Tuesday 4 March 2008

Chimp or person?

Mexico's former attorney general and ex-chairman of that country's human rights commission has reportedly said that early unborn children are chimpanzees. Dr Jorge Carpizo McGregor cited scientific discovery as a reason for his opinion. Dr Carpizo's apparent view reminds me of something said by the late Professor Jérôme Lejeune (pictured), the world-renowned geneticist who discovered the cause of Down's syndrome. In testimony to the US senate's judiciary subcommittee, he said: "[I]f at the beginning, just after conception, days before implantation, a single cell was removed from the little berry-looking individual, we could cultivate that cell and examine its chromosomes. If a student, looking at it under the microscope, could not recognize the number, the shape and the banding pattern of these chromosomes, if he was not able to tell safely whether it comes from a chimpanzee being or from a human being, he would fail in his examination." [California Prolife, 2000]