“There is indisputable proof that life begins from the moment of conception when the sperm fertilizes the egg,” Lee told CNA, “because there is the creation of a new, totally distinct, integrated organism or a human being, which is going to be biologically distinct from all other life forms on this planet.”
Lee told CNA that each stage of pregnancy, beginning at conception, is demonstrated on CLI’s interactive website The Voyage of Life.
A radiologist and ultrasonographer responds
Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, a diagnostic radiologist and an ultrasonographer, also affirmed the beginning of human life at conception.
“There really hasn't been a mystery about that for a very long time,” Christie told CNA. “A new human life begins when the egg and the sperm combine.”
At the moment of conception, she said, “the first human cell of the new human being has its own DNA, which is very distinct and separate from the mom’s and from the dad’s and that is a one-cell human being.”
Christie said the claim some people make that a baby in the womb is equivalent to a mere “clump of cells” is “ignorant.”
“We are a collection of cells, we are all made of cells, but our cells are organized into organs and our organs are organized into systems and all those cells together form a human being,” she said.
“If you refer to something as a clump of cells you're implying that there's no organizing principle behind it, that there's no destiny, that there's no growth, no development. You're basically saying it's not alive,” she added.
Christie used the example of a tumor being a “clump of cells that grows, but nobody has ever claimed that it's a living thing that has a destiny and a future and a way of developing into something that's human.”
She added that “An embryo is not only distinct from his or her mother, but is alive by all the biological standards we use to denote life. There is no scientific uncertainty here, and no doubts as to this are entertained by any scientist or physician. On ultrasound I routinely use the presence of the embryonic heartbeat, as early as 3 weeks after conception, to determine that the embryo is alive. This is our medical convention, and it corresponds to the scientific reality."
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An archbishop responds
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas agreed with Christie’s and Lee’s conclusion about life beginning at conception.
Naumann told CNA that science is “affirming a lot of things that theologically, we find present in the scripture and in the early teachings of the Church.”
The archbishop pointed to the “amazing experience between Elizabeth and Mary at the Visitation where the unborn John the Baptist is the first to recognize the unborn Jesus. And Elizabeth, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, refers to Mary as the Mother of my Lord. So she's the first one to call Jesus Lord while he is within the woman, Mary.”
Naumann said that modernity portrays science and faith being at odds, but that they are actually complementary. “We take what science can help us understand and that's married into our theology,” he said.
Naumann called Biden’s change in belief on the beginning of human life “very strange.”