When does life begin? Assumptions on scientific issues gets warning

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Flagrant foul

A false statement about a candidate’s position or a fact involving policy. It’s one thing to point out differences between records. It’s another for a candidate or third-party group to present false information or inaccurately portray a candidate’s political record.

Regular foul

A statement that distorts a candidate’s record or a fact involving policy, or which omits a fact that is essential to understanding a candidate’s position.

Warning

A statement that may be generally truthful, but lacks context and could easily mislead or be misconstrued.

No foul

A statement, however strident, that is based on accurate facts.

80th State House District GOP Primary

Who: Cindy Gamrat For State Representative
What: Website campaign statements
The call: Warning

Relevant text:

“I also believe that life is protected under the 14th Amendment of our Constitution and support Sen. Rand Paul's Senate Bill 583, the Life at Conception Act, which he introduced on March 14th, 2013. As State Representative I would sponsor a Life at Conception Act in Michigan, which could potentially save the lives of more than 23,000 babies who are aborted each year in our state....Without life, there is no liberty or pursuit of happiness for that child.”

80thdistrict

Gamrat, a nurse from Plainwell, is among a quartet of Republicans seeking to succeed Bob Genetski, R-Saugatuck, who is term-limited in this Republican-leaning West Michigan district. Her opponents include Mary Whiteford, a former emergency room nurse; Allegan Township Supervisor Steven Schulz and Randy Brink, a former Allegan County commissioner. Gamrat is known for strong tea party roots and is a proponent of gun rights, traditional marriage and Michigan's right-to-work law. She calls herself “100 percent pro-life without exception.”

Her support for the Life at Conception Act raises tricky questions about human development and protection of the unborn that inform much of the oft-contentious debate over abortion.

Paul's proposed legislation provides protection “for the right to life of each born and preborn human person” and defines that to include “each member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.” There is considerable disagreement over whether a fertilized egg – which scientists call a zygote – fits that description. Development of this organism into a fetus cannot happen until it travels through the fallopian tube and attaches to the uterine wall, a process which typically takes several days.

A significant percentage of fertilized eggs – which some estimate at 50 percent – never implant in the uterus and die. At 21 days, the embryo is about one-twelfth of an inch long. If “human person” is defined as beginning at the moment of fertilization, then use of common forms of birth control, including the pill and intrauterine device, could be construed as violation of the proposed act's protection.

The pill works primarily by preventing ovulation, but it is possible it makes it harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus. The IUD works primarily by preventing fertilization but also by preventing implantation in the uterus. In theory, passage of a Life at Conception Act would not only ban all abortion but also common forms of birth control.

By logical extension, it could pose further questions about the right of parents to decide the fate of hundreds of thousands of frozen embryos at fertility clinics around the country.

The call: Warning

Debate over abortion, the rights of the mother, what constitutes human life and protection of the unborn is never easy and seldom devoid of strong emotion. There is no reason to doubt that Gamrat's statement of support for a Life at Conception Act is sincere and deeply held. It is a philosophic and moral point of view shared by many, including the Catholic Church. But the act's definition of what constitutes a human being may oversimplify scientific understanding of human development. If enforced, it would impinge on the right of women to exercise common forms of birth control.

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Comments

Barry Visel
Tue, 07/29/2014 - 10:44am
Does anyone else see a contradiction between believing in liberty and the pursuit of happiness and still wanting to define marriage? I sympathize with a Tea Party limited government approach, but to me that means government needs to stay out of our private life choices, including marriage and a women's right over her choices. We can account for our moral choices through our individual belief systems when the time comes.
Duane
Sun, 08/03/2014 - 8:56pm
Barry, I would seem that first you would need to seperate religion definition from civil definition and ask what the purpose of each would be. I would offer that they are seperate and have different purposes. Once you have accept the difference then you would need to decide which you what to discuss. It would seem that the religious definition really isn't open to debate because you would need to look to the source and accept they each sect has its protocols for changing their definitions and if you are not part of that religion then I doubt you would have any standing. If you want to talk about the civil definition that I would suggest you need to change the nomenclature. Rather than marriage (I believe a term establish by religions groups long before governments corrupted it) I would say it would be more appropriate to describe it as a civil union since it is under civil laws. Once you have accept it is civil union then you would be to describe the purpose of applicable laws. I believe the problem in the political arena is that the politicians and political activitists purposely avoid the distinction to create striff and emotionalize the issue for political and financial gain. I was married in a religious ceremony , thay was accept by the city and state as meeting the minimum criteria for establishing a union with legal standing. The purpose of marriage in the church was the encouragement of children and family and promoting a long-term stability for the children. The city and state acceptance was to provide a entity for legal purposes (with little or no regard toward children or to the longevity of the union). Which do you want to address the religious marriage or the civil union?
Barry
Tue, 07/29/2014 - 1:48pm
Why not define life as beginning at ejaculation! Every 14 year old boy would be tried for murder and the Great State of Texas would be happy to host their execution.
Matt
Tue, 07/29/2014 - 6:52pm
Clearly you failed high school biology.
Barry
Wed, 07/30/2014 - 8:37am
Mart, Obviously you are not aware that"Life" can be defined at nearly any level in the biological chain, including the unorganized chemical soup at the very beginning of our planet. The definition is arbitrary and capricious, which was my point.
Barry
Wed, 07/30/2014 - 8:40am
Mart, Obviously you are not aware that "Life" can be defined at nearly any level in the biological chain, including the unorganized chemical soup at the very beginning of our planet. Any definition of the beginning of life is arbitrary and capricious, which was my point.
Barry
Wed, 07/30/2014 - 8:49am
Sorry about the triple posting. Bridge kept giving me a server error message
Barry
Wed, 07/30/2014 - 8:46am
Matt, Obviously you are not aware that "Life" can be defined at nearly any level in the biological chain, including the unorganized chemical soup at the very beginning of our planet. Any definition of the beginning of life is arbitrary and capricious, which was my point.
Mrs A
Tue, 07/29/2014 - 5:25pm
This candidate has put herself out on a single issue limb, guaranteeing she will fail. What is the point? Beyond, of course, speaking to an extremely narrow base of frightened busybodies who do not grasp the irony of being "pro-life" as well as "pro-gun". What does any of her emotional (most women would say irrational) position have to do with FIXING THE ROADS?
Susie
Tue, 07/29/2014 - 6:59pm
Please keep your nose out of the uteruses of all the women upon whom you are piling your beliefs. Spend your energy on the already born who may need a helping hand in areas such as education, fresh food, health care, or stories read! As a state we have a long way to go to ensure the health and well being of babies, toddlers, and school age children. Women who choose abortion are not anti child; rather, they are pro choice and in most cases eager to do the best they can for the already born.
Brenda Redding
Wed, 07/30/2014 - 9:19am
So, if we are to defend every conception, perhaps we should extend this philosophy to the animals and stop killing every other species @ random. Let us protect the Great Apes, Elephants, Bears, deer, all the dogs and cats......Earth is overrun by humans at the peril of every other species.
Byron
Wed, 07/30/2014 - 7:22pm
Brenda Redding. I totally agree with you!
J Hendricks
Sun, 08/03/2014 - 4:20pm
Once the human zygote is formed we have the earliest result of the combined DNA from a male and female. This is life; it is human life; it is unique - never to be repeated - human life. This is elementary science. Believe is abortion if you find it convenient for your lifestyle, but don't hide from what you are advocating - the clinical killing of a unique human life (maybe the next Salk or Einstein!) Sad that western civilization has been reduced to this view that we are all just interchangeable numbers.