The Washington Post, in an editorial attacking pro-life Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, includes a rather un-scientific claim: that an unborn baby shortly after conception is “not a living being.”
From the Post editorial:
The practical effects of “personhood” measures, including the one in Virginia to which Mr. Cuccinelli affixed his name, would easily include banning the most popular forms of contraception. This is because the pill, as well as other forms of birth control, work partly by preventing the implantation of eggs in the uterus wall after they have been fertilized. If the “preborn” are protected “from the moment of fertilization,” as the 2007 bill demanded, then contraception — which defeats a fertilized egg’s chances of becoming a living being — could be prohibited. In fact, the legislation seems to demand it.
Jonathan Imbody of the Christian Medical and Dental Association, tells LifeNews: the newspaper has basic science wrong:
The Post is entitled to its own editorial opinions but not its own facts, and scientific fact clearly contradicts the assertion that “contraception … defeats a fertilized egg’s chances of becoming a living being.”
Embryology textbooks clarify the lay term “fertilized egg” as “… a zygote or fertilized ovum which is the primordium or beginning of a new human being. Human development begins at fertilization…. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”1
“Although life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is formed….”2
So contrary to the Post, not only is a “fertilized egg” a living being; he or she is a human being. A human being is by nature a person, defined as “a human being regarded as an individual.”3 But political ideology prevents the admission that abortion claims the life of a moving, smiling, hiccupping, grimacing, living human being–a person.
1Keith L. Moore & T.V.N. Persaud. The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 6th Edition, 1998
2Ronan O’Rahilly & Fabiola Muller, 2001 Human Embryology & Teratology, 3rd Ed.
3Apple Inc. dictionary, ver. 2.21.