Monday, September 16, 2013

American College of Pediatricians: Final answer is fertilization, beginning of human life

Letter to the Philippine Daily Inquirer that did not see print.

Dear Editor,

The importance of the issue of the beginning of human life was clearly put forward by Professor Emeritus of Human Embryology of the University of Arizona School of Medicine, Dr. C. Ward Kischer: “Since 1973, when Roe v. Wade was adjudicated, there have been many socio-legal issues involving the human embryo. Abortion, partial-birth abortion, in vitro fertilization, fetal tissue research, human embryo research, [embryonic] stem cell research, cloning and genetic engineering are core issues of human embryology. Every one of these issues has been reduced to a question of when human life begins. And that question is as prominent in the public media today as it was when first posed in 1973.”

There are many opinions given to answer this question, including some published in your newspaper. But what is important is not opinion, purely subjective views, but scientific discoveries that present the objective truth. What does science say about this issue? We at the American College of Pediatricians concur with the statement of the Philippine Medical Association, when it said that "a human person or human being already does exist at the moment of fertilization." (

As we state in our website, "Scientific and medical discoveries over the past three decades have only verified and solidified this age-old truth. At the completion of the process of fertilization, the human creature emerges as a whole, genetically distinct, individuated zygotic living human organism, a member of the species homo sapiens, needing only the proper environment in order to grow and develop. The difference between the individual in its adult stage and in its zygotic stage is not one of personhood but of development." (

This is the final answer to this issue, as Professor Kischer puts it. In an article published at the Linacre Quarterly entitled "When Does Human Life Begin? The Final Answer", he categorically states: "“Virtually every human embryologist and every major textbook of human embryology states that fertilization marks the beginning of the life of the new individual human being.”


Den Trumbull


American College of Pediatricians


Sent through:

Lisa Hawkins

Administrative Assistant

American College of Pediatricians


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