Are Embryos Living Human Beings?

Human embryos. SOURCE: AP/Bourn Hall Fertility Clinic

Cellular life does not start at conception but long before. Every sperm and every cell is a living organism, like a virus or blood cell.  Human life however, doesn’t start until long after conception. What exactly counts as human life? Is the biological organism being halted during an abortion considered human?

A full ninety percent of all abortions occur during the first trimester, the first 13 weeks of development, yet significant brain development does not occur until week 20. The embryos are not conscious beings and don’t have the ability to react to their environment. One might argue, “but it has the potential become a human” true, but that remains the case for the embryos of all living organisms.

Since all organisms start off as a near identical cluster of cells they have the potential to develop into any animal. What decides the final outcome are the blueprints, the DNA, inside the cells which determine how the cells form. Despite anti-choice propaganda, the embryo of humans does not have all of its genes at conception. The DNA blueprint is generated progressively, by interactions with the environment and by complex internal negotiations within an increasing complex embryo.

In the early stages of development the embryo of a human is not on a direct path towards a fully developed human baby. Since our DNA still contains all of the instructions from our evolutionary ancestors the embryo goes through many of the early development stages of other animals before starting to develop as a human. Before the embryo develops anything that resembles a human face, it first develops a tail, only to later disappear when a newer gene kicks in to guide the development toward human physiology.

To recap, the embryos that are aborted are not conscious beings and cannot be considered any more human than the embryos of any other organism. Even with most of the blueprints written out, and some of the parts in place, an embryo is no more a human life than a door is a mansion or a pigment is a painting.

What’s a risk

Aside from unwanted births, there are a variety of health conditions in which abortion may become necessary to save life. There is, for example, a form of pregnancy-related high blood pressure that can be life threatening. The medical term for it is preeclampsia. It occurs in seven percent of pregnant women. If it is untreated or doesn’t respond to treatment, it can lead to convulsions, failure of various organ systems, coma, or death. Abortion may be the only way to save the woman’s life. Certain other conditions, such as severe diabetes, heart disease, or trauma from car accidents, may also require abortion. Termination of pregnancy is also essential to save the life of a woman with an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.

Some anti-choice propagandists make the ridiculous claim that having an abortion increases a woman’s risk of cancer. Not only is this a completely false scare-tactic, it is actually the opposite which is true. Pregnancy is what increases a woman’s risk of having cancer and there is no link between abortion and cancer. Newer studies have shown that abortions are sometimes necessary to avoid being at risk of contracting cancer.

Why fundamentalists are anti-choice

Fundamentalists are convinced that a “soul” is inserted somewhere during conception, and that that soul must reside in a human body long enough for the human body to develop a brain that is capable of learning about and accepting Jesus or else that soul won’t make it to Heaven. It is the Bible’s false claims of the existence of souls, Heaven, and Hell that are the real root of controversy.

God the abortionist

If God created our bodies then he is the biggest abortionist of all times. A spontaneous abortion or miscarriage is where the life of an embryo or fetus of a human baby is terminated. 15% of all pregnancies end in a spontaneous abortion and many of these women do not even know they are pregnant. Sometimes the pregnancy will only last a few weeks and the women may think the spontaneous abortions is just her menses. 25% percent of all women will have a natural spontaneous abortion in their life.


In conclusion the Right Wing rhetoric continues, and the Christian Crazies’ biblical interpretations continue to serve their petty needs.  The very idea of a deity is in and of itself ludicrous, but that’s a story for another day.  In the meantime embryos are not little humans, just a collection of cells without heart, brain or soul.

Parts of this story were heavily edited from the contributions of Truth Saves.

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Posted by on August 30, 2012. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION,HERESY. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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18 Responses to Are Embryos Living Human Beings?

  1. Anonymous

    August 30, 2012 at 11:45 am

    If embryos are living human beings, then so are the HeLa, Jurkat, and 3T3 cell lines.

  2. hstrybuff

    August 30, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    The Christian religion is not the only one to embrace the faith based philosophy of souls and life at conception, but it is one of the most outspoken. Good article.

  3. anonymous

    August 30, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Jesus our lord will smite you all with his wrath because atheists are criminal sinners who are going to hell when the rapture comes, and everyone with a soul, like us christians, knows that a baby is alive when conceeved in the womb. All atheists should die.

    • Jess

      August 30, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      You show your godliness and your christian love with this comment. We’re all going to die someday, so ok as an atheist I will die satisfied.

    • Diane

      August 30, 2012 at 6:17 pm

      7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

      I hope you are not expecting to see Jesus when you die with an attitude like that!!!!!!!!

      • Michael John Scott

        August 31, 2012 at 2:06 pm

        LOL. I’m not sure there was a Jesus on earth but I’m certain he’s not going to be hanging about when I die.

  4. Peeler

    August 30, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Hey a Troll! Now “anonymous” with a little “a” I thought Jesus the Joyous loved all people. Wouldn’t that include Atheists. A little hypocritical aren’t you?

  5. Michael John Scott

    August 30, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    It IS a troll. I feel honored somehow as we rarely see trolls over here. Welcome anonymous troll and I suggest you learn to spell.

    • Jess

      August 30, 2012 at 2:38 pm

      These people are not even trying to be good trolls. I do a better job of trolling right wing sites pretending to be a bagger than these idiots are doing. I’m heartsick they don’t feel your site warrants even mediocre trolling Mike, I may even get a sad about it.

  6. Michael John Scott

    August 30, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    P.S. Excellent first original Devon. Welcome to MMA!

  7. Jeannie

    August 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    That “troll” is only expressing the opinion of Christians everywhere. Jesus is truly our Lord and Savior and those who embrace him will be guaranteed a place next to God in the Heavens. You atheist FUCKING SCUM are condemned to eternal damnation and I LOVE THE THOUGHT OF IT!! Bastards.

    • Jess

      August 30, 2012 at 2:35 pm

      Ahh more christian love, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to know how much you people have learned the lessons of your christ so well. I may even be tearing up a little thinking about it. Oh no, that was just me needing to sneeze, carry on with your good old Talibangelical love there Jeannie.

    • Erin Nanasi

      August 30, 2012 at 5:59 pm

      So, anyone who does not believe Jesus is the son of “God” will die in eternal flame? You might want to share that with people of the Jewish faith-they think you fundies love them for who they are, not what their continued existence means to you. And thanks for being so “Christian” and “loving!”

    • Bill Formby

      August 31, 2012 at 5:17 pm

      Jeanie, while most everyone here will forgive your little snit of rage and the vulgarity of your rant, the question remains will He who you worship forgive you? Since you are lumping all Christians into one group I am assuming that you believe you are all of the same ilk. When Christians are doing really bad things are you still with them in their beliefs?

      • Michael John Scott

        August 31, 2012 at 5:27 pm

        Good questions Bill. Now I know why you were always my favorite professor.

  8. Z

    August 30, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Ah, the smell of loving Christian charity in the morning!

    9/11 was a faith-based initiative.

  9. F&B

    February 25, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Seriously, this article begins with so many false assertions that it is impossible to take it seriously. And while I expected the information to improve as the article progressed, it actually got worse.

    Since I have given up political arguments for Lent, I can’t comment fully right now, so I’ll skip the political parts and the anti-life positions put forth. But seriously:

    Every cell is a living organism? Wrong.

    A human embryo does not have all its DNA at conception? Wrong.

    Our DNA still contains all the instructions from our evolutionary ancestors? Wrong.

    The DNA blueprint is generated progressively, by interactions with the environment…? Wrong.

    You really might want to do a little research on fetal development and evolutionary biology, or even just a little basic biology before trying to comment in these areas.

    It is clear that the main intent of the post was to bash religion, so you should have just stuck with that and left the absurd DNA comments out. Either way, you said absolutely nothing to prove your point(s) or further your cause(s).