person with full legal rights.

Anti-abortion advocates crafted Initiative 26, which defines personhood as "every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof."

Amendment would declare fertilized egg a person

If passed, the law could affect a woman's ability to get the morning-after pill or birth control pills that destroy fertilized eggs, and it could make in vitro fertilization treatments more difficult because it could become illegal to dispose of unused fertilized eggs.

Opponents of the measure have said they are concerned that people may not be able to understand the complexity and the consequences of the amendment.

The central question in this Mississippi controversy is when does human life begin?

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine represents fertility specialists in the United States and more than 100 other countries. The group's spokesman, Sean Tipton, tells CNN that his organization opposes the Mississippi initiative "because it interferes with the physicians' ability to provide needed care for their patients, whether that's helping someone have a child or keeping them from having children."

Tipton says while a fertilized egg  is necessary to make a person,  fertilization alone is not enough to create a new human being.  "A fertilized egg has to continue to grow, attach itself to a woman's uterine wall and gestate for nine months before it is born, and there are many potential missteps (that can happen) along the way."

Dr. Joseph DeCook, executive director of the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a group of about 2,500 members, said an embryo is a living human being at the moment of fertilization.

“There’s no question at all when human life begins,” said DeCook, a retired obstetrician-gynecologist.  “When the two sets of chromosomes get together, you have a complete individual. It’s the same as you and I but less developed.”

Pregnancy begins when the embryo is implanted on the uterine wall, he said.

“But we’re not talking about pregnancy,” he said.  “The question you have to focus on, is when does meaningful, valuable human life begin?  That’s with the union of the two sets of chromosome. You have a complete human being that begins developing.”

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine's Tipton points out that sometimes fertilized eggs split and create two babies.  "Unfortunately nature and science are messy and defy attempts to create human categories."

He adds that while saying personhood begins at conception is a nice ideological statement, it can create some real life problems.  For example, unless an egg is fertilized in an IVF petri dish, it can be difficult to determine when exactly a baby was conceived because sperm can survive inside a woman's body for days and it can take several more days for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus, thus leading to a pregnancy and the potential birth of a baby.

"There are lots of fertilized eggs that never become human beings,"  Tipton says. "Humans are notoriously inefficient producers, and we believe most (fertilized eggs) actually go out with a woman's menstrual flow."

Mississippi is the only state voting on a "personhood" initiative this year, but the issue could reach far beyond that state’s borders.  Efforts to bring the personhood issue to a vote are in the works in at least five other states including Florida, Montana, and Ohio, according to supporters.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which represents 55,000 doctors providing health care for women, says Initiative 26 must be defeated in the best interest of women's health.

In a statement Monday, the group said the Mississippi referendum has "wide-reaching implications that will impact access to women's health, including treatment for cancer, infertility treatment, birth control options, and pregnancy termination. This proposal unnecessarily exposes women to serious health risks and significantly undermines the relationship between physicians and our patients. The vague and overly broad terms in Proposition 26 will prevent physicians from providing the care vital to women's health."

In vitro fertilization treatments could become more difficult because of the legal question of what to do with the unused eggs.

An unused fertilized egg is a human life, said DeCook, because “it has the mom’s DNA and the father’s DNA,” The unused fertilized eggs should be adopted through an embryo adoption program, he suggested.

“We determine a human being by chromosome, so although they (abortion rights supporters) have all sorts of word games. They’re only word games,” he said.

After fertilization, “it’s a complete human being in the process of development. It deserves protection of the law.”


soundoff (212 Responses)
  1. howdy

    It should be illegal if a woman has an abortion past three months because the doctors have to go in and break the babys arms and legs..... Sooo wrong

    November 8, 2011 at 23:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kareny

      Do you want smaller government & do you want government out of the way? If yes, then having this law mean larger government & government in your private life. You can't have it both ways.

      November 9, 2011 at 04:15 | Report abuse |
    • Maverick2591b

      Kareny, like a typical politician you answered the question with a non-answer. Answer Howdy's question.

      And please, post something ELSE other than your non-answer (yes, I saw your diatribe).

      November 9, 2011 at 09:13 | Report abuse |
    • Righton

      I'm up for anything before 26 weeks. After 26 weeks a baby can survive outside the womb. Partial birth abortion is absolutely disgusting.

      And, so people don't jump down my throat. I'm a conservative, I don't believe in abortion as a form of birth control, and my wife has had an abortion ( she was too young to take care of a child, it was before we met and she only did it after the con-dom broke and the morning after pill didn't work).

      November 9, 2011 at 12:10 | Report abuse |
    • Drummergrrl

      I noticed a lot of men have opinions on this. You and the government need to get out of this discussion. None of your business!

      November 9, 2011 at 13:53 | Report abuse |
    • hello

      It irks me when men have such a strong opinion on this matter because you will NEVER have to make that choice!!!

      November 10, 2011 at 00:45 | Report abuse |
    • Behren

      Howdy, i read your blog occasionally and i own a silmair one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam remarks? If so how do you stop it, any plugin or anything you can advise? I get so much lately it's driving me insane so any assistance is very much appreciated.

      November 15, 2012 at 23:46 | Report abuse |
  2. howdy

    I don't think it is wrong for a woman to have one abortion as long as they take responsibilty for their actions afterwards and don't let it happen again. If a woman is getting high and has a miscariage due to the drug abuse whether she is 2 months or 6 months to me that's child abuse. A woman should have the right to choose but with this touchy subject there is no right decision because there are so many different views and opinions on this subject.

    November 8, 2011 at 23:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kareny

      Do you want smaller government & government out of the way? Again if yes, this law mean larger government & government in your personal life. You can have it both ways.

      November 9, 2011 at 04:16 | Report abuse |
  3. Kylie

    Here's a simple way to measure when life begins: When someone asks how old you are, when do you measure it from? Do you add the 9 months from your day of birth? Should we be able to legally drink at 20 and 3 months of age because at that point we've been alive for 21 years according to this?

    To all you pro-lifers: I am guessing that you wouldn't be charging a baby with manslaughter for the death of its mother in childbirth; so basically the point is that a clump of cells is more important than a full grown human being..

    And to the people who try to claim that a rape victim who gets an abortion is a murderer and therefore worse than her rapist is absolutely horrific. I truly hope that no man has the balls to try to make that claim to me in person. The fact that there are men out there who use this argument renders me speechless..

    One of the integral themes that our founder fathers had for our country is the separation of church and state. Therefore any argument that uses a religious argument is null and void. This should be a much simpler issue than the right wing is making it.

    November 9, 2011 at 00:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kylie

      *founding fathers :)

      November 9, 2011 at 00:37 | Report abuse |
    • Yndrd

      >Here's a simple way to measure when life begins: When someone asks how old you are, when do you measure it from?

      In our culture we measure from birth, because it's a unique, observable event. But that's arbitrary – measuring from conception or earliest brain development is possible (if imprecise), or we could measure from an initiation into adulthood. Children could have ages like "two years till Bar Mitzva", or "5 BA" [before adulthood]).

      >I am guessing that you wouldn't be charging a baby with manslaughter for the death of its mother...

      Do you charge toddlers with crimes in your country? Or charge people for things that are completely involuntary?

      >One of the integral themes that our founder fathers had for our country is the separation of church and state. Therefore any argument that uses a religious argument is null and void.

      Sure. But arguments based on unique DNA or functioning human brain cells are entirely secular.

      I may be pro-choice, but these arguments suck. Sorry.

      November 9, 2011 at 18:24 | Report abuse |
  4. Valentijn

    "we believe most (fertilized eggs) actually go out with a woman's menstrual flow."

    Remind me not to have my period in Mississippi if this amendment passes. I wouldn't want to be charged with criminal neglect resulting in death due to not collecting my discharge and somehow ascertaining whether it's got a fertilized egg in it.

    This whole situation is ludicrous.

    November 9, 2011 at 01:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • hello

      hahaha, best.answer.ever.

      November 10, 2011 at 00:46 | Report abuse |
    • Old Willy

      Each month a woman's ovaries release not one single egg but a strand of hundreds of eggs, up to perhaps a thousand.
      With hundreds of eggs and millions of sperm, probability says there are many fertilizied eggs in that discharge.

      May 14, 2013 at 20:40 | Report abuse |
  5. Kareny

    People, Americans keep saying they want smaller government & government needs to get out of the way. You can't have it both ways.

    November 9, 2011 at 04:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Joe

    God, the Bible and the Church are all clear on when human life begins. People know when it begins. The only ones who disagree are those who are in direct opposition to the clear teaching; but then again people will always find ways to try to justify their sin.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KB

      We don't live in a theocracy. If you would like to, I suggest Iran or Saudi Arabia. For me, I will take my knowledge of embryology over your 2000 year old book.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:51 | Report abuse |
    • Observerous

      Well, according to the Bible, Man's life began when "The AllMighty" scooped up the dust of the earth and shaped into a likeness of himself. Women's life began when this same "AllMIghty" extracted a rib from his newly formed Man and shaped it into a Woman, as a companion for Man. I don't recall if Man and Woman started procreating before or after they got evicted from Eden, but I'm thinking after – – – sounds pretty conclusive to me – life begins when dust get manipulated by a Supreme Being and a re-shaped rib get iit on – – – Ahhhhh Science, ain't it wonderful – – -

      November 9, 2011 at 12:39 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      KB your knowledge must be pretty limited if you don't know life begins at conception. Science has determined that years ago and scientists agree. You can look that fact up in more recent books too, and you don't have to travel to Saudi Arabia either.

      November 9, 2011 at 13:57 | Report abuse |
    • DocMWood

      Joe–Hate to disagree with you, but I must. You said, "God, the Bible and the Church are all clear on when human life begins." That isn't correct. I won't dispute that God knows, and I trust that is true...but it hasn't been clearly shared. The Bible doesn't say anything about life beginning at conception, but I will partly agree with you that it does imply strongly that life begins before birth. The Church is an entirely different matter. Which one? Even the Christian churches don't all agree on when life starts at present, much less looking over what the various churches have said throughout time. Personally, as a Christian and a physician, I do not believe life begins at conception. There are way too many problems with that definition, it is not a usable one, and Christian tradition over the past (almost) two thousand years strongly does NOT support that definition. However, they have more or less supported the concept of life begins before birth.

      I'm sympathetic to your thoughts, but I just can't agree with them. And it is dishonest to represent all Christians throughout the long march of time as having the same thoughts as you on this subject.

      November 9, 2011 at 17:02 | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      According to the Bible, human life begins at birth, not at conception.

      November 10, 2011 at 03:14 | Report abuse |
    • Joe J. Law, MD

      Sharp and excellent saying!
      If we can not respect human life at the very beginning seriously what else can be more worthily respected?
      Truly, the question-"when does an individual human person begin?"-has been clear and obvious SCIENTIFICALLY. Any word-game trying to justify the wrong doings can not avoid the beam of the objective truth.

      June 12, 2014 at 13:50 | Report abuse |
  7. Marty

    The measure was correctly defeated, even though life clearly begins with conception.

    The left likes to play word games. "It's just a lump of cells." Ok, but we are all simply a lump of cells. Is it a matter of size, or a matter of shape, or is it the ability to interact? Respond to stimuli? Any of these or none of these?

    The response above about not counting your age from conception is just goofy. You wouldn't know from what date to count even if you knew exactly to the instant when your parents exchanged bodily fluids. You could have been concieved days- up to a week later.

    Pro-lifers are honest about the fact that the life begins with conception, pro abortionists however must relegate that same life to subhuman or more correctly "not life" status to allow it to be killed for the "good" of the mother. Does that same life deserve "person" status at conception? I say no, and so did a lot of conservatives in Mississippi or this measure would have passed easily.

    If the law had stated person status would be bestowed to that life from the point of viable implantation, then it likely would have passed. It was an over reach by ultra conservatives and that's why they lost.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ray

      No, they lost because only religious whackos like yourself believe that life begins at conception (the scientific community has already denounced that and have formally stated that human life begins when the brain is fully developed as well as the nervous system the connects it to the body allowing it to control the body, feel pain, etc.) Fortunately, you religious folk are a quickly dying breed that will be extinct within a few more generations.

      March 6, 2013 at 13:11 | Report abuse |
  8. Marty

    Kareny, as usual the left is being dishonest, for your argument to be valid the choice would have to be between some government or no government. Not even conservatives are arguing for no government.

    As a side note I support the use of the morning after pill in the case of rape, because we simply do not know if a viable implantation would have resulted from the rape or not, even if fertilization had occurred...

    November 9, 2011 at 10:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • warmesTghosT

      Marty, as usual the right is being moronic.

      History has shown that abortions have and will occur regardless of legality, as they have for literally thousands of years. A fertilized clump of cells is not a human being and should not have civil rights equal to or greater than its host. I am not advocating aborting fetuses willy-nilly, but as a viable medical option in the cases of rape, incest or some sort of congenital defect. If a woman makes the choice to abort their child simply because they do not wish to care for it, that is between the woman and her god. You and I have utterly no place in that decision.

      Sidenote – how "big" of you to allow rape victims to take the morning after pill. You're just a great, magnanimous christian ain't ya Marty.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:18 | Report abuse |
    • Marty

      warmest nothing moronic about my previous posts. The vote was correct and I said so. Not trying to be "big", just trying to apply my moral judgement to an issue that should give everyone pause,

      The use of the morning after pill, would not be a moral issue to me in the case of a rape because we simply don't even know if a fertilized egg is present or that it would implant.

      I would be opposed to it's use as a repeated form of birth control for an individual woman however, as the likely hood of flushing a viable human egg from the womb would increase with each use. A birth control method that prevents sperm and egg from uniting would be prefered.

      I do understand logically the "it's my body" argument, but it is NOT just your body we are talking about now are we. There is another body to consider. The one liberals want to dismiss as just a clump of cells. I covered that above...

      November 9, 2011 at 15:47 | Report abuse |
  9. ana

    Does Mississippi have the highest child poverty rate in all USA? Can't people take care of the children who are already born before they start thinking of what is going on inside women's body?

    November 9, 2011 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LadyDyeAgnostic

      I know what you mean-when I read that quote "The unused fertilized eggs should be adopted through an embryo adoption program, he (DeCook,which should probably be The Kook,lol) suggested,I thought "adoption agencies are full of BORN kids that no one is adopting-who's going out of their way to adopt a clump of stewed tomatoes?"

      November 9, 2011 at 11:41 | Report abuse |
    • KB

      Exactly, and they have a high school graduation rate of about 60%. Wouldn't it be great if the "Christians" cared as much for living, breathing children as they care for a few pluripotent stem cells? It seems to me, they need to work on the people they have, before bringing more into that travesty of a state known as Mississippi.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:57 | Report abuse |
  10. Tannim

    "Consciousness, sentience, something like that is needed to delineate personhood."

    Agreed, but how does one empirically measure a soul?

    Not being a jerk here. This really is the heart of the matter–when does the equation "fetus + soul = child" happen?

    I sure don't know, science doesn't know, religion doesn't know, but everyone assumes an answer (I'll assume quickening). The law for its purposes assumes birth in most cases (and is inconsistent in the rest), but it isn't likely correct either.

    And that's why the issue will never be resolved.

    The best we can do is simply leave government out of it and leave each to their own decision and consequences for it, both in this and the next lives.

    And that's why this personhood idea is simply a bad idea.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LP

      Sentience and consciousness are functions of brain and nervous system development. The 'soul" is a religious idea and has nothing to do with biology. I think a human being acquires rights worthy of consideration when he or she is sufficiently developed neurologically that he or she can feel pain. That is approximately at the end of the second trimester. The mother's rights also deserve consideration. The rights of the fetus do not trump those of the mother.

      November 9, 2011 at 16:25 | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      Our current rules on abortion, which strongly discourage it after the third trimester begins, are completely reasonable. Left to nature's devices, a premature birth prior to that has precisely zero chance of survival. This is actually true well into the third trimester, but it's an easy line to draw nonetheless and one we should stick to. If we're going to drag medical abilities into the argument, then we better stop getting cancer and brushing our teeth, both of which slough off millions of potential babies by way of cloning.

      November 10, 2011 at 03:18 | Report abuse |
  11. Marty

    "Consciousness, sentience, something like that is needed to delineate personhood."

    BS! Show me a sentient new born and I'll be calling you a liar...

    November 9, 2011 at 11:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tannim

      They are sentient. All of them. Including my own son, whom I was present for and helped deliver.

      If you think that sentience is not present in babies, then you are truly clueless. They are perfectly aware and sentient, but they are also extremely codependent, which is different.

      Sorry, Marty, but you have less clue than a Milton Bradley game factory.

      Besides, if newborns don't have sentience, then A) when do they get it? B) how do they know to feed, cry, and develop the motor functions and abilities we all possess to survive as humans?

      Sorry, but your position is observationally ludicrous.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:55 | Report abuse |
    • Marty

      Based on the definition of sentient I have just finished reading, I was mistaken in my previous statement.

      I had incorrectly believed sentient was analogous with self awareness.

      While my cluelessness is curable, Tannim your bitter nature is probably permanent.

      November 9, 2011 at 15:20 | Report abuse |
    • Marty

      BTW Tannim I apologize for calling you a liar.

      November 9, 2011 at 15:21 | Report abuse |
    • LP

      Sentience is simply the ability to feel pain or pleasure. Newborns are sentient.

      November 9, 2011 at 16:26 | Report abuse |
  12. BikeLover

    We need to strike some balance here. The far right wants to accord personhood to a single feritilized egg and the far left wants to retain the monstrosities such as the "partial-birth" abortions. Clearly at some point in the continuum, the fetus is clearly viable, sentient and capable of feeling pain and suffering. We need to come to an agreement that at some point the fetus need to be protected while preserving the woman's right to choose. It needs be balanced in a rational manner. The extremes are indefensible.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      Third trimester, just at laws are now. Prior to that, chances of survival on its own are precisely zero.

      November 10, 2011 at 03:20 | Report abuse |
  13. Regis

    Proof life does not begin at fertilization:
    Fertilization occurs when sperm and egg combine the genes from the mother and father to produce a unique genome in a fertilized egg. It this point pro-lifers and right wing extremists say the egg is a unique individual, indivisible, with a soul. BUT, in the case of identical twins, the fertilized egg with a unique genome, splits in two producing two individuals (or with triplets or quadruplets even more individual people). We know this egg divides after fertilization because identical twin have the exact same genome which is uniquely produced at fertilization. Therefore, how could an individual, that is individual, with a soul divide into two or more people. Impossible!

    November 9, 2011 at 12:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Observerous

    Very well said Tannim – Government should not be involved and each person should be allowed the courage of their convictions along with the responsibilty of their actions. Beyond that, I'll promise to stay out of everyone else's private business and they can stay out of mine.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. donrijo

    Who knows when life began or begins, all we really know is if the egg inot alive or the sperm is not alive nothing happens. Every human is a symbiont of some 1 trillion cells each one a life of its own.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. mike

    "An unused fertilized egg is a human life, said DeCook, because “it has the mom’s DNA and the father’s DNA,” The unused fertilized eggs should be adopted through an embryo adoption program, he suggested."

    Absolutely laughable. I almost choked on my sandwich. There are THOUSANDS of children in foster care and in adoption agency files WAITING to be adopted...Why don't we see righteous types picketing government agencies or orphanages in an attempt to make the adoption process easier? Why aren't their adoption marches or sermons being generated from local churches?

    because it's NOT ABOUT THE KIDS. It's about making sure their form of moral values and ideology are triumphant, nothing more. George Lakoff's Moral Politics explains it perfectly.

    November 9, 2011 at 13:08 | Report abuse | Reply
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      November 14, 2012 at 16:39 | Report abuse |
  17. Seeker76

    This is a complex question, and the resulting topic of abortion has been debated since at least the Roman Empire. As a Christian, I believe life begins at conception. But until a proof is discovered that proves that "life" begins after conception, then an abortion is erring on the side of risk. That risk being murder. All we have here is belief. I can totally see why pro-choice would say what they say. Both sides have valid arguments from a purely logical perspective. whatever you believe, are your motives self-serving or do you truly believe it is right? Personally, I think people need to keep it in their pants and learn a little accountability...but that's just me.

    November 9, 2011 at 13:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. NJ.Guy

    As I type this....
    Would you consider me alive if I my body wasn't using the organ called a heart or wasn't using a machine to facilitate blood flow through the body?
    Would you consider me alive if I didn't have an active brain inside or outside my head ?

    At the very moment of fertilization, An egg does not posses a heart or a brain – true ?

    Granted, it's a living organism but the fact is it's not a human being yet. If you claim it's a human being, then you
    must believe that it's possible to be alive without both a heart or a brain at same time ...not the case
    (have both extracted from your body completely and see how long you're alive)
    Many things can happen along the path to the development of a fetus which has both brain activity and a heart beat.
    Sometimes the fertilized egg dies prior to development of both a heart & brain – hence the term 'miscarriage'.

    Until these two factors occur with a fetus then it's simply not possible to call this a human being.
    Once a fetus has both a beating heart and legitimate brain activity then it should not be destroyed.
    I am not a doctor but I believe both these developments occur within a month or two.
    Just my view, anyone agree ?
    NJ.guy

    November 9, 2011 at 14:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LP

      They do not occur within a month or two. It's more like 6 months, at least for sufficient brain development such taht it's possible to experience pleasure or pain.

      November 9, 2011 at 16:30 | Report abuse |
  19. arcandciel

    Doctors are necessary don't get me wrong! But, I don't like them in a sense because they think they are so bright and above the general population due to their long years of study that they don't gey a real perspective of reality. They almost ALL believe in the sci-fi fable of evolution and get offended if you confront them on this lie which makes NO SENSE AT ALL. Starting from this point, they imagine that THEY can decide when life begins. They just don't know NOTHING about this because their religion evolution reveals nothing about it. To cut this short, life begins at conception period. Any miserable excuse to deny this is just as damnable as their evolutionary delusion.

    November 9, 2011 at 15:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DocMWood

      Arcandciel–Just for the record, I'm a doctor and my religion isn't evolution. I'm a Christian. Please stop bearing false witness against me and my profession.

      November 9, 2011 at 16:46 | Report abuse |
    • arcandciel

      To DocMWood- If you're REALLY HONEST with yourself and look around your profession, you will have to agree with me that you are in the minority. Evolution is the basic religion of the great majority of scientists and doctors. It is as much a faith as any other. It is a faith based on nothing though, nothing other than to try to explain the world without God and disregarding anything else that would disagree with it. Since you say you're a Christian, you're not in the evolutionists' category, are you? So, what's your problem with my comment? Unless....unless you believe in God and evolution at the same time, like so many do. That's just can't be though! And did you know that if you don't have the Christianity of Christ, you're not really a Christian as you might think? The whole world being deceived by Satan as you should know. Just asking!....

      November 9, 2011 at 17:12 | Report abuse |
    • DocMWood

      Arcandciel—I would disagree with you still. Most of the doctors I’ve worked for and with through the years have been Christians. Period. Their faith and their works demonstrate that clearly, not that I’m in any position to judge them, but I will defend them. God may know better than I, and that judgment is not for me to decide.

      As for evolution (which has zero bearing on the discussion at hand), consider this—is it possible to use physics to describe how a baseball goes from the pitcher’s mound to the catcher’s mitt? Gravity isn’t a religion, and the concepts of speed, mass and velocity do nothing to violate the presence of God. Nor do the laws of physics have anything to say about why the pitcher threw the ball, or how well the catcher will catch it. Thus it is with evolution. Evolution is no more a religion than gravity; the concepts of fitness and adaptation do nothing to violate the presence of God; and the laws of biology have nothing to say about why God created life. One does not prove or disprove the other, and just as Jesus said “Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,” so I would believe that He would say the same about evolution. If anything, evolution proves how wonderful God is by making life so diverse it can spread to all corners of the world…and even beyond. There is nothing hateful about it anymore than seeing the miracle of birth and recognizing what a blessing that is for the whole world. But unjustly condemning others because they see the world differently from you certainly is hateful, and there is nothing of God that can be shown there. But there is plenty of Satan to see in that fear and hatred. Take a look at the log in your own eye before you criticize the speck in mine.

      November 9, 2011 at 17:53 | Report abuse |
    • arcandciel

      Boy! You're more blinded than I thought! If you hadn't mentioned you're a doctor, we could swear you're a roman catholic priest in disguise.Are you a priest? Anybody who believes in both God and evolution show that they understand NEITHER. ALL the laws of physics and chemistry had to all be perfect from the start, or else NOTHING could have worked. Even Hawkins recognizes that did you know? You bet evolution doesn't explain the WHY of things, because evolution is a satanic lie from the start and evolution means no purpose in life because we're all just an accident of nature. YOU don't know the purpose of life and I do, how about that? You're not the first biological priest who claims it is hateful to disagree with their blindness, that's been seen for 6,000 years. And it has everything to do with abortion, because when you leave God out off the picture then YOU great doctors can decide what is right and wrongm when you know NOTHING about life, death and the purpose of life... You have never been a Christian any more than evolution is true!...

      November 9, 2011 at 19:31 | Report abuse |
    • DocMWood

      Arcandciel—
      Evolution does not say we’re an accident. Evolution doesn’t say anything about purpose in life. Evolution is only a process. Who guides that process is another story all together. Would you have such hatred for an electrical engineer speaking about how words show up on the internet if they didn’t speak about the passion and reason you had for putting them there? That’s all evolution does, explains just part of the process. It makes no claim to exclude or include God, anymore than an electrical engineer would comment about your thoughts and ideas in posting things on the internet. As for myself, the reason why the laws of physics, chemistry, and yes—even biology and evolution were perfect from the start is because I see the very hand of God in the miracle of it all. So show me where I do not understand God, when the whole world around me, even the rocks beneath my feet, shout His praises. Evolution isn’t an accident. It’s God in action.

      As for deciding what is right and wrong, I have no monopoly there. I never claimed to. But I do have a conscience, and thanks to God was given the ability to tell right from wrong most of the time.

      Finally, I caution you in proclaiming that you don’t think I have ever been a Christian. Do you know my heart and soul better than God himself? Is the grace of God given to me by your will or by that of God? Do you really believe or want to be in a position to judge me? Do you think yourself better than God? Because that’s how you’re sounding to me, and I pray I’m wrong about that. I believe the love of God is big enough for both of us and how wrong we both can be. Even in this matter.

      November 9, 2011 at 20:54 | Report abuse |
    • arcandciel

      Blah!...Blah!... Blah!.... You're so funny, you almost deserve an answer! Let me be clear. Evolution like for instance astrology is WIND! You are WIND! And inside your great doctor's head, your big EGO is what I call WIND! NOTHING! You say evolution doesn't negate God, that's a LIE because Hawkins and the great "doctors" of evolution cannot stop spewing out blasphemous garbage books like "THE GOD DELUSION". Ever heard about that? Or maybe you know more than your great high priest Hawkins not to mention all the others I don't care to know. Evolution is man's attempt to explain a perfect creation without a creator and you know it, and so you are a bald-face LIAR! People are so gullible they think that liars don't exist, but we know better don't we? Does Genesis in the Bible talks about evolution you think? Or creation of completely, totally perfect individual creatures, maybe after billions of years of planning? Do you think the Bible doesn't talk about LIARS and false prophets from beginning to end? And do you think they don't exist? HAWKINS says you're a LIAR in saying God exists, that's not just a nobody hey! So, evolution doesn't explain anything, it is not a process, it is WIND!.... Do you know anything about a third of the Bible which is Prophecy, HISTORY WRITTEN IN ADVANCE! This ALSO denies evolution in the strongest of terms, but you wouldn't know that, since you know NOTHING! Tough for a doc's ego hey!...

      November 9, 2011 at 21:46 | Report abuse |
    • DocMWood

      Arcandciel–I'm not sure there is much point in arguing any further, as it seems that all I encounter is hate and not love or reason. But one last point to consider is this: you imply that prophecy denies the rational explanation of process. I disagree. If a sculptor states, “I will sculpt a man,” and then proceeds to do so, does his saying that he would do so prevent the actions of his hands? Just because you know what is going to happen doesn’t mean you can’t still describe some or all of the process. Using a Biblical example, the prophecy that David would be king did not mean that the struggle to become king didn’t happen, or that history cannot describe that struggle. The two things do not negate or deny each other. Only a liar would say otherwise.

      By the way, astrology is totally bogus.

      Finally, just a reminder. You might want to look again about what that man Jesus said about throwing stones. He was talking to you and me. Just sayin’…but I think we might want to listen to him.

      November 10, 2011 at 15:11 | Report abuse |
    • arcandciel

      Blah!... Blah!... Blah!.... Part 2.... Did you know that Jesus Christ as the God of the Old Testament is the Personality of the Godhead who performed creation in the book of Genesis? And did you know that he confirmed this fact in the New Testament? And the means that he used to perform creation is NOT evolution over billions of years. It was just plain instantaneous CREATION after probably billions of years of planning and engineering though this is not revealed. I'm NOT quoting any verses but you can take my word for it. It's strange that illiterate people who disagree both with Dawkins the chief evolutionist and the Genesis account can only talk about HATE to try to prove their point. Does't make sense to me! Anyway, who reads this page anymore??? Any question? I'll answer in due time, I' m not afrais of truth!....

      November 12, 2011 at 21:27 | Report abuse |
  20. arcandciel

    I forgot to mention that I could give information that nobody really knows, the missing dimension in knowledge you might call it. But I will not because it might be erased sooner or later. So, I'm not wasting my time! Sorry!... But I know more than doctors who know nothing about this take my word for this. Censorship exists!...

    November 9, 2011 at 15:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mohamad

      Nice post. I was checking cunitnoously this blog and I am impressed! Very useful info specially the last part I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this certain information for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

      November 16, 2012 at 00:21 | Report abuse |
  21. DocMWood

    How about this for an answer. When do you say someone is dead? It's not based on genetics, nor is it dependent in any way upon another keeping you alive. It is based when heart and brain activity (regardless of how well or poorly they were functioning or were developed, as in the cases of dementia and Down's syndrome, for example) stops. How we view death is as important as how we view life, and those non-arbitrary, objective findings should be adequate. If brain death is legal death, then brain life should be legal life, with all the rights therein. Of course, it isn't convenient in any way, but it would eliminate a lot of debate. And in my humble opinion, it is the correct answer for the question with currently availble knowledge, and could meet legal requirements. It isn't based upon the morality of any individual, nor the religious beliefs of any group, or even the shifting desires of a government big or small, but strictly based on objective evidence.

    Again, just my humble opinion, and I welcome all your thoughts.

    November 9, 2011 at 16:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cuddlefish

      This is the most reasonable argument on the subject I've seen yet.

      November 9, 2011 at 17:52 | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      And how does one measure "brain life"? Even patients who are pronounced "brain dead" show measurable levels of brain activity. There isn't a clear point to measure here, a slippery slope that leads straight back to only accepting the moment of conception as the metric of personhood, as ridiculous as that is.

      November 10, 2011 at 03:23 | Report abuse |
  22. Kylie

    Cmon people. We already have 7 BILLION people on this planet and nowhere near enough resources to take care of all of them. It is honestly mercy to not force these children to grow up in abusive, drug addicted, poor, or unwanted homes. If you can plausibly come up with a way to support every single baby that would be born out of unaborted pregnancies then I would be much more accepting of the pro life view.

    November 9, 2011 at 16:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Poppa

    The question is when does human life begin? It easy to answer. When the DNA is unique and is identifiable as human. Period. The question is not "when is the ending of that life allowable?" That is a whole nother question.

    If you don't agree that an embryo is a human life i would ask this question: " If a human embryo was discoved on mars, what would the headlines read? "Protoplasm found on Mars!"? I don't think so. It is life. It is Human. End of discussion.

    November 9, 2011 at 18:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      Uh – the DNA is a tumor precisely matches your definition. So do the cheek cells I flush down the drain by the millions every morning when I brush my teeth. Could you at least try to come up with a definition that isn't pointlessly ridiculous?

      November 10, 2011 at 03:25 | Report abuse |
    • Regis

      In response to your statement, "The question is when does human life begin? It easy to answer. When the DNA is unique and is identifiable as human."

      If this definition is true then how can identical twins form after fertilization (at which point there is unique DNA and is identifiable as human) when the egg divides in two forming two unique people.

      November 10, 2011 at 12:29 | Report abuse |
  24. carol

    Question if said egg doesn't attach to the uterus is it still in the process of developing?

    There really is some doctors that should have never been allowed to practice medicine geeze.

    November 9, 2011 at 20:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. steve

    16 weeks...before that it's all mom..after that , it's all baby

    November 9, 2011 at 22:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. howie

    I thought life began when the kids move out and the dog dies.

    November 10, 2011 at 00:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Dave

    Everyone who believes that a fertilized egg is a human being should also believe that the blueprint for a house is a house.
    Get real folks, a fertilized egg may contain the blueprint for a human, but that's not a human. And in some cases ,due to x-chromosome inactivation, the egg may not even have an accurate blueprint because of random processes that occur during development. And I'm talking about a normal development.

    November 10, 2011 at 01:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      This is possibly the worst analogy anyone has ever made for anything, ever. Actually, I take back the "possibly".

      August 27, 2013 at 22:32 | Report abuse |
  28. ReincarnatedMan

    My form began as a plant seed, and then as a manifested lion cub. and then my present human body sheath manifested. But the beginning would not be the same for all.

    November 10, 2011 at 02:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Don Blosser

    So, because I am a man I have no right to say that abortion is wrong. Hmm... so if I am single I have no right to tell parents that child abuse is wrong? Go take a logic class. Half of that baby's DNA came from a man. And guess who is behind the abortion of most younger girls? Right, the man who got her pregnant. So a man's opinion only counts when he wants the baby killed?

    January 29, 2012 at 02:26 | Report abuse | Reply
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