FoxNews Uses Misleading, Anti-Science Headline Comparing Persons to Eggs

FoxNews typically does a better job than most mainstream media of portraying the abortion issue in a “fair and balanced” way.

But not this time.

FoxNews originally ran a story earlier today about the Mississippi Personhood Amendment with the headline:

“Push to Declare a Human Egg a ‘Person’ Offers New Tack on Abortion Debate”

FoxNews later changed the headline and switched “Human” for “Fertilized” in front of Egg.

Sadly, FoxNews has fallen into a trap the pro-abortion movement tries to use, claiming that pro-lifers believe a human egg is a person and that we want human eggs to receive legal protection. This is completely false, because pro-lifers actually know their biology and are proud to use science when making our case for protecting the dignity and right to life of the unborn.

First of all, there is a world of difference between an unfertilized female egg in a woman’s ovary and a fertilized egg that has combined with a male sperm to create a totally unique individual of the human species. “Fertilized egg” itself is a misleading phrase, and a host of scientific literature agrees that “a fertilized egg is an embryo.” Eggs don’t develop into human beings. Embryos do. And healthy embryos, when given the protection of their mother’s womb, will naturally develop in a continuous process over the coming months into a baby capable of living and breathing outside its mother’s womb. That’s science.

One of the most effective examples I’ve seen employed to underscore how people naturally acknowledge that there is something unique and special about an embryo is this: “If a human embryo is just a clump of cells would you be willing to eat a hundred embryos if I gave them to you on a spoon?”

Obviously such a proposition is revolting to us, but what we have to ask ourselves is why? The simple explanation is that we intuitively know that a human embryo is a human being — they are part of our human community and deserve our care and protection.

That’s why it’s misleading to call a tiny human being a “fertilized egg” — because it’s no longer an egg! It’s a human being with the same basic DNA makeup as the rest of us. It would be like calling one of our friends a “metabolized organism” — sure in one technical sense it may be accurate, but it misses the most important aspect of what makes human beings who they are. And what’s most important about human beings is who we are, not what stage of development we happen to be in the process of completing.

FoxNews is right to cover this important topic, but they are wrong when they use language that dehumanizes and diminishes the moral dimension of what the voters of Mississippi will soon decide – whether or not all human beings deserve dignity and the right to life, or only some do.



  • Jen

    Hey Thomas,
    I caught that silly FOX headline, too. What nonsense. However, you might want to rethink your own phrasing here, too: “Eggs don’t develop into human beings. Embryos do.”

    I know what you meant, but the fact is, an embryo already IS a new human being. That, of course, is the crux of the sanctity of life. Life begins at conception, and at that very moment, a new human being exists.

  • charlotte

    When oral contraceptives were invented and marketed, the drug companies changed the term of pregnancy from, the time of fertilization to when the fertilized egg implants in the uterine wall. This is because OCP’s cause abortions in other words OCP’s cause a hostile enviroment to the new formed human DNA. I would expound more, but I am racing out of the house.

  • Gerry

    It is my personal belief that when a fertilized ovum actually attaches itself to the uterine wall, life begins. when this happens, the potential for life begins.

    • Thomas Peters

      Gerry, by that logic, would a person who cannot survive except when attached to a ventilator or dialysis machine not be “alive”? Because they do not have a self-sufficient potential for life?

    • laura p

      Gerry, On what basis do you make this conclusion?

    • Tom

      “my personal belief”
      That is the problem.
      Human life does not depend on one’s gut sence of “thruthiness”.

  • Irene

    Based on your headline Thomas you make is sound as if Fox News “intentionally” tried to mislead the public. I personally believe it was just a poor choice of words, and poor editing.

  • Leslie

    If you’re going to talk biology, you need to get it right. There are several stages before the new life is called an embryo. Here’s the process according to a great site on the stages of pregnancy at

    This is during week 2 (it is counted this way because they use the date of the mother’s last period to count the pregnancy weeks since the time of fertilization cannot be determined.)

    Over the next ten to 30 hours, the sperm’s nucleus will merge with the egg’s as they combine their genetic material. If the sperm carries a Y chromosome, your baby will be a boy; if it’s an X chromosome, you’ll be welcoming a girl. During the three- to four-day trip from your Fallopian tube to your uterus, the fertilized egg (now called a ZYGOTE) will divide into 16 identical cells. Once it enters the uterus, the zygote is called a MORULA. A day or two later, it will begin burrowing into the lush lining of your uterus, continuing its amazing growth and transformation.

    Week 3:
    By this time your developing baby is just a little ball of cells that’s officially referred to by scientists as a BLASTOCYST: It has an inner cell mass that will become (in Week 4) the EMBRYO itself, a fluid-filled cavity that will become the amniotic sac, and an outer cell mass that will become the placenta, the pancake-shaped organ that delivers life-sustaining oxygen and nutrients to your baby and carries away her waste products.

    • Steve Pokorny

      Small correction to your comment Leslie: We CAN know the approximate time of fertilization (w/in 24 hours) if a couple is knowledgable about charting their acts of intercourse and use that knowledge to recognize when new life has been conceived. That’s just part of the science behind NFP.

    • Whitney

      How about this. Let’s call it what it is from second #1 of fertilization: A baby. A child. A human being. Liberal scientists come up with so many new words just to avoid calling new life by its real name. We don’t need to help them along in the dehumanizing process of unborn life. This is not a time to be politically correct or “scientifically precise.”

      • laura p

        Whitney, there is nothing wrong with naming different stages of development. This is what scientists do, so that they can use precise language to study and accurately describe each stage. The problem comes when people hijack the precise scientific terms to fit their own ends and refuse to acknowledge that, as you say, at each of these stages what is being discussed is a real, live human baby. In the end, correctly understood science is on the pro-life side, which becomes obvious when all the competing ideologies are put aside long enough to look at what the science actually says.

        • Whitney

          The Truth found in the Catholic religion always trumps science. Always.

      • Tom

        Not to call a fertilized egg a live human being is not only not precise, it is not even scientific.



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