When does life begin?

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Logically, we ought to be erring on the side of caution when potentially infringing on another person's inalienable right to life, rather than seeing how close we can come to committing murder without doing so. Abortion in the U.S. is legal in all 9 months (36 weeks) of pregnancy.[1]

Premature Birth

Even though children can be born as early as 21 weeks after pregnancy[2] the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood's research arm, reports that 1.5% of the 1.21 million abortions in the United States occur after the 21st week of pregnancy.[3] Therefore, 18,150 abortions occur each year after the earliest point that children can be born prematurely and live. An additional 3.8% occur 16–20 weeks after pregnancy, an additional 45,980 abortions each year that are most certainly murder given proximity to time of premature birth.[3] Why is a baby considered human outside the womb, yet nothing more than a fetus to be aborted at or near the same point in pregnancy if still inside the womb? And what will abortionists argue? That this is "only" 50-60 thousand innocent lives being taken each year?

Fetal Development

"Modern biology instructs that the genetic code that will dictate the entire future of the fetus is formed as early as the ___ day after conception; the fetus is thus something more than inert matter. The rules of property and of tort have come increasingly to recognize its rights."

-Judge Henry Friendly, Hall v. Lefkowitz.[4]

According to Brian Clowes, Ph.D,[5] as cited by the Pro-Life Action League,[6] fetal development occurs as follows after conception:

  • 2 weeks: First completed brain cells appear.
  • 3 weeks: Heart begins beating, eyes form; brain, spinal column, and nervous system virtually complete.
  • 4 weeks: Muscle development, arm and leg buds visible, neocortical cells appear, blood flows in baby's veins separate from mother's blood.
  • 5 weeks: Pituitary gland forms, mouth, ears, and nose take shape.
  • 6 weeks: Brain waves can be detected.
  • 7 weeks: Cartilage skeleton completely formed, umbilical cord complete, brain coordinates voluntary muscle movement and involuntary organ movement, lips sensitive to touch.
  • 8 weeks: Based on nervous system development, a fetus can likely feel pain, teeth present, all organs present save lungs, taste buds and fingerprints forming, responds to tapping on amniotic sac.
  • 9 weeks: Fingernails form, can bend its fingers around an object and suck its thumb.
  • 10 weeks: All parts of body sensitive to touch; can swallow, squint, frown, and pucker brow.
  • 11 weeks: Breathing amniotic fluid and does so until birth, urination, all facial expressions (including smiling) possible, taste buds complete.
  • 12 weeks: Can kick, turn over, make a fist, hiccup, cry, open its mouth, press its lips together, and practice breathing.
  • 13 weeks: All senses are present, including vocal chords.
  • 20 weeks: Can be surprised by loud external noises.
  • 23 weeks: A fetus demonstrates REM (Rapid Eye Movement).
  • 4 months: Can grasp, swim, and turn somersaults.
  • 6 months: Hair growth on head and eyebrows, eyelashes form.
  • 7 months: A fetus' hands can support its entire weight.
  • 8 months: Fetus weighs more than 4 lbs., all body systems present.
  • 9 months: After this point, the fetus gains a half lb. each week and 41 of the 45 total generations of cell replication have already taken place.

Given this, it is small wonder that 76% of Americans in 2011 disapprove of abortion after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
(See Public Polling)


  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ninemonths
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named tooyoung
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named induced
  4. Randolph, A. Raymond. "Before Roe v. Wade: Judge Friendly's Draft Abortion Opinion." Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. Vol. 29.
  5. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named clowes
  6. (2009). Sharing the Pro-Life Message. "Life in the Womb." Pro-Life Action League. Chicago.