Dakota Voice is reviewing the Report of the South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion, in light of the upcoming November vote on Initiated Measure 11 to end most abortions in South Dakota. Pertinent sections of the report will be reviewed each week for the next several weeks which may shed light on Initiated Measure 11.
Second Week: What Has Been Learned Since the Roe v. Wade
Third Week: The Current Practice of Abortion in South Dakota
Fourth Week: The Experiences of Women Who Have Had Abortions
The following is from Section II.B.2 on the findings of the report: ===================================
DNA fingerprinting and the refinement of it by polymerase chain reaction (PCR)techniques developed in the mid-1990s have proven that each human being is totally unique immediately at fertilization. Dr. Mark explained that the invention and widespread use of the DNA techniques such as restriction enzymes, DNA cloning, DNA sequencing, and Southern Blotting provided scientists with the ability to clone human DNA and study the organization of the genes encoded by DNA. This resulted in many discoveries in the mid-1980s leading to the finding that individual species DNA bands can be observed as a fingerprint of an individual human being. A child’s DNA fingerprint is completely unique.
The invention of the PCR techniques has led to further refinements of the DNA fingerprinting techniques, which has given science the ability to obtain a human being’s DNA fingerprinting – and therefore his or her identity – from a single cell.
There can no longer be any doubt that each human being is totally unique from the very beginning of his or her life at fertilization. (Mark, P. 19-21.)
The significance of methylation of cytosine was unknown until 1985. It has a profound significance in understanding the wholeness or completeness of a human being immediately following conception. Cytosine is one of the four base components of DNA. Methylation of cytosine, just as other methods of gene regulation, is a natural method by which genetic information is periodically silenced or activated for purposes of human development. Understanding how the genetic information contained in each human being’s DNA is activated and how that information is programmed for life is essential to understanding that the human being is whole and complete at fertilization.
A human being at an embryonic age and that human being at an adult age are naturally the same, the biological differences are due only to the differences in maturity. Changes in methylation of cytosine demonstrate that the human being is fully programmed for human growth and development for his or her entire life at the one cell age. (Mark, P. 21-25.)
Although the material messenger RNA initially present in the fertilized egg can provide the basic functions necessary to transcribe the child’s DNA in the initial one or two cell divisions immediately following fertilization, these messenger RNAs are quickly degraded and lost after the first two rounds of cell division, and the housekeeping genes in the child’s own DNA are transcribed into messenger RNA at that point. This newly synthesized RNA directs the program of global demethylation of genes so that they can be activated to replenish the functions lost after the degradation of the maternal RNA. Modern molecular biology has discovered that by the third cell division (long before implantation) all control of growth and development are established by the child’s DNA. This means that immediately after conception, all programming for growth of the human being is self-contained. (Mark, P. 26.)
At the pre-implantation age, the child synthesizes a platelet activating factor (PAF)(discovered by O’Neil in 1991), beginning at the one cell age, that enhances the child’s ability to implant into his or her mother’s uterine wall; and at 7.5 days old, before implantation into the uterus, the child begins to produce an enzyme (IDO) that inhibits the mother’s immune system from attacking and rejecting the child (discovered by Mann, et al in 1998). (Mark, P. 25-26.)
Molecular biology has also revealed information about chemical reactions within the unborn child that assist the child to adjust to its environment and defend itself from painful stimuli. The role of substance P in pain transmission through activation of a sub-population of the primary afferent c nerve fibers has been recently understood and documented in the 1990s.The presence of substance P, known to be a pain transmitter, was not observed in the human being during gestation until the late 1980s. The discoveries concerning neuropeptides, enkephalin and beta-endorphin, pain modulators, natural pain inhibitors, as found in the unborn child, is discussed in Section II-H of this Report, along with studies done in the 1990s that measured fetal plasma cortical and beta endorphin responses to painful stimuli given to the fetus in utero. (Mark, P. 27, 28, Par. 9 to 11.)
The 2005 South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion was created when the South Dakota legislature passed HB 1233 with a bipartisan majority in both houses. The purpose of the task force was “to study abortion and to provide for its composition, scope, and administration.” The report was completed in December 2005 after several months of meetings.