The Miracle of Fetal Development

Author: A.L.L.


American Life League

The last time I saw her, she was just eight cells in a test tube. She was beautiful then, and she's beautiful now.

Dr. Robert Edwards describing Louise Brown, the world's first 'test-tube' baby.[1]

Anti-Life Philosophy.

Explain that you are equally repulsed by the [pro-life] photos, that you are human and love children and babies as much as anyone else ... The pictures they [the audience] have seen must be discredited. They have been magnified so much as to remove the facts from scientific perspective. Really, in early stages, the fetus is smaller than a fingernail, can fit into a walnut shell, and is much like menstrual flow to the naked eye. We would be repulsed by a magnified picture of an eyeball in formaldehyde also.

                                                               National Abortion Rights Action League.[2]

The First Nine Months of Life.

It is not enough merely to tell them [pregnant women] that in producing an abortion in the early months they are taking a human life; they must be shown that at this [six week] period the child is already well along in its development.

                                                                                  Abortionist Frederick Taussig.[3]

The True Impact of Roe v. Wade.

The United States Supreme Court, in its loathsome 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions, stated that abortion is legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy. One of the greatest triumphs of the pro-abortion movement is that it has convinced the United States public that abortion is illegal beyond the first trimester, as described in Chapter 89, "Supreme Court Decisions on Abortion."

Look in Your Yellow Pages.

The most effective rebuttal of the pro-abortion allegation that abortion is illegal after the first trimester is as close at hand as your local Yellow Pages.

Almost every phone book in the United States includes advertising by an abortion mill that does abortions to 22, 24, or 28 weeks. Larger cities will have the clinics locally, and surrounding rural areas will almost always have these clinics advertising in their Yellow Pages.

"Collision Course."

Associate Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has stated that Roe v. Wade is "... on a collision course with itself." Roe defined viability as when the baby is "... potentially able to live outside the mother's womb, albeit with artificial help." The court then established an arbitrary viability limit of 30 weeks. The Justices were already outdated in their thinking; Figure 72-1 shows that fetal viability was fifty percent at only 28.5 weeks as far back as 1970.


YEAR         Weeks Gestation

1950:           33.7 weeks
1955:           31.8 weeks
1960:           30.4 weeks
1965:           29.5 weeks
1970:           28.5 weeks
1975:           27.7 weeks
1980:           27.1 weeks
1985:           26.1 weeks
1990:           25.5 weeks

Reference: B. Ferrera, R. Hoekstra, E. Graziano, G. Knox, R. Couser, and J. Fangman. "Changing Outcome of Extremely Premature Infants (<26 Weeks Gestation and <750 Grams: Survival and Follow-Up at a Tertiary Center." American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1989;161: pages 1,114 to 1,118. This article is analyzed in the January 1990 issue of the Bernadell Technical Bulletin, page 5.

The Supreme Court's decision in Planned Parenthood v. Danforth defined viability as "... that state of fetal development when the life of the unborn child may be continued indefinitely outside of the womb by natural or life-support systems."

This latter definition does not address the question of frozen human embryos, which are certainly capable of being sustained indefinitely by cryogenic life-support systems. By the Supreme Court's own medico-legal definition, a preborn baby is viable until about three weeks of age, then non-viable until about 24 weeks, and viable thereafter.

Does this make any sense?

Lowering the Limits on Viability.

In 1950, a baby born at thirty week's gestation had only a slim chance to live. The birth and survival of a "kilogram kid" (a premature baby born at 2.2 pounds) was big news indeed. Now, however, the limits have been drastically lowered; it is estimated that more than one hundred children have been born in this country weighing less than one pound, and most of them are living perfectly healthy and normal lives.

The smallest surviving healthy baby born weighed 380 grams, or about 13.4 ounces. Her mother suffered from life-threatening high blood pressure and a blood clotting disorder, and the infant was delivered 15 weeks early by emergency Cesarian section. The child survived and was discharged after 4 months in the hospital nursery. At 20 months, she was evaluated and was found to have minor eye and ear disorders. She had normal scores for intelligence and psychomotor development. The total cost of her delivery and care was estimated to be $202,109.[4]

Figure 72-1 shows the mean gestational age at which babies have survived birth over the last forty years. The figures shown represent that point at which an "average" baby for that gestational age may be born and have a fifty percent chance of survival.

Figure 72-2 lists the names of about one percent of the babies who have survived extremely early birth, and together with Figure 72-1, clearly demonstrates that the threshold of fetal viability is decreasing in a steady near-linear pattern.


[A medium text size on your computer's 'view' setting is recommended, otherwise, the tables may be discombobulated.]

Weeks     Baby's
Baby's     Gest-    Weight
Birthday   ation    (ounces)  Baby's Name           Source of Information

  3/1971    21        21             Kelly Thorman           St. Vincent Hospital, Toledo
  7/1971    21        23             Suzanne South           Bethesda Hosp., Cincinnati
  1/1972    20        27             Marcus Richardson    University Hosp., Cincinnati
  3/1972    22        19             Tracy LaBranch         Battle Creek Enquirer
  3/1974    23        20             Tascha Hudson          Brooke Army Hospital
  4/1974    24        23             Alicia Ponce               Associated Press
  4/1978    23        21             Simmonne Jayette       Montreal Jewish Gen. Hosp.
11/1978    23        17             Mimi Faulkner            San Diego, Boston Herald
10/1979    26        15             Chaya Snyder             Albert Einstein Hosp., NYC
11/1979    26        15             Russell Williams          Long Beach Memorial Hosp.
  2/1983    22        17             Ernestine Hodges        San Diego, Washington Post
  4/1983    23        19             Faith Materowski       Hackensack Medical Center
  6/1983   22         18             Melissa Murray          Victoria, TX, Houston Post
10/1983   24         16              Jamie Baire               Garfield Hospital, Monterey
12/1983   20         16              Melissa Cameron      Sault St. Marie Hospital
  6/1985   21         18              Kanya King              Medical World News
  5/1986   27         13              Darlene Monroe       Medical Post, Canada
  7/1986   22         12              Brandon Spense       Cincinnati Enquirer
10/1988   24         15              Christy Adams          Our Lady of Lourdes 
                                                                                   Hospital, Camden
  7/1991   22         11              Katy Masner            Kansas City Star, 11/5/91

References: Dr. and Mrs. J.C. Willke. Abortion Questions and Answers. Hayes Publishing Company, 6304 Hamilton Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45224. Telephone: (513) 681-7559. 324 pages. Also other newspaper articles and news bulletins as noted above.

It is most ironic that most of the hospitals cited in Figure 72-2, which pride themselves on their state-of-the-art neonatal units, also commit abortions. In fact, many hospitals spend hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting to save the lives of very premature babies, while at the same time aborting babies of the same or larger size in another wing.

However, under current medical technology, we are definitely approaching the lower limit of viability. Below a certain age, the baby's lungs just are not capable of sustaining life, even with the most advanced artificial assistance; the baby at 24 weeks has skin so fragile that a mere touch can lacerate it.

Certain scientists have sustained very young preborns (12-16 weeks) in artificial wombs consisting of nutrient-rich solution under very high pressure, but the babies have only lived for a short time. The panacea of the artificial womb, if it is theoretically possible, is a long way in the future indeed.

For a discussion of extracorporeal gestation and extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), see Chapter 55, "In-Vitro Fertilization."

Milestones of Fetal Development.

People who say that the heart starts beating 18 days after conception are crazy. At 10 weeks, the embryo still only weighs one ounce, so how could it have a fully formed heart?

                                                                 Canadian abortionist Henry Morgentaler.[5]

Time Framework.

There are two ways in which people discuss the time period related to milestones in fetal development: Gestational and fertilization age.

Fertilization age is a framework of time based upon the point of view of the unborn child, and begins at the instant of conception. The gestational (or menstrual) age timeline begins two weeks earlier at the last menstrual period, and is figured from the point of view of the mother. The framework most often used in discussions about the development of the unborn child is gestational age.

These terms can be somewhat confusing since they are based upon different starting points. Benchmarks of both are compared below.


                                                              Fetal                    Gestational
                                                         (Fertilization)            (Menstrual)
                                                         Age in Weeks         Age in Weeks

Ovulation/fertilization                                  0                                2
Implantation                                               1                                3
First missed
   menstrual period                                      2                                4
Preborn heart
   begins to beat                                          3                                5
Preborn brain
   waves begin                                            6                                 8
All of preborn's body
   systems present                                       8                               10
Birth                                                         38                               40

Reference: Richard D. Glasow, Ph.D. "Clearing Up Confusion." National Right to Life News, July 30, 1991, page 11.

Scientific and Biological Proof.

As the above quote demonstrates, abortionists, who can (and do) know better since they have been through medical school, routinely lie about fetal development in an attempt to keep women and the public ignorant and thereby lessen the natural loathing people have for the taking of innocent life.

After all, when you make your money slaughtering the most innocent of children, what does it matter that you lie occasionally?

At the age of 24 days after conception, the unborn child already meets even the prevailing legal definition of life. Major milestones of normal fetal development are shown in Figure 72-3. The average heights and weights for preborn babies at each week of development are shown in Figure 72-4.


Conception: Father's sperm penetrates mother's egg. Genetic instructions from each of the two individuals combine to form a unique individual, barely visible to the human eye.

1st Day: First four cell divisions take place as the blastocyst travels down the mother's Fallopian tubes towards the uterus.

5-9 Days: Implantation in the uterus. Of the 45 total generations of cell replication that will take place by mature adulthood, eight have already taken place. The blastocyst now consists of about 256 cells.

14 Days: The mother's menstrual period is suppressed by chemical signals emitted by her own child. First completed brain cells appear.

20 Days: Heart is in the advanced stages of formation. Eyes begin to form. Brain, spinal column, and nervous system virtually complete. Folding of the ectocyst disc occurs. 24 Days: BABY'S HEART BEGINS TO BEAT.

28 Days: Muscles are developing. Arm and leg buds visible. First neocortal cells appear. The neocortex is the seat of complex thinking and reasoning, and are present in no other mammal. Child has grown in size by a factor of 10,000. He or she is now 6 to 7 millimeters long (about 1/4 inch). Blood flows in the baby's veins, separate from mother's blood.

35 Days: Pituitary gland forming. Mouth, ears, and nose taking shape.

42 Days: Heart energy output is 20 percent that of an adult's. Cartilage skeleton is completely formed and ossification begins. The umbilical cord has developed. The baby's brain coordinates voluntary movement of muscles and the involuntary movement of organs. Reflex responses are present. The baby's mother misses her second menstrual period.


45 Days: Spontaneous, voluntary body movements have begun. Milk teeth buds are present.

7 Weeks: The baby's lips are sensitive to touch, and his ears resemble his family's pattern. The first fully developed neurons (nerve cells) appear on the top of the spinal cord, beginning construction of the brain stem. This portion of the brain regulates vital functions such as breathing, the heartbeat, and blood pressure.

8 Weeks: Baby is well-proportioned, about 1-1/2 inches long and 1/30 of an ounce in weight. All organs are present, complete, and functioning (except lungs). Heart beats sturdily. Stomach produces digestive juices. Liver makes blood cells. Kidneys are functioning. The stomach secretes gastric juices. Taste buds are forming. Fingerprints are being engraved. Eyelids and the palms of the hands are sensitive to touch. A tapping stimulus on the amniotic sac will result in the baby moving his arms. Of the 45 total generations of cell replication that will take place by mature adulthood, fully two-thirds (30) have already taken place. The fetus now consists of about one billion cells. It also contains more equivalent genetic information than every word communicated by every human being who has ever lived since the beginning of the race.

9 Weeks: Child will bend fingers around an object placed in the palm. Fingernails are forming. Child sucks thumbs.

10 Weeks: All sections of baby's body are sensitive to touch. Child swallows, squints, frowns, and puckers up brow. If his palm is stroked, he will make a tight fist.

11 Weeks: Baby urinates and makes all facial expressions, including smiling. He is now breathing amniotic fluid steadily and will continue to do so until birth. Fingernails and toenails are now present. Taste buds are now working. The baby will drink more amniotic fluid if it is artificially sweetened, and less if it is given a bitter taste.

12 Weeks: Vigorous activity shows the baby's distinct personality; babies sleep patterns differ, some babies hiccup constantly, others may cry. Baby can kick, turn over, curl and fan toes, make a fist, move thumbs, open mouth and press lips tightly together. Baby practices breathing.

13 Weeks: Facial expressions resemble those of parents. Movements are vigorous and graceful. Vocal chords are present, and, in rare cases when air enters uterus temporarily, baby has been heard crying. External sex organs are present, and the sex of baby can be determined. Auditory sense is now present.

4 Months: Baby can grasp with hands, swim, and turn somersaults. Mother may first feel baby's movements. Eyelashes are now present. Rapid Eye Movements (REM), indicative of dreaming, can now be recorded. A very bright light shined on the mother's abdomen will cause the baby to slowly move his arms to cover his eyes. Very loud music will cause the baby to cover his ears. Connections between the neocortex and the muscles they control are beginning to appear.

5 Months: Sleeping habits are formed, and a loud sound such as a slammed door may startle child. Baby responds to sounds that are of frequencies that exceed adult's range in both directions. Baby may be soothed to sleep by gentle music.

6 Months: Most babies are viable at this point (24 weeks - about 60 percent of full gestation). Fine hair grows on head and eyebrows. Eyelashes appear. The baby's weight is about 640 grams (22 ounces), and height is about 23 centimeters (nine inches).

7 Months: The baby's weight increases to over one kilogram (2.2 pounds). The baby's eyeteeth are now present. His eyes open and close and explore surroundings. Hands can support baby's entire weight at this time. Baby recognizes his or her mother's voice. Of the 45 total generations of cell replication that will take place by mature adulthood, 38 have already taken place. The baby now has about 300 billion cells.

8 Months: The baby's weight increases to over two kilograms (4.4 pounds), and his quarters become cramped. If born now, the baby has more than a ninety percent chance of surviving and being entirely healthy.

9 Months: In the final six weeks of gestation, the baby gains about an ounce of weight per day. Hormones released by the child trigger labor. The lightest baby ever born to survive healthily weighed in at 10 ounces. The heaviest baby ever born weighed in at 26 pounds and went on to become a heavyweight boxing champion of the world (Primo Carnera). Of the 45 total generations of cell replication that will take place by mature adulthood, 41 have already taken place. The baby now has about two trillion (2,000,000,000,000) cells. The remaining four generations of cell replication will occupy all of the person's childhood and young adulthood. This means, that, in developmental terms, we spend 90 percent of our lives in utero.


Week of                           Fetal Weight                            Length,
Gestation                Grams                Lbs-Oz                   Inches

      8                               1                   0 - 1/25                    1-1/2
      9                               2                   0 - 1/12                    2-0
    10                               4                   0 - 1/6                      2-1/2
    11                               7                   0 - 1/3                      3-0
    12                             14                   0 - 1/2                      3-1/2
    13                             25                   0 - 1                         4-1/4
    14                             45                   0 - 2                         5-0
    15                             70                   0 - 3                         5-3/4
    16                           100                   0 - 4                         6-1/2
    17                           140                   0 - 5                         7-1/4
    18                           190                   0 - 7                         8-0
    19                           240                   0 - 8                         9-0
    20                           300                   0 - 11                       10-0
    21                           360                   0 - 13                       10-1/2
    22                           430                   0 - 15                       11-0
    23                           500                   1 - 2                         11-1/2
    24                           600                   1 - 5                         12-0
    25                           700                   1 - 9                         12-1/2
    26                           800                   1 - 12                       13-0
    27                           900                   2 - 0                         13-1/2
    28                        1,000                   2 - 3                         14-0
    29                        1,175                   2 - 9                         14-1/2
    30                        1,350                   3 - 0                         15-0
    31                        1,500                   3 - 5                         15-1/2
    32                        1,675                   3 - 11                       16-0
    33                        1,825                   4 - 0                         16-1/2
    34                        2,000                   4 - 6                         17-0
    35                        2,160                   4 - 12                       17-1/2
    36                        2,340                   5 - 3                         18-0
    37                        2,500                   5 - 8                         18-1/2
    38                        2,775                   6 - 2                         19-0
    39                        3,000                   6 - 10                       19-1/2
    40                        3,250                   7 - 3                         20-0
    41                        3,500                   7 - 11                       20-1/2
    42                        4,000                   8 - 13                       21-0
    43                        4,500                   9 - 15                       21-1/2

Conversion Factors.
1 pound = 453.6 grams      1 ounce = 28.35 grams
1 meter = 39.37 inches       1 inch = 2.54 centimeters

          Reference: Enfamil disc entitled "Fetal Dimensions."

Of all the stages of development that the preborn child progresses through, the one that seems to define life for most people is the time when the heart begins to beat.

As early as 1961, researchers, during a therapeutic hysterectomy, obtained a 7-1/2 week preborn baby measuring 23 millimeters (about one inch) from crown to rump. This baby survived independent of the mother for twenty minutes. During this time, the researchers used electrocardiographs to directly measure its strong and regular heartbeat, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that a preborn baby does have a heartbeat by, at the latest, seven and one-half weeks.[6]

This means that the vast majority of all abortions in this country are committed after the heart of the preborn child begins to beat.

The Abortionist's Attitude Towards Third-Trimester Abortions.

A fetus is nothing! You won't get me to say I'm sorry for the fetus. Abortion is much more important than the life of a child that doesn't exist.

                                                                           Abortionist Howard I. Diamond.[7]


It is very interesting indeed that many pro-abortionists who say that life begins at quickening also support third-trimester abortions. Pro-aborts will say that these late abortions account for 'only' one percent of all abortions, and they will be correct.

However, one percent of 1.6 million is 16,000 third-trimester babies being dismembered or dumped in stainless-steel buckets every year or about seventy per business day. Since pro-aborts are compelled by their curious philosophies to defend all abortions even those in the third trimester this propensity can be used to uncover their extremism in public.

When dealing with third-trimester abortions, the anti-life mentality is uncompromising and absolutist for two very good reasons;

(1) the anti-lifer strives to be free of God and actually is striving (whether consciously or unconsciously) to transform himself into a 'little God.' To admit that any anti-life practice is inhumane or unethical would be to admit fault and culpability. This and other strange characteristics of the anti-life mentality are described in Chapter 2 of Volume I.

(2) the Neofeminists are acutely and properly aware of the principle of "reverse incrementalism;" that is, they are compelled to defend these most reprehensible abortions, because if they 'lose' abortion for the third trimester and for sex selection, for example, they will surely 'lose' abortion in other categories as well (perhaps this phenomenon could be called the 'slippery ski-lift').

The Reality.

Many or most pro-abortionists will deny that third-trimester abortions even exist. However, Census Bureau statistics, which themselves are based upon Alan Guttmacher Institute figures, show that about one percent of all abortions are performed in the third trimester.[8]

In light of the fact that fifty percent of all babies are viable with medical help at the beginning of the third trimester, we see that a minimum of eight thousand viable babies are put to death in this country each year (the current age of fetal viability is shown in Figure 72-1).

Although there are very few abortuaries that kill preborn babies past the 24th week, these few mills commit the vast majority of such grisly procedures. Some abortuaries advertise for abortion well into the third trimester in the Yellow Pages. Atlanta's Midtown Hospital, which does abortions to 26 weeks and beyond, is a typical example.

A lot of attention was focused on the notorious Wichita third-trimester killer, George Tiller, during Operation Rescue's 1991 "Summer of Mercy." It is significant that 6,000 pro-aborts held a counter-rally in Wichita during OR's missions. Their ardent support for third-trimester abortions was displayed by a plane towing a banner that read "WE LOVE YOU, DR. TILLER!"[9]

The "Dreaded Complication."

Occasionally third-trimester abortions result in what doctors commonly call "the dreaded complication:" A live, crying, viable baby.

Abortionist Enrique Gerbi of Detroit Memorial hospital performed an abortion in October 1984 which resulted in the live birth of a 29-week girl. He shrugged and said that "It happens all the time. This is not the first time, and it won't be the last. It happens all the time."[10]

Dr. David A. Grimes, veteran Planned Parenthood abortionist, estimates that from 500 to 3,000 babies survive prostaglandin and hysterotomy abortions every year.[11]

The prevalence of such incidents has given rise to particularly grisly abortion procedures whose purpose is to insure a dead baby. These include the dilation and extraction (D&X), where all of the baby is delivered except for the head. The abortionists then punctures the baby's skull and sucks its brains out.

This is a real abortion procedure, described in detail in Chapter 61, "Methodology and Aspects of Abortion."

A "botched abortions" can lead to a curious breed of litigation: The "wrongful life" lawsuit. "Wrongful life" suits are filed on behalf of a child alleging that he should have been aborted. In contrast, "wrongful birth" suits are filed by parents that claim that their child should have been aborted.[12] Such litigation has literally inverted the traditional legal theory of "wrongful death" to create the "anti-tort" of "wrongful life."

Whatever the terminology, the very existence of the terms "wrongful life" and "wrongful birth" indicates just how far down the slippery slope our legal system has already plunged.

Neofeminist Support.

Judith Hole and Ellen Levine's book Rebirth of Feminism neatly summarizes the radical Neofeminist's attitude towards third-trimester abortions;

... any woman who wishes to terminate a late pregnancy undoubtedly has a very good reason and should have the right to do so. In addition, they argue that the concepts of "quickening" and "viability" are based on religious doctrine and ancient myths about when "life" begins. Any woman who believes in them will not seek an abortion beyond the time dictated by her beliefs. All women, however, should not be required to follow one doctrine.[13]

Note carefully that this logic is used to justify all abortions, even those committed for convenience, for any reason or for no reason at all. Such a statement could even be used to justify infanticide. The original logic used by the Neofeminists has simply been extended to cover the disposal of viable babies.

The Massachusetts Experience.

In 1989, anti-life Massachusetts legislators pushed a so-called "Prochoice Amendment" to their state's Constitution. In order to make this Amendment more palatable to many of their colleagues, sponsors asserted that third-trimester abortions would only be allowed to save the life of the mother.

Incredibly, Neofeminists strongly condemned this exception on the grounds that third-trimester abortions should be available for convenience reasons (i.e., economics, to avoid embarrassment, etc.).

Some of the statements by the local radical press in opposition to this Amendment outlined this extreme position. Marlene Fried baldly summed up the basic Neofeminist position in the simplest possible terms as she claimed that "The most basic aspect of abortion rights [is] a woman's right to decide, at any point in pregnancy, for any reason."[14] And the Revolutionary Communist Party insisted that "There are many different reasons why women get abortions. And they are all valid."[15]

The most revealing opposition to the "Prochoice Amendment" was generated by the Reproductive Rights Network of Boston (R2N2). This organization stated that;

The Reproductive Rights Network of Boston believes that it [the 'Prochoice' Amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution] dangerously narrows reproductive rights, and undermines the very movement we're trying to build, by limiting abortion rights to the first 24 weeks of pregnancy ... This represents an alarming compromise of the basic feminist principle that abortion is fundamentally a woman's choice ... Restrictions in late abortion also uphold a disturbing concept that has gotten play in the media and the legislature: that there are morally reprehensible abortions ... Our priority now must be to expand the notion of reproductive rights and to strengthen our message. This is certainly not the time to voluntarily shrink our own demands.[16]

Stubblefield Strikes Out.

In 1985, prominent abortion supporter Dr. Philip Stubblefield, past president of the National Abortion Federation, suggested lowering the upper limit on abortions to 22 weeks. He was certainly not at all concerned about the agony inflicted upon viable babies; he simply wanted to take one small step towards cleaning up the abortionist's filthy public image.

However, Stubblefield was shouted down when he formally presented his proposal to other leading pro-aborts. Abortion lawyer Janet Benshoof of the American Civil Liberties Union demanded that there be upper gestational age limit, stating as fact that abortion on demand "... is a precondition for all other legal and constitutional guarantees of women's equality."[17]

Despite his questionable motivations for banning third-trimester abortions, Stubblefield appears to be unique among hard-core abortionists. Dr. Frank Chernak summarized the callous opinion of other late-term abortionists toward third-trimester killing in the New England Journal of Medicine; "Prenatal death does not constitute a harm, nor does the prenatal termination of the fetus' life through induced abortion constitute an injury."[18]

What Does It Matter?

Pro-life activists should know by now that the status of the unborn as living, as human, as persons, or as developed babies is completely irrelevant to pro-abortionists. All that matters to them is that they be allowed to continue to commit genocide in peace.

The most powerful weapon the pro-aborts have in their arsenal is confusion. When confronted with any information on the unborn at all, they will squirt verbal ink like cuttlefish and will do anything to confuse rather than clarify the issues.

The following pro-abortion quotes demonstrate that viability is not important to those who kill the babies only the ability to divert attention is.

Writer Nancy Rhoden says that "The compromise forged in Roe v. Wade was, and can remain, an acceptable one. But it can do so only if the Court recognizes, when it becomes necessary, the limited ethical relevance of fetal viability."[19]

Janet Benshoof of the American Civil Liberties Union wrote that

The increasing tendency to view the fetus as an independent patient or person occurs at the cost of reducing the woman to the status of little more than a maternal environment ... We need to refocus the right to abortion as one not defined by the fetus or by technological advances, but rather one that is tied to women's constitutional right to privacy, autonomy and bodily integrity.[20]

Some pro-abortion diversionary arguments are so silly they should be made into a gag poster. As expected, the most illogical and anti-scientific ravings originate with self-identified Humanists yes, the same people who pride themselves on their rational outlook. For example, Sherry Matulis, during her 1991 "Humanist Heroine Award" speech, snarled

And although a rose is a rose is a rose, you will never hear anti-choice proponents raise their voices against spontaneous abortion. You will never see them picket or march on Washington or take any other action to try to stop or even lessen this spontaneous "holocaust." And you will certainly never hear them decry their God with his big abortion mill in the sky for this wanton destruction of "innocent life" this "mass murder" of up to 80 percent of all those fertilized eggs they refer to as "unborn children." Because to discuss it to really examine its implications is to put the lie to all their mystical twaddle.[21]

The Solution?

Pro-abortionists have successfully clouded the central issue in the argument over the moral and legal status of preborn babies the discussion over their personhood and viability. Therefore, a mechanical or philosophical resolution of the abortion question is now literally impossible, since the various qualities of the unborn child can simply be redefined or defined out of existence. Fundamental words that used to have concrete meaning among them "life," "humanity," and "personhood" have no fixed reference point in the featureless moral landscape of the social engineers, and drift wherever the currents of convenience take them.

The loss of this foundation has led to a plethora of well-intentioned but physically impossible suggestions for "solutions" to the abortion problem. These recommendations do not address the status of the unborn, and so will never suffice to put even the smallest dent into the abortion Holocaust.

Some people, including Dr. Bernard Nathanson, have suggested that the abortion question will be resolved by allowing unwanted embryos or early fetuses to be removed from the woman's body and grown in artificial uteri. However, the state cannot force the removal of bone marrow or blood from a person, even to save another's life; it is unrealistic to expect that it will do so in the case of early preborn babies. Additionally, the pro-aborts will fight this development tooth and nail with their most powerful weapon to date: the "right to privacy," as Janet Benshoof has implied.[20]

A Clear Danger to the Abortionists.

You must learn to turn your eyes away.

Albert Speer, the architect of Adolf Hitler's Jewish Extermination Program.[22]


The greatest weapon in the pro-life arsenal is not the photographs of mangled aborted late-term preborn babies although these are still very powerful and useful.

The greatest persuader that the pro-life movement has is beautiful full-color photos of preborns peacefully floating in their mother's wombs.

The abortionists know this. While they snivel about "shocking anti-choice propaganda featuring aborted fetuses," they also fanatically oppose the public display of any representation of living preborns. There is a very good reason for this apparent hypocrisy: The abortionists so fear the public seeing the truth about fetal development that they will go to almost any lengths to obscure or censor the truth.

The remainder of this section outlines just a few of the more blatant attempts by pro-abortionists to keep the truth about fetal development from the public.

Keep 'Em Ignorant.

Debate is perhaps the only forum where pro-lifers and pro-aborts may meet on a "level playing field" and actually talk about the issues related to abortion. However, even in this setting, pro-abortionists try to censor the material that pro-lifers use.

This is evident upon examining anti-life debating manuals.

For example, a debating manual issued by the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) entitled "Organizing for Action" states on page 29 that

Another set of questions involves the opposition. Has your audience seen anti-abortion propaganda? Are you debating a Right-to-Lifer? Is the opposition bringing slides or pictures? Try to insist that they not be allowed to ... Find out if your opposition is bringing audio-visuals. Try to insist that you will only speak if they do not.[2]

This is a common theme in pro-abort publications. Perhaps the best example of this type of cowardice is contained in mega-abortionist Warren Hern's book Abortion Practice; "Television interviews, in particular, should focus on the public issue involved (right to confidential and professional medical care, freedom of choice, and so forth) and not on the specific details of the abortion procedures."[23]

Hern goes even further to say

In Colorado, the pro-choice community has decided after some period of disagreement and discussion to refuse all invitations to debate ... we respond to all requests from schools for educational presentations concerning abortion. If the sponsors want both sides presented, however, the presentations must be made on different occasions. We insist that visual aid materials not be presented by either side.

Censorship NOW.

In 1989, Human Life of Washington (the state Right to Life affiliate) placed a series of ads on Washington Transit Authority busses. These ads consisted of a photograph of a 17-week old unborn baby swimming in its mother's womb with the caption "ENJOY LIFE. GOOD THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES." The objective of the ads was not to stop abortions, but to warn the public about the effects of alcohol and substance abuse and diet on fetal development.

The Reproductive Rights Task Force of the Seattle Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) immediately initiated a telephone harassment campaign directed against Washington Transit, claiming that the photos and ads were, in NOW's lofty opinion, "too graphic."[24] The Washington Transit Authority quickly broke its contract with Human Life and obediently pulled the ads.

A NOW spokeswoman explained that "NOW works to promote and protect the human rights of women. It is in keeping with the work that we do that we protest advertising the intent of which is harmful to the health and well-being of women, and which deprives women of their full rights as human beings."[25]

When asked how the advertising was "harmful to the health and well-being of women," and how it "deprived women of their full rights as human beings," the NOW people refused to answer.

In other words, NOW does not even want the public to know basic facts about human reproduction, because the sight of a healthy unborn baby might make some women change their minds about abortion!

Pro-Abortion Vandalism.

Delaware Right to Life rented six billboards from Reagan National Advertising in October 1990. The billboards featured a photograph of a beautiful unborn baby with an inoffensive pro-life message. Within two days, all six billboards were torn apart and the pictures of the unborn babies were vandalized. Obscenities and the slogan "THIS IS A PRO-CHOICE NEIGHBORHOOD" were spraypainted on the wreckage.[26]

In response to this aggressive censorship, Lou Jacquet of the newspaper Dialog wrote that

The pro-abortion movement has to destroy pro-life billboards to keep people from learning the ugly facts about what abortion involves ... One of the recurring problems facing those who favor legalized abortion is the growing body of knowledge providing beyond a doubt how vital human life already is well before actual birth occurs ... It's not the kind of information pro-abortion activists can afford to acknowledge. So they've taken to a simple solution tearing down and spraying over billboards. Aren't these the same folks who call pro-life activists who picket abortion clinics 'uncivilized?'[26]

This is certainly not an isolated incident. More than 100 pro-life billboards have been destroyed or heavily damaged all over the country since 1985 by skulking pro-abortionists exactly the same people who complain so loudly about clinic burnings.

Pro-Abortion Technological Regression.

At the October 1989 annual conference of the National Abortion Rights Action League, pollster Harrison Hickman stated that "Probably nothing has been as damaging to our cause as technological advances that show pictures of the fetus."[27]

The new and promising field of fetal surgery is also very worrisome to pro-abortionists, who recognize that there is a paradox in performing surgical procedures on an entity that isn't supposed to exist. Judith Pasternak of the American Civil Liberties Union's Reproductive Freedom Project is only one of the many pro-abortionists desperately trying to downplay the significance of in-utero fetal surgery;

But these [fetal surgery] techniques and this success are new indeed, so dazzlingly new as to blind us, perhaps, to the fact that the moral premise of abortion remains unchanged. The "issue of abortion" remains the issue of the right of the woman to choose whether or not to carry something in her own body. No technological advances can rob her of her right to choose whether or not to keep it there.[28]

These examples show that the pro-abortion cause actively resists the discovery of new scientific evidence. This is analogous to the Flat-Earth Society ridiculing information showing that our planet is actually roughly spherical in shape.

Information Please.

Chronically, antiabortionists represent abortion as involving an elephantine fetus about to walk and talk, when, in truth, the typical abortion has more in common with a menstrual period.

                                                          Anne Nicol Gaylor, Abortion is a Blessing.[29]


The amount of information stored in any single cell of the human body is prodigious. In fact, if a person attempts to describe this data in terms of 'megabytes' or 'gigabytes' he is usually met by an uncomprehending stare, even from those who understand the dimensions of such measurements.

Therefore, it is very revealing to compare the amount of information in a human cell to that found in a standard that virtually everyone is familiar with: The Encyclopedia Britannica.

Anyone fortunate enough to own the current set of the Encyclopedia has at his fingertips about 30,500 pages and 27.5 million words of information in 33 bound volumes. This is an amount of information equivalent to about 300 megabytes.

If a person set about reading this set of books at a standard speed of 300 words per minute for a regular 40-hour week, it would take eight months to complete the task.

The following paragraphs compare the amount of information found in the human cell and the developing fetus to that in the Encyclopedia Britannica and other measures of the written word.

The Fertilized Egg.

According to medical and genetic textbooks, the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) in a single fertilized human egg carries as much data as 50 sets of the 33-volume Encyclopedia Britannica.[30]

These fifty sets of encyclopedia are equivalent to 1,373,625,000 words which, if typewritten in a single line, would stretch for 14,453 miles, more than halfway around the world.

For those with an affinity for computers, this is equivalent to about 15,000 megabytes of data. This information would fill 41,700 5-1/4 inch (360 kilobyte) floppy disks, or would make a stack of such disks 280 feet high, about as tall as a thirty-story skyscraper.

If a person read this mountain of information at 300 words a minute for a standard 40-hour week, he would begin on college graduation day and not finish until retirement at age 58 a total of 37 years!

And all of this data is packed into a one-celled organism barely visible to the unaided human eye.

The Blastocyst.

After conception in the Fallopian tubes, the new human being travels slowly down the tube towards the uterus. Its development has already begun. In fact, by the time the blastocyst has implanted in the uterus, it has undergone eight cell divisions of the 45 required to achieve full adulthood at age 18.

The blastocyst, which consists of about 256 cells, contains as much information as the main library in a large American city. This library would contain more than 3 million volumes with a total of about 350 billion words.

If these books were stacked on top of each other, they would make a pile fifty miles high. If this information were typewritten in a single line, the line would extend 3.7 million miles, or from here to the Moon and back eight times.

For computer freaks, this is equivalent to 3,840,000 megabytes of information, or 3.84 terabytes.

The Individual at Eight Weeks.

By the time the unborn child is eight weeks old, he weighs 1/30 of an ounce, and is comprised of about one billion cells. He has already undergone 35 of the 45 required cell divisions to achieve adulthood.

The amount of information contained in this baby's body is almost incomprehensible. It is equivalent to 1.4 billion billion words, or a typewritten line 15,467 billion miles long, enough to reach four light years to Proximus Centauri, the star closest to our Sun. It is equal to 15 million terabytes, or 15 million million megabytes.

How large is this amount of information?

It is equal to every word spoken by every one of the more than 100 billion human beings who have walked this earth since Adam and Eve; PLUS every written word in every copy of every book, newspaper, magazine, periodical, newsletter, love letter, and communication of every description that has ever existed on this earth.

And yet this unspeakably miraculous body is torn apart 150,000 times a day, all over the world, and is flushed into sewers all over the planet as garbage by abortionists and mothers who could not care less about God or the miracles He creates.

References: Fetal Development.

[1] Dr. Robert Edwards describing Louise Brown, the world's first 'test-tube' baby, quoted in Donald D. DeMarco, Ph.D. "Trapped By Choice! Biotechnology and the Repudiation of "Pro-Choice" Ideology." ALL News, May 1990, pages 28 to 30.

[2] Looseleaf booklet entitled "Organizing for Action." Prepared by Vicki Z. Kaplan for the National Abortion Rights Action League, 250 West 57th Street, New York, N.Y. 10019. 51 pages, no date.

[3] Abortionist Frederick Taussig, The Prevention and Treatment of Abortion, 1910. Quoted in William May's review of William B. Imber's book Abortion and the Private Practice on page 13 of the November 6, 1986 National Right to Life News.

[4] H.G. Ginsberg, M.D., Jay P. Goldsmith, M.D., and Charles M. Stedman, M.D. "Survival of a 380-Gram Infant." New England Journal of Medicine, June 14, 1990, Volume 322, No. 24:1,753.

[5] Canadian abortionist Henry Morgentaler, quoted in Lynda Hurst. "Pro-Abortionist: Decision is Woman's, Abortion Doctor Says." The Toronto Star, November 29, 1973, page E1.

[6] Reuben Straus, M.D., Ralph H. Walker, M.D., and Morris Cohen, Ph.D. "Direct Electrocardiographic Recording of a Twenty-Three Millimeter Human Embryo." The American Journal of Cardiology, September 1961, pages 443 to 449

[7] Abortionist Howard I. Diamond of Beth Israel Medical Center. Quoted in Norma Rosen. "Between Guilt and Gratification: Abortion Doctors Reveal Their Feelings." New York Times Magazine, April 17, 1977, page 78.

[8] United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. Reference Book and Guide to Sources, Statistical Abstract of the United States. 1990 (110th edition). Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office.

[9] Steve Otto. "Choice Supporters Rally, Assail Operation Rescue." People's Daily World, August 31, 1991, page 7.

[10] Leslie Bond. "Another Abortion Survivor at Detroit Memorial Hospital." National Right to Life News, July 31, 1986, page 7.

[11] David A. Grimes. "Second-Trimester Abortions in the United States." Alan Guttmacher Institute, Family Planning Perspectives, November/December 1984.

[12] Lisa Andrusko. "A Fact of Life: Is Abortion Legal Only in the First Three Months of Pregnancy?" National Right to Life News, January 23, 1986, page 1.

[13] Judith Hole and Ellen Levine. Rebirth of Feminism. Quadrangle Books: New York, 1971. Page 288.

[14] Marlene Fried. "Pro-Choice Agendas After Webster." Against the Current, November/December 1989, page 20.

[15] "Women Are Not Incubators!: The Assault on Abortion Rights." Revolutionary Communist Party of the United States, Revolutionary Worker, November 6, 1989. Also distributed as a special reprint booklet, page 6.

[16] Reproductive Rights Network of Boston. "R2N2 Opposes Coalition's Amendment." Sojourner: The Women's Forum, April 1990, page 8.

[17] Richard D. Glasow, Ph.D. "Public Revulsion to Late Abortions Worries Pro-Abortionists." National Right to Life News, November 21, 1985, pages 5 and 9.

[18] Frank Chernak, et al., "When is Termination of Pregnancy During the Third Trimester Morally Justified?" New England Journal of Medicine. Volume 310, No. 8, page 502.

[19] "Late Abortion and Technological Advances in Fetal Viability." Nancy K. Rhoden. "Some Legal Considerations." Family Planning Perspectives, July/August 1985, pages 160 and 161.

[20] "Late Abortion and Technological Advances in Fetal Viability." Janet Benshoof. "Reasserting Women's Rights." Family Planning Perspectives, July/August 1985, pages 162 and 163.

[21] Sherry Matulis. "Why Abortion Must Remain the Law of the Land." The Humanist, July/August 1992, pages 35 to 37 and 49. Extracted from her 1991 "Humanist Heroine Award" speech.

[22] Albert Speer, the architect for Adolf Hitler's Jewish Extermination Program. Quoted in ""Civility" and the Right to Life." Free Speech Advocates newsletter of May 1989.

[23] Warren Hern, M.D. Abortion Practice. New York: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1984. Page 323.

[24] "Pro-Life Ad Pulled From Seattle Buses." Portland, Oregon Catholic Sentinel. November 3, 1989, page 22.

[25] Living World, Volume 5, Number 2, page 28.

[26] "Billboards Carry Pro-Life Message." Voices for the Unborn (Feasterville, Pennsylvania), October 1990, page 10.

[27] Human Life of Washington State. Human Life News, January/February 1990, page 1.

[28] Judith Pasternak, Reproductive Freedom Project, ACLU Foundation, New York City, quoted in "Worth Quoting" on page 19 of the February 3, 1983 National Right to Life News.

[29] Anne Nicol Gaylor. Abortion is a Blessing. New York, New York: Psychological Dimensions, Inc. 1975, 124 pages. Page 42.

[30] Dennis J. Horan. Villanova Law Review, February 1977. The total amount of information communicated since Adam and Eve were created has been contained in 12 billion hardback and softback volumes averaging 180 pages and 55,000 words apiece; 500 billion newspapers, magazines, periodicals and newsletters of every description, each averaging 45 pages and 25,000 words; and 100 billion people having spoken an average of 7,500 words per day for an average 45-year lifespan. This is a total of 12,331,910,000,000,000,000 words of communication transmitted in every form since human life began on Earth.

Resources and Further Reading: Fetal Development.

Larry Christenson. The Wonderful Way That Babies Are Made
Hardback. Order from: Life Issues Bookshelf, Sun Life, Thaxton, Virginia 24174. Telephone: (703) 586-4898. A good book for parent-guided sex education that treats the subject in the context of God's plan for us. The book includes beautiful illustrations and a short section on adoption. There are varying sizes of print and simplicity of language, so that small children and older ones may be taught out of the same book.

Marjorie A. England, M.D. Color Atlas of Life Before Birth: Normal Fetal Development
Year Book Publishers, Chicago, 1983. Oversize hardcover. Order from: Life Issues Bookshelf, Sun Life, Thaxton, Virginia 24174. Telephone: (703) 586-4898. This 224-page "coffee-table volume" is lavishly illustrated with color photographs and explains in detail the development of every organ of the unborn child through all stages of development. A bit pricey, but an invaluable tool for debate and for learning about just who it is we are fighting for. This book would make an outstanding pro-life gift to an individual or to a library or school.

Fetal Models. 
Large pro-life groups, or those persons who do a lot of presentations on fetal development, may be interested in a high-quality set of eight fetal development models. These high-quality models are mounted on stands and include the uterus, placenta, and life-sized baby from four weeks to seven months. The baby models can be lifted out of the uterus. Information can be obtained from Life Cycle Books, Post Office Box 792, Lewiston, New York 14092-0792. Telephone: (416) 690-5860.

Susan Schaeffer Macauley. Something Beautiful from God
Paperback. Order from: Life Issues Bookshelf, Sun Life, Thaxton, Virginia 24174, telephone: (703) 586-4898. A parent's read-aloud book that explains the miracle of life before birth. Includes beautiful photographs of babies in the womb, and treats the subjects of sex and babies in a reverent manner.

Bernard M. Nathanson, M.D. The Abortion Papers: Inside the Abortion Mentality
Idea Books, Post Office Box 4010, Madison, Wisconsin 53711. 1985, 192 pages. A former prolific abortionist exposes the anti-Catholic bigotry of the pro-abortion movement, discusses the role of the blatantly biased media in obtaining abortion on demand, and explores what the science of fetology has revealed about the unborn child. This enjoyable book is written in George Will's wry and acerbic style. Read especially Chapter 2, "Fetology for Pro-Life," pages 111 to 175. This chapter consists of a detailed and interesting history of fetology in the United States.

Bernard Nathanson, M.D. The Silent Scream
Order from: Life Issues Bookshelf, Sun Life, Thaxton, Virginia 24174. Telephone: (703) 586-4898. This is the book form of the film that provoked an international pro-abort scream of protest and a futile effort to discredit it. The book, like the film, describes a suction abortion from the baby's point of view. The book also includes pro-abortion rebuttals to the film The Silent Scream and the answers to those rebuttals.

Lennart Nilsson, M.D. A Child is Born: The Drama of Life Before Birth
Dell Publishing Company, 1977. Soft cover, hardbound. This book is the sidewalk counselor's favorite. It includes riveting and beautiful color photos of the unborn child, which can be used in a most effective manner to quickly disprove the clinic escort's lies about fetal development.

Joan Lowery Nixon. Before You Were Born
Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington, Indiana, 46750. 28 pages, 1980. This is an excellent pro-life book that is basic enough to read to small children.

Stephen Parker. Life Before Birth: The Story of the First Nine Months
Cambridge University Press, 1979; 48 pages. Order from: Life Issues Bookshelf, Sun Life, Thaxton, Virginia 24174, telephone: (703) 586-4898. Reviewed by John Hamlon on pages 170 and 171 of the Summer 1979 issue of the International Review of Natural Family Planning. Displays from the British Museum of Natural History are drawn to illustrate life before birth and prove beyond doubt that life begins at fertilization. This is an excellent book for parent-guided sex education, in that it includes line drawings of the human reproductive systems. An effective tool for educating people as to the humanity and beauty of the preborn. Children will especially love this book.

Pro-Life Action League. "The Pocket-Pac Pro-Life Presentation." 
This invaluable aid to sidewalk counselors consists of eight 3-1/4 inch by 4-1/2 inch glossy color photographs of unborn children. The live babies are at 6, 8, 12, and 18 weeks, and the photographs show four victims of suction, D&E, saline, and hysterotomy abortions. These sets are available from the Pro-Life Action League, Suite 210, 6160 North Cicero Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60646. Price includes postage and handling.

Scientists for Life (Edward C. Freiling, Ph.D., editor). The Position of Modern Science on the Beginning of Human Life
Order from: Life Issues Bookshelf, Sun Life, Thaxton, Virginia 24174. Telephone: (703) 586-4898. This book proves conclusively, using references from famous scientists, that human life begins at fertilization. This book cuts through the pro-abort's desperate attempts to obscure the issue and shows that science does indeed know when life begins! All of the book's material is based on fact, not opinion; logic, not emotion. comes with a study guide in question and answer format to assist teachers and discussion leaders.

Margaret Sheffield. Where Do Babies Come From? and Before You Were Born
Alfred A. Knopf, 1982 and 1984. Each book is 32 pages. Two more very good books for children as young as six years old.

Carol Van Klompenburg and Elizabeth Siitari, M.D. Loving Your Preborn Baby
Harold Shaw Publishers, Route 2, Box 152, Pella, Iowa 50219. Telephone: (515) 628-1307. 1990. Reviewed on page 54 of the Winter 1991 issue of ALL About Issues. Chapters on baby's development, meditations for expecting mothers, and how to choose a good name for baby.

Thomas Verny, M.D., with John Kelly. The Secret Life of the Unborn Child
Collins Publishers, 100 Lesmill Road, Don Mills, Ontario. 1981, 245 pages. The author has written perhaps the first work on "prenatal psychology," demonstrating that the unborn child feels and experiences the outside world through the filter of the mother, and that he responds according to his own unique personality. This interesting book also shows how the character of the unborn child is formed by his experiences.

Dr. and Mrs. J.C. Willke. Abortion: Questions and Answers
1985, 315 pages. Order from Hayes Publishing Company, 6304 Hamilton Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45224. Also available in state and local Right to Life offices. Has extensive basic information on fetal development.

© American Life League BBS — 1-703-659-7111

This is a chapter of the Pro-Life Activist’s Encyclopedia published by American Life League.