Pro-Life: fertilized eggs immediately human beings?

Today, a Facebook friend posted the following, and it has me stumped on what the Catholic response is; how do we Catholics understand something like this?

*"‘In nature, 50 percent of all fertilized eggs are lost before a woman’s missed menses.’
That does not count the number of blastocysts and embryos that spontaneously abort after implantation. Estimates are that 70% - 80% of fertilized eggs (in humans) do not survive, the vast majority being lost within the first trimester.

If one believes in a God who is all-knowing and all-powerful who created nature and made it work the way that it does, and if one believes that a fertilized egg has a soul, why would an all-knowing and all-powerful God set up a situation where 70% - 80% of fertilized eggs with souls never saw the light of day? Is God held accountable for such a high rate of abortion?"*

Thoughts? Does this information contain any truth, and if so, how do we respond?
Thanks all!

Yes life begins at conception.

Yes some lives are very short here on earth. They are eternal with God.

We should not be troubled that some people live longer than other people. We respect them all, whether they live one day or one century, or any time in between. Death is a result of Original Sin. Disease and deformities that cause a child to die in utero are a result of a fallen world. It is not accurate to call them abortions in the sense of a procured abortion.

I don’t understand the argument. It’s rather nonsensical. We all die.

The physical process of fertilization and development of the human being is complex, so I wouldn’t be surprised if these statistics are true, considering how difficult it can be to carry a baby to full term. Still, I’d like to see more info on this before accepting these statistics at face value.

If true, it makes me think that we have many more brothers and sisters than we knew we had–not that they aren’t persons. In my own family my mom’s last pregnancy ended when the baby died in her womb. There may have been others we never knew about, but that’s something only God would know.

Why would God allow it? I have to ask, why not? God has not guaranteed that every person conceived would come to birth, grow up and die old. Where is it in Sacred Tradition that he promised those things? Millions of unknown persons have died, if this is true. Only God knows their eternal destiny for he judges justly, not by appearances but by culpability, etc. Perhaps the best thing for these souls was to never come into the light of day at birth, but that was for God to decide, not us. We cannot and should not guess at God’s purposes since we don’t know them, so speculating would be fruitless. Still, God is love, so he must have a purpose that was for their best interest.

Such statistics are put out mainly to try to make the case for abortion on demand–because, the logic goes, if even God doesn’t allow the birth of such persons, it must be all right for us to take their lives as we see fit? Hardly. God is God and knows the destiny of every living being, human or otherwise. That is in his hands. We, however, cannot take to ourselves powers that belong to God alone–especially when we are doing it for our self-interest, nor for the so-called “best interest of the child.” I could go on, but I don’t want to take the thread off topic and start an endless, useless debate over quality of life, etc.

Your friend’s argument is like saying choosing to kill any human adult is fine since there are accidental deaths all the time. God allows car crashes, cancer, tornadoes, and he allows for people to overdose and step off cliffs. Human vulnerability doesn’t mean we, then, can choose how to end lives.

My logic and reasoning may be off, but that’s how I read your friend’s post.

If your friend wants to argue that embryos aren’t human life or are disposable based on human choice, she must argue there is something inherent to the embryo’s nature that makes it not deserving of dignity and protection. Some human life die naturally at 8 months in the womb. Does that justify a human ability to take away human life at 8 months in the womb? See the argument, I think, doesn’t really hold much ground.

I’m curious as to how they get that number, and what population provides their data points.

Looking around, I see things like:

Researchers collected daily urine samples for up to six months from 221 healthy N.C. women attempting to conceive after stopping contraception, he said. Of 199 conceptions, enough information was available on 189 for analysis.

Of those 189 pregnancies, 141 lasted at least six weeks past the last menstrual cycle, and the other 48 ended in early loss, the scientist said. Among pregnancies lasting six weeks or more, the first detectable rise in the level of a hormone known as chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) – an indicator of successful attachment of a fertilized egg to the uterus wall – occurred six to 12 days after ovulation.

So-- I’d be curious how those numbers compare to, say, healthy women who haven’t had a history of putting artificial hormones into their bodies. While there are always anecdotes about women who get pregnant while on the pill, there are some women have to wait six months, and others have to wait 12 or 18 months before their bodies are back to normal. How much of that affects their early losses? How many of these other studies rely on populations of women who have trouble getting pregnant in the first place?

Most women lose an unfertilized egg every month, but it wasn’t until 1928 that the human ovum was discovered. I’m pretty skeptical about random numbers being thrown around like “50 percent of all fertilized eggs are lost” in the first, say, two weeks.

Well stated.

First, for me personally, any time people quote statistics like this- in any topic- I’m leery immediately because, if one has been around long enough to know and realize it yet, they are often cooked (made up, or rounded to match current theory or viewpoint of those funding so called research). It just happens WAY TOO MUCH these days, so I’m not really buying these numbers… but just in case its true…

Secondly, so what? So what if its true. Its God’s business what he wants to do with souls… maybe he’s just making up for all those aborted babies he lost to people who didn’t know any better what they were doing. (I’m being crass and sarcastic here- please forgive me). But really, ultimately this says nothing. We don’t even know why those fertilized eggs are being spontaneously aborted- like maybe its the mother’s accidental fault for having a bad diet, eating junk food- like caffeine setting chemicals off, or took a medication by accident that caused it. ???. Why is it already thrown on God for the loss? Even if its “naturally” occurring- murders naturally occur too! (After all, its natural to get angry!) As do earthquakes and tornadoes and wildfires that kill people- and even kill pregnant people. Its a part of nature.

This is basically the same argument as “if God exists why is there so much evil and turmoil in the world that he allows”? As if they are thinking if a fertilized egg is a soul already and God is supposed to and will specifically and specially protect fertilized eggs (human babies) in the womb from natural ‘disasters’??? And that somehow means there was no soul there when they pass? Most mothers who loose a baby in their womb grieve. I’m not sure telling them it had no soul would even make a lot of sense to them let along COMFORT them on their loss or stop their grieving. In fact it would be kind of downright sick- and rude- to suggest it, or suggest to the suffering mother she should get over it as it was a nothing, it had no soul.

Why did God let the baby of Bathsheba and King David die? That baby had a soul right? By their logic, we can conclude that that baby didn’t have a soul because it died? Because God took it away? (Even King David didn’t believe so- He grieved and said he would meet the child in heaven one day.)

Whether inside the womb or outside, its the same thing, they just don’t want to believe life starts at conception. They only want to believe in a God if all is happy pleasant and heavenly in this world. We can’t understand the ways of God. The question seems to try and set up some sort of logic that is flawed by not having an understanding of the Christian beliefs of God- as in, why is there suffering in this world, why is there loss?

This person doesn’t seem to understand the nature of God or the nature of humanity. God is not “accountable” to anyone, least of all to humanity. However, humanity is accountable to God on His own terms, not on whatever arbitrary terms any given person might come up with.

If life begins at conception, then it’s time to modify U.S. tax law to conform to that belief and allow unborn babies to be claimed as dependents. Why hasn’t personhood of the unborn been codified into U.S. law?

The percentage of pregnancies that end in spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) is not trivial. However, that is Nature’s/God’s business, and it is not for us to expand that into something that we should be allowed to do ourselves. Catholic1seeks and 1neophyte are quite correct.

As concerns those who claim that the fertilized human ovum is not a human being, it is up to them to scientifically prove that assertion, and to identify what the fertilized human ovum is, if it is not a human being. If that cannot be proven scientifically, then we must assume that it is a human being, and give it the same protections that are given to other human beings.

(I know that I am largely preaching to the choir here, but every now and then I have to articulate my thoughts on the subject.)

Yes, it is a unique human being with genetic material from the mother and father.

Spontaneous loss and miscarriages are not intentional. God looks at our intentions. Such things are not willed by us.


In nature, 50 percent of all fertilized eggs are lost before a woman’s missed menses.’

My question was how do they know this? So I did a little digging. Because something doesn’t sound right. I found out their statistics come from invitro fertilization experiments. They took frozen embroyos. So their statistics don’t really represent what happens ‘in the wild’ so to speak. It is about how many fertilized eggs survived invitro fertilization in their particular experiment . And some people have generalized this to all humans.

Ultimately, God is the one who knows what fertilized egg will be successful and he is the one who breathes the human soul there. (Note how the abortionists only go after the successful ones).

It is not up to us to judge such matters, but up to God, who breathes the living soul in the body.

Even if we don’t know when it becomes a person it would be immoral to kill it, because it could be.

It sounds about right. Women have a 20 percent chance of getting pregnant in a single month. Or think about it like this, a woman has about a 1 in 5 chance of getting pregnant; in other words once in a 5 month time span. Within a year a woman has about 2 good chances to get pregnant. This is why experts say that if a woman under 35 cannot get pregnant within a year she should go see a doctor. So in 5 menstrual cycles 3 will be a misses and 2 will be successfully fertilized. Out of those 2 only 1 will be a successful implantation. This is assuming the woman is healthy and fertile. The older a woman is the harder it is for her to become pregnant. More and more women are postponing motherhood until later in life. What I find sad is all the discarded feminine hygiene products that probably have an embryo on them.

At any rate, your friend seems to be mix the belief in God with the belief that abortion is wrong. Setting God aside, it is the responsibility of humanity to protect human life. If your friend is an atheist he/she must acknowledge that humanity needs morals. And if humans are left to set those morals who then is right and who is wrong? If abortion is right, why not infanticide? Why not murder? Why not slavery which restricts life? Why not support eugenics? You cannot support the destruction of one life while opposing the destruction of another. A civilization that supports abortion is one that embraces death.

How come your link doesn’t work?

I tend to agree. Populations must matter. I know a lot about my fertility due to NFP.

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