Were you ever a fetus? How about an embryo? Or a zygote? The answer to these questions are yes, yes, and yes. Now, one more question: Were you ever a “fertilized egg”? The answer to this question is no. It’s no more accurate to say you were once an egg than to say you were once a sperm. Once an egg is fertilized â€” that is, once fertilization (also called conception) occurs â€” it’s no longer an egg. At that point, a genetically distinct human being is created, and this new life is properly called a zygote â€” a fact that, for what it’s worth, even Wikipedia recognizes: In other words, there is no such thing as a fertilized egg.
Thomas Peters wrote this week at Live Action about the mainstream media’s latest incorrect use of the term “fertilized egg”. In this case, it was Fox News that characterized the Mississippi Personhood Amendment as an attempt to “declare a fertilized egg a ‘person'”. Even worse, an earlier version of the headline said “human egg” instead of “fertilized egg”! This illustrates why the use of proper terminology is so important to the abortion debate. It’s easy to think of a so-called “fertilized egg” as having little or no intrinsic worth or dignity, as the term is quite literally depersonalizing. After all, if abortion destroys that-which-is-not-a-person, then it’s merely the moral equivalent of having a tooth pulled. Except, of course, it isn’t.
Who Knew That “Fertilized Egg” Was Inaccurate?
I’ll admit that up until several years ago, I myself used the term “fertilized egg” in conversations about early human development until a fellow pro-lifer plainly pointed out that once an egg is fertilized, it’s no longer an egg. In my experience, I’ve also come across other pro-lifers who have also used the term “fertilized egg”, unaware of its inaccuracy, and I’ve had to explain to them what I previously had explained to me. All this is to say that there is a need for us as pro-lifers to continually educate not only the general public, and not only pro-choicers, but also our fellow pro-lifers.