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    If we were to contemplate killing mentally handicapped infants to obtain transplantable organs, no one would characterize the controversy that would erupt as a debate about organ transplantation.

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    University of St. Thomas Journal of Law and Public Policy Volume 8 Issue 1 Fall 2013 January 2013 When Does Human Life Begin? The Scientific Evidence and Terminology Revisited Maureen L. Condic Follow this and additional works at: https://ir.stthomas.edu/ustjlpp & Part of the Family Law Commons, and the Health Law and Policy Commons Article 4 Recommended Citation Maureen L. Condic, When Does Human Life Begin? The Scientific Evidence and Terminology Revisited, 8 U. ST. THOMAS J.L. & PUB. POL'Y 44 (2013). Available at: https://ir.stthomas.edu/ustjlpp/vol8/iss1/4 This Article is brought to you for free and open access by UST Research Online and the University of St. Thomas Journal of Law and Public Policy. For more information, please contact the Editor-in-Chief at [email protected]. WHEN DOES HUMAN LIFE BEGIN? THE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE AND TERMINOLOGY REVISITED MAUREEN L. CONDIC* The question of when human life begins continues to be a source of ethical and political controversy. In this debate, the language used by many medical textbooks fosters significant misinterpretation of the scientific facts. In particular, terminology that refers to the product of sperm-egg fusion as a "penetrated oocyte" and claims that the zygote does not form until syngamy (approximately twenty-four hours after sperm-egg fusion) have resulted in the erroneous belief that a human embryo does not exist during the period prior to this point (i.e. the "pre-zygote error"). Yet an objective view of the modern scientific evidence supports only a single definition of the term "zygote": a one-cell human organism (i.e. a human being) that forms immediately upon sperm-egg fusion (not after twenty-four hours of development has elapsed). Therefore, the life of a new human being commences at a scientifically well-defined event; the fusion of the plasma membranes of sperm and egg. This conclusion is not a matter of religious belief or societal convention; it is a matter of objective, scientific observation. In light of the evidence, alternative views of when human life begins and when a developing human is the subject of rights (at viability or when the fetus is capable of conscious awareness) are both scientifically unsound and have significant negative implications for the ethical treatment of all human persons. INTRODUCTION A wide range of issues that are important for both science and society center on the biological and moral status of human prenatal life, including * University of Utah School of Medicine. Department of Neurobiology, 401 MREB. 20 North, 1900 East Salt Lake City, Utah 84132-3401. 44 No. 1] When Does Human Life Begin? The Scientific Evidence and Terminology Revisited 45 abortion, assisted reproduction technologies and human embryonic stem cell research. The debate over these issues often reflects deeply divided opinions. In the spring of 2013, scientists reported the successful generation of cloned human embryos that survived to the blastocyst stage before being destroyed to obtain embryonic stem cells.¹ The result was met by significant ethical objections from some commentators² and unqualified praise from others, reflecting the widely differing views of both when human life begins and the value of human life at early embryonic stages. Similarly, a proposed amendment to the Mississippi Constitution in 2011 that would grant the rights of personhood to human embryos from the one-cell stage onward, raised considerable alarm in the media and was ultimately defeated after achieving the support of a substantial number of the state's voters (42%). Similar personhood efforts in Nevada, Oklahoma, Virginia and Florida also obtained significant public support while facing strong opposition from scientists and others, indicating that the diversity of opinions on when human life begins noted five years ago' have not been resolved. Yet even at much later stages of human prenatal development, there is no consensus on when a human embryo or fetus is a human person with basic human rights. The ambivalent public opinions surrounding the conviction of Dr. Kermit Gosnell for murder of three infants, who were killed after delivery in late-term abortions, illustrates the lack of consensus in our society regarding the moral and ethical status of human prenatal life. Different religions, philosophies and cultures have come to very different 1. Masahito Tachibana et al., Human Embryonic Stem Cells Derived by Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer, 153 CELL 1228, 1228–38 (2013). 2. Cardinal O'Malley: Human Cloning Inconsistent with Human Dignity, Treats People as Products, U.S. CONF. OF CATH. BISHOPS (May 13, 2013), http://www.usccb.org/news/2013/13- 094.cfm. 3. David Cyranoski, Human Stem Cells Created by Cloning, 497 NATURE 295, 295–96 (2013). 4. For example, in a critical essay the New York Times stated that, if passed, the amendment "would define the term "person" in the State Constitution to include fertilized human eggs and grant to fertilized eggs the legal rights and protections that apply to people." Editorial, The Personhood' Initiative, N.Y. TIMES, Oct. 28, 2011, at A30. 5. Lee Rubin Collins & Susan L. Crockin, Fighting 'Personhood' Initiatives in the United States, 24 REPROD. BIOMED. ONLINE 689, 689–91 (2012); Susan Young, Mississippi to Vote on 'Personhood', 479 NATURE 13, 13–14 (2011). 6. E.g., Kathy Hawken, North Dakota's Fetal Personhood Amendment: Why I Voted Against It, THEDAILYBEAST.COM (Mar. 24, 2013), http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/03 /24/north-dakota-s-fetal-personhood-amendment-why-i-voted-against-it.html. 7. Maureen L. Condic, When Does Human Life Begin? A Scientific Perspective, 1 WESTCHESTER Inst. White Paper 1, 1–32 (2008), reprinted in 9 NAT'L CATH. BIOETHICS Q. 127, 127-208 (2009). 8. See e.g., Trip Gabriel & Jon Hurdle, Philadelphia Abortion Doctor Guilty of Murder in Late-Term Procedures, N.Y. TIMES, May 14, 2013, at A12. 46 UNIV. OF ST. THOMAS JOURNAL OF LAW & PUBLIC POLICY [Vol. VIII conclusions on the question of when human life begins and when that life has value, leading many to conclude the question cannot be objectively resolved. Yet ample scientific evidence points to a clear resolution to this question based entirely on an objective, factual analysis of human embryonic development. HOW DOES SCIENCE DETERMINE A NEW CELL TYPE HAS BEEN FORMED? To address the question of when life begins from a scientific perspective, we must first consider when a new cell that is distinct from sperm and egg is formed. As previously discussed, scientists determine when a new cell is formed based on two simple criteria: cell composition and cell behavior. These two criteria are used universally in the field of biology to distinguish when new cell types are produced, either in the laboratory or during embryonic development. These two factors often interact, with differences in cell composition resulting in differences in cell behavior. For example, brain cells have characteristic electrical activity required for information processing and this activity is produced by specific molecules (voltage-gated membrane channels) that are present in brain cells, but not in skin cells. 10 Based on both composition and behavior, it is entirely clear that a new cell type forms immediately upon sperm and egg plasma membrane fusion (Figure 1), which is a rapid event tha kes less than a second to complete. At this point, a single cell is generated that contains all the components of both gametes and therefore has a unique molecular composition. Moreover, the cell produced by sperm-egg fusion rapidly enters into a new pattern of cell behavior that is also distinct from either gamete (initiating cell division, for example). Thus, based on the two criteria noted above, a new cell is formed at a well-defined moment: the instant of sperm-egg plasma-membrane fusion. 9. MAUREEN L. CONDIC ET AL., IS THIS CELL A HUMAN BEING? EXPLORING THE STATUS OF EMBRYOS, STEM CELLS AND HUMAN-ANIMAL HYBRIDS 27 (Joachim Huarte & Antoine Suarez eds., 2011); Condic, supra note 7. 10. Due to the singularity of the sperm-egg fusion event (which occurs only one time in one place for each oocyte) and the difficulty of obtaining oocytes (only five to ten human eggs can be harvested at a time, compared to approximately 250 million sperm in human ejaculate) the mechanisms of sperm-egg plasma membrane fusion are not well studied. However, both acrosome-reacted sperm, C.N Tomes, Molecular Mechanisms of Membrane Fusion During Acrosomal Exocytosis, 65 SOC'Y REPROD. FERTILITY SUPP. 275, 275-91 (2007), and mature oocytes, Min Liu, The Biology and Dynamics of Mammalian Cortical Granules, 9 REPROD. BIOLOGY ENDOCRINOLOGY 149, 149 (2011), express well studied SNARE and SNAP proteins on their surfaces that are likely to mediate rapid membrane fusion (~0.25 seconds) once sperm-egg binding occurs. No. 1] When Does Human Life Begin? The Scientific Evidence and Terminology Revisited 47 DEVELOPMENT REFLECTS THE ACTIVITY OF AN ORGANISM AND IS NOT CONTROLLED BY THE OOCYTE Knowing that a new cell is formed at gamete fusion does not fully answer the question of when human life begins. We must still ask what kind of a cell has been produced a new human being or simply a new human cell? The medical dictionary administered by the National Institutes of Health defines the product of fertilization as a "zygote,” or “a cell formed by the union of two gametes; broadly the developing individual produced from such a cell." The term "zygote" derives from the Greek zygōtós or "yoked," a variant of zygoûn, or "to join together." Thus, "zygote" is another name for a one-cell embryo that is formed by the union of sperm and egg and that undergoes the process of development to generate a mature individual. However, there is still inherent ambiguity regarding precisely when the zygote forms; either at sperm-egg fusion or at fusion of the male and female pronuclei, approximately twenty-four hours later. Historically, medical texts define the formation of the zygote and the beginning human life as syngamy; i.e. the "fusion"¹² of the two pronuclei in preparation for the first cell division of the embryo.¹³ Consequently, the new cell formed by sperm- egg fusion is often characterized as nothing more than a modified gamete (i.e. a "fertilized egg" or a "penetrated oocyte"). However, based on the ample scientific evidence¹4 that is reviewed and updated here, this conclusion is clearly false. A modern understanding of human embryology indicates that syngamy does not meet either of the two criteria for the formation of a new cell. Rather, the zygote is formed in the instant of sperm-egg plasma membrane fusion, with all subsequent events of the first day of life being acts of the zygote, not acts that form the zygote (Figure 1). The view that the zygote is simply a modified human oocyte in part reflects the difference in size and complexity between the male and female gametes. Human sperm, excluding the tail, measure roughly five microns by three microns with a volume of approximately 150 cubic microns, 11. Zygote Definition, MERRIAM-WEBSTER.COM, http://www.merriam-webster.com/medline plus/zygote, April 1, 2014. 12. Although syngamy is commonly described as pronuclear "fusion," this is highly inaccurate and dangerously misleading. Condic, supra note 9. 13. For example, "Fertilization is a complex sequence of coordinated events that begins with contact between a sperm and an oocyte...and ends with the intermingling of maternal and paternal chromosomes at metaphase of the first mitotic division of the zygote." KEITH L. MOORE & T.V.N. PERSAUD, THE DEVELOPING HUMAN 31 (7th ed. 2003); “At this point, [syngamy] the process of fertilization can be said to be complete and the fertilized egg is called a zygote." BRUCE M. CARLSON, HUMAN EMBRYOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY 36 (3rd ed. 2004). 14. Condic, supra note 9.

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    Since its founding, The New Atlantis has paid close attention to the ethical and political controversies arising from biotechnology — including especially the heated debates over stem cell research. We are pleased to devote the entirety of our Winter 2012 issue to a major report on the stem cell debates, a comprehensive and up-to-date account of the scientific facts and the moral, political, and legal stakes. This is the inaugural report of an important new body, the Witherspoon Council on Ethics and the Integrity of Science.

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    Science Speaks: When Human Life Begins BIOETHICS DEFENSE FUND Law In The Service Of Life BDF Bioethics Briefing: 2021 Science Speaks on When Human Life Begins: Quotes Compiled from Medical Textbooks and Peer-Reviewed Scientific Literature Compiled by Maureen L. Condic, Ph.D. For Policy Consultation, contact: Nikolas T. Nikas, JD, [email protected] Dorinda C. Bordlee, JD, [email protected] (504) 231-7234 Bioethics Defense Fund, March 2021. Material may be reproduced with attribution. Requests to contact Dr. Condic may be directed to [email protected] or (801) 712-3590. Dr. Maureen L. Condic BDF Bioethics Briefing: 2021 Science Speaks on When Human Life Begins: Quotes Compiled from Medical Textbooks and Peer-Reviewed Scientific Literature Bioethics Defense Fund Policy Overview The public debates surrounding bioethics issues are perceived as thorny and confusing because of the widespread misperception that we do not or cannot know when human life begins. This line of thought commonly claims that the question is a matter of faith or religion. But if our nation is committed to restoring science to its rightful place, we must confront the reality that the question of when human life begins is simply a matter of science – in particular, the inconvenient science known as human embryology. Bioethics Defense Fund www.BDFund.org This resource is comprised solely of short and direct quotations found in medical textbooks and peer-reviewed journals as compiled by neuroscientist Maureen L. Condic, Ph.D. It is intended to inform policy debates and judicial determinations on a host of issues where we face the question of "who counts," including abortion, destructive human embryo research, human cloning, and the healthcare rights of conscience that surround these practices. NIKOLAS T. NIKAS President, General Counsel [email protected], 602-751-7234 Once we have the intellectual integrity to squarely acknowledge the objective scientific facts of human embryology, only then can we have an honest debate in the democratic process and in the courts regarding unsettled moral questions of paramount concern. Chief among those questions is whether we have an obligation to respect and legally protect human beings at their earliest and most vulnerable states of being. For pro bono consultation of matters of law and public policy, contact: DORINDA C. BORDLEE Vice President, Chief Counsel [email protected], 504-231-7234 BIOETHICS DEFENSE FUND www.BDFund.org March 2021 OTHER BDF POLICY GUIDES www.BDFund.org ● 3 Parent Embryos as Reproductive Cloning Surrogacy as Reproductive Trafficking Human Embryo Trafficking Ban Prohibiting Abortion Providers in Schools Signs of Hope - Abortion Clinic Signage ● Abortion Clinics as Points of Rescue for Sex Trafficking Victims POLST: Keeping Control Over Your End of Life Decision Making Custom consultation Science Speaks on When Human Life Begins: Quotes Compiled from Medical Textbooks and Peer-Reviewed Scientific Literature¹ Table of Contents The meaning of scientific terminology for human development. I. Medical Textbooks (10 cites).…...... II. Peer-reviewed scientific literature (75 cites).. .….......... 1 The meaning of scientific terminology for human development "Organism" is the scientific name for a living human being. Only organisms undergo development. “Zygote” is the one-cell human organism produced by sperm-egg fusion. "Embryo" is a human organism during the first eight weeks of development. I. Medical Textbooks (10 cites) The origin of human life at fertilization: The following quotes are from Medical Textbooks on Human Embryology/Reproduction. 1. Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 10th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2016. p. 11 "Human development begins at fertilization, when a sperm fuses with an oocyte to form a single cell, the zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell (capable of giving rise to any cell type) marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.” ¹ Compiled by Dr. M.L. Condic, Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Utah, School of Medicine, 20 N 1900 E Salt Lake City, Utah 84132-3401 (emphasis added in quotes). In some cases, a few words of clarification for the non-technical reader have been added in brackets []. BDF Bioethics Briefing: 2021 3 1 2. Schoenwolf, G. C. Larsen's Human Embryology, 5th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier, Saunders, 2015. p. 2, 14. “All of us were once human embryos, so the study of human embryology is the study of our own prenatal origins and experiences.” (p. 2) "Fertilization, the uniting of egg and sperm, takes place in the oviduct. After the oocyte finishes meiosis, the paternal and maternal chromosomes come together, resulting in the formation of a zygote containing a single diploid nucleus. Embryonic development is considered to begin at this point.” (p.14) 3. Jones, R. E. Human Reproductive Biology, 4th edition. Waltham, MA. Elsevier, Academic Press, 2014, p. 169. "the fertilized egg (zygote) is the beginning of a new diploid individual." 4. Keith L. Moore, Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2008. p. 2: "[The zygote], formed by the union of an oocyte and a sperm, is the beginning of a new human being." 5. Keith L. Moore, Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology, 9th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2016. p. 1. "Human development begins at fertilization when an oocyte (ovum) from a female is fertilized by a sperm (spermatozoon) from a male... Embryology is concerned with the origin and development of a human being from a zygote to birth." 6. Sadler, T. W. Langman's Medical Embryology, 10th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006. p. 11: "Development begins with fertilization, the process by which the male gamete, the sperm, and the female gamete, the oocyte, unite to give rise to a zygote." 7. Sadler, T. W. Langman's Medical Embryology, 13th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2015. p. 42 (emphasis added). "The main results of fertilization are as follows: Restoration of the diploid number of chromosomes, half from the father half from the mother. Hence, the zygote contains a new combination of chromosomes different from both parents. Determination of the sex of the new individual. An X-carrying sperm produces a female (XX) embryo and a Y- carrying sperm produces a male (XY) embryo. Therefore, the chromosomal sex of the embryo is determined at fertilization." BDF Bioethics Briefing: 2021 2 8. Dudek, R. W. Embryology, 4th edition. Philadelphia, PA. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2008, p. 1. "Sexual reproduction occurs when female and male gametes (oocyte and spermatozoon, respectively) unite at fertilization." 9. Ronan O'Rahilly and Fabiola Miller, Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001. p. 8. "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." 10. Carlson, B. M. Human Embryology and Developmental Biology, 5th edition. Philadelphia, PA. Elsevier, Saunders, 2014, p. 2. II. "Human pregnancy begins with the fusion of an egg and a sperm within the female reproductive tract" Peer-reviewed scientific literature (75 cites) The following 75 citations of peer-reviewed articles are from a search of scientific literature dated 2001-present, listed in chronological order. 1. A profile of fertilization in mammals. Wassarman PM, Jovine L, Litscher ES. Nat Cell Biol. 2001.3(2):E59-64. "When mammalian eggs and sperm come into contact in the female oviduct, a series of steps is set in motion that can lead to fertilization and ultimately to development of new individuals." 2. Penetration, adhesion, and fusion in mammalian sperm-egg interaction. Primakoff P, Myles DG. Science. 2002. 296(5576):2183-5. "Fertilization is the sum of the cellular mechanisms that pass the genome from one generation to the next and initiate development of a new organism." 3. Egg activation at fertilization: where it all begins. Runft LL, Jaffe LA, Mehlmann LM. Dev Biol. 2002. 245(2):237-54. BDF Bioethics Briefing: 2021 3

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    The Metaphysics of the Embryo

    00:00:00 - Introduction 00:01:00 - The Scientific Consensus 00:12:25 - Philosophical views of the Embryo 00:16:13 - The "Clump of Cells" Objection 00:22:21 - Aren't somatic cells "human beings"? 00:29:30 - Was I once an embryo? 00:31:06 - Do embryos have rights? 00:41:04 - The "Absoluteness" of Rights 00:45:10 - Conscious Desires = Personhood? 00:58:37 - Infanticide 01:00:33 - Tough Cases 01:09:47 - Vaccines and Aborted Fetal Tissue 01:13:18 - Patrick's new research and books Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/intellectualconservatism Podcast: https://intellectualconservatism.libsyn.com/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/intellectualconservatism The purpose of Intellectual Conservatism is to defend the true, good and beautiful things of life that are jeopardized in mainstream academia and society. On this page, you will find artwork, music, satire, academic papers, lectures and my own projects defending the duty of conserving these true, good and beautiful things.

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    TED SINIES CONFERENCE CATHOLIC BISHOPS REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGIES Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous) artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child's right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses' "right to become a father and a mother only through each other." (CCC, #2376) Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that "entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children.” “Under the moral aspect procreation is deprived of its proper perfection when it is not willed as the fruit of the conjugal act, that is to say, of the specific act of the spouses' union....Only respect for the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and respect for the unity of the human being make possible procreation in conformity with the dignity of the person." (CCC, #2377) Respect of the dignity of the human being excludes all experimental manipulation or exploitation of the human embryo. (The Holy See, Charter of the Rights of the Family, 4; b) In recent decades, medical science has made significant strides in understanding human life in its initial stages. Human biological structures and the process of human generation are better known. These developments are certainly positive and worthy of support when they serve to overcome or correct pathologies and succeed in re- establishing the normal functioning of human procreation. On the other hand, they are negative and cannot be utilized when they involve the destruction of human beings or when they employ means which contradict the dignity of the person or when they are used for purposes contrary to the integral good of man. (CDF, DP, September 8, 2008, #4) Certainly, techniques aimed at removing obstacles to natural fertilization, as for example, hormonal treatments for infertility, surgery for endometriosis, unblocking of fallopian tubes or their surgical repair, are licit. All these techniques may be considered authentic treatments because, once the problem causing the infertility has been resolved, Natural Family Planning Program ◆ United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ♦ 3211 Fourth St., NE◆ Washington, DC 20017◆ 202/541-3240♦ [email protected] the married couple is able to engage in conjugal acts resulting in procreation, without the physician's action directly interfering in that act itself. None of these treatments replaces the conjugal act, which alone is worthy of truly responsible procreation. (CDF, DP, September 8, 2008, #13) Cryopreservation is incompatible with the respect owed to human embryos; it presupposes their production in vitro; it exposes them to the serious risk of death or physical harm, since a high percentage does not survive the process of freezing and thawing; it deprives them at least temporarily of maternal reception and gestation; it places them in a situation in which they are susceptible to further offense and manipulation. (CDF, DP, September 8, 2008, #18) [I]t needs to be stated that cryopreservation of oocytes for the purpose of being used in artificial procreation is to be considered morally unacceptable. (CDF, DP, September 8, 2008, #20) Some techniques used in artificial procreation, above all the transfer of multiple embryos into the mother's womb, have caused a significant increase in the frequency of multiple pregnancy. This situation gives rise in turn to the practice of so-called embryo reduction, a procedure in which embryos or fetuses in the womb are directly exterminated. The decision to eliminate human lives, given that it was a human life that was desired in the first place, represents a contradiction that can often lead to suffering and feelings of guilt lasting for years. From the ethical point of view, embryo reduction is an intentional selective abortion. It is in fact the deliberate and direct elimination of one or more innocent human beings in the initial phase of their existence and as such it always constitutes a grave moral disorder. (CDF, DP, September 8, 2008, #21) Preimplantation diagnosis - connected as it is with artificial fertilization, which is itself always intrinsically illicit is directed toward the qualitative selection and consequent destruction of embryos, which constitutes an act of abortion. Preimplantation diagnosis is therefore the expression of a eugenic mentality that "accepts selective abortion in order to prevent the birth of children affected by various types of anomalies. Such an attitude is shameful and utterly reprehensible, since it presumes to measure the value of a human life only within the parameters of 'normality' and physical well-being, thus opening the way to legitimizing infanticide and euthanasia as well." (CDF, DP, September 8, 2008, #22; Quoting EV, #63) Behind every "no" in the difficult task of discerning between good and evil, there shines a great "yes" to the recognition of the dignity and inalienable value of every single and unique human being called into existence. (CDF, DP, September 8, 2008, #37) The spread of technologies of intervention in the processes of human procreation raises very serious moral problems in relation to the respect due to the human being from the moment of conception, to the dignity of the person, of his or her sexuality, and of the transmission of life. (CDF, DV, February 22, 1987, Conclusion) Natural Family Planning Program ◆ United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ♦ 3211 Fourth St., NE◆ Washington, DC 20017◆ 202/541-3240♦ [email protected] The practice of artificial insemination, when it refers to man cannot be considered either exclusively or principally from a biological and medical point of view to the neglect of morals and law. Artificial fecundation practiced outside of marriage must be condemned purely and simply as immoral. (Pius XII, Allocution to the International Congress of Catholic Doctors, September, 29, 1949) Artificial insemination in marriage-produced with the active element of a third person-is equally immoral, and as such is condemned without appeal. The mere fact that the result which is desired is achieved by such a means does not justify the use of such means; nor does the desire to have a child-a perfectly legitimate desire of husband and wife-suffice to prove the legitimacy of resorting to artificial insemination which would fulfill such a desire. (Pius XII, Allocution to the International Congress of Catholic Doctors, September, 29, 1949) Artificial insemination exceeds the limits of the right which the married couple has acquired by the matrimonial contract, namely, the right to exercise fully their natural sexual capacity in the natural accomplishment of the matrimonial act. The contract in question does not confer on them the right to artificial insemination, for such a right is in no way expressed in the right to the natural conjugal act and cannot be thence deduced. Less still can it be derived from the right to offspring, the primary end of marriage. (Pius XII, Allocution to the Members of the II World Congress of Fertility and Sterility, May 19, 1956) In Our allocution to the World Congress on Fertility and Sterility, May 19, 1956, (we returned to this question) of artificial insemination to condemn once more every type of artificial insemination, because this practice is not included in the rights of spouses and because it is contrary to natural law and to Catholic morality. (Pius XII, Allocution to the Members of the Seventh Congress on Hematology, September 12, 1958) The transmission of human life is the result of a personal and conscious act, and, as such, is subject to the all-holy, inviolable and immutable laws of God, which no man may ignore or disobey. He is not therefore permitted to use certain ways and means which are allowable in the propagation of plant and animal life. (MM, #193) Homologous artificial fertilization, in seeking a procreation which is not the fruit of a specific act of conjugal union, objectively effects an analogous separation between the goods and meanings of marriage. Thus, fertilization is licitly sought when it is the result of a 'conjugal act which is per se suitable for the generation of children to which marriage is ordered by its nature and by which the spouses become one flesh.' But from the moral point of view procreation is deprived of its proper perfection when it is not desired as the fruit of the conjugal act, that is to say of the specific act of the spouses' union. (CDF, DV, February 22, 1987, II A 2) [Fertilization of a married woman with the sperm of a donor different from her husband and fertilization with the husband's sperm of an ovum not coming from his wife are Natural Family Planning Program ◆ United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ♦ 3211 Fourth St., NE◆ Washington, DC 20017◆ 202/541-3240♦ [email protected] morally illicit. Furthermore, the artificial fertilization of a woman who is unmarried or a widow, whoever the donor may be, cannot be morally justified. (CDF, DV, February 22, 1987, II A 2) No [surrogate motherhood* is not morally licit], for the same reasons which lead one to reject heterologous artificial fertilization: for it is contrary to the unity of marriage and to the dignity of the procreation of the human person. Surrogate motherhood represents an objective failure to meet the obligations of maternal love, of conjugal fidelity and of responsible motherhood; it offends the dignity and the right of the child to be conceived, carried in the womb, brought into the world and brought up by his own parents; it sets up, to the detriment of families, a division between the physical, psychological and moral elements which constitute those families. * By "surrogate mother" the Instruction means: a) the woman who carries in pregnancy an embryo implanted in her uterus and who is genetically a stranger to the embryo because it has been obtained through the union of the gametes of "donors". She carries the pregnancy with a pledge to surrender the baby once it is born to the party who commissioned or made the agreement for the pregnancy. b) the woman who carries in pregnancy an embryo to whose procreation she has contributed the donation of her own ovum, fertilized through insemination with the sperm of a man other than her husband. She carries the pregnancy with a pledge to surrender the child once it is born to the party who commissioned or made the agreement for the pregnancy. (CDF, DV, February 22, 1987, II A 3) The one In reality, the origin of a human person is the result of an act of giving. conceived must be the fruit of his parents' love. He cannot be desired or conceived as the product of an intervention of medical or biological techniques; that would be equivalent to reducing him to an object of scientific technology. No one may subject the coming of a child into the world to conditions of technical efficiency which are to be evaluated according to standards of control and dominion. (CDF, DV, February 22, 1987, II B 4 c) The moral relevance of the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and between the goods of marriage, as well as the unity of the human being and the dignity of his origin, demand that the dignity of his origin, demand that the procreation of a human person be brough about as the fruit of the conjugal act specific to the love between spouses. (CDF, DV, February 22, 1987, II B 4 c) Medicine which seeks to be ordered to the integral good of the person must respect the specifically human values of sexuality. The doctor is at the service of persons and of human procreation. He does not have the authority to dispose of them or to decide their fate. (CDF, DV, February 22, 1987, II B 7) Natural Family Planning Program ◆ United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ♦ 3211 Fourth St., NE◆ Washington, DC 20017◆ 202/541-3240♦ [email protected] Science and technology require, for their own intrinsic meaning, an unconditional respect for the fundamental criteria of the moral law: that is to say, they must be at the service of the human person, of his inalienable rights and his true and integral good according to the design and will of God. (CDF, DV, February 22, 1987, Introduction 2) An intervention on the human body affects not only the tissues, the organs and their functions but also involves the person himself on different levels [corporal and spiritual]. It involves, therefore, perhaps in an implicit but nonetheless real way, a moral significance and responsibility. Pope John Paul II forcefully reaffirmed this to the World Medical Association when he said: "Each human person, in his absolutely unique singularity, is constituted not only by his spirit, but by his body as well. Thus, in the body and through the body, one touches the person himself in his concrete reality. To respect the dignity of man consequently amounts to safeguarding this identity of the man 'corpore et anima unus', as the Second Vatican Council says (GS, #14). It is on the basis of this anthropological vision that one is to find the fundamental criteria for decision- making in the case of procedures which are not strictly therapeutic, as, for example, those aimed at the improvement of the human biological condition." (CDF, DV, February 22, 1987, Introduction 3) Applied biology and medicine work together for the integral good of human life when they come to the aid of a person stricken by illness and infirmity and when they respect his or her dignity as a creature of God. No biologist or doctor can reasonably claim, by virtue of his scientific competence, to be able to decide on people's origin and destiny. This norm must be applied in a particular way in the field of sexuality and procreation, in which man and woman actualize the fundamental values of love and life. (CDF, DV, February 22, 1987, Introduction 3) Advances in technology have now made it possible to procreate apart from sexual relations through the meeting in vitro of the germ-cells previously taken from the man and the woman. But what is technically possible is not for that very reason morally admissible. (CDF, DV, February 22, 1987, I 4) The connection between in vitro fertilization and the voluntary destruction of human embryos occurs too often. This is significant: through these procedures, with apparently contrary purposes, life and death are subjected to the decision of man, who thus sets himself up as the giver of life and death by decree. This dynamic of violence and domination may remain unnoticed by those very individuals who, in wishing to utilize this procedure, become subject to it themselves. The facts recorded and the cold logic which links them must be taken into consideration for a moral judgment on IVF and ET (in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer): the abortion-mentality which has made this procedure possible thus leads, whether one wants it or not, to man's domination over the life and death of his fellow human beings and can lead to a system of radical eugenics. (CDF, DV, February 22, 1987, II) The origin of the human being...follows from a procreation that is "linked to the union, Natural Family Planning Program ◆ United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ♦ 3211 Fourth St., NE◆ Washington, DC 20017◆ 202/541-3240♦ [email protected]

  • When Does Human Life Begin? The Scientific Evidence

    Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P. (Providence College) presents the biological facts surrounding the beginning of human life. Fr. Austriaco currently serves as Professor of Biology and of Theology at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island. He is also a research fellow at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines, and founding director of ThomisticEvolution.org. His NIH-funded laboratory at Providence College uses yeast as a model organism to interrogate human disease. Fr. Austriaco is a bioethics consultant for the Catholic bishops’ conferences of the United States and of the Philippines. Fr. Austriaco completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Bioengineering, summa cum laude, at the University of Pennsylvania, and then earned his Ph.D. in Biology from M.I.T. He completed his Pontifical License in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC, and a Pontifical Doctorate in Sacred Theology (S.T.D.) at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. He earned his M.B.A. from Providence College in 2020. Fr. Austriaco has published over fifty peer-reviewed papers in biology, philosophy, and theology, and two books, including Biomedicine and Beatitude: An Introduction to Catholic Bioethics, which was recognized as a 2012 Choice outstanding academic title by the Association of College and Research Libraries. A second edition of the bestselling book is expected in 2021.

  • Untangling Twinning: What Science Tells Us about the Nature of Human Embryos

    "Scientists and philosophers have long struggled to answer the questions of when human life begins and when human life has inherent value. The phenomenon of identical (monozygotic) twinning presents a significant challenge to the view that human life and human personhood begin at conception. The fact that a single embryo can split to generate two (or more) genetically identical embryos seems to defy the notion that prior to splitting an embryo can be a single human individual. In Untangling Twinning, Maureen Condic looks at the questions raised by human twinning based on a unique synthesis of molecular developmental biology and Aristotelian philosophy. She begins with a brief historical analysis of the current scientific perspective on the embryo and proceeds to address the major philosophic and scientific concerns regarding human twinning and embryo fusion: Is the embryo one human or two (or even more)? Does the original embryo die, and if not, which of the twins is the original? Who are the parents of the twins? What do twins, chimeras, cloning, and asexual reproduction in humans mean? And what does the science of human embryology say about human ensoulment, human individuality, and human value? Condic's original approach makes a unique contribution to the discussion of human value and human individuality, and offers a clear, evidence-based resolution to questions raised by human twinning. The book is written for students and scholars of bioethics, scientists, theologians, and attorneys who are involved in questions surrounding the human embryo"--

  • https://www.rep.routledge.com

    Access to the full content is only available to members of institutions that have purchased access. If you belong to such an institution, please log in or find out more about how to order. Share Cite Cite close Loading content We were unable to load the content Print Contents Article Summary content locked 1 What’s special about the ethics of reproduction? content locked 2 The moral status of the embryo and the foetus content locked 3 Reproductive freedom content locked 4 Welfare of the child content locked 5 Non-identity problem and procreative beneficence content locked 6 Selection and design based on genetics content locked Bibliography Thematic Reproduction and ethics By Mertes, Heidi DOI 10.4324/9780415249126-L083-2 Versions content locked version 2 content unlocked version 1 Published 2020 DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-L083-2 Version: v2,  Published online: 2020 Retrieved June 06, 2023, from https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/thematic/reproduction-and-ethics/v-2 Article Summary The ethics of reproduction is concerned with outlining and critically analysing the moral pitfalls and opportunities surrounding reproductive decision-making by prospective parents, health care professionals and policy makers. A central concept in reproductive ethics is the widely recognised right to reproductive freedom. People are free to decide whether, how, and with whom they wish to reproduce, as long as their reproductive decisions do not substantially harm third parties. The most relevant third party, of course, is the future child. Various standards have been advanced to determine the level of welfare that should be safeguarded for that child. A philosophical problem underlying the discussion about the most appropriate welfare standard is the non-identity problem, which refers to the fact that if the only way in which someone could exist is with a disability caused by the circumstances of their conception, and if they have a life worth living, then they cannot be said to be harmed by their conception. This appears to plead for a very low welfare standard for the future child. Another principle in reproductive ethics, procreative beneficence, however, holds that if one has the choice about which people to bring to life, one should choose for those people who are most likely to have the best quality of life, which directs us towards a higher welfare standard. Generally, a ‘reasonable welfare standard’ is adopted, which does not allow procedures that would lead to significant harm or suffering, although it allows for a limited level of risk. In debates regarding the ending of embryonic or foetal life, rather than establishing it, a central concept is the moral status of the human embryo or foetus. Whether, and to what extent, abortion or embryo research is acceptable, will in part depend on the moral status accorded to the embryo and foetus. As different people have adopted different criteria to determine this moral status, these issues remain controversial. Another locus of ongoing controversy can be found at the crossroads of genetics and reproduction as genetic screening is becoming a more central element in modern reproduction (especially prenatally, but also pre-implantation and pre-conception). Genetic screening leads to greater reproductive autonomy and the prevention of suffering, but also to concerns about eugenics and its impact on society. The possibility of germline genome modification is likely to add fuel to the fire in this debate. Share Cite Cite close Loading content We were unable to load the content Print Citing this article: Mertes, Heidi. Reproduction and ethics, 2020, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-L083-2. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis, https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/thematic/reproduction-and-ethics/v-2. Copyright © 1998-2023 Routledge.