If fertilized egg is living, what is it?

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The letter by Victor Reilly on Sept. 25 contains several inaccuracies.

First, he states "no one denies that the fertilized egg is living, but that is not the point." No, that is precisely the point. Every human being begins as a fertilized egg. That is a scientific fact, and anything else is speculation.

Second, there have been many pro-lifers who have been concerned about artificial means of conception precisely because of the moral dilemma of what to do with the extra embryos.

Catholics have been concerned about this for over 30 years, and a cursory search of the Internet reveals that Protestants and Evangelicals have also become concerned about this moral issue. If one is to be consistent in their pro-life beliefs, then this should concern them.

Third, prior to 1965 conception was "fertilization of an egg by a sperm" and was changed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists so that patients would not be concerned about the abortifacient effects of birth control pills. However, even on their web site this is the definition they use. (http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp126.cfm).

Fourth, the destruction of embryos in fertility clinics may not be abortions, but it is still the destruction of human life and morally wrong.

Finally, many who are pro-life would readily agree with Mr. Reilly's conclusion. If we are going to be consistently pro-life, then we should be opposed to any practices in fertility clinics that will lead to the destruction of human life.

As to the "valuable stem cells," Dr. David Hess, chairman and professor, Department of Neurology Medical College of Georgia, has testified before Congress that the need for stem cells can be achieved morally with the use of adult stem cells.

Patrick Mongan, M.D.

Evans

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lord griggs1947
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lord griggs1947 10/15/08 - 12:55 am
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All that ia an ignoratio

All that ia an ignoratio elenchi-beside the point: not life but personhood is the consideration, doctor! You should know that until arouond 22 weeks the fetus has no cosciousness and feels no pain , thus not a person to be protected!. Rather than being scientific, you are faith-based and thus ignore reality. I adumbrate on this in yesterday's on -line edition. And thus there is no comparison with conscious slaves. Thankfully.Obama-Biden will undo the Cheney-Bush disregard of science in this and in other matters. Researchers will perforce use embryonic stem cells. Connecticut v. Griswold will still rule. Are you also a creationist as you seem to shortchange reality [ not germane but interesting to know]? And the usual question: do you support government aid for mothers and infants? That is indeed pro-life!

_SisterAbdullahX_
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_SisterAbdullahX_ 10/15/08 - 04:48 am
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Until AROUND 22 weeks? What

Until AROUND 22 weeks? What about 21 weeks? What about 23 weeks? Can you be sure? It's a damn important decision to lay an arbitrary time frame on.

GACopperhead
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GACopperhead 10/15/08 - 05:23 am
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I agree with this LTE. well

I agree with this LTE. well written.

JesusIsComing
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JesusIsComing 10/15/08 - 05:52 am
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Skeptic - I know of several

Skeptic - I know of several adults that "have no consciousness and feel no pain". Would you care to accompany me to visit them? Perhaps you can explain to their families why they are not persons and do not need to be protected. The slippery slope starts with "the least of these".

christian134
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christian134 10/15/08 - 06:10 am
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Thank you for your letter Dr.

Thank you for your letter Dr. Monogan...Well written and is truth no matter what mankind believes...Abortion is murder....

Paws..
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Paws.. 10/15/08 - 06:45 am
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Very informative and accurate

Very informative and accurate LTE; good work Dr. M. Skeptic also makes some good points. S is correct that the critical question is the one of legal "personhood", not of when life begins. It is a scientific fact that Human life begins when sperm and ovum unite but the question is when will this new life be granted protection under the law and rights equal to the mother. Roe v.Wade never addressed the issue of when life begins; even said that it was not relevant and didn't recognize personhood for the fetal human at any point during pregnancy. Roe v. Wade was a court ordered "open season" on the unborn; "KILL AT WILL"

GACopperhead
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GACopperhead 10/15/08 - 07:51 am
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My question is when it is

My question is when it is obviously less expensive and traumatic to practice birth control, or more specifically conception prevention, why is abortion needed as much as it is. As I have stated before, it must be imperative that we educate BETTER, and offer more support and options to those who see abortion as their only alternative. We, as Christians, must also remember that Christ indicated that we must obey the laws of the land, and that even GOD gave us the choice to obey Him or not. Abortion, to me, is a horrible act, but we will never get rid of it by making it illegal. Prohibition didn't work, making drugs illegal hasn't worked, and neither will reversing Roe v Wade. What HAS reduced alcoholism and drug abuse is education and support.

griesella
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griesella 10/15/08 - 08:10 am
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Only a few months ago, a baby

Only a few months ago, a baby was born at 24 weeks and is doing fine. Guess what. The fetus actually was a living, breathing human being.

christian134
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christian134 10/15/08 - 08:12 am
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GACopperhead the problem I

GACopperhead the problem I find with that logic is that most times the alcoholic and drug abuser harms themselves first with harm trickling down on others...They all stand a chance of survival to rebuild their lives but for the victims of abortion it is final...No reprieve just horrific death and the woman usually goes on with her life...These are very distinct differences...

JesusIsComing
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JesusIsComing 10/15/08 - 08:18 am
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GACopperhead, "Getting rid of

GACopperhead, "Getting rid of Roe v. Wade" would not stop abortions. It would turn the matter over to the States. Some States would allow abortion with certain conditions (e.g., parental notification, specific time lines to allow abortion, etc.). Some States would prohibit all abortions except when the life of the mother was at stake. Some States would have no prohibitions against abortions. By the way, this was exactly the way it was pre-1973. If a woman wanted an abortion - it required her to go to a State that allowed it. Fact is, there were far fewer abortions in those days, lots more babies, and lots less political strife.

Bizarro
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Bizarro 10/15/08 - 08:22 am
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"Embryonic" stem cells are a

"Embryonic" stem cells are a dead notion. Several methods are now available that make the strategy void and also avoid the problems with embryonic tissues. The embryonic stem cells strategy has always been experimental and every noted scientists would admit the strategy would be 10-20 years from fruition, and all admitted to huge obstacles that would need to be addressed. Genetic reprogramming of adult stem cells is the way to go and is also an essential need for embryonic cells. What does feeling pain have to do with it (some kids have congenital insensitivity to pain so I guess they can never be a person), the brain doesn't fully mature till after birth either so does that mean new borns aren't persons either? If you are going to be scientific then it is more advantageous to prevent abortions by use of birth control rather than using abortion as a method of birth control. Abortion needs to be a legal option for physicians, but it should not be a legal choice for women. The choice to prevent pregnancy is much more economical, safe, and avoids problems that are appearing in youths who have multiple abortions. Ready abortions also decreases condom use which prevents spread of STDs.

raaesheedletowanmouemoud
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raaesheedletowanmouemoud 10/15/08 - 08:38 am
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I repeat, If you shoot a preg

I repeat, If you shoot a preg woman in the abdomen and the fetus dies, you are charged with murder/featicide. What is the difference between that and abortion????? Anyone???????

ZenoElia
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ZenoElia 10/15/08 - 09:06 am
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Check Leviticus

Check Leviticus Rasheedle-dee. The life is in the blood. The penalty for causing an infant to die is life for life, whether intentional or not. So even an accidental death of an infant caused by another is in God's eyes punishable by death. I have to go with the radical right on this one, listen to John Hagee for more. Now he's a right-winger, but I support his views on abortion being dead wrong. If we keep promoting individual rights why don't we recognize the unborn have rights? Sounds like blatant hypocrisy at the expense of the innocents. If the story of King Herod slaughtering babies doesn't move you to see the truth about life, then you are a cold heartless and dead forever sinner. Now that's the truth. Bizarro you are right. Prevention is better than after-the-fact killing of the innocents. However, I don't think physicians should make any decision to end life. Hippocrates would roll over in his grave to think his oath was not taken as seriously as he intended it. In today's world, physicians never tend to heal or cure, only to maintain service to keep those fat insurance checks coming. I don't trust them either.

Tujeez
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Tujeez 10/15/08 - 09:22 am
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The idea that a fetus is "not

The idea that a fetus is "not a living being" until 22 weeks is a fools folly. The Constitution Ensures the Inalienable rights to all Individuals., Not living beings. An Individual DNA is present when the Egg becomes fertilized and the pairs of chromesomes join together and form one complete set of DNA. This one cell, called a zygote, contains all of the material, except food, water and oxygen to form a complete Human Being(Individual). That being said, we no longer need to argue the merit of when life begins. What we are to be concerned with now is WHEN do the Constitutional Rights Insured to all Individuals apply to the Individual. If it applies as soon as one becomes an individual then, it applies at conception(fertilization).Noone has the right to take an individuals right to Life, liberty and the persuit of happiness away without DUE PROCESS. The constitution is not applied to live beings but to individuals. The Individual has the Inalienable right to LIFE. Thus a zygote is an individual and must be protected under the Constitution,PERIOD! To refute this you'd have to be an Idiot. Read the constitution, which comes first, Life or the Individual?

gagirl40
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gagirl40 10/15/08 - 09:33 am
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Raaesh....The difference is

Raaesh....The difference is intent. If the mother "intends" to have the baby it is murder because it is her choice and she chooses to carry the baby to full term! You may not like that answer but that's the law. I have a problem with those of you who are assuming that every woman who has an abortion was irresponsible, assuming birth control wasn't used or that the woman was promiscuous and is just using abortion as birth control. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many women have gotten pregnant using many forms of birth control, it happens. They were being responsible yet the birth control failed. Statistics in the US show that most women who have had an abortion have only had one in their lifetime. Therefore the "Abortion as birth control" argument is baseless. Also why is it that the most outspoken opponents of choice are also the most outspoken against birth control? Example: pharmacists have the right to refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control to married women because of their religious belief that the pill is an abortifacient. How do these people justify this contradiction?

corgimom
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corgimom 10/15/08 - 09:35 am
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It's murder if a medical

It's murder if a medical examiner determines that there was a reasonable expectation that the fetus was developed enough to survive outside the womb. It used to be 26 weeks, but with medical technology, it's been pushed back earlier. But- if a pregnant woman has a car accident that is her fault, and her child dies in the womb, she is not charged with murder. Why is that??

Tujeez
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Tujeez 10/15/08 - 09:43 am
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GACopperhead, I am confounded

GACopperhead, I am confounded by the wonders of God, You and I will sit on the same side of the table on this issue. No laws have worked completely. Murder still happens, as do all of the others you mentioned. There are no easy answers but, if we don't make the wrong choices easy, perhaps more will make the right one(whatever that is) I am Sternly pro-life but, even I can see reasons for termination in some situations. To say that, I feel, does not represent a Hypocritical stance. There is some circumstance to confound even the wisest of Humans. I do not believe in abortion used as a birth control measure, and to me that is the difference.

gagirl40
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gagirl40 10/15/08 - 09:53 am
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Zeno. actually the bible says

Zeno. actually the bible says the exact opposite,"And if men struggle and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no further injury, he shall be fined as the woman's husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise." Exodus 21:22-25 The bible states very clearly that if a pregnant woman is harmed and loses the baby, it is punishable by a fine. If the woman should die then the punishment is life for life. Also in Ecclesiastes 6:3-5 it seems to infer a "quality of life" position, "If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, however many they be, but his soul is not satisfied with good things, and he does not even have a proper burial, then I say, `Better the miscarriage than he, for it comes in futility and goes into obscurity; and its name is covered in obscurity. It never sees the sun and it never knows anything; it is better off than he." Also, an infant is a child in the first stage of existence. A fetus is not an infant.

Tujeez
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Tujeez 10/15/08 - 09:55 am
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I think that the arguement

I think that the arguement for an Individual via DNA , that I have presented is the purest logic I have heard(not trying to be vainglorious) although some will argue even with that. I know that women have rights but they have also many excellent prevention measures. I think far too many take the easy way out.

ZenoElia
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ZenoElia 10/15/08 - 10:01 am
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I'm not sure if God

I'm not sure if God prescribes to 'situational ethics'. To Him it's either sin or not. What say you to this Tujeez?

gagirl40
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gagirl40 10/15/08 - 10:30 am
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Tujeez..You are dead wrong

Tujeez..You are dead wrong about the Constitution. I HAVE read it, many times and nowhere does it state anything about "Individuals". It does state however, " All PERSONS BORN or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any PERSON of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." The framers clearly meant BORN PERSONS! Also, the framers of the constitution considered blacks as 3/5ths of a person, how do you square that with your "individual" belief? Is a black fetus less of an "individual" than a white fetus? The framers of the Constitution clearly thought they were.

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 10/15/08 - 10:38 am
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Excellent letter by Dr.

Excellent letter by Dr. Mongan. I agree.

gagirl40
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gagirl40 10/15/08 - 10:39 am
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Tujeez...Amoeba is an

Tujeez...Amoeba is an "individual with DNA"..should it be "protected" too? Should Amoeba have the same rights as a person? Your individual DNA argument is probably the least logical of them all.

JesusIsComing
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JesusIsComing 10/15/08 - 10:40 am
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gagirl40, Don't know if you

gagirl40, Don't know if you have ever had a baby - don't care either. But if and when you do I challenge you, as it grows in your womb, to think of it as just "a fetus".

grouse
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grouse 10/15/08 - 10:41 am
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Sperm and egg are technically
Unpublished

Sperm and egg are technically living just like every other cell in the body. It's a quite a stretch to equate them with a baby, just as it is to equate a fertilized egg with a newborn.

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 10/15/08 - 10:41 am
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gagirl40. If a fetus is not

gagirl40. If a fetus is not an infant, there is no need for abortion, is there?

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 10/15/08 - 10:42 am
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A fertilized egg in the

A fertilized egg in the mother's womb if not a unique human being, does not need to be aborted either, does it?

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 10/15/08 - 10:42 am
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If the embryo is not human,

If the embryo is not human, then you're not pregnant, and you don't need an abortion!

MichaelDBuchananII
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MichaelDBuchananII 10/15/08 - 10:51 am
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gagirl, your post about the

gagirl, your post about the framers of the constitution is educational but misleading. First...you suggest that the framers were somewhat in unison in thinking of blacks as less than a full person but the fact is that there was, even that far back growing sentiment to end slavery. The 3/5 compromise you refer to was done in an effort to end slavery. There were more slaves in the south..which favored slavery and if the slaves counted as a whole person then the south would have substantially more representation in congress and would have far less problems keeping slavery in practice. Second...there was certainly no consensus even amoung the most famous of our founders about the morality of slavery. Benjamin Franklin founded the first anti-slavery society, George Washington freed his slaves and James Madison and James Monroe were both opposed to slavery.

JesusIsComing
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JesusIsComing 10/15/08 - 10:56 am
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Michael D Buchanan, You rock!

Michael D Buchanan, You rock! Thanks for clarifying the 3/5th Compromise - something you would only learn with a conservative education.

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