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Science answers John Goodwin's question on conception (Mailbag, May 23): Check the DNA/chromosome of a newly fertilized human egg. It will show the count to be uniquely human. Not a hummingbird, not a dog or a cat. Human. So, if you like, go ahead and issue a Social Security number at the moment of conception. If a woman is pregnant, it is a baby. We have dehumanized the baby with words like fetus and embryo. We need to get back to calling this life what it is — a human being.

Kathryn Ives

Sweet Home (May 24)

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