Guest Column

Hillary got it right

On April 5th, 2016, Hillary Clinton got it right.  Her statement brought criticism from the right and the left, but she was right.  During an interview on Meet The Press with Chuck Todd, Hillary referred to the unborn fetus as “the unborn person…a child”.   Science, embryology, and technology support this.  To say that the unborn is just “tissue” is to deny the facts.  

When Roe v. Wade passed in 1973, ultrasound technology was in the early stages of development.  The machines were bulky, the images grainy.  It wasn’t until the 1980s that ultrasound technology was able to move into the clinical and office settings.   Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) was not available until 1977, and it was not widely utilized until much later.

Now we have Micro-MRI technology, fetoscopy, and scanning electron microscopes that can photograph minuscule details of a sperm fertilizing an ovum (egg), cell division and embryonic development.  The Human Genome project wasn’t completed until April of 2003.  The rapid advances in science and technology since that time have helped us better understand the cellular activity from the early pluripotent stem cell that differentiates into highly specialized cells.  Just like a newborn child needs someone to feed him/her, the child developing in the uterus does get nutrients from the mother.  Otherwise this child is fully/internally programed for its own development.

From the time of conception, the developing child has its own unique DNA blueprint that programs every intricate, minute detail beginning with the initial cell division all the way through intrauterine development, birth, childhood and into old age.

According to Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei, a biotech consultant, it would take you approximately 50 years, at a rate of 60 words/minute for 8 hours a day, to type the the human genome, taking up 3 gigabytes of storage space.1   That’s a lot of information.  Research has pulled back the curtain to reveal how DNA programming causes signaling molecules, transcription molecules and growth factors to stimulate growth and development at a specific rate and order, as well as feedback to slow or stop growth.  At the end of the first month the size of the developing child in the womb increases 10,000x.  In fact, without these internal feedback mechanisms, if growth continued at this rate, the child would weigh 1.5 tons at birth!2  Ouch!.

It is absolutely amazing to see a transvaginal ultrasound at 5-6 weeks gestation, when the size of the baby is about the size of a sesame seed or lentil.  You can see the heart beat!   In fact, embryologist Dr. Keith Moore, in his book entitled, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (10th ed, 2015), states, “By the end of the third week, the blood is circulating, and the heart begins to beat on the 21st or 22nd day.  The cardiovascular system is the first organ system to reach a functional state.”  Before many women know they are pregnant, there is a heart beat.  As this child grows into adulthood, the heart will continue to beat on average 100,000 times a day, about 3 billion heartbeats over an average lifetime, over about 60,000 miles in length.3

The developing ‘person’/’child’ in the womb is no clump of tissue.  This is a miraculous life.  Even the renowned atheist, Christopher Hitchens, understood this.  He noted,  “ ‘Unborn child’ seems to me to be a real concept.  It’s not a growth or an appendix” (Newsweek,12/8/08).  In a YouTube discussion he said, “It seems to me obvious from the discoveries of biology and embryology that the concept of ‘unborn child’ is a real one.”4

So, it may have been an unintended slip-up on her part, but Hillary was right when she referred to the unborn as a “person.”   We can no longer ignore the facts.  To deny this is to deny science.  It doesn’t matter whether a woman has a medical abortion (pill) or a surgical abortion, in either case a heart is stopped and a life ends.  Is this life any less valuable than yours?


  1. Lei, HH.  Eye On DNA:  100 Facts about DNA (August 2007). Retrieved from
  2. Tsiaras, A. (Nov 14, 2011).  Retrieved from
  3. National Geographic Science: Heart.  Retrieved from
  4. Christopher Hitchens Opposes Abortion (October 31, 2012).  Retrieved from

Additional Resources:

  1. Nilsson, L, & Hamberger, L.  A Child is Born. Delacorte Press, Sept 2003.

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