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Argument: Human life and a right to life begin at conception; abortion is murder

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Supporting quotations

Kathy Ireland, a supermodel, appearing on Bill Maher's television show Politically Incorrect, 2/28/2000 - Show me some evidence it's not a human being.
Bill Maher: Let me reverse that. Tell me the evidence it is a human.
Kathy Ireland: A moment after conception the genetic blueprint is complete. We have our blood type, our fingerprints, the sex is determined at the moment of conception. We know it is life. What kind of life is it? According to the laws of biogenesis, all life comes from preexisting life. Each species reproduces after its own kind. So human beings can only reproduce other human beings.


Kathy Ireland, supermodel, appearing on the television show Politically Incorrect, 5/1/1998 - I was once pro-choice and the thing that changed my mind was, I read my husband’s biology books, medical books, and what I learned . . . At the moment of conception, a life starts. And this life has its own unique set of DNA, which contains a blueprint for the whole genetic make-up. The sex is determined. We know there is a life because it is growing and changing.[1]


American Convention on Human Rights, Article 4, 1969, ratified by 25 member-states of the Organization of American States - "Every person has the right to have his life respected. This right shall be protected by law and, in general, from the moment of conception. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life."[2]


Pope Benedict XVI, homily (May 7, 2005) - "[I]n face of erroneous interpretations of freedom, [Pope John Paul II] emphasized in an unequivocal way the inviolability of the human being, the inviolability of human life from its conception until natural death. The freedom to kill is not true freedom, but a tyranny that reduces the human being to slavery."[3]


Planned Parenthood pamphlet, (August, 1963) - "Is birth control an abortion? Definitely not; an abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun."[4]


George H.W. Bush (January 23, 1989) - "I wanted to take just a few brief moments to restate my firm support of our cause and to share with you my deep personal concern about our American tragedy of abortion on demand. We are concerned about abortion because it deals with the lives of two human beings, mother and child. I know there are people of good will who disagree, but after years of sober and serious reflection on the issue, this is what I think. I think the Supreme Court's decision in Roe versus Wade was wrong and should be overturned....[Y]ou and hundreds of thousands with you across the country have raised a voice of moral gravity about abortion, a voice of principle, a voice of faith, a full voice that properly asserts and affirms the basic dignity of human life. I'm confident that more and more Americans every year -- every day -- are hearing your message and taking it to heart. And, ladies and gentlemen -- and, yes, young people as well -- I promise you that the President hears you now and stands with you in a cause that must be won. God bless you all, and God bless life."[5]


George W. Bush, U.S. Presidential debate in Boston (October 1, 2000) - "I think a noble goal for this country is that every child, born and unborn, ought to be protected in law and welcomed into life."[6]


George W. Bush, to the Catholic Press Association Convention, (May 26, 2000). - "We must appreciate the dignity of life in all its seasons, even the path of the elderly in the twilight of their years, to work toward the day when every child, born and unborn, is welcomed to life and protected by law."[7]


Al Gore, Former U.S. Vice President, in a letter to a constituent, while U.S. Senator from Tennessee (May 26, 1987). - "During my 11 years in congress, I have consistently opposed federal funding for abortions. In my opinion, it is wrong to spend federal funds for what is arguably taking of a human life. Let me assure you that I share your belief that innocent human life must be protected, and I am committed to furthering this goal."[8]


Ronald Reagan, "Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation", Human Life Review, Spring 1984. - "[W]e cannot survive as a free nation when some men decide that others are not fit to live and should be abandoned to abortion or infanticide. My Administration is dedicated to the preservation of America as a free land, and there is no cause more important for preserving that freedom than affirming the transcendent right to life of all human beings, the right without which no other rights have any meaning."[9]


Victoria Woodhull, first woman to run for U.S. President, member of the Equal Rights Party, in Woodhull's and Claffin's Weekly (December 24, 1870). - "The rights of children as individuals begin while yet they remain the foetus."[10]


KEITH MOORE AND T.V.N. PERSAUD, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (6th ed. only) (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1998): Sutton and Boveri declared independently in 1902 that the behavior of chromosomes during germ cell formation and fertilization agreed with Mendel's principles of inheritance. In the same year, Garrod reported alcaptonuria as the first example of mendelian inheritance in human beings. Many consider Garrod to be the Father of Medical Genetics. It was soon realized that the zygote contains all the genetic information necessary for directing the development of a new human being. (p. 12) ... Human development is a continuous process that begins when an oocyte (ovum) from a female is fertilized by a sperm (or spermatozoon) from a male. (p. 2); ... but the embryo begins to develop as soon as the oocyte is fertilized. (p. 2); ... Zygote: this cell results from the union of an oocyte and a sperm. A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo). (p. 2); ... Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm ... unites with a female gamete or oocyte ... to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual. (p. 18) ... The usual site of fertilization is the ampulla of the uterine tube [fallopian tube], its longest and widest part. If the oocyte is not fertilized here, it slowly passes along the tube to the uterus, where it degenerates and is resorbed. Although fertiization may occur in other parts of the tube, it does not occur in the uterus. ... Human development begins when a oocyte is fertilized. Fertilization ... begins with contact between a sperm and a oocute and ends with the intermingling of maternal and paternal chromosomes ... of the zygote, a unicellular embryo. (p. 34) ... The zygote is genetically unique because half of its chromosomes come from the mother and half from the father. The zygote contains a new combination of chromosomes that is different from that in the cells of either of the parents. This mechanism forms the basis of biparental inheritance and variation of the human species. Meiosis allows independent assortment of maternal and paternal chromosomes among the germ cells. ... The embryo's chromosomes sex is determined at fertilization by the kind of sperm (S or Y) that fertilizes the ovum; hence it is the father rather than the mother whose gamete determines the sex of the embryo. (p. 37)[11]


O'Rahilly and Muller, Human Embryology & Teratology (New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001): ... The term 'pre-embryo' is not used here for the following reasons: (1) it is ill-defined because it is said to end with the appearance of the primitive streak or to include neurulation; (2) it is inaccurate because purely embryonic cells can already be distinguished after a few days, as can also the embryonic (not pre-embryonic!) disc; (3) it is unjustified because the accepted meaning of the word embryo includes all of the first 8 weeks; (4) it is equivocal because it may convey the erroneous idea that a new human organism is formed at only some considerable time after fertilization; and (5) it was introduced in 1986 'largely for public policy reasons'(Biggers). ... Just as postnatal age begins at birth, prenatal age begins at fertilization." (p. 88)

2. Scientific References: The immediate product of sexual reproduction is a new living human organism, a human being, a human individual, a human embryo:


KEITH MOORE AND T.V.N. PERSAUD, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (6th ed. only) (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1998): Sutton and Boveri declared independently in 1902 that the behavior of chromosomes during germ cell formation and fertilization agreed with Mendel's principles of inheritance. In the same year, Garrod reported alcaptonuria as the first example of mendelian inheritance in human beings. Many consider Garrod to be the Father of Medical Genetics. It was soon realized that the zygote contains all the genetic information necessary for directing the development of a new human being. (p. 12) ... Human development is a continuous process that begins when an oocyte (ovum) from a female is fertilized by a sperm (or spermatozoon) from a male. (p. 2); ... but the embryo begins to develop as soon as the oocyte is fertilized. (p. 2); ... Zygote: this cell results from the union of an oocyte and a sperm. A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo). (p. 2); ... Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm ... unites with a female gamete or oocyte ... to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual. (p. 18) ... The usual site of fertilization is the ampulla of the uterine tube [fallopian tube], its longest and widest part. If the oocyte is not fertilized here, it slowly passes along the tube to the uterus, where it degenerates and is resorbed. Although fertiization may occur in other parts of the tube, it does not occur in the uterus. ... Human development begins when a oocyte is fertilized. Fertilization ... begins with contact between a sperm and a oocute and ends with the intermingling of maternal and paternal chromosomes ... of the zygote, a unicellular embryo. (p. 34) ... The zygote is genetically unique because half of its chromosomes come from the mother and half from the father. The zygote contains a new combination of chromosomes that is different from that in the cells of either of the parents. This mechanism forms the basis of biparental inheritance and variation of the human species. Meiosis allows independent assortment of maternal and paternal chromosomes among the germ cells. ... The embryo's chromosomes sex is determined at fertilization by the kind of sperm (S or Y) that fertilizes the ovum; hence it is the father rather than the mother whose gamete determines the sex of the embryo. (p. 37)


BRUCE M. CARLSON, Human Embryology and Developmental Biology (St. Louis, MO: Mosby, 1994): Human pregnancy begins with the fusion of an egg and a sperm. (p. 3); ... finally, the fertilized egg, now properly called an embryo, must make its way into the uterus (p. 3); ... The sex of the future embryo is determined by the chromosomal complement of the spermatozoon ... Through the mingling of maternal and paternal chromosomes, the zygote is a genetically unique product of chromosomal reassortment .. (p. 31); ... "After the eighth week of pregnancy the period of organogenesis (embryonic period) is largely completed and the fetal period begins. (p. 407)


BRUCE M. CARLSON, Human Embryology & Developmental Biology (St. Louis, MO: Mosby, 1999): "Human pregnancy begins with the fusion of an egg and a sperm, but a great deal of preparation [recedes this event. First both male and female sex cells must pass through a long series of changes (gametogenesis) that convert them genetically and phenotypically into mature gametes, which are capable of participating in the process of fertilization. Next, the gametes must be released from the gonads and make their way to the upper part of the uterine tube, where fertilization normally takes place. ... Finally, the fertilized egg, now properly called an embryo, must make its way into the uterus ....". (p. 2); ... Fertilization age: dates the age of the embryo from the time of fertilization. (p. 23) ... In the female, sperm transport begins in the upper vagina and ends in the ampulla of the uterine tube [fallopian tube] where the spermatozoa make contact with the ovulated egg. (p. 27) ... After the eighth week of pregnancy the period of organogenesis (embryonic period) is largely completed, and the fetal period begins." (p. 447). ... The sex of the future embryo is determined by the chromosomal complement of the spermatozoon. (If the sperm contains 22 autosomes and an X chromosome, the embryo will be a genetic female, and if it contains 22 autosomes and a Y chromosome, the embryo will be a male.) ... Through the mingling of maternal and paternal chromosomes, the zygote is a genetically unique product of chromosomal reassortment, which is important for the viability of any species. (p. 32)


WILLIAM J. LARSEN, Human Embryology (New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1997): In this text, we begin our description of the developing human with the formation and differentiation of the male and female sex cells or gametes, which will unite at fertilization to initiate the embryonic development of a new individual. ... Fertilization takes place in the oviduct [not the uterus]... resulting in the formation of a zygote containing a single diploid nucleus. Embryonic development is considered to begin at this point. (p. 1); ... "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. (p. 17).


RONAN O'RAHILLY AND FABIOLA MULLER, Human Embryology & Teratology (New York: Wiley-Liss, 1994): Fertilization is an important landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed. (p. 5); ... Fertilization is the procession of events that begins when a spermatozoon makes contact with a secondary oocyte or its investments ... (p. 19); ... The zygote ... is a unicellular embryo. (p. 19); ... Thus the diploid number [in the zygote] is restored and the embryonic genome is formed. The embryo now exists as a genetic unity. (p. 20); ... ... The embryo enters the uterine cavity after half a week, when probably at least 8-12 cells are present. (p. 23); ... The embryonic period proper ... occupies the first 8 postovulatory weeks (i.e., timed from the last ovulation) ... The fetal period extends from 8 weeks to birth. (p. 55); ...


RONAN O'RAHILLY AND FABIOLA MULLER, Human Embryology & Teratology (3rd ed.)(New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001): Although life is a continuous process, fertilization ... is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte. This remains true even though the embryonic genome is not actually activated until 2-8 cells are present at about 2-3 days. ... During the embryonic period proper, milestones include fertilization, activation of embryonic from extra-embryonic cells, implantation, and the appearance of the primitive streak and bilateral symmetry. ... Fertilization is the procession of events that begins when a spermatozoon makes contact with a secondary oocyte or its investments, and ends with the intermingling of maternal and paternal chromosomes at metaphase of the first mitotic division of the zygote. ... Fertilization takes place normally in the ampulla (lateral end) of the uterine tube. (p. 31); ... [Events or phases of fertilization]: ... #12. Two pronuclei, which migrate to a central position in the ootid. #13. Coalescence of homologous chromosomes, resulting in a one-cell embryo. The two pronuclei do not fuse but their nuclear envelopes break down and form vesicles. The two groups of homologous chromosomes then move together and become arranged on the first cleavage spindle. [[[ i.e., the embryo begins before syngamy.]]] #14. The beginning of the first mitotic division of the zygote. The zygote is characteristic of the last phase of fertilization and is identified by the first cleavage spindle. It is a unicellular embryo and is a highly specialized cell. 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. Items 12-14 in the list above have traditionally been regarded as constituting developmental stage 1. (p. 33); ... Prenatal life is conveniently divided into two phases: the embryonic and the fetal. ... [I]t is now accepted that the word embryo, as currently used in human embryology, means 'an unborn human in the first 8 weeks' from fertilization. Embryonic life begins with the formation of a new embryonic genome (slightly prior to its activation). (p. 87)


Geoffrey Sher, Virginia Marriage Davis, Jean Stoess, In Vitro Fertilization: The A.R.T. of Making Babies (New York: Facts On File, 1998): The moment a sperm penetrates the egg's zona pellucida, a reaction in the egg fuses the zona and the perivitelline membrane into an impermeable shield that prevents other sperm from entering. ... Propelled by contractions of the fallopian tube, the dividing embryo begins its three- or four-day journey back to the uterus and continues to divide after it reaches the uterus. (The fertilization process occurs near the middle of the fallopian tube -- not in the uterus.) (p. 18)

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