Wednesday, March 19, 2008

BC Part Three: Clearing the Air

As a result of the last two post some really great questions have been raised! We are loving all the responses and questions, although most of them have not been commented on the blog, but in phone calls, conversations and emails. Phyllis has responded to the question that has come up the most... "How do you determine that the fertilized egg is a baby at the time of fertilization as opposed to after it implants in the uterus (or sometime later)?"
This question is key to understanding the moral issues with certain birth control methods. We fully understand that there are ALOT of people who do not believe the way we do about this issue so we thought it would best if we "Cleared the Air" on how we come to these conclusions. We would LOVE to hear yours so please feel free to comment!

Again this is just a clip of what Phyllis wrote...please please please stop in and read the rest!
"Regarding the issue of fertilization vs. implantation as the point of imparted personhood, I don't think we need a ton of medical statistics to think wisely and correctly about this issue. Thank goodness! However, in order to come to a right conclusion, I think we do need to have a basic understanding of the process of human reproduction. So here goes... You start with "the act" (quoting the grandmother of one of our good friends). The sperm travel from the man, through the vagina, through the cervix, through the uterus, and into the fallopian tubes. There is generally one egg sitting in one fallopian tube. Some of the sperm make it through the treacherous obstacle course, get all the way to the egg, and attempt to break through the wall of the egg. One gets in, and the two cells (egg and sperm) mesh all their information and become one cell. Their DNA links pair up to form the complete chromosomal make-up of the baby.

The new cell immediately starts multiplying as one unit. It's a life with all the information necessary to develop throughout pregnancy, childhood, adulthood, and right up through death. The group of cells continues to multiply as it moves out of the fallopian tube and into the uterus, where it finds a nice place to implant and acquire necessary nutrients for continued growth (FYI--the placenta grows as an organ of the baby--with the baby's genetic makeup and not the mother's--and begins to function on its own over the course of the next two weeks).

The implantation into the uterus prompts the mother's body to produce a hormone called hCG, which basically tells the mother's brain to continue producing progesterone and estrogen in proportions that will not prompt the sluffing off of the uterine lining (and the baby). So you have a blessed 9 months without periods (or if you're like me, more like 21 months if you include the post-birth period-free time)!

These are all amazing functions of implantation in the uterus, but neither the nourishment nor the signal to the mother's hormones do anything to change the make-up of the "group of cells" that already existed. That, to me, is the profound truth that we need to understand. Basically, the cells implant in order to be nourished to keep growing and developing. They are not changed in any way. They were already living, completely-human cells and a sole entity before they implanted. The uterus imparts no humanity on the group of cells since they are completely-human cells on their own before they get to the uterus.

One way to look at it is this... I can make it a while without food and water, but if I go more than a few days with no nourishment or hydration at all, I will die. Once the egg is fertilized by the sperm, the two mesh together to form the complete genetic make-up of a human being, the "cell group" begins to multiply, and then travels through the fallopian tube into the uterus, it's just fresh out of juice! It needs nourishment, or else it will die. This is a common problem for humans at all stages, and it begins at fertilization.

The egg and sperm combo is a developing life right from the very beginning. It is a complete unit that simply needs nourishment to keep going. If we do things to alter the lining of the uterus so as to prevent implantation, all we are doing is preventing the nourishment of the already-existing life... so it dies. This is why we see any process, procedure, device, or chemical that contributes to the death of this life as abortifacient. It's either directly causing the already-living, completely and fully human life to die or removing its provision for survival. When we consider born humans, we see that there are ways to directly extinguish them (pushing them out of moving cars, shooting, etc.), and there are ways to prevent the provision of sustaining nutrition for them, so they end up dying on their own (i.e. locking them in a room without food and water). Either way, the end result is that the person is not alive anymore."

Next up....Part four: The What If's. I am working up a post about all the what if's that come up in regard to Birth Control and Family Planning like: What if my husband is not on board with my convictions regarding Birth Control? What if I am on the Pill for medical reasons (endometriosis or mood swings)? etc....DON'T MISS IT!
This is SOOO FUN thanks for joining us!


Becky Kiser said...

thanks for doing this girl! i have plans to call you soon. chris and i have been doing lots of research, talking and praying!

arich81 said...

i want to throw my opinion out there to offer a balancing view point.
i am of the opinion that since prior to attatching to the uteran wall, the cell body is not self-sustaining, it is not a human life. if it never attaches, it will not progress to be a life/person. this happens a lot naturally, and we are not held responsible for our bodies naturally dismissing a fertilized egg, so i do not believe we would be held responsible for keeping the uteran wall from allowing fertalized eggs to attach.
i just wanted to offer up an alternative opinion! much love, friend.

Phyllis said...

Hey Allison... I hear what you're saying, but I can't say that I agree with your logic. My thought is that a born child is not self-sustaining, but we wouldn't ever think it was acceptable to willingly remove the baby's nutrition causing it to starve. And we always encourage pregnant women to eat so that their babies can survive, because without food for the mother, the babies die, and we see that as neglect of some kind. In the same way, I believe that if we do something to prevent the human life from attaching in the uterus and receiving needed nutrition, then we are, in essence, starving it to death and are guilty of killing it off.

You're right on when you say that some things are out of our control. For example, if a mother and child live in dire poverty and just do not have access to food, we do not blame the mother for the death of her child if she does everything she can to prevent it. In this same line, we do not blame a woman for her body's natural failure to allow the human life to implant IF she has not done something to promote the death of the life growing inside her (it is a life growing inside her from the point of fertlization when it starts multiplying and growing).

While I don't agree with your logic, I'm SO THANKFUL that you're willing to share your opinion openly, because there are so many people who have the same thoughts that you do and might be fearful to put their necks out on the line and say what they're thinking. These really are tough issues to be dealing with! Thanks for joining our conversation so often and really helping everyone to be aware of and think through other opinions!

Kelli said...

I am so glad that you ladies are blogging about this. We are expecting our first baby VERY soon and I had gotten off of birth control months before we were pregnant because we struggled with the moral issues of taking the pill (even though there was also the chemical side effects that we were not happy with). We had been praying about what to do after we have this child and the Lord provided with two wonderful ladies and several articles to really help us to do what we already knew He wanted us to do. THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Heather said...

Ladies, thanks for your words on this subject. You have put our hearts into honest and eloquent words. Todd and I researched this subject as well and came to the same conclusion.

If you don't mind I would love to add this blog to my friends list so others can read about this subject.


arich81 said...

again, not to be the jerk of the blog, but my point is: i don't believe that "well you wouldn't starve your own baby would you???" is a sufficient argument for why you think a cell body is a baby vs. when it attaches to the uterine wall, which i think was the point of the posting, but i don't feel like it was adequately defended.

and here's something i keep thinking about, perhaps on a lighter level: does your viewpoint logically conclude that heaven is just teeming with billions and billions of babies? i just wonder what you think about this.

arich81 said...

maybe i should also add that i know amber very well, and have met phyllis on a few occasions, and i think there is mutual respect and affinity between us. and just because we may not see eye-to-eye, doesn't mean that there's any bad blood between us. :)