Saturday, April 19, 2008

Abortion/Fetal Development

There is a lot I could say about the subject of Abortion. In one of my comments on my "Lessons for the strong and the Weak" Post, I made the statement; "The fact that what’s killed is definitely alive and definitely a baby is only the tip of the ice berg." I've got so much to say on the subject of Abortion that I don't hardly know where to begin, yet perhaps "the tip of the ice berg" is an Ok place to start, so here it goes.

The information below was taken from a pamphlet put out by Focus on the Family entitled "The First Nine Months". I copied most of it word for word, but have added a few comments. When I added my own thoughts, I have printed them in italics.

Perhaps you've already read about the Fetal Development of Babies, yet the comment section of this post contains some interesting discussion about whether or not the Fetus/Baby is a "Person".

Here are the scientific facts.

DAY 1 - Sperm joins with ovum (egg) to form one cell-smaller than a grain of salt. This new life has inherited 23 chromosomes from each parent, 46 in all. This one cell contains the complex genetic blueprint for every detail of human development; the child’s sex, hair and eye color, height, skin tone, etc.

From the very beginning, even the very first cell is NOT a part of the "mother's own body", but instead has his or her own unique genetic identity, so the statement that the mother should have the right to decide what to do with "her own body" is not based on the facts.

DAYS 3-4 - The fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tube into the uterus, where the lining has been prepared for implantation.

DAYS 5-9 (1 WEEK) - During this time the fertilized egg implants itself in the rich lining of the uterus and begins to draw nourishment.

DAYS 10-14 (2 WEEKS) - The developing embryo/Baby signals its presence through placental chemicals and hormones, preventing the mother from menstruating.

DAY 20 - Foundations of the brain, spinal cord and nervous system are already established.


This is when the mother is just barely beginning to realize that she has missed her period.

DAY 28 (4 WEEKS) - The backbone and muscles are forming. Arms, legs, eyes and ears have begun to show.

DAY 30 - (1 MONTH) - At one month old, the embryo/Baby is 10,000 times larger than the original fertilized egg and developing rapidly. The heart is pumping increasing quantities of blood through the circulatory system. The placenta forms a unique barrier that keeps the mother’s blood separate while allowing food and oxygen to pass through to the embryo/Baby.

DAY 35 - Five fingers can be discerned in the hand. The eyes darken as pigment is produced.

DAY 40 - (2 days prior to 6 Weeks) - BRAIN WAVES can be detected and recorded.

Since a person is considered dead when brain waves cease, the presence of brain waves is a sign of life.

WEEK 6 - Liver takes over the production of blood cells and the brain begins to control movement of muscles and organs. The mother is about to miss her second period and has probably confirmed that she is pregnant.

WEEK 7 - The embryo/Baby begins to move spontaneously. The Jaw forms, including teeth buds in the gums. Soon the eyelids will seal to protect the embryo's/Baby's developing light-sensitive eyes and will reopen at about the seventh month.

WEEK 8 - (2 MONTHS) - At a little more than an inch long, the developing life is now called a “Fetus”; Latin for “Young One” or "Offspring." EVERYTHING IS ALREADY PRESENT THAT WILL BE FOUND IN A FULLY DEVELOPED ADULT. The heart has been beating for more than a month (5 weeks). The stomach produces digestive juices and the kidneys have begun to function. Forty muscle sets begin to operate in conjunction with the nervous system. The Fetus'/Baby body RESPONDS TO TOUCH, although the mother will not be able to feel movement until the fourth month.

WEEK 9 - FINGER PRINTS are evident in the skin. The WILL CURVE ITS FINGERS AROUND AN OBJECT placed in the palm of its hand.

WEEK 10 - The uterus has not doubled in size. The Fetus/Baby can SQUINT, SWALLOW AND WRINKLE ITS FOREHEAD.

WEEK 11 - At this time, the Fetus/Baby is about two inches long. Urination occurs. The face has assumed a baby's profile and MUSCLE MOVEMENTS are more coordinated.

WEEK 12 - (3 MONTHS) - The Fetus/Baby now sleeps, wakens, exercises its muscles energeticcally, turning its/his or her head, curling its/his or her toes and opening and closing its/his or her mouth. The palm, when stroked, will make a tight fist (RESPONDS). The Fetus/Baby BREATHS amniotic fluid to help develop its/his or her respiratory system.

WEEK 13 - Fine hair has begun to grow on the head and sexual differentiation has become apparent.

4 MONTHS - By the end of this month, the Fetus/Baby is eight to ten inches in length and weighs a half pound or more. The mother will probably start to "show" now. The ears are functioning and there is evidence that the Fetus/Baby hears quite a bit; the mother's voice and heartbeat, as well as external noises. The umbilical cord has become an engineering marvel, transporting 300 quarts of fluids per. day and completing a round-trip of fluids every 30 seconds.

5 MONTHS - Half the pregnancy has now passed and the Fetus/Baby is about 12 inches long. The mother has definitely began to feel movement by now. If a sound is especially loud or startling, the Fetus/Baby may jump IN REACTION TO it.

6 MONTHS - Oil and sweat glands are functioning. The delicate skin of the growing baby is protected from the fetal waters by a special ointment called "vernix." If the baby born were born in this month and given proper care, he would survive.

7 MONTHS - The baby has uses the four senses of vision, hearing, taste and touch. He can recognize his mother’s voice.

8 MONTHS - The Skin begins to thicken, with a layer of fat stored underneath for insulation and nourishment. Antibodies increasingly build up. The baby absorbs a gallon of amniotic fluid per. day. The fluid is completely replaced every three hours.

9 MONTHS - Towards the end of this month, the baby is ready for birth. The average duration of pregnancy is 280 days from the first day of the mother's last menstrual period, but this varies. Most babies (85 percent to 95 percent) are born somewhere between 266 and 294 days. By this time, the infant normally weighs 6 to 9 pounds and his heart is pumping about 250 gallons of blood a day. He is fully capable of life outside the womb.

This concludes the information taken from the Focus on the Family pamphlet entitled "The First Nine Months".

Does this sound like “No Life” or "Just a Cluster of Cells" to you?


Beth said...

I think the evidence is so overwhelming that from the moment of conception, a new human life has begun, that I cannot fathom how anyone can think otherwise.

Gayle said...

Nope, it sounds like life to me, Lista! I'll never understand the pro-choice people except to say they are totally selfish.

For goodness sake, even killing a life that hasn't been born yet by accident is devastating to me! While helping to build a fence two days ago a robin's nest was accidently knocked out of a tree and all the eggs broke. It broke my heart! Perhaps pro-choicers don't have hearts, or maybe they would have cared more about the broken bird's eggs than a human abortion.

Good post! Hope you're having a great weekend.

Lista said...

Yeh, I know. I don't get it either, except that I wonder how many people out there just don't know the facts.

I wish I knew how to educate those who lack this information. It seems that I'm talking to a bunch of conservatives and a lot of my audience is not only intelligent, but also quite educated. When I start writing on this subject, though, I wish I could figure out a way to get more Liberals, including those who have not heard this stuff, to come to my blog.

Beth said...

I used to post at a political forum and got into the discussion many times with liberals about abortion, and it quite nearly led me into depression, because they thought the way they did, and that all my efforts to change their minds were fruitless.

Lista said...

Hi Beth,

I guess that's why I spend a lot of time in prayer. I figure only God can really reach the heart.

Also, people hold certain positions for certain reasons, some of which may relate to internal struggles and hurts or the awareness of someone else's struggles and hurts.

In one of the comments to the next post down "Lessons for the Strong and the Weak", BB-Idaho wrote "In my neighborhood, we had two young women, one a class president, who shot themselves in their parent's home, rather than carry their unborn to term."

Now, that statement is not going to change my mind about Abortion, yet if we want to reach liberals, we need to be sensitive when they say things like this and not take the pain that is obviously present too lightly. Someone needed to reach out to these girls and help them through their experience.

This is why my message is so often two fold. On the one hand, do what is right and help others do the same, yet on the other hand, love and don't judge, because sometimes the judgment of others is the true killer.

The Griper said...

the question is not so much that it is a life form. science recognizes this. and the question is not whether it be a human being. science recognizes this also.

the question of abortion lies in the argument of whether or not it can be declared a "person" or not. the reason of this is that only people enjoy the "rights" as declared the declaration of independence.

that is why they use the term fetus rather than baby. a baby is recognized as a person. and their description of it as a clump of cells is only to implant a picture in the minds of something less than person.
and that is where the problem lies. no one has come up with a definition of "person" that would cover that baby in the womb.

but, take hope. i don't doubt that in time the Supreme Court will have to come around to the anti-abortion viewpoint again. States are finding ways to get around that ruling, like declaring taking the life of a pregnant woman is taking the life of two persons.

Beth said...

Believe me, I have prayed for the conversion of pro-abortion people, and I have prayed for women who are in situations where they consider abortions. I do not blame the women, or more likely, the young girls who are scared in that situation and are so vunerable. It is because abortion is legal and because these women think legal means morally acceptable that they can easily be counselled into having an abortion. Therein lies the problem, in my opinion.

Lista said...


I looked up the word "Human" in the dictionary and as an adjective it means "of or characteristic of a person" or "having the form or nature of a person", but as a noun it means "a person", so "human" and "person" are synonyms, which causes your argument to not work.

Believe it or not, there was a time in our history in which our country was debating over whether or not a Negro slave was a "person", because there were so many people in our country that did not want to give Negroes the basic rights of "persons" under the constitution. That's another part of our history that is not taught anymore.

Now we are doing the same thing over again with yet another segment of our population, the unborn child.


Your perception in relation to these young girls is correct. Too often they are victims, just like the babies and the results to the girls can be quite negative, which is the subject of my next post.

Rosemary said...

Lista, I read your post and the comments and I do thank you for writing about it. It may be old information but it is, like the Word of God, something that needs to be told over and over again. You never know what life it may save.

Lista said...

Thanks Rosemary.

Beth said...

Good point Lista on the slaves and how they were perceived wrongly as non-humans, which sounds down right terrible to think people thought that way. Hopefully someday soon we as a nation united will see how wrong we are in not giving the unborn the dignity of being a person while in the womb.

To me, a fetus is a person, the location of that person should not change that fact.

Lista said...

The womb is supposed to be a safe place, but when it comes to Abortion, it is actually safer outside the womb than inside it.

The word "Fetus" is actually Latin for "Young One" or "Offspring". It's actually more of a dignified word than the people in America are aware of, yet unfortunately, most of us do not know Latin, so we might as well be saying Embryo.

The Griper said...

i don't disagree with what you say in regards to slavery. tho i will disagree about your depiction of it. the argument then was not whether a slave was a human being or a person but of the question of his being considered as property.
and at that time people had a very different attitude in regards to the value of a person. and that attitude was a world wide one and an attitude of ages also. it is even biblical.

as for your dictionary definition, mine defines the word human as being "a bipedal primate mammal" and it says nothing in relation to it being a person.

a person has all of the characteristics of a human, granted but a human does not have all of the characteristics of a person. each person has their own characteristics that makes him an individual among humans.

you and I are humans therefore synomynous in that sense. but as persons we are not synomonous because we have a characteristic that is different. you are female. i am male.

the term human is more generalized and refers to the species for purposes of differentiating the many types of life forms and the term person is more specific in terms of each other.

and as we mature from conception we gain those characteristics of a person. so, the philosophical question becomes, how many of those characteristics must we have before we can call a human a person.

and by the way, i am not pro-choice either. i am just pointing out where the problem lies an why it is the problem that needs to be addressed in this debate of abortion.

then once this problem is solved it brings up another ethical problem. where there is complications whose life is to be given priority because in saving the one we need to take the life of the other? in Supreme Court rulings, so far, the life of the mother is to be given priority.

this is where states are having problems in passing laws in regards to abortion. it is not that they can't address the idea of abortion. they just have never been able to word any law that passes the test needed.

Beth said...

How can we ever say with authority that the fertilized egg changes from fetus to personhood, with all the rights available to those of us who have been born? I say we have no definitive way of saying when, except the moment of conception. I mean think about it, that fertilized egg cannot develop into anything but a human being, now can it? So how can we deny it is a person?

Lista said...

Very good, Beth!

Griper, I'm going to have to get back with you later this afternoon or this evening. Your comment is going to take a little more time than I have right now.

BB-Idaho said...

"From the very beginning, even the very first cell is NOT a part of the "mother's own body", but instead has his or her own unique genetic identity, so the statement that the mother should have the right to decide what to do with "her own body" is not based on the facts." True. Mostly.
The zygote, phyarngula, blastocyte, which ever semantics
as Griper notes get applied, is a
50/50 blend of genes from two contributing sources. But, it cannot exist without its biological dependence upon the mother and the mother's system;
it must stay there during its entire development; the mother/fetus synergy is an absolute requisite for the unborn.
The fetal alcohol syndrome, the
'crack' babies'..occur precisely because fetus through its various stages IS part of the mother's body. If for whatever reason, the fetus is stillborn or naturally aborted, the mother continues to live. The reverse is not true. It would be presumptuous of me to say "you must get an abortion" or you cannot have an abortion" since I am not involved in the biological process involving mother/fetus and since my judgement is that of an outsider to this process. It is
not MY choice. It should be hers.
[was not going to post, since I am pro-choice and opposing views on such a sensitive topic only muddy the waters..but just throwing some thoughts in]

Beth said...

Where that argument falls flat bb is that a newborn baby also cannot survive without someone (usually the mother) giving it nourishment, are we to say that a person who cannot live on its own completely should be allowed to die if the mother chooses?

And the baby IS part of the biological process here, when I try to stop abortion, I am speaking on their behalf, since they have no voice.

Lista said...

Nice job again, Beth. I've typed out a response to both Griper and BB-Idaho on my word processor which includes both of the points that you have made in your two most recent comments. We are thinking right along the same wave length. I need to proof read what I've written and right now I feel like I need a break, but I will submit my comments soon.

Lista said...

You know what I'm going to do? I'm just going to submit what I wrote in response to BB-Idaho tonight and put Griper off until tomorrow morning. What I wrote to BB-Idaho is really similar to what Beth said. Here it is.

Actually, BB-Idaho,

I’m always glad when you drop by and make comments, so go right ahead and “muddy the waters” and I’ll see if I can unmuddy them.

In my opinion, you are still confusing something. “Biological dependence” on does not equal actually being a part of that which is depended on. Babies continue to be quite helpless and dependent on their mother’s care even after they are born. Also, just because one living entity is physically affected by another, does not make the two entities only one entity. Babies that are breast fed, continue to be effected by the contaminates and also antibodies from the mother’s body through the mother’s milk. Does that mean that the baby is still a “part of the mother’s body” even after it is born?

Lista said...


I’m going to actually have to go and look up where I saw the argument relating to the slave not being considered a person. It seems to me that I heard this twice, from 2 different sources. Your statement about there being slavery in the Bible is correct.

As to your statement that your dictionary “defines the word ‘human’ as being ‘a bipedal primate mammal’ and says nothing in relation to being a ‘person’”, you can’t make a conclusive argument from something that is excluded. Just because an idea is not mentioned in one particular reference or document does not disprove its existence.

Because of your argument, though, I looked up the word “HUMAN” in a second dictionary. The first dictionary that I used has already been quoted in a previous comment above. Another dictionary says “A MEMBER OF THE GENIUS HOMO and especially the species Homo sapiens.” That would be people. The only difference between the genius Homo and the species Homo sapiens is that the second refers to modern man (People), “the only extant” (Still in existence) “species of the genius Homo.” The genius Homo includes the extinct and the extant species of “Human Beings”, referring, I guess, to a former cave man that no longer exists.

In light of your original statement, Griper, from your comment on April 19, “The question is not whether it be a human being. Science recognizes this.” and your statement on April 21 that, “Each PERSON has their own characteristics that make him an individual among HUMANS”, you appear to be arguing that the unborn baby is a human being, but NOT “AN INDIVIDUAL among humans.” This is not so because even as early as conception, the baby already has its own unique set of Chromosomes. From the moment of conception, there already exists A FULL BLUE PRINT OF POTENTIAL.

Your next statement “As we mature from conception, we gain those characteristics of a person, so the philosophical question becomes, HOW MANY OF THOSE CHARACTERISTICS MUST WE HAVE before we can call a human a person?” This argument implies that potential is not as valid and valuable as what already exists.

In further response to this, let me point out some of the facts listed in the above post. At 8 Weeks, or 2 Months, “Everything is already present that will be found in a fully developed adult.” Interestingly, this is when the scientific name changes from Embryo to Fetus. Is this when the new life becomes a person?

One really common “Characteristic” that is often considered is “age of viability”, which means how early can a baby survive outside of the Womb. There are a lot of Abortion Clinics that only allow Abortions up to 24 Weeks (6 Months), because this is considered the “age of viability”, just as is also mentioned in the above post in relation to the 6 Months time period, yet some will do them right up until the date of birth.

Some babies have been known to survive after a gestation period of less than 22 Weeks. Here is a Link relating to one of these earlier survivors. It’s a good thing that the doctors involved did not initially know the actual “gestation age” or “they might not have intervened’. The linked article explains how the “doctors were shocked when the Taylors’ fertility specialist pinpointed the exact date of fertilization.” Basically what this illustrates is that doctors don’t actually in reality know where the exact edge of viability really is. Here’s the link.

I never did understand this “age of viability argument, though, because what makes a baby that has the ability to survive in a man made incubator any more a person than one that has the ability to survive in the incubator designed by God; the Womb? Also, as man’s technology improves, the “age of viability” will go down, yet why should the age at which a baby has certain rights be determined by the state of man’s technology at any given moment in history?

Another “Characteristic” that might be considered in trying to decide on personhood is a state of awareness. At 8 Weeks (2 Months), the Baby RESPONDS TO TOUCH, but BRAIN WAVES begin at 40 days (2 days prior to 6 Weeks). That’s only 1 ½ Months, about the time the second period is missed.

For the most part, though, I just agree with Beth’s statement. “How can we ever say with authority when the fertilized egg changes from fetus to personhood, with all the rights available to those of us who have been born? I say we have no definitive way of saying when except the moment of conception.” Thanks again Beth for making this very truthful statement.

Here’s another thing to think about. If a person is in a comma and is unable to survive, apart from a respirator, is that human being no longer a person? What if the doctor could guarantee a cure within a nine month period and the diagnosis for a return to a normal healthy life was almost certain? Would it make any sense to pull the plug? This is essentially what we are doing to the unborn baby, with a few added factors in that the Womb is less expensive to maintain than the respirator and extended hospital stay and that this human life inside the Womb has an entire life ahead of him or her. How dare we take that away!!

You say Griper, that you are not pro-choice. I prefer to call it pro-abortion, cause let’s face it; those of us who are pro-life are not opposed in general to the idea of free choice.

I don’t think that you are going to find too many people, Griper, who would disagree with your idea that the mother’s life should always take priority when her life is in danger.

As to the statement that the states “have never been able to word any law that passes the test needed”, this is very true and there are examples that I could look up for you, but I’m not going to do it yet, at this time.

BB-Idaho said...

Perhaps I am confused: spend most of my life that way...
But, regarding unborn vs born, the pre-birth portion of a human life, or most any mammal, is one of shared biochemistry and physiology; post-partum infants absolutely require care and attention. Generally, this is the mother, but that is not a requirement. For example, the old practice (which we still see on occasion) of leaving a newborn on the steps of an orphanage or church. Which, I suppose is morally superior to abortion. But, in either of these cases, clearly for whatever reason, the mother does not want that child.. I know, why would she get pregnant? In my muddled mind, it is better to abort first
trimester than place a six month old in a microwave, (which has been done)...better to abort a microencephalac than provide them a short, meaningless painful life. I realize this is immoral to many minds and feel rather guilty. I know, however what I would do, but will not attempt to force my view on on some terrified teenage is her choice and I will not assign guilt in how or why she makes it. (you can see what a terrible counseler I would be). As an analogy, albeit a poor one, people argue over creationism vs evolution. As a retired scientist I am comfortable with the various subsciences which contribute to evolutionary theory, but I understand that people have biblical reason to feel comfortable with new earth craationism..6000 years ago, Adam & Eve, etc. I will not shove evolution down anyone's throat:
what we believe is a choice and we should be free to make it. In short summarization, IMHO, toleration can be a virtue; in some cases, a sin. I tend to the virtue viewpoint. Am leaving town for a ocuple days, and hopefully you all willbe off on a less stressful topic. :)

Beth said...

It is indeed a stressful topic, I can agree with you there, because human lives are involved. There is the life of the mother, and the life of the child to consider. I also worry about the mothers who have legal abortions and end up with traumatic feelings afterwards, and I worry about the unwanted children who are born and are abused or neglected. Believe me, I consider all facets of this issue, however I just cannot look to the purposeful ending of a human being's life as being the right answer. Educate better on how to prevent pregnancies, make adoptions easier, but don't just kill an unborn child for convenience. I think as a civilized society, it is barbaric and should end.

Lista said...

Wow!! I promised my husband that I wouldn't be on the computer too long today, so I'm going to have to get off soon.

I know what you meant, Beth, when you said in one of your comments above that when you got into a discussion with liberals about abortion, it quite nearly led you into depression because all your efforts to change their minds were fruitless. I sometimes get just a little that way myself and for me, I think it's because I can feel the pain that sometimes exists within the hearts of the people who hold the opposite point of view.

Doing the right thing isn't always easy and when Christians walk around acting as if it is, this isn't helpful. This is not directed at you, Beth, it's just me expressing something that very much frustrates me.


I'm really sorry that I've stressed you. Unfortunately, Abortion is a subject I've developed a great deal of concern about and I may not be willing to leave the subject as soon as you would like me too. Fortunately, there are other blogs out there and you have every right to go visit something easier when ever you feel you need a break. My heart feels very stressed at times too, but I have to get through this, because it's a very important subject.

Sometimes we actually have to work through a little stress and at times even pain before we realize what's true.

Beth said...

My husband doesn't like me spending so much time on the computer either, so I too will keep it short. It is frustrating, and yet I tell myself I maybe have changed even one person's mind, and maybe saved even one life, but I just didn't know it. Maybe you have, too, Lista.

Lista said...

You know, Beth, I was actually hoping to change the political climate in relation to people's ideas about Abortion, yet it feels like my opinion is just a very small drop in the bucket. I'm just as concerned about the pregnant girls as I am about the babies.

Perhaps when I start talking about Post Abortion Syndrome this will have more of an affect, but BB is right. I think we all need a break. There's a little bit of a sadness in debate. It just feels like we can only reach out so far and I really do love people and don't like being in conflict with them.

Lista said...

Hi BB-Idaho,

I'm not sure exactly how long you are going to be out of town and when exactly you will get back, yet I have been thinking some about your last comment on this page.

Once again, I want to say I'm sorry that I have stressed you out. Sometimes new facts can stress us a little, especially if it goes against our original way of thinking. I did post another page on the same day as your last comment on a subject that isn't even political and I've decided that my next post is also going to be about a subject other than Abortion, yet I hope that you'll forgive me if I say one last thing on the subject to you now.

Don't worry about feeling a little confused on the issue of this post, one of the things that has so upset me about the whole matter of Abortion is that there is so much about it that most people simply do not know.

As to the "shared biochemistry", apparently the brochure that I used in order to do this post was not the one that talked about the membrane in the umbilical cord that allows antibodies, enzymes and nutrients to pass, but not the blood of the mother and baby. The blood needs to be kept separate because quite often the baby has an entirely different blood type than the mother.

I guess I would agree with you that there have been cases in which some rather horrible things have been done to babies after they are born, yet all killing is wrong, including Abortion.

Also, for some reason the option of Adoption is so often over looked. There are a lot of misconceptions about it and in reality it has become a lot easer now than it used to be. Most girls do not realize this and just react to their crisis before taking the time to investigate the options.

Evolution verse Intelligent Design is a whole other subject. Creationism may not be that scientific, but Intelligent Design theory is no less scientific than Evolution THEORY. My husband and I just recently went and saw that documentary that has been playing in some theaters entitled "Expelled". It's about how Intelligent Design ideas are discriminated against, not only in schools but also in the scientific community because of atheists that do not want to accept it. People who have written papers about the subject have actually lost their jobs over the issue, so you may not wish to "shove Evolution down anyone's throat", but unfortunately, Intelligent Design has been discriminated against by others besides yourself and because of this, it is an important political issue.

Unfortunately, "toleration" is too often a biased thing. We are to tolerate everyone but the Christian and everything that even remotely resembles Christianity. Too often, freedom of speech is infringed upon in the name of "Political Correctness" and "Tolerance". Certainly you are smart enough to see how such is not fair to the Christian.