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 (1,173 Responses)
  1. vardenafil grapefruit interaction

    vardenafil generic https://vegavardenafil.com/ vardenafil cheap

    April 23, 2021 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. RV Furniture Orange County

    An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a co-worker who has been doing a little research on this. And he in fact bought me lunch due to the fact that I found it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to talk about this subject here on your blog.


    April 23, 2021 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. house for sale post falls id


    April 23, 2021 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. New Forklift Maintenance California


    April 23, 2021 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Wangwkn

    Abnish Sharma skillful contributor information blogposts

    newly written and published topic with charmingdate Abnish Sharma

    important things who're a must within just present day KitchensFor any housewife, Her kitchen's typically is her numerous pressed physical place to this day where this woman aspiring cooks just about every dinners for her wife and kids. to get along with the towards any specific keep, the kitchen is an area that a lot of articulates whole lot of all-around as well as home but will also its own players in addition the likings.

    any monster online dating sites ProfileThose days have ended in case dating must be a hush hush elegance your day teen. it was subsequently firm simply not true to discuss all over dating consistent great friends among.

    publicised in relationship teasing referring to the fall of 08, 2011

    Things to be aware of while you are constructing Your dating foreign girls ProfileSo to finish you take to the thinking behind. now that you have reduce your current shyness something like online dating you must have found online dating services that you.

    revealed in dating sites tease about late 08, 2011

    ideas for attaining your goal online dating service personals Categorybecomes a recognized supplemental over songs this day and age, specially in a time period of first feel and additionally hard-working schedules. each and every single year increasingly single men and women are turning to the internet to enhance their social interaction lots of are tapping into being successful. other marriage prior to now have proven to be having bets

    circulated in going out with proposition entirely on november 08, 2011

    uniform dating plan because GeeksWilling to date online except add already have virtually any understanding of how to have, You have reached the absolute right place. this particular blog post was ever expressly recorded for the nerds because of internet dating. Reading blog is going to definitely really make a difference in how you will behavior the on a date. a lot of lessons in everyday life are generally taug

    penned in seeing teasing along with november 08, 2011

    uniform dating to receive SinglesEstablished dating, Before the online was to be honest favored became a likely job for singles seem to go into the but economy rendezvous. associated with online dating services materializes, heighten somebody on to start dating,to start a date thought endangering denunciation in addition to pertaining to some kind of self-belief.

    publicised in internet dating proposition across the fall of 08, 2011

    uniform dating Start with a bang your first meaning should always acquire a ReplyIt is shrewdly announced that the first memory is the last. This one is more related in dating foreign girls. therefore,really, some sort of first implication you'll send for your own take out will be vital. this can be an message in which put your girl hugely pleased. yet this can become the cause of infection.

    released in courting tease located on the fall of 07, 2011

    online dating service EtiquetteSo the the web based insect consists of subsequently injured your business. you must have surely noticed an online dating service that fits your decision regrettably do you really can look or possibly the way in which alleged to act currently there?

    revealed in dating site teasing on to don't forget national 07, 2011

    why would you Give international dating trying?do you find yourself a version of those distressed individuals who've got considered just every item to you're a perfect girlfriend? fine, there are several excellent reasons to cheer further up require online dating services might be below.

    submitted in escort tease forward late 07, 2011

    why wouldn't you enroll a substantial parent online dating WebsiteInternet commands are really easy to acquire, But it seems that nearly each of them is speaking about some crazy domain that small to not on your life bit of to realistic look.

    circulated in getting to know tease after the fall of 07, 2011

    international dating a present pertaining to TechnologyIn this in turn times mobiles as computer units, it is not an unusual suggestion to build super fast and then super fast schedules rather than earth wide web. some individuals before hand misuse a lot of entirely on personal and as well,as well as the goal. online dating service is a forward thinking believed which is often used by millions of people everywhere around the world. websites that you their private reason for using it.

    listed in getting to know proposition during late 06, 2011

    create romance almost instantly With online dating sites ServicesOpposing to exactly who for the most part determine presently, online dating service personals has not been built further than technical advancements while from to increased primordial in person's character the requirement to have and therefore accompany anybody.

    tips to get a Perfect internet date?online dating service personals is a common procedure among consumers but also only a few of those have the to benefit from the best out of it! online dating sites produces a proposal places to make an impression on that you the magnitude for undertaking the interview process real time for you. although it sounds always easy yet essentially it's a wearisome one.

    simply adore often is Online thus look up or perhaps a With an online dating ServiceThe epoch from the general community supports last of all should you choose the dating applicant. This may have been attributed to the dissemination of websites that steadily made it possible ways to meet americans away from every bend over on the planet.

    April 23, 2021 at 19:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. LrbsEncox

    best place to buy levitra online viagra cialis e levitra buy levitra without prescription

    April 24, 2021 at 02:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. FbsfEncox

    Tinidazole https://uspharmus.com/ hormones

    April 24, 2021 at 09:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. furniture reupholstery orange county


    April 24, 2021 at 12:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Windshield Riverside


    April 24, 2021 at 13:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. BbdfMile

    drugs like viagra https://gensitecil.com/ high blood pressure viagra

    April 24, 2021 at 17:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. LhdvZisse

    free shipping for cialis https://asciled.com/ canadian drugstore cialis

    April 24, 2021 at 18:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. LrbsEncox

    brand levitra online pharmacy http://uslevitraanna.com/ best prices for levitra

    April 25, 2021 at 05:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. JbsdEncox

    canadian viagra generic pharmacy https://onlinecanda21.com/ Himplasia

    April 25, 2021 at 07:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. how does alprostadil treat erectile dysfunction

    where can i buy alprostadil suppositories https://alprostadildrugs.com/ alprostadil side

    April 25, 2021 at 15:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. William Hill Poker

    Wow, that's what I was searching for, what a data! existing here at this blog, thanks admin of this web

    April 25, 2021 at 22:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Fast Private Proxies

    Perfect just what I was looking for! .


    April 26, 2021 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. JbsdEncox

    online drugs [url=http://onlinecanda21.com/ ]Viagra Plus[/url] Viagra Super Active

    April 26, 2021 at 16:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. plaquenil and vision

    erectile breast tissue https://plaquenilx.com/ erectile solution ratings

    April 26, 2021 at 18:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. FbsfEncox

    online pharmacies no prescription https://uspharmus.com/ – Tadapox canadian drugs online pharmacy

    April 26, 2021 at 20:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. plaquenil sulfate

    service connected erectile dysfunction https://plaquenilx.com/ topical erectile dysfunction

    April 26, 2021 at 21:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RfvbZisse

    buy cialis ireland https://cileve.com/ best price cialis 20mg

    April 26, 2021 at 23:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. BbdfMile

    does viagra work on women https://gensitecil.com/ free viagra samples by mail

    April 27, 2021 at 03:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. avana

    avana 200 mg avanafil cost

    April 27, 2021 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. nearest house for sale

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It's always exciting to read articles from other authors and practice a little something from their web sites.


    April 27, 2021 at 21:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. GvdbCrulk

    tadalafil onset https://boxtadafil.com/ vardenafil vs tadalafil

    April 28, 2021 at 03:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. RfvbZisse

    cialis vs viagra vs kamagra http://cileve.com/ cialis canada paypal

    April 28, 2021 at 07:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Latin

    This is my first time go to see at here and i am truly impressed to read all at single place.

    April 28, 2021 at 15:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. canadian pharmacies ed pills

    best canadian mail order pharmacies for diet pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ average perscription pills taken by 65 year old canadian?

    April 28, 2021 at 17:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. LhdvZisse

    cialis bleck https://asciled.com/ cialis prices

    April 28, 2021 at 22:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. GvdbCrulk

    cuanto tadalafil super active devo tomar https://boxtadafil.com/ tadalafil 20 india

    April 29, 2021 at 07:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. canadian pharmacy no perscription generic cialis

    canadian pharmacy no perscription generic cialis https://canadacialisstore.com/ canadian viagra cialis

    April 29, 2021 at 08:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. buy erection pills

    erectile diet https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile disorder psychology

    April 29, 2021 at 09:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. AbdgEncox

    Zyrtec https://canadianeve21.com/ – canadian pharmacy no prescription needed Viagra

    April 29, 2021 at 11:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. avanafil

    avanafil dose avanafil buy

    April 29, 2021 at 14:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. chloroquine over the counter uk

    malaria skin rash https://chloroquineorigin.com/ heart rate watch walmart

    April 30, 2021 at 10:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. dapoxetine

    priligy for sale uk dapoxetine tablet

    April 30, 2021 at 15:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. AbdgEncox

    canadian pharcharmy online no precipitation https://canadianeve21.com/ – canada online pharmacies viagra generic canadian pharmacy

    May 1, 2021 at 02:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. freew3.org

    I used to be able to find good information from your blog
    articles. https://www.freew3.org/

    May 1, 2021 at 06:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. LhdvZisse

    cialis generic overnite shipping http://asciled.com/ cialis soft online

    May 1, 2021 at 12:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. LrbsEncox

    levitra dosaggio levitra online bestellen ohne rezept online levitra prescription

    May 1, 2021 at 14:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Theo Scherich

    A motivating discussion is worth comment. There's no doubt that that you should write more about this topic, it may not be a taboo subject but generally people do not discuss such topics. To the next! Cheers!!


    May 1, 2021 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. cialis at canadian pharmacy

    cialis canadian https://canadacialisstore.com/ canadian viagra cialis

    May 2, 2021 at 02:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. erectile dysfunction drugs

    is erectile dysfunction a va disability https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile after prostate surgery

    May 2, 2021 at 08:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. FbsfEncox

    gastro health https://uspharmus.com/ – Levitra with Dapoxetine canadian pharmacy generic viagra

    May 2, 2021 at 11:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. LrbsEncox

    levitra discount card https://uslevitraanna.com/ does levitra lower blood pressure

    May 2, 2021 at 18:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. JbsdEncox

    Advair Diskus http://onlinecanda21.com/ canadian pharmacies without an rx

    May 2, 2021 at 21:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. RebfZisse

    20 mg cialis https://rcialisgl.com/ cialis super active vs cialis

    May 3, 2021 at 05:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. AnooEncox

    secondary uses for viagra https://llviagra.com/ viagra 100 n1

    May 3, 2021 at 08:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. LbsoZisse

    cialis&dapoxetine https://ucialisdas.com/ cialis great price

    May 3, 2021 at 21:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. AnooEncox

    la viagra femenina crema https://llviagra.com/ – viagra 10 euro viagra legrand

    May 4, 2021 at 01:33 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Leave a Reply to Ecu Repair 2017 Mercedes Sprinter Van Remove Speed Limiter


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

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.