Category Archives: fetal development
A response to the February 8 Atlanta Journal-Constitution Politifact article; by Dan Becker, President Georgia Right to Life
Your February 8th Politifact-Georgia article: “Abortion foe overreaches in describing context of court ruling” suggested I misread a recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling.
The ruling upheld—and even expanded—a lower court decision that applied the state’s chemical endangerment statute to pre-born children.
The lower court only said the endangerment statue applies to viable pre-born children. The Supreme Court expanded the meaning to pre-born children at all stages of development.
The court’s decision did advance the cause of protecting innocent life by in effect applying personhood status to a new area of Alabama law.
Your article incorrectly pointed to a South Carolina ruling as proof that the decision was not unique. That’s not an apples-to-apples comparison since the South Carolina ruling only applied to a viable fetus, not pre-viable as the Alabama ruling does. This latest ruling extended personhood status for the first time to all pre-born children in a different area of Alabama law without juridical restrictions on viability.
In a concurring opinion, Justice Tom Parker said Roe v. Wade—aside from authorizing the right to abortion—was not relevant in deciding the case.
“Subsequently, Roe has sometimes been misread as holding that those unborn children are not persons and do not have the same fundamental rights as does every other person, which rights are protected by law. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
This encouraging decision reflects a broader nationwide trend aimed at establishing personhood status to all children from the moment of conception.
A few recent examples include:
- Last August, 66 percent of Georgia Republican voters approved a non-binding primary ballot question calling on the state to place human rights amendment before all voters.
- This month, the North Dakota House of Representatives and the Montana Senate approved bills that grant legal protection to children at all stages of development.
These, and developments in other states, prove that the tide is indeed turning as more and more people recognize that it’s time to end the culture of death that has plagued our nation for 40 years. That shadow has resulted in the death of more than 55 million innocent children.
That’s why our opponents are so worried; they know Georgia, and many other states, are rejecting the idea that some lives are more valuable than others.
I have been born. My mom and dad are ecstatic.
For those of you who have been following my development, thank you. I hope that you have also used these last nine months to pray for all the pre-born children whose lives are in danger from abortion.
I am so glad that my mommy and daddy chose Life for me. All babies deserve a birthday.
October 2: week 28
Whoa! I’ve had trouble with my balance but it is getting better. I’m going to be in my first Life Chain today. The cars might not notice me but my mom will. Not much room to wave in here, but my eyes are opening, so I guess I’ll just practice blinking at everyone. I weigh about 2 pounds. Mom’s talking about different names for me. Hey, mom, how about Chris?
October 9: week 29
I am about 14 inches tall now and growing really fast. I try to stretch out and mom can feel me move about. You could hear my heartbeat if you put your ear on my mommy’s tummy. If I were born now, I’d have an 85% chance of survival because my lungs have been getting stronger. Sometimes mom has a craving. I really like the ice cream; pickles, not so much.
October 16: week 30
I have doubled in size over the last 4 weeks and it is really getting cramped in here. I don’t have as much room to do my exercises. My muscle tone is better, though, and my body is filling out with baby fat. I have nice fine hair growing on my head. I can recognize my mom’s voice. I know that she is feeling a lot of aches and pains and discomfort, but she knows that she will be seeing me real soon.
October 23: week 31
I must be getting younger. The wrinkles that I had everywhere are slowly disappearing. I used to have a big head, but now that I’m gaining weight, my body is catching up. I can move my eyes, but it is still pretty dark in here. I can hear my mom. I can’t wait to see her.
October 30: week 32
I weigh three pounds now and will gain about a half pound each week until birth. It’s really cramped now, so I have assumed the “fetal” position. I can see, but I don’t have 20/20 vision. In fact, I won’t have 20/20 vision until I’m about 7 years old–hopefully. Mom is pretty uncomfortable right now. When she sleeps on her side, I really like snuggling into the mattress.
September 4th: Week 24
I have fine hair all over my body that is there to protect my skin. I will lose this before being born. I’m a little thin at this point but am putting on more baby fat. My eyes are formed, but my iris has no color. I think I want brown eyes. I weigh over a pound and am about a foot long. If I was born today, I’d have a fighting chance to survive. (about 50%)
September 11: Week 25
I’m really beginning to bulk up. I gained 6 ounces this week! I think most of it was muscle but also some bone mass and some organ development. My taste buds allow me to distinguish between bitter, sweet and sour. My lungs have developed so well, I’m now officially considered viable. I could live outside my mom. My parents have each contributed 15,000 genes that determined not only what I look like, but how I taste stuff, how athletic I will be, any allergies I might have and so much more. Ain’t genes great!! Especially if my dad is an athlete. Tee-hee-hee.
September 18: Week 26
Thousands and thousands of brain cells are growing in my head every day. That’s very cool. I’ll soon have billions of them. I can make a fist and grasp things. My spine is beginning to form to protect my spinal cord. I’m covered by a white cheesy substance that protects my skin. But, don’t worry, Mom, it comes off right after birth. Mom can also tell when I have the hiccups.
September 25: Week 27
My taste buds continue to form. I can taste sweet things now. My mom likes chocolate and so do I! A bright light can be seen by me through my mommy’s tummy. I have eyelashes and eyebrows, now. My fingerprints are fully formed and they are growing. I might need them clipped when I’m born. Mom’s womb is about the size of a soccer ball. Can I call her my “Soccer Mom?”
What follows is a rather typical experience in the life of a peer counselor, or patient care advocate, at a local pregnancy center. Lovingly penned to share a particular encounter, it reflects the impact that your local center has in your own community…
You never know when someone will touch your heart and how God will guide your hand…
It was a regular Tuesday afternoon. I had just come in for my four hours as a Patient Care Advocate, or PCA, at my local pregnancy center. A young lady was waiting in the reception area. I asked her if she had signed in and then told her someone would be with her in a moment. I privately did not think it would be me since I had just arrived and hadn’t gotten up to speed as of yet. But as God would have it, everyone else was busy so I came out and introduced myself to Ashley (not her real name) and took her back to a counseling room.
During the initial paperwork I found out that Ashley was 19 years old and in a serious tw0-year relationship with the potential father of the baby. He knew that she might be pregnant and was happy about it. Ashley was a full-time college student and stated that she didn’t feel as if she had any major financial or emotional stresses except that her divorced parents might be disappointed and angry with her. However, when asked about her intentions should she be pregnant, she stated that either she would parent or have an abortion and that she was 50/50 about the decision at that time.
Adoption was definitively not an option. Ashley asked me if we performed abortions. I told her that we neither performed or referred for abortion, but that I could give her abortion education. She said no. The pregnancy test was positive and it was estimated that Ashley was seven weeks into her pregnancy. She insisted that this could not be right, that she could not be that far along. The medical staff offered her an ultrasound to help clarify the issue. The medical director could not see her that day so we scheduled her for the next day at 1:30pm. She left with the brochure “Before You Decide” and my assurances that we were there for her, whatever she decided.
I worried through the rest of the afternoon that Ashley would not come back the next day and that she might indeed schedule an abortion. The nagging concern continued into the evening and I went to bed saying a prayer for Ashley and her baby before I fell asleep. That night I had a very real dream of meeting Ashley the next day and of holding her hand and talking with her during the ultrasound. Ashley was smiling in the dream. I felt calm and comforted during the dream and awakened from it that way but with the clear command that I did indeed need to come in that day, even though it was not my regularly scheduled time.
I often have vivid dreams that are very real but never have I had such a clear feeling that I must do something specific upon awakening. I admit that my own selfishness, and perhaps the Devil, kept me thinking throughout the morning that maybe I didn’t really need to go. After all, I had lots to do and all of the counselors were wonderful and dedicated and maybe even Ashley would be better off talking with one of them. As the time neared for Ashley’s appointment, I even called the receptionist to see if she had shown up.
Finally, I got in the car and drove to the center. Everyone was happy but surprised to see me. I told them why I was there. They, too, were amazed at the dream. I was thrilled when Ashley showed up. I told her how happy I was that she was there and asked if I might accompany her during the ultrasound and she said yes. She seemed much happier that day. Our wonderful medical director worked her magic and there was Ashley’s baby on the screen – so very tiny and yet so very alive with a strong beating heart. The medical director explained that Ashley was more like 6 weeks into her pregnancy and pointed out the yolk sac and the tiny baby and how the image on the ultrasound at this point in the pregnancy resembled a diamond ring with the sac being the band and the baby the diamond on the band – what a beautiful analogy!
Ashley smiled and asked good questions throughout the procedure and looked happily at the photos that the medical director so wisely placed in a card with the caption “An Image of Life’ on it. It was then that I noticed and commented on the beautiful engagement ring Ashley wore on her left ring finger. Ashley and I went back to the counseling room and I asked her how she felt. She said she was still undecided but that she was looking forward to showing baby’s father the photos. I commented that she now had a beautiful diamond ring on her finger and a beautiful living ring inside her. She smiled at the analogy and laughed and looked at the photos again. I asked her how she felt about the baby and she said she still was undecided as to what she was going to do.
Then, I told her that I had dreamed about her the night before. She laughed a little and said, “Now, you’re scaring me!” I told her how it was a happy and comforting dream and that she had truly touched my heart. I was so very happy to be there with her, grateful that she had talked with me and allowed me to be with her during the ultrasound. Beyond that I didn’t know what to say – my intellect said “use your training and say more” but my heart said “just leave it at that, your being here is what was asked.” When I hugged Ashley goodbye, I told her I loved her and that I hoped to hear from her. And then I cried a little as I am now telling this story. As of this writing I do not know what Ashley’s decision is but I thank the Lord who gave me the dream I had and the opportunity to fulfill it. I pray that my dream for Ashley and her baby come true.
Let Georgia Right to Life help YOU get plugged in to local prolife activities through your local Georgia Right to Life Chapter. YOU can make a difference! Contact Suzanne Ward, Public Relations, at email@example.com.
Day 0, conception Day 20, a heartbeat. Day 43, electrical brainwaves sensed. Week 9, baby has unique fingerprints. Week 12, all body systems functioning. These are some of the earliest signs of life for a human being, new life that begins the moment the first single cell is formed on day 0. The Alan Guttmacher Institute states that 1 baby is aborted every 25 seconds. By the time I finish this message, more than 16 of these new lives will have been eradicated. The cruel reality of abortion today. How can we let this go on? Why are so many innocent lives so thoughtlessly discarded by the very people who caused their existence?
When I first heard of the concept of abortion, I was utterly flabbergasted. What kind of woman would willingly give up the greatest privilege, the highest honour that only half of mankind has been blessed with – the honour of bringing life into the world? What sort of man would turn down an offer to have tenderness, purity, and innocence born once again in this now troubled, taxing world? And what possibility of a bright future would a society that supported this absurd decision expect to have, when the very building blocks that will one day produce great nations are being denied the right to see the light of day? As I sat in my bedroom, pondering this tragedy that scars our daily lives, I found truly deplorable answers.
Whereas pregnancy was once exalted an a commendable contribution to society, it is regarded today as in the words of Armstrong Williams, a ‘burden on our individuality and lifestyle.’ Modern feminism has indeed devalued motherhood, as is made evident by the women who cry out for liberation from this slavery, from the swelling in their stomachs, that weighs them down like shackles. And we, as a society, undeniably foster this notion, planting the bitter seeds in every mind that a woman with child is far less likely to succeed in the workplace, and in life. Well, after spending seventeen years with the woman who brought me into this world and enriched my life with love and moral values, who single-handedly worked with determination to fulfill my every need and more, after so many fortifying and enlightening years with the woman I call ‘my ma’, I can confidently debunk this myth. A mother can indeed be self-sufficient and successful in today’s world.
I understand that bringing up a child is no easy task, not for married couples, and certainly not for single mothers – which I might add, has become a popular trend of modern civilization, arising from our casual ‘modern’ attitudes to sex and the quick, guaranteed, publically accepted Plan B- ABORTION. My mom tackled the same challenges that so many lone mums face. She did not have a trust fund to fall back on; she did not have a partner to cut her some slack when shee was exhausted or ill….Yet not once did she wish to be free of me to be able to go back and undo my birth which would have spared her the toil, “THE IRKSOME RESPONSIBILITY”. For her, I was the purpose, the motivation, the reward. And I stand here today, proud and in awe of her for the individual that she has raised, and grateful that she believed that I was worth the sacrifice. Because of her I believe that giving every child his/her right to LIFE is worth the sacrifice and it is definitely NOT ours to decide whether to extinguish or exterminate this right.
Unfortunately, deciding whether to carry the child to term is often further complicated, as 2008 statistics show. Out of the 98% of abortions conducted in this country due to ‘personal choice’, 32% were done because the mother was too young or unprepared for the responsibility, and 30% due to the economic reasons. Can you envision the countless lives, the valuable futures that would have been saved, had these women considered adoption? I truly cannot imagine having to leave my baby in the hands of a stranger, however, entrusting him to a family than can care and provide for him as I cannot is a sacrifice that a mother’s selfless love makes possible. But the rest of us should be ashamed for turning a blind eye on the 40 trillion dollars spent annually on abortion, ashamed of even being the self-righteous parent or ‘friend’ who pressured a woman into extinguishing that flame of life within her, ashamed of trivialising the nature of sex to begin with. Wouldn’t you agree that it is our duty as human beings to instead, face the consequences and support those struggling parents, or at least take in these poor children if we are in a better position to do so, than to callously discard them, as mere products of carelessness?
Ultimately, it comes down to you and the value you place on life. I stand before you to remind you of the incredible power you yield in determining the future of our world – it is up to you. Is it even possible to forget, laws and politics, egos and ambition, the dreamy TV romances we seek in our own lives….Well, I am asking you, whatever your race or religion may be, to forget the rest of the world, just for a moment and strip it down to just you and the unborn child. Could you really exploit such innocence, such helplessness and feel no piercing of your heart? Could you end a life that might not have been created in the most desirable circumstances, but nevertheless is an extension of your own life – could you really do this and bear to look at yourself in the mirror?
We touch other people’s lives simply by existing – J. K. Rowling. Let us make a conscious decision today to be life-giving and just in our daily existences, essentially, to be HUMANE, and let us honour every new life with the opportunity to do the same.
July 3rd – Week 15
Chris’ taste buds are working! Chris drinks more amniotic fluid and it tastes sweet. Chris’ pain sensory system is developing, but who would want to hurt Chris? Chris may be small, but he is growing fast. Mother enjoys the fireworks and celebrates the birth of our nation, but Chris doesn’t hear anything yet.
July 10th – Week 16
“Soon I will be able to grasp with my hands. What will I grasp? My other hand. Did you know that I have my own unique fingerprints, now? My fingernails and toenails are growing. I also have an adult’s taste buds. My eyebrows and hair on my head are sprouting. But it will probably change color and texture after birth. I’m kicking, twisting, and flailing really hard. But, mom can’t feel me moving, yet.”
July 17th – Week 17
“I’m getting a little baby fat under my skin. My heart is pumping as much as 6 gallons a day at a rate about double my mom’s. I can swim and kick and do somersaults! I’m the same size as my placenta now. I’m not a lightweight anymore – I weigh almost six ounces and I am about three inches long. I will keep growing until I’m 23 years old. I wonder how big I’m going to be?”
Mom might be able to hear tiny thumps of Chris’ heartbeat with an external monitor now.
July 24th – Week 18
“When I am sleeping, I have REM which means I am dreaming, but I can’t remember my dreams. My vocal cords have formed but I don’t make a sound–must be because there is no air in here. Isn’t it amazing that I’m able to breathe ‘underwater,’ inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid? I’m working on developing great lungs.”
Mother may begin to feel Chris flutter in her lower abdomen.
July 31st – Week 19
Chris can hear his mother’s heartbeat and some other funny noises that she makes. He is beginning to know her voice. His umbilical cord is an engineering marvel. It transports 300 quarts of fluid per day and completes a round trip of fluids every 30 seconds.
“Wow. I really like sucking my thumb! I wonder if mom is starting to ‘show’ me now.”
It seems that Personhood is repeatedly in the news – and rightfully so. Support is swelling right here in Georgia and across the nation for the personhood initiatives that seek to protect all human life from conception forward as a matter of constitutional law. It would restore respect and effective legal protection for all human beings, including the unborn. The idea is simple and bold and ultimately, may provide a direct challenge to the central holding of Roe v Wade, the landmark decision that made abortion legal in the United States.
In our time of science and technology, we know that life begins at conception. It would seem that confusion still exists. Modern medicine is not confused, however. The unborn child is their patient in genetic problems, vitamin deficiencies, spina bifida and more. Consider the case of Samuel, a Georgia boy, operated on at 7 months of pregnancy. The surgery helped repair a major spinal defect and a healthy, active baby boy was the result. I have seen him captivate a room full of people with his bright, smiling face and of course, his favorite truck! Who is the patient, but a tiny unborn human being? These days we protect turtles, wolves, eagles, and whales, and yet we “do away” with babies at the rate of over 400,000 per year.
Legalized abortion has been a part of the American cultural scene since 1973. In the Roe v. Wade decision, Justice Harry Blackmun said that, “(If the) suggestion of personhood [of the preborn] is established, the [abortion rights] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the 14th Amendment.” If an unborn child is a person, then their right to life trumps their mother’s right to choose their death. With the states passing of the Personhood Amendment the litigation would eventually be taken up by the Supreme Court. Whether the Supreme Court acts – or how – is an open debate. Previous challenges and pro-life strategies have been viewed in the courts as an attempt to take away from the rights of the mother. The recognition of unborn children as persons does not take away from the mother but recognizes unborn children with all legal rights and protection due them under the 14th amendment.
We cannot continue to diminish the value of any one category of human life – the unborn – without diminishing the value of all human life. The personhood of the unborn child is the single point on which the entire debate turns. This is not the first time America has been divided by a Supreme Court decision that denied the value of human lives. The Dred Scott decision of 1857 was not overturned in a year, or even a decade. The good news was that the minority persisted in their vision and finally prevailed. It will take time to educate, clearly frame and present the issue at hand. Change is possible, however… and it begins with you and with me.
Let Georgia Right to Life help you educate your local chapter, your church or the citizens of your community on the value of Personhood. Contact Suzanne Ward, Director of Public Relations & Education, at firstname.lastname@example.org.