Repeating Lies about Embryos Doesn’t Make Them True

Written by Deborah Canepa, Ph.D., ORTLEF president

“Everyone knows the human embryo is just a clump of cells.”

The comment came from a woman who stopped by our pro-life fair booth at the Washington County Fair this summer. She had just informed one of our volunteers that the information in our booth was incorrect. 

Rather than immediately defending our materials, our volunteer wisely asked which materials were wrong. After some hesitation, the woman objected to the depiction of our human embryos models as the physically intricate beings they are.

When it was first reported to me, I was astounded by the ignorance of this woman. However, on reflection, I realized that the constant repetition of a lie can obtain a certain aura of truth over time. And this is one of the oldest lies that pro-abortion advocates tell to make abortion more palatable. “It is just a clump of cells, so don’t worry about what an abortion does” is the line many women have been told when facing an unsupported pregnancy. 

This lie is easily contested by examining an embryology textbook or even looking up embryonic development on the internet. So why tell such a whopper to begin with? Because most people never check out things that they want to believe.

As a teacher of embryology for many years, I want to defend the humanity of the unborn child, in particular, the embryonic child. The embryonic period of human development lasts from fertilization until the end of the eighth week of development. During this short time period, the developing human grows from a single cell into a multicellular organism, with the beginnings of most essential external and internal structures. It is truly a remarkable journey. 

Here is a partial list of what male and female embryos contain at eight weeks:

– four-chambered heart pumping blood throughout his or her body

– brain and spinal cord

– eyes, ears and nose

– lungs, liver, kidneys, spleen, GI tract and pancreas

– muscles and bones

– upper and lower limbs, including elbows, knees, hands and feet, along with separated toes and fingers

This little embryo is very small (27-30 millimeters in length), but we should marvel at the intricacies of her tiny body. 

Don’t allow pro-abortion advocates to get away with the “clump of cells” lie. Speak up and defend these tiny babies with scientific facts. They have no voice yet, so they depend on yours.


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