Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Reproductive Lesson

Hello everyone! In case you haven't heard, there are some politicians who support an amendment to the Constitution of the United States that says life begins at conception. Mitt Romney went on Mike Huckabee's show and stated that he supports it. He also said it at an Iowa town hall meeting when asked about birth control. Obviously, he was mistaken as to how babies are made. That's why I'm writing this post, so that I can inform the uninformed!

First of all, both a sperm and an egg are already alive. To rephrase, they are already living cells. When they come together, this is called conception, they join to form a fertilized egg or zygote. They do not create new life, they become something else that is also living.

The zygote (pictured) then travels down the fallopian tubes and into the uterus. While the zygote is traveling, it divides into different cells. Once the zygote starts dividing, it is called an embryo.

When the embryo reaches the uterus, it implants in the uterine wall and starts to divide more rapidly.
Approximately 60% of embryos do not implant, and are flushed out during a woman's menstrual cycle.
When an embryo fails to reach the uterus but implants somewhere else, this is called an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies almost never get carried to full term because they are seriously dangerous to the mother's health.

Hormonal birth control works in several different ways. First, birth control can stop the production of eggs by a woman. Second, if that doesn't happen, the birth control thickens the mucus membrane around the cervix to make it difficult for the sperm to reach an egg. Third, if none of that works, the hormones from the pill/patch/IUD/ring/shot prohibit the embryo from implanting in the uterus, thereby not allowing the embryo to grow into a baby.

The reason that we need to know these things is because of what is going on in the government right now. An amendment that states that life begins at conception would outlaw all forms of hormonal birth control, which 98% of sexually active women have used or are using for one reason or another that don't necessarily have to do with not getting pregnant.

Making a fertilized egg a person, which is what Mitt Romney and other politicians want to do, will outlaw this birth control. This will force women who don't want children to remain celibate or use condoms. Not that either of these are horrible things, condoms are effective in preventing pregnancy 98% of the time when used correctly and they are the only form of contraception to prevent STDs. Celibacy is great if you wish to remain abstinent until marriage or just don't want to have sex. However, I think that women would like to have some form of input as to what they do with their bodies.

A NOW intern

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this wonderful lesson on reproduction! Either lawmakers have no idea how reproduction works or they've become even more heinous than I ever imagined possible.