So when does LIFE BEGIN?

Here’s what renowned Geneticist Dr. Jerome Lejeune had to say about the matter.

Maryville is one of the most significant intervention by Jérôme Lejeune.

Jérôme Lejeune at Maryville

Listen to him reminding that experience.

“During the week of August 15, I received a phone call from Mr. Palmer, one of my American friends.”

He told me,

“I’ve read in the paper that a trial is being held during the next few days in Maryville, Tennessee. It’s a divorce. A young woman named Mary was sterile because her tubes were completely blocked. She was artificially inseminated, but it didn’t work; then they tried in vitro fertilization. Two of the embryos were implanted in her uterus, and unfortunately they didn’t survive. Seven others were frozen.

It’s a divorce proceeding; apparently the couple couldn’t cope with another failure when the two children didn’t make it to term, or with the idea of having their children in a freezer. In the end they filed for divorce. They’re in complete agreement on dividing up their property—the apartment, the car—but not about the children. The husband is asking that they be eliminated; the wife is asking to be granted custody of them so that she can bring them into the world. Do you want to come and testify in Maryville? […] Testify that these are human beings, because under US law, a divorce case covers only two categories: Either the embryos are assets that can be liquidated, or they’re children who need to be placed in custody.”
Providence sometimes sends us signs, so I asked him”.

“But what is the young woman really saying?“

“Well, she said, If the courts won’t let me raise my children—she referred to the little frozen embryos as her children—then at least I want to prevent them from being killed. And if they won’t give them to me, then at least they should be given to someone else.”

So I said to Palmer:

“All right, in that case, I’m coming. There has already been a ruling in this case. This woman is saying exactly what the real mother said to Solomon. You know, the judgment of Solomon only happens about once every three thousand years as far as I know. If it happens in your lifetime, it’s worth going out of your way to be there.
And so I went to Maryville. The story is hard to believe, but everything I’m saying here is the absolute truth. The woman’s name was Mary. The trial was held in Maryville, and her attorney’s name was Christenberry. I didn’t learn any of this until I arrived.
What happened was utterly extraordinary. The case was causing a stir across the United States for a very specific reason: It was August, and the Loch Ness monster hadn’t yet reappeared. So the trial was front-page news, and there were about 15 live cameras sending full coverage to satellites, which rebroadcast it to the entire country. Oddly enough, I had the impression that people weren’t taking it lightly. They really saw the full importance of it. I won’t give you my entire testimony. It was very simple. My job was to explain, as a geneticist, that we knew that all of the necessary and sufficient information was present at the moment of conception and that there was no doubt that the embryos in question were very young human beings. Extremely young. Incredibly young. But they were beings, and based on their genetic information, we could assert that they were human.
That the embryos had been stored in suspended time—reducing temperature stops molecular movement and ultimately stops time—didn’t change the case at all: Time was suspended for them, but if time were restored to them, they would come back to life. Then I said something very simple to help the judge understand what was at stake. I told him, “These very young human beings are frozen and piled by the thousands into a very confined space where time itself has stopped. They are quite literally in a ‘concentration can.’” Some of the journalists misunderstood the phrase as “concentration camp.” Alliteration may have made it appealing, but it was a gross error: A “concentration camp” is designed to speed death up terribly, while a “concentration can” is designed to slow life down terribly.”

“Both scenarios involve innocents, and it was probably the innocence of the “concentrated” individuals that caused the journalists to confuse “can” and “camp.” And technology makes people willing to accept the concentration of these innocents even though it is no more innocent than what happened in the past, in much larger places, where human beings were packed together in the icy cold, and everything stopped—not just for them but for their future too.”

“The judge deliberated for a long time. His decision filled 40 typewritten pages. I read it carefully, and it is utterly extraordinary. Dale Young, an unknown judge from the tiny jurisdiction of Maryville, outside Knoxville, Tennessee, wrote definitively that for US common law, human beings begin at conception.”

Dr. Jérôme Lejeune
Versailles, 1989

Amongst his many accomplishments, Dr. Lejeune was the man who discovered the errant chromosome that causes Down’s Syndrome. He is a staunch supporter of life and it was actually his discovery that led him to take his stance on Life.

Dr. Lejeune always viewed research as inseparable from treatment, and he was horrified as he gradually realized the consequences that misuse of his discovery would have for babies with Trisomy 21. As the American tendency to eliminate sick unborn children became more prevalent throughout Europe, he wrote,

“They brandish chromosomal racism like the flag of freedom…. That this rejection of medicine—of the whole biological brotherhood that binds the human family—should be the only practical application of our knowledge of Trisomy 21 is beyond heartbreaking….”

It was this realization that drove Jérôme Lejeune to begin his fight for life.

Read more about the good doctor at:

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