Should this egg have more rights than the woman to whom it belongs?

This is a fertilized human egg as pictured under a high-powered microscope. In actuality, it is about 1/10 of a millimeter in size (or 1/10,000th of a meter or 0.00394 inches).

According to a large group of powerful American politicians – including this group of U.S. congressmen and women – this egg (however it was fertilized — even if by an act of extreme and horrifying violence — and whatever the circumstances of the woman carrying it) should have “all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood” available under the U.S. Constitution.

Right now, Americans are engaged in a fundamental debate as to whether this remarkably extreme and terrifying point of view will hold sway in our country. It is hard to believe that it will, but it will also not go away if people do not stand up and speak out on the matter. Please do so when you get a chance.

(Photo is from the website SciTech Daily.com).





  1. GuestNC

    August 21, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Dear Sir,

    Medically speaking that Human fertilized egg is life. Here is just an example of expert testimony. I could list sources from modern mediaal text books backing up the same.

    The concept that a human life should have personhood is not extreme. your readers should have all the info…


    In 1981, a United States Senate judiciary subcommittee received the following testimony from a collection of medical experts (Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, Report, 97th Congress, 1st Session, 1981):

    “It is incorrect to say that biological data cannot be decisive…It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception.”

    Professor Micheline Matthews-Roth
    Harvard University Medical School
    “I have learned from my earliest medical education that human life begins at the time of conception.”

    Dr. Alfred M. Bongioanni
    Professor of Pediatrics and Obstetrics, University of Pennsylvania
    “After fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being. [It] is no longer a matter of taste or opinion…it is plain experimental evidence. Each individual has a very neat beginning, at conception.”

    Dr. Jerome LeJeune
    Professor of Genetics, University of Descartes
    “By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.”

    Professor Hymie Gordon
    Mayo Clinic
    “The beginning of a single human life is from a biological point of view a simple and straightforward matter – the beginning is conception.”

    Dr. Watson A. Bowes
    University of Colorado Medical School
    The official Senate report reached this conclusion:

    Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being – a being that is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings.

  2. Rob Schofield

    August 21, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    It is precisely in response to such absurd and extreme views as are expressed in the above comment that thinking people must speak up on this fundamental issue.

  3. david esmay

    August 21, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    It is extreme if you are suggesting that an egg has a conscience, or can live independently from whatever organism that is it’s host. There is a huge, no, vast difference from something that has the potential to be a living thing and something that is a living thing. And this is where conservatives and the right to deny choicers are fundamentally wrong and confuse support for a woman’s right to choose with support for abortion itself. NOBODY is for abortion. What we want to protect is a woman’s right to choose a legal safe abortion over an illegal unsafe one. Amending the Constitution to make abortion illegal won’t stop the practice, and will likely put more lives at risk.
    I have two daughters and should they at some point decide to terminate a pregnancy, for whatever reason, it’s none of your goddamned business, nor any of mine. It’s a choice they have the right to make, I would completely support their decision. Take that egg out of the petrie dish and see how long it lasts. Keep your religious beliefs and your misguided views on the rights of individuals to yourself.

  4. GuestNC

    August 21, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    OK – then speak up. Tell me how the view expressed above is wrong instead of just calling it absurd and extreme.

  5. Rob Schofield

    August 21, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    That was, quite obviously, the point of the original post. To claim that the above fertilized egg should have constitutional rights enjoyed by a human being (and indeed, that those rights are superior to the woman who possesses the egg) is, on its face, an utter absurdity. This is clearly true as a matter of common sense whether or not someone chooses to characterize that microscopic cell as “life.”

  6. GuestNC

    August 21, 2012 at 4:12 pm


    thanks- at least you put something on the table to discuss. I could continue down a line on medical personhood but just consider 3 things:

    1) That fertilized egg medically is fully human

    2) If you put a new born on a table and left it alone it also would not survive

    3) I appreciate your support for your daughters and I too would hope I would show love to them if put in that situation but consider that they are aborting your grandchild.

    not necessarily trying to change any minds here – just trying to put out some perspective.

  7. GuestNC

    August 21, 2012 at 4:22 pm


    Science does not seem to back up your view. Not claiming any superior rights just the same rights. obviously you will disagree but labeling this extreme instead of dealing with facts isn’t logical nor reflects the direction of public opinion.

  8. Rob Schofield

    August 21, 2012 at 4:46 pm


    To say that some doctors choose to characterize fertilized eggs as “life” and claim therefore that “science”, “facts” and “logic” support the not just extreme, but shockingly extreme, view that eggs are entitled to constitutional rights is a rhetorical sleight of hand of the lowest order (one that even the voters of Mississippi soundly rejected).

    You really need to try something else because that absurd argument is not going to fly.

    Finally, as an aside, posting anonymously is incredibly wimpy –especially if you choose to get into back and forth argument on such an important topic with people willing to put their names behind their words.

  9. GuestNC

    August 21, 2012 at 5:11 pm


    I just tried to show some medical testimony – these doctors were from Harvard Medical School, Mayo Clinic, Unv Penn and others. I think those are at least respectable sources.

    are you claiming that medically Life does not start at conception? That would put you in an extreme minority even within pro-abortion circles. Dave’s point of view would be more relevant.

    Thank you for opportunity to respond on your site. I have not attacked anyone personally and I do not normally engage in posts like this and did not post my name which is probably prudent at this time. I am just a guy throwing out some perspective. I do not like the screaming about being extreme when the views are more mainstream than you want to admit.

  10. david esmay

    August 21, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Guest, a fertilized egg is not a human, only an insane person would make that claim. Putting a new born on a table and leaving it to die is not the same a terminating a fetus, only a deeply disturbed person would make that claim. And that wouldn’t be my grandchild, because it never existed.

  11. Frank Burns

    August 21, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Note to Rob, thinking people are not restricted to those who agree with you.

  12. Steve Noble

    August 21, 2012 at 8:01 pm


    Several points come to mind:

    1. When does “life” begin to you?
    2. The claim that making abortions illegal will cause “back alley carnage” is false. Do your homework prior to Roe v. Wade and you will find that out. Additionally, what about all of the botched abortions? Post-abortive increases in breast cancer, ovarian cancer and emotional disorders?
    3. At what point would you stand up for the child and say “no” to the abortion? Viability outside the womb can be accomplished at early stages these days…
    4. You shot down the “child on the table” example, but it was just an application of your logic. If it can’t survive on it’s own, it ok to “terminate the fetus” as you say. Does the location of said “fetus” determine when it’s ok to “terminate” it’s life? Why is it any different when it’s a month old rather than at 7 months in the womb?
    5. Shame on you for not wanting to be involved in a decision that your daughters might face one day. None of your business? Their well-being is your business until the day the day you die, or God forbid, they die before you.
    6. It’s not “extreme” to protect life at all ages. As a matter of fact, the younger generation is leaning more pro-life every year. You want to deny that life a right to live because it is not developed enough to live on it’s own…try to explain how it is not OK to do the same with humans outside of the womb who can’t survive on their own: the severely mentally handicapped, or physically handicapped, or old or medically incapacitated. You are on a slippery slope on this…but have yet to discover it.
    7. Blast away, Rob…but try to do it without the expletives – they are weak-minded.

  13. gregflynn

    August 21, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    The “testimony” listed above was only one side of comments to a Senate subcommittee comprised of three Republicans and two Democrats, led by NC Republican John East. The bill was introduced by NC’s other Senator, Jesse Helms. There was plenty of vociferous opposition, just not noted above. It passed out of committee 3-2 on party lines. The bill was an ill-fated attempt to have Congress tell the Supreme Court what was constitutional in the wake of Roe v. Wade. An excellent legal examination of the bill by Thomas Emerson appeared in the Northwestern University Law Review in 1982: The Power of Congress to Change Constitutional Decisions of the Supreme Court: The Human Life Bill

    The constitutional implications of the Human Life Bill are ominous. The devices embodied in that legislation-the finding of pseudo fact, the assertion of the ultimate power to declare what the Constitution means, and the use of section 5 of the fourteenth amendment to change substantive rights-completely undermine the historic powers of the courts to protect our system of individual rights against legislative encroachment.

    Of note, earlier this year State Senator Phil Berger received the John P. East Excellence in Public Service Award from the Jesse Helms Center.

  14. Sauce

    August 22, 2012 at 3:24 am

    I do not understand how there is a misconception that a fertilized egg is not life. The fact that an organism cannot live outside of another (endosymbiosis) is nothing new. It is called a symbiotic relationship and there are a remarkable amount of them going on in your own body that you couldn’t survive without. In this situation it is a commensal relationship where the mother doesn’t specifically benefit from the relationship. What the argument is, does the organism (the fertilized egg) have a natural right to live up to and including birth? I personally believe that everything has a right to life unless it poses a threat to another life or for consumption (in the case of food exchanges). The majority of abortions are elective, in which a women chooses that giving birth would be inconvenient (maybe an unwed partner) or a small portion are difficult (maybe emotionally due to rape of incest). In either of these cases, I find it difficult to say that the life has no right to live even with the second being as difficult as it is. I truly only believe in abortion if the life is risking the life of the mother because in that case, the mother has a natural right to preserve their own life.These cases are quite low with modern technology. I do not think this belief is ignorant or shallow and I would hold this opinion for any family member including my wife. It is certainly not an easy position to hold because I see the burden that an unwanted pregnancy or child born into tough circumstances can have. But I cannot advocate for the end of a life and the potential that life could hold. For me, the greater evil is assuming that simply because this child is born into difficult circumstances, is inconvenient, or is adopted, that their life has less value because of the probability that they would not be overly successful in life.

  15. david esmay

    August 22, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    @ Sauce and Guest. Is an acorn an oak? No. You two are living proof that Barney Frank was right, “Republicans think life begins at conception and ends at birth.” If you people are so worried about all these “precious lives” that don’t exist, why don’t you worry about the ones that do? I must have killed about 100 billion potential lives during puberty, what about them, who weeps for them. I suggest you go to youtube or rent Monty Python’s the meaning of life and watch “Every Sperm is Precious”, Michael Palin does a wonderful job explaining it. For me the greatest evil is people like you trying to impose their religious dogma or social agenda on other people’s lives.

  16. Sauce

    August 25, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    An acorn has the potential for life when provided the correct environmental factors, but in and of itself it is not and is more similar to the “billions of potential lives during puberty” which I assume is sperm. Your sperm have a natural life cycle and due to the requirement for the proper environment to continue, just like acorns, the majority of them will die of natural causes. When that acorn does receive the proper elements and begins to grow, do you consider it something other than an oak. Furthermore, what you are debating me on is that one individuals preference supersedes the natural rights of another. I am for contraception because it is an environmental control to prevent this event from occurring. I am not a flag waving Republican and have the majority of my philosophical debates with them nor am I a democrat. I tend to be more ideologically inclined towards libertarianism whom have very lively debates over this subject. One side argues on the rights of the woman and the others on the rights of the fertilized egg. My views on this debate originated on the former but my experiences in combat have led me to the rationalization that all life is precious and I will never advocate the destruction of life without serious justification. I also realize that I am in no position to ever judge the potential of another life.

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