Monday, June 02, 2008

Life Before Roe

As a developmental biologist (albeit one working strictly with invertebrates), I spend a lot of time looking at developing embryos and trying to figure out, at both a philosophical and biological level, when the little egg in my microscope stops being an egg and starts being a little sea urchin/sea star/tunicate/worm/whatever. The consequences of these musings have relevance for debates about abortions in humans and that age-old question of when life begins. Someday I'll say something more about this. But what I rarely consider is the other half of the equation, namely what is it like for the parents who have to choose whether or not to allow an embryo to make that murky transition between ball of cells and a human life.

An essay today in the New York Times addresses that question, in not so many words, far better than I could have. I encourage you to have a look.

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