A discussion on the perception of a fetus as a human being

And the mother is a person, whereas, according to Parker, the baby is not. From an interview with Parker, with my commentary:

A discussion on the perception of a fetus as a human being

Introduction

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy Introduction The question as to when the physical material dimension of a human being begins is strictly a scientific question, and fundamentally should be answered by human embryologists—not by philosophers, bioethicists, theologians, politicians, x-ray technicians, movie stars, or obstetricians and gynecologists.

The question as to when a human person begins is a philosophical question. Current discussions on abortion, human embryo research including cloning, stem cell research, and the formation of mixed-species chimerasand the use of abortifacients involve specific claims as to when the life of every human being begins.

If the "science" used to ground these various discussions is incorrect, then any conclusions will be rendered groundless and invalid. The purpose of this article is to focus primarily on a sampling of the "scientific" myths, and on the objective scientific facts that ought to ground these discussions.

At least it will clarify what the actual international consensus of human embryologists is with regard to this relatively simple scientific question. In the final section, I will also address some "scientific" myths that have caused much confusion within the philosophical discussions on "personhood.

When does a human being begin? Getting a handle on just a few basic human embryological terms accurately can considerably clarify the drastic difference between the "scientific" myths that are currently circulating, and the actual objective scientific facts. This would include such basic terms as: Further, more complicated, details can be obtained by investigating any well-established human embryology textbook in the library, such as some of those referenced below.

Fetus as Human Being: Where is the Cut-off Point?

Please note that the scientific facts presented here are not simply a matter of my own opinion. They are direct quotes and references from some of the most highly respected human embryology textbooks, and represent a consensus of human embryologists internationally.

Basic human embryological facts To begin with, scientifically something very radical occurs between the processes of gametogenesis and fertilization—the change from a simple part of one human being i.

That is, upon fertilization, parts of human beings have actually been transformed into something very different from what they were before; they have been changed into a single, whole human being.

During the process of fertilization, the sperm and the oocyte cease to exist as such, and a new human being is produced. To understand this, it should be remembered that each kind of living organism has a specific number and quality of chromosomes that are characteristic for each member of a species.

The number can vary only slightly if the organism is to survive. For example, the characteristic number of chromosomes for a member of the human species is 46 plus or minus, e. Every somatic or, body cell in a human being has this characteristic number of chromosomes.

Even the early germ cells contain 46 chromosomes; it is only their mature forms - the sex gametes, or sperms and oocytes - which will later contain only 23 chromosomes each.

This is necessary so that after their fusion at fertilization the characteristic number of chromosomes in a single individual member of the human species 46 can be maintained—otherwise we would end up with a monster of some sort. To accurately see why a sperm or an oocyte are considered as only possessing human life, and not as living human beings themselves, one needs to look at the basic scientific facts involved in the processes of gametogenesis and of fertilization.

It may help to keep in mind that the products of gametogenesis and fertilization are very different.

When Do Human Beings Begin?

The products of gametogenesis are mature sex gametes with only 23 instead of 46 chromosomes. The product of fertilization is a living human being with 46 chromosomes.

Gametogenesis refers to the maturation of germ cells, resulting in gametes. Fertilization refers to the initiation of a new human being. The timing of gametogenesis is different in males and in females. The later stages of spermatogenesis in males occur at puberty, and continue throughout adult life.

The process involves the production of spermatogonia from the primitive germ cells, which in turn become primary spermatocytes, and finally spermatids—or mature spermatozoa sperms. These mature sperms will have only half of the number of their original chromosomes—i.

By birth, only about- 2 million remain. By puberty, only aboutremain.

A discussion on the perception of a fetus as a human being

The process includes several stages of maturation—the production of oogonia from primitive germ cells, which in turn become primary oocytes, which become definitive oocytes only at puberty.

In fact, it does not reduce its number of chromosomes until and unless it is fertilized by the sperm, during which process the definitive oocyte becomes a secondary oocyte with only 23 chromosomes.

Many people confuse meiosis with a different process known as mitosis, but there is an important difference.I would not use perception alone as a test to determine when a being is human. In fact this question of "humanness" inherently has a huge subjective component.

Basically when a fetus becomes human should be considered a cultural question. This fact results in a slide of meaning, which serves to conceal the fallaciousness of the traditional argument that since (1) it is wrong to kill innocent human being, and (2) fetuses are innocent human beings, then (3) it is wrong to kill fetuses.

Fact 1: As pointed out above in the background section, there is a radical difference, scientifically, between parts of a human being that only possess "human life" and a human embryo or human fetus that is an actual "human being." Abortion is the destruction of a human being.

Fetal Rights. The rights of any unborn human fetus, which is generally a developing human from roughly eight weeks after conception to birth. Like other categories such as Civil Rights and Human Rights, fetal rights embraces a complex variety of topics and issues involving a number of areas of the law, including criminal, employment, health care, and Family Law.

Mar 17,  · We can formulate the argument which is put forward by the opponents of abortion as follows: 1) fetus has to be regarded as human being; 2) killing an innocent human being is morally wrong; 3) aborting is an example of killing and terminating a human being’s life.

A discussion on the perception of a fetus as a human being

Noonan first argues that the primary issue in the abortion question is, How does one determine the humanity of a being? He answers this question with what he takes to be the single answer of especially Catholic theologicans - namely, that if one is conceived by human beings, one is a human being.

Noonan and Catholic Perspectives