Sections

Weather Forecast

Close
Advertisement

Life begins and ends with human heart beat

Email

It is a huge mistake to legislate maternity. But society has a right to refuse to fund anything that it considers immoral. So it is time to address the highly volatile question of when human tissue becomes a human being. Hundred of years ago, religious and laity alike held that the soul entered the unborn when the mother felt the first kick. Most people today would scoff at this view but today science provides the details for another view.

Consider the development of an embryo. Picture a tiny bubble implanted in the uterine lining. Inside the bubble are two more bubbles joined together, the juncture being a flat disc. The disc, not the bubbles, will develop into a human being. Near the end of the third week, a pleat forms on one side of the disc and seals off to become a tube (future spine and brain). During the fourth week the disc undergoes more origami to become three-dimensional and C-shape.

Just before the origami that creates an interior, a miracle happens. According to my physiology book, "By the end of the third week, the primitive heart tube bends on itself, becomes S-shaped, and begins to beat."

During the fifth through eighth week, there is a lot of growth and differentiation; brain/head development, beginning formation of internal systems, limb development, the heart becomes four chambered, the tail shorter. By the end of the 18th week, the tail has disappeared and the embryo has clearly human characteristics.

Now consider death, the other end of personal life. When a person's heart stops (longer than briefly), we agree that he has died. "He's gone," we say because to any sentient being the person is no longer present, even though their organs may be alive enough to be transplanted into someone else.

It's quite clear, while tissue for a new human being begins at conception; the new human being begins 21 days later with a heart beat. This is analogous to the human being ceasing to be present when his or her heart stops beating at death.

Patricia Frenzel

Blackduck

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement