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The embryo that grew up


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Those who seek to justify abortion often try to minimize or deny the humanity of the embryo. In a recent online forum, for example, one participant wrote: "I became a human being at the point that my senses functioned as those of a human being. Before that I was just a mass of cells." Another followed up: "A pile of cells in a woman's uterus is not a human being. It lives off of and is part of that woman's body." The implication, of course, is that a woman ought to be able to do what she wants with her body, including the removal of any particular "pile of cells" that might pose a threat to her freedom.

Yet those cells are not posing a threat in the same way that cancerous tumor cells might. Instead, the cells of the embryo will upset her lifestyle by demanding that several months hence, she focus her attention on a bubbly, gurgling baby, and then a few years later, on a young child who needs an education, and then on a boisterous and strong-willed adolescent transitioning into adulthood, and then, possibly, on grandchildren, and so on. The cells of the embryo are not "just" a pile of cells, but an orchestration of living humanity known as a human being, marvelously complex, highly-ordered and structured, growing, expanding and developing in precise ways with each passing hour of intrauterine life.

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