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.”
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
Hi, I do think this is an excellent blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to return once again since I book marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.
I need to to thank you for this good read!! I absolutely enjoyed every bit of it. I have you bookmarked to look at new stuff you postÖ
Iím amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog thatís equally educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy that I stumbled across this during my search for something relating to this.
Excellent way of explaining, and pleasant piece of writing to take facts about my presentation topic,
which i am going to convey in academy.
Here is my website: arcuri de vanzare
Can I just say what a comfort to discover someone who genuinely knows what they're discussing on the internet. You actually know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people have to check this out and understand this side of your story. I was surprised you're not more popular because you certainly have the gift.
Great blog you have here.. Itís hard to find quality writing like yours nowadays. I truly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!
Excellent post. I am dealing with some of these issues as well..
sildenafil cheapest price uk https://pharmaceptica.com/
This is a topic that is close to my heart... Many thanks! Where are your contact details though?
An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I do believe that you ought to publish more on this subject, it may not be a taboo subject but generally people do not discuss such topics. To the next! Best wishes!!
Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post! It's the little changes that produce the biggest changes. Many thanks for sharing!
Custom Dab Mathttps://www.posts123.com/user/797834/pumabutton2All products intended for use with legal smoking/vaping mixtures only .
Good post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It will always be useful to read through content from other authors and use a little something from other sites.
Can I simply say what a comfort to uncover somebody who truly knows what they are talking about online. You actually know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people must check this out and understand this side of your story. I was surprised you are not more popular given that you certainly possess the gift.
Wonderful article! We are linking to this great article on our website. Keep up the good writing.
I like it when people get together and share ideas. Great blog, continue the good work!
It means i create a database using mysql and create a website using joomla so when i click a link from the web i can directly retrieve the data from mysql server.
Very nice article. I absolutely appreciate this site. Continue the good work!
Great articles. Thank you for the information learn spanish podcast
hydroxychloroquine 200 mg side effects https://www.pharmaceptica.com/
Having read this I thought it was rather enlightening. I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this information together. I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!
Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post! It's the little changes that produce the most important changes. Many thanks for sharing!
Hello, I do believe your web site might be having web browser compatibility problems. Whenever I take a look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in I.E., it has some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up! Apart from that, fantastic site!