The following MCCL letter to the editor was published on August 2, 2009, in the Grand Forks Herald.
In his recent letter arguing for the inclusion of abortion coverage in health care reform legislation, Richard Hanson shows deep confusion about the scientific facts of human embryology ("Health care reform should insure abortions," July 28).
As "Langman's Embryology," a standard text, explains: "The development of a human begins with fertilization, a process by which the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote."
Dr. Micheline Matthews-Roth of Harvard Medical School adds, "It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception, when egg and sperm join to form the zygote, and this developing human always is a member of our species in all stages of its life."
Indeed, at conception the egg and sperm cease to be, and a new organism—a distinct, living and whole (though immature) member of the species Homo sapiens—has come into existence, needing only the proper care and nutrients to proceed through the many stages of human development.
Given that abortion is the killing of this young, vulnerable human being (usually by dismemberment) and is opposed by a large percentage of Americans, it seems unfair to mandate funding of the practice through health care policy.
Please contact your elected officials in Washington and urge them to oppose any health care plan that does not explicitly exclude abortion.