ESH presents another guest column from Dr Dianne Irving, PhD, a former bench scientist and also a philosophy professor knowledgable and well trained in the classical areas including, but not limited to, embryology:
[URL will follow]
by Dianne N Irving, MA, PhD
(c) copyright July 15, 2014
Hobby Lobby Gobbledygook — On Both Sides
“So people will continue to be divided on whether these drugs are abortifacients or not, based on their own perceptions of the reproductive process.” (emphases added) [Julie Beck, “What’s So Controversial About the Contraceptives in Hobby Lobby” (June 30, 2014), The Atlantic, at: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/06/whats-so-controversial-about-the-contraceptives-in-the-hobby-lobby-case/373709/]
In considering the Hobby Lobby case, the “religious beliefs” of the plaintiffs just happen to match the long-documented and long-acknowledged objective scientific facts of human embryology. It is not that the plaintiffs are forcing their religious beliefs or subjective opinions on the rest of us, or simply arguing on the basis of their own “perceptions”. Their religious beliefs actually coincide with those objective scientific truths, and thus their position is both accurate and true. Indeed, it is the defendants and their pundits who refuse to acknowledge those objective scientific facts (because they have to) and are continuing to try to force their misguided subjective “beliefs” or “political ideologies on the rest of us, while attempting to claim that “no one really knows”, or “there are lots of opinions”, etc. Sorry. We know. And it is not an opinion or subjective “perception”. Nor are the objective facts of science to be decided by “consensus” of citizens or of politicians — or even by the Supreme Court — but by those who have the academic credentials, Ph.D’s and practical experience, in their respective scientific fields (a point well-taken in both the Nuremburg Code and the Declaration of Helsinki).
The “contraceptives” that the Supreme Court identified as “abortifacient” in the Hobby Lobby case are in fact abortifacient — not because of any religious beliefs of the plaintiffs. In fact, of the other 16 so-called “contraceptives” not touched by this decision, many of those are also probably abortifacient — and women especially have the right to know these objective scientific facts. Even many “pro-choice” women would not use such “contraceptives” if they knew that they could also, in fact, be abortifacient. Contraception is one thing; abortion is quite another.
But it would seem that there’s enough gobbledygook to go around. It doesn’t emanate from just the “pro-choice” side in these debates. Even though most “pro-life” pundits are arguing on solid ground and with good intentions, they often fall into the trap of using the same fake science perpetrated for so long (successfully) by the other side — obviously shooting themselves in the foot in the process. (The otherwise excellent rebuttals by Megan Kelly of FOX NEWS come to mind when she continuously employs the pro-choice fake scientific terms such as “fertilized eggs” that “implant in the woman’s uterus”!). No “eggs” ever implant in any uterus! And if such “pro-lifers” knew several other rather fascinating objective scientific facts about the early human embryo they’d have even more ammunition to use than they do now!
To that end, I am simply going to use a recent article about the Hobby Lobby case (copied at the end) that rather embodies the sort of purposeful “confusion”, “doubt”, and gobbledygook that continues to permeate the air waves and other media on both sides. Aside from any “legal” politics involved, there is no “doubt” or “confusion” about the objective scientific facts involved which have been known and documented globally for over 125 years. I’ll just list the points here, and bold in “red” the relevant statements in the article copied at the end. At least both sides would be able to proselytize with the accurate scientific facts — rather than “on their own (mistaken) perceptions”. Extensive, lengthy, even excessive scientific references from the real scientific experts in human embryology from around the world are available in some of my articles listed at the end. Hopefully both sides — including even “prolife” — will finally admit them:
- It is scientifically objectively false to claim that “All human beings begin to exist at “conception” or “fertilization”. Not all human beings begin to exist at “conception/fertilization”. Only those who are reproduced sexually (fusion of sperm and “egg”) do. Human beings can also be reproduced asexually (without fertilization or the immediate use of sperm or “egg”) — e.g., naturally occurring human monozygotic twins reproduced asexually within the woman’s body, as well as human beings artificially asexually reproduced in IVF and ART research laboratories and “infertility” clinics — many of which are implanted into women and thus can also be aborted.
- The term “conception” generally refers to human beings sexually reproduced at fertilization; however, there are many state laws in the United States that legally mis-define “conception” as beginning at “implantation” (5-7 days post-fertilization).
- In normal human reproduction, a woman is “pregnant” when the new human being begins to exist in her fallopian tube (NOT in her uterus) at fertilization. It is only in artificial reproductive practices that a woman is “pregnant” at implantation when the technician inserts the already existing 5-7 day old human embryo into her uterus. Note, in that case, the embryo already exists in the petri dish, even though the woman is not yet “pregnant”.
- The sexual reproductive process of “fertilization” — which takes place in the woman’s fallopian tube and does NOT take place in her uterus — is not a single point in time, but a process over time (as is “implantation” as well). Even when considering the term “conception” as involving fertilization, the new human being does not begin to exist at the end of the process of fertilization with the formation of the “zygote”, but rather at the beginning of that process upon first contact of the sperm and the “egg”. That earliest human embryo is represented by Carnegie Stage 1a; the “zygote” is represented by Carnegie Stage 1c. Most of the latest unethical human genetic engineering and human cloning is performed with the earliest human embryo before the formation of the “zygote” — convenient. And again, those asexually reproduced human beings are also being implanted into women as “infertility” treatments (or even just for pure “research” purposes), and aborted.
- The product of fertilization is not a “fertilized egg”; it is a new single-cell human being. The “egg” is gone, just as the sperm is gone. No egg there! Note: it is just one cell big! There is no way that this single-celled human being could possibly implant into the woman’s uterus. Pundits on both sides need to stop using the absurd term “fertilized egg” and the absurd phrase “that implants into the uterus”.
- It is not the “fertilized egg” that implants into the woman’s uterus; it is the 5-7 day old human embryo at the “blastocyst” stage of development, often consisting of over 200+ cells!
- While some abortifacients work by changing the lining of the woman’s uterus so that the embryo cannot implant (thus causing that embryo to die), there are usually additional mechanisms involved in these abortifacients that also result in the embryo not implanting. For example, in order to implant into the woman’s uterus, the embryo itself must be at the proper stage of development — or else it can’t implant (even if the lining of the uterus is fine). These abortifacients function by either slowing down the embryo as it travels through the woman’s fallopian tube to try to implant into her uterus, or speeding up the embryo’s traveling. If the embryo is slowed down, then it is too far along in development and will not be able to implant — and thus it dies. If the embryo is speeded up, then it is not developed enough yet and will also not be able to implant — thus it dies.
IN SUM: Considering human beings who are reproduced sexually during normal human sexual reproduction, these human beings begin to exist at the beginning of the process of fertilization in the woman’s fallopian tube when the sperm makes first contact with the “egg”, resulting in a single-cell human organism/human being. This single cell human being begins to grow and develop as it travels through the woman’s fallopian tube towards the uterus where it will try to implant at about 5-7 days when it has reached the “blastocyst” stage of development, consisting often of 200+ cells. At least three mechanisms built into many chemical “contraceptives” can prevent the early human embryo from implanting: (1) the lining of the uterus can be damaged so that even a healthy blastocyst cannot implant — and so it dies; (2) the embryo is slowed down while traveling through the fallopian tube so that it is over-developed by the time it reaches the uterus and cannot implant (even if the lining of the uterus is fine) — and so it dies; (3) the embryo is speeded up while traveling through the fallopian tube so that it is under-developed by the time it reaches the uterus and cannot implant (even if the lining of the uterus is fine) — and so it dies. GIVEN that the four “contraceptives” identified by the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby case are in fact, objectively, accurately defined as abortifacients, what could be more “controversial” is how many of the other 16 “contraceptives” not identified by the Supreme Court are also abortifacient.
[Note: The definition of “pregnancy” as “beginning at implantation” referred to by the Supreme Court in its Hobby Lobby decision is from the 45 CFR 46.202 federal regulations (URL in the article below: http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/45/46.202), which in turn was legally derived from the 1981 OPRR federal regulations on the use of human subjects (mandated by the 1974 National Research Act, which also mandated the formal “birth” of bioethics) — now referred to as the OHRP federal regulations. It was Richard Doerflinger of the USCCB who proudly and admittedly inserted two false scientific definitions in those 1981 OPRR federal regulations on which the OHRP and the CFR federal regulations are based: “fetus” was falsely defined as “beginning at implantation” (absolutely absurd; the “fetal” period doesn’t begin until 9 weeks post-fertilization; no definition of “embryo” throughout the first 8 weeks at all); and “pregnancy” was also falsely defined as ‘beginning at implantation.]
For extensive scientific references, see Irving:
— The Genuine Carnegie Stages (September 8, 2013), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_216genuinecarnegiestages.html
— FERTILIZATION and IMPLANTATION of the Early Human Embryo: Accurate Scientific Resources (May 8, 2013), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_212accurateresources1.html
— Plan B’s Manufacturer: Pills Can Be Abortifacient (April 27, 2013), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_211manufacturerandpills.html
— “Contraceptive” and “Morning After” Pills: Women and Young Girls, You’re On Your Own (April 5, 2013), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_210asecret.html
— “Conception” is not “The Immaculate Conception” (January 26, 2013), at:
— “Why Accurate Human Embryology Is Needed To Evaluate Current Trends In Research Involving Stem Cells, Genetic Engineering, Synthetic Biology and Nanotechnology” (November 20, 2012), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_206accuratehumanembryology1.html
— “Any Human Cell – iPS, Direct Programmed, Embryonic, Fetal or Adult – Can Be Genetically Engineered to Asexually Reproduce New Human Embryos for Purposes of Reproduction (‘Infertility’)” (November 2011), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_194cellasexuallyreproduce1.html
— Irving Re Gardner’s Rejection of Herranz’s New “Theory” on Human MZ Twinning (March 14, 2014), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_220rejectionherranztheory.html
— Irving Re Denker’s “Comments on G. Herranz: The timing of monozygotic twinning: a criticism of the common model” in Zygote (2013) (Feb. 20, 2014), at:
— “Personhood ‘Language’ 2008 – 2011” (October 2, 2011), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_192personhoodlanguage.html
— “’Revival’ of St. Thomas’ Philosophy – Yes, But Not His Erroneous ‘Delayed Personhood’ Argument; Concerns for Beginning and End of Life Issues” (April 4, 2011), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_185revival.st.thomas1.html
— “A One-Act Play: ‘Crippled Consciences and the Human Embryo’”, presented at Medicine and Human Dignity’s “International Bioethics Conference: ‘Conceiving the embryo’“, (re human cloning and human embryonic stem cell research), Brussels, Belgium, (and CD-Rom), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_178one-act-play1.html.
— “American Medical Association’s “Narrow Definitions”, Legal “Re-definitions” … and Reproductive Cloning” (October 9, 2009), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_170ama1.html
— Junk Science In, Junk Prolife Out (October 28, 2013), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_218junksciencejunkprolife1.html
— “Pre-embryos” and “Pre-embryo substitutes”: Safeguarding human life “from the very beginning”? (June 8, 2009), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_164safeguardinglife.html
— “Abortifacients and the Role of Correct Science in Counseling, the Formation of Conscience, and Moral Decision Making” (April 12, 2009), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_140correctscience1.html
— Irving and Kischer, “Scientific Response to Criticism of the California Human Rights Amendment as ‘Protecting Fertilized Eggs’” (December 9, 2009), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_175responsecalifornia.html
— Irving and Kischer , “Responses to Dr. Condic’s ‘Science’ in National Catholic Register Interview” (January 6, 2010), at:
— “Condic’s ‘Pre-Zygote’ Error in ‘When Does Human Life Begin?’” (November 18, 2008), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_134maureencondic1.html
— “Human Embryology and Church Teachings” (September 15, 2008), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/em/em_132embryologychurch1.html; also published in The New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2nd ed., Supplement 2009, (Detroit: Gayle), pp. 287-312, as “Embryology, Human”; see http://www.gale.cengage.com/NCE/; also at: http://www.personhood.ca/pdfs/embryology_human.pdf
— “Comments: CRTL Acknowledges Irving’s Scientific, Moral and Legal Arguments on ‘Personhood’” (July 17, 2008), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_131personhoodandcrtl.html