Jivin J's Life Links 6-21-10

web grab.jpgby JivinJ, host of the blog, JivinJehoshaphat

  • The apparent ignorance of the regular writers at RH Reality Check never ceases to amaze me. This time, Robin Marty chastises Cardinal Daniel DiNardo because he calls an embryo an embryo in a letter to the commissioner of the FDA. Marty writes:
  • Also, the Cardinal seems to have forgotten developmental biology - an embryo is at least 21 days post-fertilization. Before that, you have a blastocyst or a zygote....

    Robin... ummm... a blastocyst is a name for an embryo at a certain stage of development and your link to a Mayo Clinic web page does nothing to prove a pre-implantation embryo isn't an embryo. Only ignorant people or people attempting to dehumanize human embryos try to act like blastocysts aren't embryos. Even the National Institutes of Health defines blastocyst as "a pre-implantation embryo of about 150 cells produced by cell division following fertilization."

    Also, as an employee of a pro-abortion web site, you might also want to avoid linking to a page whose sub-header reads, "Fetal development begins soon after conception. Find out how your baby grows and develops during the 1st trimester."

  • According to the Telegraph, the number of reported euthanasia cases in the Netherlands rose by 13% in 2009.

  • At ProWomanProLife, Andrea Mrozek posts a Canadian study's findings on abortion and preterm delivery:
  • After adjusting for baseline characteristics, women with one previous abortion were 45% more likely to have a premature child at under 32 weeks; 71% more likely at less than 28 weeks; and more than twice as likely at less than 26 weeks. This association was even stronger for those with 2 or more abortions.


  • The San Francisco Chronicle has an article on Shinya Yamanaka (pictured left) winning the Kyoto Prize for creating induced pluripotent stem cells. The writer, SF Chronicle's Science Editor David Perlman, can't help himself from deceiving his readers in describing President Bush's embryonic stem cell funding policy:
  • Before his discovery, those pluripotent human stem cells could only be harvested from human embryos, a source posing such powerful ethical issues that former President George W. Bush banned virtually all embryonic stem cell research 8 years ago. The ban remained in force until President Obama reversed it last year.
    Even after the reversal of the policy, reporters across America still have so much trouble honestly describing the policy which limited federal funding on embryonic stem cell research. I understand the goal of lying about the policy while it was still in place but why now? In at least one previous article Perlman shows he can accurately describe the Bush policy so why is he intentionally describing it inaccurately now?

    [Yamanka photo via SFGate.com]


    Well, at least he acknowledges that embryonic stem cell research poses powerful ethical issues.

    Posted by: Kelsey at June 21, 2010 1:24 PM

    Ms. Marty is as misinformed as most other pro-choice/pro-aborts who've been exposed to the revised version of reproductive biology promoted by the abortion industry. A pregnancy begins at fertilization, NOT the day the tiny blue line shows up on the little plastic stick, nor the day of implantation.

    Posted by: Janet at June 21, 2010 2:12 PM

    When you light a match, you don't wait for the flame to consume half the match before you acknowledge that the fire is lit. Life is like that. When the egg is fertilized, the fire of life is lit. It's now alive and growing, and if uninterrupted by disease or violence, will grow into an adult human being. Only after adulthood has been reached will the human being stop growing and begin aging. Snuffing out that flame of life at any point along the vector from conception to natural death is murder. We don't need to do mental acrobatics to determine personhood. Alive is alive and its as simple as that.

    Posted by: ninek at June 21, 2010 2:30 PM

    What? No trolls? Can't argue with these comments!

    Posted by: Hans at June 21, 2010 8:19 PM

    Oh this is rich! The ones who use terms like "fertilized eggs" are going to lecture US on proper biology? pulease!

    Posted by: Sydney M. at June 21, 2010 9:31 PM

    Robin Marty,

    A few references for your developmental illiteracy:

    “Development of the embryo begins at Stage 1 when a sperm fertilizes an oocyte and together they form a zygote.”
    [England, Marjorie A. Life Before Birth. 2nd ed. England: Mosby-Wolfe, 1996, p.31]

    “Human development begins after the union of male and female gametes or germ cells during a process known as fertilization (conception).
    “Fertilization is a sequence of events that begins with the contact of a sperm (spermatozoon) with a secondary oocyte (ovum) and ends with the fusion of their pronuclei (the haploid nuclei of the sperm and ovum) and the mingling of their chromosomes to form a new cell. This fertilized ovum, known as a zygote, is a large diploid cell that is the beginning, or primordium, of a human being.”
    [Moore, Keith L. Essentials of Human Embryology. Toronto: B.C. Decker Inc, 1988, p.2]

    “Embryo: the developing organism from the time of fertilization until significant differentiation has occurred, when the organism becomes known as a fetus.”
    [Cloning Human Beings. Report and Recommendations of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission. Rockville, MD: GPO, 1997, Appendix-2.]

    “Embryo: An organism in the earliest stage of development; in a man, from the time of conception to the end of the second month in the uterus.”
    [Dox, Ida G. et al. The Harper Collins Illustrated Medical Dictionary. New York: Harper Perennial, 1993, p. 146

    "Embryo: The early developing fertilized egg that is growing into another individual of the species. In man the term 'embryo' is usually restricted to the period of development from fertilization until the end of the eighth week of pregnancy."
    [Walters, William and Singer, Peter (eds.). Test-Tube Babies. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1982, p. 160]

    “The development of a human being begins with fertilization, a process by which two highly specialized cells, the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female, unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote.”
    [Langman, Jan. Medical Embryology. 3rd edition. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1975, p. 3]

    “Embryo: The developing individual between the union of the germ cells and the completion of the organs which characterize its body when it becomes a separate organism…. At the moment the sperm cell of the human male meets the ovum of the female and the union results in a fertilized ovum (zygote), a new life has begun…. The term embryo covers the several stages of early development from conception to the ninth or tenth week of life.”
    [Considine, Douglas (ed.). Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia. 5th edition. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1976, p. 943]

    “I would say that among most scientists, the word ‘embryo’ includes the time from after fertilization…”
    [Dr. John Eppig, Senior Staff Scientist, Jackson Laboratory (Bar Harbor, Maine) and Member of the NIH Human Embryo Research Panel -- Panel Transcript, February 2, 1994, p. 31]

    “The development of a human begins with fertilization, a process by which the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote.”
    [Sadler, T.W. Langman's Medical Embryology. 7th edition. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins 1995, p. 3]

    “The question came up of what is an embryo, when does an embryo exist, when does it occur. I think, as you know, that in development, life is a continuum…. But I think one of the useful definitions that has come out, especially from Germany, has been the stage at which these two nuclei [from sperm and egg] come together and the membranes between the two break down.”
    [Jonathan Van Blerkom of University of Colorado, expert witness on human embryology before the NIH Human Embryo Research Panel -- Panel Transcript, February 2, 1994, p. 63]

    “Zygote. This cell, formed by the union of an ovum and a sperm (Gr. zyg tos, yoked together), represents the beginning of a human being. The common expression ‘fertilized ovum’ refers to the zygote.”
    [Moore, Keith L. and Persaud, T.V.N. Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology and Birth Defects. 4th edition. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1993, p. 1]

    “The chromosomes of the oocyte and sperm are…respectively enclosed within female and male pronuclei. These pronuclei fuse with each other to produce the single, diploid, 2N nucleus of the fertilized zygote. This moment of zygote formation may be taken as the beginning or zero time point of embryonic development.”
    [Larsen, William J. Human Embryology. 2nd edition. New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1997, p. 17]

    “Although life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed…. The combination of 23 chromosomes present in each pronucleus results in 46 chromosomes in the zygote. Thus the diploid number is restored and the embryonic genome is formed. The embryo now exists as a genetic unity.”
    [O'Rahilly, Ronan and Müller, Fabiola. Human Embryology & Teratology. 2nd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996, pp. 8, 29. This textbook lists "pre-embryo" among "discarded and replaced terms" in modern embryology, describing it as "ill-defined and inaccurate" (p. 12}]

    “Almost all higher animals start their lives from a single cell, the fertilized ovum (zygote)… The time of fertilization represents the starting point in the life history, or ontogeny, of the individual.”
    [Carlson, Bruce M. Patten's Foundations of Embryology. 6th edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996, p. 3]

    “[A]nimal biologists use the term embryo to describe the single cell stage, the two-cell stage, and all subsequent stages up until a time when recognizable humanlike limbs and facial features begin to appear between six to eight weeks after fertilization….
    “[A] number of specialists working in the field of human reproduction have suggested that we stop using the word embryo to describe the developing entity that exists for the first two weeks after fertilization. In its place, they proposed the term pre-embryo….
    “I’ll let you in on a secret. The term pre-embryo has been embraced wholeheartedly by IVF practitioners for reasons that are political, not scientific. The new term is used to provide the illusion that there is something profoundly different between what we nonmedical biologists still call a six-day-old embryo and what we and everyone else call a sixteen-day-old embryo.
    “The term pre-embryo is useful in the political arena — where decisions are made about whether to allow early embryo (now called pre-embryo) experimentation — as well as in the confines of a doctor’s office, where it can be used to allay moral concerns that might be expressed by IVF patients. ‘Don’t worry,’ a doctor might say, ‘it’s only pre-embryos that we’re manipulating or freezing. They won’t turn into real human embryos until after we’ve put them back into your body.’”
    [Silver, Lee M. Remaking Eden: Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World. New York: Avon Books, 1997, p. 39]

    Posted by: Gerard Nadal at June 21, 2010 11:35 PM

    Why bring up zygotes so much?

    The zygote stage lasts only for a matter of hours. The division of the embryo's cells is rapid thereafter. This single-celled human being that they keep bringing up is never the issue. There is no way to kill a zygote in its natural environment that I know of. Even in embryo research, the child is usually grown to around 8 cells. By the time hormonal contraceptives would lead to the death of the embryo by preventing implantation, he or she is a blastocyst. Yet they continue to say we are talking about zygotes.

    Zygotes are absolutely human beings who deserve the right to life just like the rest of us. It doesn't matter whether a child has 1 cell, 8, or 100. (And the pro-choice-to-dismember-babies-ers don't care either.) So why do they keep bringing up zygotes?

    Posted by: ycw at June 22, 2010 6:04 PM

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