Letter to the editor: Nov 10, 2011

Story by Tony Pistilli

I was frustrated by the unfair and artless treatment of the proposed “personhood” amendments in the Nov. 3 editorial.

While its opinion is well-received, the incorrect and unfair review of the facts at hand merits response.  The article’s unresearched statements of supposed scientific fact were particularly egregious.  Two crucial and scientifically distinct terms crucial to the discussion, “fertilization” and “pregnancy,” were vaguely intertwined.  Pregnancy was correctly defined as beginning at implantation, which is in distinction to the time of fertilization, the uniting of sperm and egg, which occurs up to twelve days prior.

Further, the honest comprehensive review the editorial forwent reveals resounding scientific agreement concerning at which of these two points human life begins.  One textbook (The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th ed.) states, “human development begins at fertilization … A zygote is the beginning of a new human being.”

“Birth control”, medically defined as anything which “prevents pregnancy” (implantation), may work by somehow destroying an already fertilized embryo (a human being).  A Food and Drug Administration  online Q and A on the “Plan B” drug states that it may work, “by preventing attachment (implantation) to the uterus”, thereby disposing of a fertilized embryo.  While the effects of the drug are not comprehensively understood by anyone, the possibility of causing abortion is scientific enough to be mentioned by the FDA, both important facts which were omitted.  Saying there is “no science to back that up” is grossly irresponsible.

The amendment constitutionally includes the unborn in legal definitions of “human being” and “person,” but the legal effects of this action are not well understood by anyone, including many pro-life organizations, an important disclaimer which was omitted.  The editorial’s flippant and single-minded treatment of the intricate legal ramifications of the amendment were shallow and often incorrect.


-Tony Pistilli

President, UWEC Students for L.I.F.E