The First Fourteen Days of Human Life - When does a human life truly begin?

Patrick Lee and Robert P. George

Life Before Implantation

Over the past few years, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch has pushed aggressively for federal funding of embryo-destructive research. When it comes to abortion, Senator Hatch votes consistently pro-life; he believes we have a moral obligation to protect developing human beings. But he also believes that embryos produced outside of a woman's body, whether by cloning or in vitro fertilization, are not human beings unless or until they are implanted in a uterus. "At the core of my support for regenerative medicine research," he declared in 2002, "is my belief that human life requires and begins in a mother's nurturing womb."

More recently, William Neaves, president of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, has similarly claimed in public hearings that the embryo does not become a human being until implantation. According to Neaves, not until the embryo receives external, maternal signals at implantation is it able to establish the basic body plan of the human, and only then does it become a self-directing human organism. According to Neaves, these signaling factors somehow transform what was hitherto a mere bundle of cells into a unitary organism.

Full Text

More Headlines…