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Jack Sisson's Life Ethics Blog

We must find new ways through many ethical issues, especially regarding bioethics, medical ethics, and criminal justice. Jack Sisson's 'Life Ethics' blog focuses on numerous areas of concern, including the philosophical and ethical dilemmas surrounding stem-cell research, abortion, medical research, and health care.

 
I just found another interesting theory about the beginning of human life. The author, Doyle Doss, in an open letter to President Bush on the ReligiousTolerance.org site, suggests the presence of blood in the embryo signals the onset of personhood. Recognizing that this occurs at about 18 - 21 days, and allowing for a four-day safety net, he arrives at Day 14 as the cut-off date for ethical stem-cell extraction.

Coincidentally, or maybe not, the 14th day is also when embryos develop the "primitive streak."
The streak eventually develops in to the embryo's brain and central nervous system. Some suggest "...that an embryo should not be regarded as a unique individual before this point," because it can spontaneously split into two embryos with identical DNA, and lead to the birth of identical twins. Fourteen days is also longest interval that an embryo can be maintained in culture. Regulations in many countries cite 14 days as the limit for scientific research.

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that we have often used the "twins" argument when answering proponents of the "human life begins at conception" theory. Doss also uses the importance of blood in the Christian faith as one of his persuasive arguments:
My point being, Mr. President, that there is no blood in an embryo until many days after conception, and if there is no blood, and "the life is in the blood," then it would seem to follow that until there is blood there is no life.*

*Leviticus 17:11 -- Actual quote from King James version: For the life of the flesh is in the blood.

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