Posted by jlwile on October 18, 2010Those who want to say that a child inside the womb is not a human life have to ignore some very basic science. For example, they have to ignore the plain genetic evidence, which is found in the “blueprint” that makes each person. Of course, I am talking about the person’s DNA. While not all of a person’s characteristics are based on his or her DNA, most of them are. In other words, DNA contains the overall framework that makes a person who he or she is. More importantly, there is no other organism on the planet that has a genome like a human being’s genome. Thus, as soon as a person’s DNA forms, a human life has begun. When does that happen? It happens at the very moment of conception. At that moment, when the person is composed of just one cell, a human life has begun. Probably the best statement regarding this fact comes from Dr. Jermoe L. LeJeune, the brilliant geneticist who was the first to demonstrate a link between certain diseases and chromosomal abnormalities. While testifying before a U.S. Senate Subcommittee, he said:1
To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion. The human nature of the human being from conception to old age is not a metaphysical contention, it is plain experimental evidence
If you want to believe that a baby in the womb is not a person, then, you have to ignore the plain experimental evidence. LeJeune’s quote comes from 1981, and since them, more and more experimental evidence has been stacking up to show that a baby in the womb is most definitely a human being. The latest evidence to be added to the pile comes from ultrasound investigations of twins in the womb.
Umberto Castiello and his colleagues studied five pairs of twins during their 14th and 18th weeks of development in the womb. They used four-dimensional ultrasonography to study how the twins moved. They showed that the twins touched themselves, touched the uterine wall, and touched each other. However, the touches that they directed towards each other seemed more purposeful and had longer durations. The ultrasonic image at the top of this post, for example, shows one twin caressing the back of the other. This kind of interaction, according to the researchers, is not accidental. It is deliberate.2
One thing they noticed is that from the 14th to the 18th week of development in the womb, the percentage of times the twins touched themselves or the uterine wall decreased, but the percentage of times they touched each other increased. In other words, the interaction of the twins increased as their neurological development increased. The authors conclude:
These findings force us to predate the emergence of social behaviour: when the context enables it, as in the case of twin foetuses, other-directed actions are not only possible but predominant over self-directed actions.
Now think about what this means. Almost 30 years ago, Dr. LeJeune explained that genetics tells us babies in the womb are fully human. With this analysis, however, we now have another indicator that tells us the same thing. When the opportunity arises, a baby in the womb will socially interact with another baby in the womb. He or she will stroke the other baby’s back, stroke the other baby’s head, etc. In other words, not only is the baby fully human from a genetic point of view, he or she is fully human from a social point of view.
Those who want to view a baby in the womb as just a mass of tissue or only a “potential” human life now have even more science they are forced to ignore.
1. as quoted in Norman L. Geisler, Christian Ethics: Options and Issues, Baker, 1989, p. 149.
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