Denver Post Opposes Abortion Vote, Misstates Science on When Life Begins

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 22, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Denver Post Opposes Abortion Vote, Misstates Science on When Life Begins

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 22
, 2008

Denver, CO ( — The Denver Post came out against Amendment 48 with an editorial on Monday that challenges the personhood amendment. However, the newspaper gets its facts wrong when it attempts to make the case that scientists say human life begins at implantation, rather than conception.

The amendment would define the beginning of human life as the point of conception and have potential ramifications for abortion and embryonic stem cell research.

But the Post is urging Colorado votes to oppose the measure on the November ballot.

"Colorado voters should reject a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would define a fertilized human egg as a human being," the Post writes. "We opposed the amendment before it was placed onto the ballot and oppose it still."

The newspaper goes on to say that people can disagree about when human life begins but claims the amendment "doesn’t fit with good science."

"Medical and scientific experts set the start of pregnancy at the point a fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterus," the paper contends.

However, that’s not the case.

Dr. Jerome Lejeune, an internationally-known geneticist credited with discovering the cause of Down syndrome, told the U.S. Senate in 1981 that scientists agree human life begins at conception.

"Modern biology teaches us that ancestors are united to their progeny by a continuous material link, for it is from the fertilization of the female cell (the ovum) by the male cell (the spermatozoa) that a new member of the species will emerge," he said.

"Life has a very, very long history but each individual has a very neat beginning: the moment of its conception," the famed scientist added.

Dr. Hymie Gordon, the former chairman of the Department of Genetics at the Mayo Clinic, agrees, and says, "By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception."

Medical textbooks also confirm the scientific fact that human life begins at conception, or fertilization.

"Patten’s Foundations of Embryology," 6th edition, confirms: "Almost all higher animals start their lives from a single cell, the fertilized ovum (zygote). The time of fertilization represents the starting point in the life history, or ontogeny, of the individual."

And "Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology and Birth Defects" points out: ""Zygote. This cell, formed by the union of an ovum and a sperm (Gr. zyg tos, yoked together), represents the beginning of a human being."

ACTION: Send a letter to the editor to the Denver Post at: [email protected]

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