During fertilization, when a sperm fertilizes an ovum, two haploid sets of chromosomes are combined, resulting in a unique compilation of chromosomes. Except in the phenomenon of identical twinning, no other individual will possess this unique collection of chromosomes. The genetic encoding contained within these chromosomes determines and regulates the ongoing development of the embryo. Therefore, fertilization with this creation of a unique collection of chromosomes capable of directing growth and development represents the event in which the life of a new individual begins. It is for this and many reasons that we believe that beginning with fertilization, an unborn child deserves all the rights set forth in the Constitution, including the right to life.
The active termination of pregnancy has existed since 1550 BC, with the first documented abortion occurring in Egypt. The School of Hippocrates included the following prohibition against abortion in the oath named for him in approximately 400 BC: “I will not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion.” The attitude toward abortion throughout its 3500-year history has varied from general acceptance to criminalization of the act, including the death penalty in certain circumstances. That range of perspective, except for the death penalty, remains today with the overall trend worldwide toward increasing cultural acceptance of abortion.
As healthcare professionals and those who believe that every life has intrinsic value created in the image of God, it is our duty to protect the lives of unborn babies.