Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Defining Humanhood

An interesting discussion among researchers and ethicists continues to percolate on the subject of human embryo experiments. Parthenogenesis (literally, "virgin birth") is a process by which "an egg is finessed into developing without the help of sperm," thereby creating an unfertilized "human" embryo. Researchers looking to experiment on human embryos claim that parthenogenetically created embryos may alleviate religious and ethical concerns about human embryo destruction, which is to say, they regard such embryos as not human. (Currently, U.S. law does not agree.) This, of course, leads one to ask how ought we to define and consider the unfertilized but now developing human embryo? A particular mantra has been been "life begins at conception." What happens when conception does not occur?

Recent findings and a synopsis of the debate are reported here.

Discussions - 1 Comment

Of course, the definition of "humanhood" today is quite meaningless, as the real crux is the definition of "person" - one entitled to certain Creator endowed unalienable rights, and deserving of the respect and protection of society and all other persons. That bar was set by the Burger court in 1973 not at "humanhood", the historic common law threshold, but to a sliding scale "to be decided" - currently at "trimesters" up to and including the end of the 3rd. Future definitions may vary, possibly moving the bar to Prof. Singer’s 4th Trimester or even beyond. So far, the U.S. Courts have yet to define "person" by infirmity, race, creed, or national origin, as did the learned Judges of Nazi Germany. Of course, once Roe v. Wade let "the genie out of the bottle", there is really nothing to prevent such factors from entering in the "person" definition "equation".

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