When a Clump Is not a Clump: Autonomous Life in the Womb

By John Stonestreet

Can we finally give the myth that an unborn baby is “just a clump of cells” a decent burial?

Yesterday Eric Metaxas told you about a manipulative article from The Atlantic that heaps scorn on the pro-life movement’s use of ultrasound technology to show pregnant women and others the humanity of the unborn child.

Just as a refresher, in the piece, author Moira Weigel shares such gems as this: “The technology has been used to create an ‘imaginary’ heartbeat and sped-up videos that falsely depict a response to stimulus.” Katie Couric thinks kids can feel gender in the womb, but an actual heartbeat is just a “stimulus?”

And here’s another utterly baseless claim from the article: “Ultrasound made it possible for the male doctor to evaluate the fetus without female interference.” Huh? What if the OB/GYN is a female?!

We shouldn’t be surprised by irrational attempts to undermine the cause for life. The case for life is stronger than ever. The abortion rate is down, and those who profit from abortion aren’t happy.

So they’re probably not going to be popping the corks off their champagne bottles when they read a fascinating new article in Public Discourse by Ana Maria Dumitru. It’s called “Science, Embryonic Autonomy, and the Question of When Life Begins.”

What is “embryonic autonomy,” you ask? According to a recent study, titled “Self-organization of the human embryo in the absence of maternal tissues,” human embryos from the earliest stages of life can direct their own development—in or out of the womb.  Why is this important? Here’s how Dumitru, who is a fifth-year M.D./Ph.D. candidate at Dartmouth, explains it…

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When a Clump Is not a Clump | BreakPoint