What do stem cells have to do with contraception?

If you care about birth control, you need to understand stem cells.

And if you care about stem cells you should know more about birth control.

Why?

There is a big media to-do about federal guidelines related to health care organizations providing birth control.

President Obama has gotten into the fray and in fact just today made an announcement of a compromise federal birth control plan. In this plan, reportedly, institutions that are religious in nature will not have to provide contraception to employees, but insurers will have to provide free coverage.

Some religious organizations object to all contraception while others specifically do not approve of certain forms of contraception because they target the fertilized egg.

The fertilized egg, in my opinion, is not a person, but it is the most powerful stem cell of any kind.

The 1 cell fertilized egg, also known as the zygote, has the power to form all types of human cells including extraembryonic tissues that even embryonic stem cells and iPS cells cannot form.

It is the only stem cell, which if many things go right, can potentially grow into a human being. But that’s a big “if”.

Just two of the hurdles it faces are (1) early stage survival (many fertilized eggs or embryos in the first few days post-fertilization simply fail to grow) and (2) proper implantation into the uterus.

Many other hurdles come later.

Of course fertilized eggs produced by IVF in a plastic dish in an incubator in a lab have no chance of ever becoming a human being.

No chance that is unless they are implanted into a woman.

And for 99.99+% of the frozen blastocysts made by IVF that are sitting in liquid nitrogen right now, they will never even be in the pipeline to become a person.

Some forms of birth control try to keep fertilization from happening in the first place.

Other forms have the potential to block the development  of fertilized eggs and/or early embryo implantation.

While the one cell that is a fertilized egg is pretty amazing in terms of its power as a stem cell, it is a cell, not a person.

Potentiality is not equality.

In theory iPS cells may have the potential to form a person too like a fertilized egg, but no one believes that iPS cells are people.

As I’ve said many times before, if we give cells human rights than we must at the same take away rights from real, living, breathing people. This whole political tangle over birth control misses that point. So many extremists want to give a single cell, the fertilized egg, a stem cell, the same rights as an actual woman. In that equation you are taking rights away from the woman. There is no way around that.

Why is it that many of the same folks who are most fervent about protecting the rights of 1 cell fertilized eggs are the same ones who are opposed to giving full human rights to women and fail to do all they can to take care of real people?

 

10 Comments


  1. Because selfish dogma is more important than people to them. Much like when the the Pope demanded a ban on condoms while in Africa, only to back pedal and say it’s OK for male prostitutes to protect their client. What?

    Another fun example: On admmitance to a Catholic hospital, for D&C after a fetal demise at 11 weeks, I was asked point blank by a nurse which funeral home the “remains” were to be sent. Excuse me? Don’t recall that being on the intake paperwork and hardly the time or place to impose on a woman being preped for surgery under very personal circumstances.

    My OB/Gyn was furious this had happened and informed me she removed herself from practice with that hospital. Seems that the ultrasound department (Techs and Dr.’s) were also terrorizing women when fetal anomolies were discovered prior to 12 weeks telling them “You can/must raise this baby”. ect..

    People who incorporate family planning dogma from celebate, pedophile enabling elderly men, don’t pass the litmus test for having children to begin with.


    • Great questions. I did a post on how science cannot provide proof on these questions. http://www.ipscell.com/2010/12/scientific-proof-for-the-dc-court-of-appeals-that-life-begins-at-conception-not-by-a-long-shot/
      My view is that these are very personal questions, but as both just a person and a scientist my feeling is that a fertilized egg is not a person or a human being. This is my view, not a fact.
      But I don’t think 1 cell is a human being. To me that 1 cell = person is a very extreme view.
      Honestly, I am not sure when an embryo/fetus DOES becoms a living human being, but for me it is not the first trimester.
      What do you think?


      • A human being begins their life at fertilization. Most scientists concur since the 1860’s. This is not open to personal opinion, it is a biological fact.

        Why do you propose a personal view that can’t determine when we have a human being? Not scientific. Perhaps reading what embryologists say would help.


        • You are mistaken. This is not a scientific or biological fact. Most scientists in fact do not concur, but instead have a wide variety of opinions as do different cultures around the world.


        • @Naughtonjj – It’s a blastocyst. It will never develop into a human being without a womb to host. However, the fact that you are sighting anything from the 1860’s (when they were still blaming women for the sex of the child) regarding this science is enough evidence that all you have is opinion. The cherry picking conjecture to support your argument is absent of any scientific fact, there by invalidating your argument based on your own rules.


  2. If you don’t know when an individuals human life begins, logically you don’t know that it doesn’t begin at fertilization.

    Try the editorial in California Medicine, Sept. 1970.

    And the abortion activist Prof. Garrett Hardin.

    And the pro-choice Joshua Lederberg,Nobel Laureate.

    And the pro-abortion embryologist Prof.Roberts Rugh

    And Landrum Shettles, first test tube conception.

    And Dr. Alan Guttmacher, Life in the Making

    And Prof Jerome LeJeune, The Sympathy of Life.

    And thousand more leading embryologists.

    And etc., etc., etc.,etc.

    Human beings only procreate human beings not some lower being. The same is true for all other species – Law of Biogenesis.

    Hope this helps.


    • @Naughtonjj No, it does not help. In fact, the moment the inaccurate and inflammatory term “pro-abortion” was put in your disjointed response it lost all credibility.

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