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The Facts of Life : Science and the Abortion Controversy - Harold J. Morowitz

The Facts of Life

Science and the Abortion Controversy

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In The Facts of Life, Harold Morowitz and James Trefil, two distinguished scientists and science writers, examine what modern biology can contribute to our understanding of the abortion debate. Sensitive to the myriad ethical and religious arguments beyond the realm of science that swirl around abortion, the authors focus on one crucial question--when does a fetus acquire "humanness," that quality that sets us apart from all other living things. While humans are linked via cell structure and cell chemistry with all life on our planet--from monkeys to fruit flys to pumpkins--it is the human brain structure which makes us who we are. Reviewing the latest advances in molecular biology, evolutionary biology, embryology, neurophysiology, and neonatology--fields that all bear on this question--the authors reveal a surprising consensus of scientific opinion; that humanness begins around the twenty-forth week of gestation when connections needed for brain function are finally made. A fascinating inquiry, moving across various scientific disciplines, The Facts of Life makes a valuable contribution to the continuing abortion controversy, and offers a fascinating glimpse of what makes us uniquely human.

Industry Reviews

"A remarkable book on several levels, not the least of which is that Morowitz and Trefil are scientists and science writers who write in an accessible, provocative, and wonderfully frank way about a difficult subject--abortion....An essential piece of literature."--Los Angeles Times Book Review "The Facts of Life makes important contributions to the tendentious debate about abortion....Should be indispensable to that vast majority of citizens who are troubled by the simplistic polemics that have (mis)informed much of the debate."--Joshua Lederberg, The Rockefeller University "The women of America owe Professor Morowitz and Trefil a debt of gratitude. Their careful scientific review cuts through the hype and hyperbole in the abortion debate and gives us a new perspective on the future of this debate. Fascinating!"--Ann Stone, Republicans for Choice "Will disturb some, appeal to others, but interest all who wish to learn more about fetal development and its relevance to abortion issues."--Dominick P. Purpura, M.D., Dean, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University "Well-written and informative and will create much needed discussion of and reflection on the issue of abortion." --Laurence A. LArson, Ohio University, Science Books and Films

1.: Framing the debate 2.: The web of life 3.: Conception 4.: The emergence of humanness 5.: The development of the fetus 6.: The birth of the cortex 7.: Survival outside the womb: Hitting the wall 8.: Conclusions

ISBN: 9780195090468
ISBN-10: 0195090462
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 190
Published: 1st January 1996
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.2 x 12.7  x 1.5
Weight (kg): 0.23