A Memoir of My Graduate Days and My Journey Into Right To Life Issues

C. Ward Kischer
© June 2018
Reproduced with Permission

In 1958 I entered Iowa State University * as a graduate student under the tutelage of Dr. Howard L. Hamilton. He was the author of the revised edition of Lillie's Development of the Chick. (1) Dr. Hamilton was my Major Professor. My interest was to obtain a Ph.D. Degree under Dr. Hamilton with a major in Embryology. Dr. Hamilton obtained his degree from Johns Hopkins University. His Major Professor was Dr. Benjamin Willier of John's Hopkins University. Dr. Willier's Major Professor was Frank R. Lillie of the University of Chicago.

Dr. Hamilton had several graduate students under his direction. Myself and two others studied under Dr. Hamilton at the same time. My two colleagues were Alan L. Allenspach, and Charles W. Gibley. Dr. Hamilton referred to us three as "his all American boys".

While we were graduate students, Dr. Willier visited Dr. Hamilton at Iowa State. Dr. Willier had recently authored the compendium "Analysis of Development". (2) Two others were contributors: Paul Weiss and Viktor Hamburger. Dr. Hamilton had each of us meet with Dr. Willier to discuss our research. However, before we were to meet with Dr. Willier individually, Dr. Hamilton assigned each of us a large portion of "Analysis of Development" to review. Dr. Willier was very affable and attentive to each of us and asked pertinent questions. There were occasions of amusement, but mostly the conversation was on our research. He was very friendly and took quite an interest in our work.

After graduation, Dr. Gibley went into the administration of Podiatric Medicine. Dr. Allenspach became expert in electron microscopy as a research tool. My research became became involved in skin and scarring after injury. I worked closely with surgeons and patients, especially at the Shrine Burns Institute in Galveston, Texas.

In 1979 an article was published in Scientific American entitled: "External Human Fertilization". (3) The author was a frog embryologist, Clifford Grobstein. In this article he introduced the false term "preembryo", which he used to describe the human embryo up to 14 days post-fertilization. As he explained, he did this to reduce the moral status of the human embryo. In his justification for that term, he said the human embryo could divide and produce two or more embryos and that the 14 day embryo did not look like a human being. The profound errors Grobstein ignores may be found in an article I wrote, "The Big Lie in Human Embryology. The Case of the Preembryo." (4) Dr. Dianne Irving has also written an extensive analysis of the errors of Grobstein's article (5).

It is true that I was trained as a Developmental Biologist. But I quickly became oriented in human embryology. Bradley Patten (6) became my original source for technical information followed by a study of the Carnegie Stages, especially the early stages 1 through 4. The Carnegie Stages of Embryonic Development were instituted way back in 1942 by a government department, documented by an international nomenclature committee consisting of 20-24 Ph.D.'s in human embryology from around the world, and updated every year to the present by the international nomenclature authority, FIPAT. (7) Thus anyone who really wanted to know when the lives of sexually reproduced human beings begin to exist didn't have far to search.

There is no doubt in my mind that neither Dr. Hamilton nor Dr. Willier would ever have accepted or approve of the term "preembryo". This term has been the root of a plethora of lies and misinterpretations to the extent that some pundits claim it is even "prelife". The arguments as to whether the fertilized oocyte is a person or something else are put forth by Dr. Dianne Irving in our book : The Human Development Hoax: Time to Tell the Truth.

Justice Harry Blackmun, writing the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade, stated that the question as to when life begins could not be answered. Yet, at this time (1972) the Carnegie Stages had been available for 30 years, and Patten's book was readily available. On page 43, 3rd edition, he states: "the process of fertilization marks the initiation of the life of a new individual."

Every justice of the Supreme Court has at his or her disposal aides, orderlies, and clerks who seek out information for them. Do you mean to tell me that the information in the Carnegie Stages and in Patten's book was so well hidden that it could not be found? Justice Blackmun shamed the entire Court. How the entire Court can be so refractive defies the imagination.

It was at about this time, 1985, through the urging of Dr. Irving, that I made contact with Dr. John Mulooly, editor of The Linacre Quarterly. He accepted my papers and several more. In 1997 I was awarded the Linacre Quarterly annual writing award for my paper: "The Big Lie in Human Embryology. The case of the preembryo". I had also been corresponding with Judie Brown, who was the head of The American Life League. Mrs. Brown supported my writings of human embryology, and, in fact, was the distributor of our book The Human Development Hoax. Time to Tell the Truth. I attended many conferences through the support of Judie Brown. My overall efforts through American Life League were to bring forth the truth of human development. Part of these efforts was to publish on a web site: Life Issues.net, the editor being Father Jerry Novotny, Kochi, Japan. In my latest statement, I say the following:

"At any point along the continuum of life, from conception to death, whenever that may occur, there is a whole, integrated human life. This is because all of the characteristics of life are changing over time, albeit at different rates at different times: content, size, function, appearance, etc. That is the science. (8)

In contrast to this, Human Embryology suffered its greatest insult with the use of the false term preembryo. I discovered three anatomists using that term in their textbooks. I wrote to each of them requesting they remove preembryo from any future printings. They complied. I also wrote to members and the Chairman of the Embryological Nomenclature Committee requesting them to not regard the term preembryo as legitimate. They complied.

Why is it that even some anatomists were using the term? It is my belief that most medical schools in the United States do not have a credit-bearing course in Human Embryology. I would say that no more than 20% of our medical schools have that course in their curriculum. In my own experience, during my 19 years on the Anatomy Faculty at Arizona I tried twice petitioning the Curriculum Committee to establishing credit for Human Embryology. We were turned down both times.

Unfortunately, the public media has taken over the job of educating the public about the developing human being. Their track record over the course of the past 40 years has been an abysmal failure. This has led to preembryo, prehuman in some demented pundits, prelife, and in some cases fake understandings of stem cells.

When there are virtually no definitions or understandings of terms, one is free to inject his or her own terms and make them meaningful for all according to an arbitrary standard, and that is exactly what has happened in the case of the preembryo.

This is why every Anatomy and Cell Biology Department in every medical school in the U.S.A. should establish a course in Human Embryology now and base it on the Carnegie Stages.