40 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTION FOR UNBORN CITIZENS
QUESTIONS ON MEDICAL FINDINGS
1When does human life begin?
Human life begins at the moment of conception, i.e., the moment at which a human sperm fertilizes or "activates" a human ovum.
2What are the medical sciences whose experimental findings support the protection of the unborn from the moment of conception?
The sciences of Cytology, Genetics, Embryology, and Fetology are interrelated biological sciences that study the beginnings and nature of living beings. All these have contributed evidence that new human life begins at the moment of conception.
3What is meant by "moment of conception"? Exactly what happens at the moment of conception?
At the moment of conception, the nuclei of the ovum and the sperm rupture. As this happens, 23 chromosomes from the ovum combine with 23 chromosomes of the sperm to form a total of 46 chromosomes. A chromosome count of 46 is found only in human cells. This process is also known as "fertilization." From the two human reproductive cells, a one-celled human organism is formed.
4What are chromosomes?
Chromosomes are microscopic filaments inside the nucleus of every living cell. Each filament is actually a chain of biochemical "molds" or "templates" (similar to the stamping die in an auto factory), which determine the physical characteristics of a specific living being. These biochemical templates are also called "genes". The actual molecular components of genes are called "deoxyribonucleic acids" or "DNA" for short. .
Since the genes of a fertilized ovum come from the parents, the new human being inherits many of the physical properties of the parents. At the moment of fertilization, the fertilized ovum has the complete set of human genes in 46 chromosomes.
5Is the fertilized ovum alive? Why?
Yes, the fertilized ovum is alive.
- First of all, like all living organisms, it takes in nutrients which it processes by itself; it begins doing this upon fertilization.
- Secondly, as it takes in these nutrients, it grows from within.
- Thirdly, it multiplies itself at a geometric rate in the continuous process of cell division.
The life of each parent's cell is not interrupted. During fertilization, the ovum absorbs the sperm. It is at this moment that a new and distinct human comes into being.
6Is the fertilized ovum human? Why?
Yes, the fertilized ovum is human. We say that the fertilized ovum is human because, among all the living beings in the world, only human beings have a chromosome number of 46. Besides, as we have explained, it has a complete set of human genes.
7How can we be sure that the fertilized ovum is human and not a tadpole?
If the genes come from human parents, they are obviously human genes, and therefore, the fertilized ovum is not and will not develop into a frog, a cat, or any other species. Since the biochemical template is received from human parents, it can only produce the physical features of a human body.
8What are the significant events in the development of the unborn child?
See Appendix: "Schedule of Pre-Natal Events".
9When does a woman normally realize that she is pregnant?
Normally, she would realize that she is pregnant when she misses her period. By that time, the human life in her womb would have been present for approximately two weeks..