Second, some claim that the embryo in his or her first week of development is too small, immature, or undeveloped to be considered a “human life.” Yet the human embryo, from conception onward, is as much a living member of the human species as any of us. As a matter of biological fact, this new living organism has the full complement of human genes and is actively expressing those genes to live and develop in a way that is unique to human beings, setting the essential foundation for further development….
Though dependent in many ways, the embryo is a complete and distinct member of the species Homo sapiens, who develops toward maturity by directing his or her own integrated organic functioning. All later stages of life are steps in the history of a human being already in existence. Just as each of us was once an adolescent, a child, a newborn infant, and a child in the womb, each of us was once an embryo.
Others, while acknowledging the scientific fact that the embryo is a living member of the human species, claim that life at this earliest stage is too weak or undeveloped, too lacking in mental or physical abilities, to have full human worth or human rights. But to claim that our rights depend on such factors is to deny that human beings have human dignity, that we have inherent value simply by being members of the human family.
If fundamental rights such as the right to life are based on abilities or qualities that can appear or disappear, grow or diminish, and be greater or lesser in different human beings, then there are no inherent human rights, no true human equality, only privileges for the strong.
In other words, all of those assurances about protecting women are nothing more than temporary expedients that will be swept away as soon as it is deemed politically feasible. And if the assurances made in this area are nothing but cow manure, so too are the equally oleaginous promises to limit the lives of cloned embryos to 14 days, and to never engage in fetal farming, and to never want reproductive cloning.