Abortion Home

Pre-Born BabyWhen is a life, a life? Scientific research clearly defines that the beginning of life is at conception. Immediately after conception each cell has sufficient information in its DNA structure to produce a complete human being. Destruction at any stage of the development of a person, from the single cell stage up to several million cells, is the taking of a life.

The use of the terminology ‘right to choose’ is a perversion of the truth because it exploits the language of rights as a pretext for taking away the most basic right of all: the right to life. As a result, those who are the most drastically affected, namely the victims, are the ones who are denied the ‘right to choose’. It is unethical and an abuse of power to destroy those who cannot defend themselves. It is therefore not surprising that the largest survey ever done amongst South African doctors on abortion showed that more than 80% of them are against abortion on demand.

Consequences of Abortion

It has been shown that those who have had abortions may, and most probably will suffer physical, mental and/or spiritual harm. Not only is there the risk of death, haemorrhaging and permanent damage to vital reproductive organs, but it is estimated that close to all women will suffer with guilt, shame and remorse. Twenty five per cent may experience “Post Abortion Syndrome”, a serious condition involving chronic depression that if left untreated can lead to attempts at suicide.

DFL is committed to upholding the rights of all healthcare professionals to freedom of conscience as enshrined in the South African Constitution, so as to not have to participate in the practice of performing abortions.

Facts about the Unborn Person

The following facts are not only to boost your knowledge, but more importantly to make you attach even more value to life and therefore increase your stance on abortion.

  • The average length of a full-term pregnancy is 38 weeks. A figure of 40 weeks is often used by obstetricians, but this is actually the time between the first day of the last menstrual period and childbirth. On average, the first day of the last menstrual period occurs 2 weeks before fertilization. [1, 2, 3]
  • Fertilization normally takes place within one day of intercourse, but six days later it can still take place.[4, 5] At fertilization, the genetic composition of a pre-born human is formed.[6] It is this genetic information determines the child’s gender, eye and hair colour, facial features, and influences characteristics such as intelligence and personality.[7] Genetically speaking, with the exception of identical twins,[8, 9] once a pre-born human is conceived, the odds against the same one being conceived again by the mother are greater than 10600 to one.[10, 11]
  • Three weeks after fertilisation or five weeks after the last menstrual period (LMP), the eyes and spinal cord are visible and the developing brain has two lobes.[12, 13]
  • Four weeks after fertilisation (6 weeks after LMP), the heart is beating and the circulatory system is established.[14] Specific brain components and some internal organs such as the lungs are beginning to develop and can also be identified.[15]
  • Seven weeks after fertilisation, the muscles and nerves begin working together. When the upper lip is tickled, the arms move backwards.[16] During this period, the cerebrum has divided into hemispheres.[17]
  • Nine weeks after fertilisation, more than 90% of the body structures found in a full-grown human are already present. It is at this period, that the embryo is referred to as a foetus. This dividing line was chosen by embryologists because from this point forward, most development involves growth in existing body structures instead of the formation of new ones.[18, 19] The pre-born human moves body parts without any outside stimulation.[20]
  • Ten weeks after fertilisation, the brain and spinal cord are completely formed. The heart now pumps blood to the entire body.[21] The whole body is sensitive to touch except for portions of the head. The pre-born human will start making facial expressions.[22]
  • Twelve weeks after fertilisation, electrical signals from the nervous system are measurable. After an abortion, efforts to suckle will sometimes be observed.[23, 24]
  • Fourteen weeks after fertilisation, the pre-born human is making coordinated movements with the arms and legs.[25]
  • Sixteen weeks after fertilisation, eye movements are already being observed.[26]
  • Eighteen weeks after fertilisation, the portion of the brain responsible for functions such as reasoning, memory and language (the cerebral cortex) possesses the same number of nerve cells as an adult. Pain sensory receptors have also spread to all portions of the skin and mucous membranes.[27, 28]
  • Twenty weeks after fertilisation, the pre-born human sleeps, awakes and can hear sounds as well.[29]
  • Twenty-four weeks after fertilisation, the blink-startle reflex and taste buds are functional. The pre-born human will swallow more amniotic fluid if a sweetener is added to it.[30, 31] The grip is strong enough to hold onto an object that is moving up and down.[32] If born and given specialized care, the survival rate of the child is more than 80%.[33]
  • Twenty-eight weeks after fertilisation, if the preborn is exposed to an 85 decibel noise while sleeping (about as loud as a blender), he/she exhibits the “motor behaviours that accompany the crying state.” [34, 35] Premature infants born at this time are more sensitive to pain than infants who are born at 38 weeks, and infants who are born at 38 weeks are more sensitive to pain than infants at 3-12 months after birth.[36, 37] If born and given specialized care, the survival rate is higher than 95%.[38]
  • Thirty-eight weeks after fertilisation. This is the average point in time when humans are born. At birth, the medical classification changes from a foetus to a neonate.[39, 40]

References:

[1] Textbook: Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology and Birth Defects. By Keith L. Moore & T.V.N. Persaud. W.B. Saunders Company, 1998. Fifth edition.
Page 109: “The expected date of delivery (EDD) of a fetus is 266 days, or 38 weeks, after fertilization; that is, 280 days, or 40 weeks, after LNMP (Table 7-1).”
[2] Book: Color Atlas of Life Before Birth. By Marjorie A. England. Year Book Medical Publishers, 1983.
Page 12: “Most clinicians do not know the fertilization date; the only date available to them is the first day of the last menstrual period. They use this date to define a menstrual age stretching from time 0, which is usually 14 days before fertilization….”
[3] Book: How Life Begins. By Christopher Vaughn. Random House 1996.
Page 8: “In other words, most obstetricians figures are based on a forty-week pregnancy when you’re actually pregnant for only thirty-eight weeks.”
[4] Book: Color Atlas of Physiology. By Agamemnon Despopoulos & Stefan Silbernagl. Fifth edition. Thieme, 2003.
Page 308: “Fertilization usually takes place on the first day after intercourse….”
[5] Textbook: Langman’s Medical Embryology. By T. W. Sadler. Ninth edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2004.
Page 122: “The oocyte is normally fertilized within 12 hours of ovulation. However, sperm deposited in the reproductive tract up to 6 days prior to ovulation can survive to fertilize oocytes. Thus, most pregnancies occur when sexual intercourse occurs within a 6-day period that ends on the day of ovulation.”
[6] Book: Psychological Development and Early Childhood. By John Oates, Clare Wood & Andrew Grayson. Blackwell, 2005.
Page 217 states that a “genotype” is: “The complete set of genes present in an individual. The genotype is determined at fertilization when genetic information from the egg and sperm is combined.”
[7] Book: Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy. By the Mayo Clinic. Collins, 2004.
Page 45 (section on fertilization): “This genetic material will determine your baby’s sex, eye color, hair color, body size, facial features and – at least to some extent – intelligence and personality. … Your baby’s sex is determined at the moment he or she is conceived.”
[8] Book: Genetic Destinies. By Peter Little. Oxford University Press, 2002.
Page 34: “Identical twins have exactly the same DNA and it so follows that any feature that is defined by gene differences should be identical between them.”
[9] Note that even though identical twins have the same genes, they vary in certain biological respects because of epigenetic differences. This is explained in the paper: “The marks, mechanisms and memory of epigenetic states in mammals.” By Vardhman K. Rakyan & others. Biochemical Journal, May 15, 2001. http://www.biochemj.org/bj/356/0001/3560001.pdf
Page 1: “These modifications interfere with the DNA–protein interactions that facilitate transcription, resulting in transcriptional silencing of the epigenetically modified allele. Epigenetic modifications can, therefore, cause phenotypic variation in the absence of genetic differences.”
[10] Teaching guide: “Human Genetic Variation.” By BSCS and Videodiscovery under a contract from the National Institutes of Health, National Human Genome Research Institute, 1999. http://science.education.nih.gov/…
Page 7: “The human genome comprises about 3 × 109 base pairs of DNA, and the extent of human genetic variation is such that no two humans, save identical twins, ever have been or will be genetically identical.”
[10] Calculation performed with information and data from the following sources:
a) Book: The Developing Human: Clinically Orientated Embryology. By Keith L. Moore & T. V. N. Persaud. Seventh edition. Saunders, 2003. Page 16: Human development begins at fertilization when a male gamete or sperm (spermatozoa) unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a singe cell – a zygote.” Page 33: The zygote is genetically unique because half of its chromosomes come from the mother and half from the father. The zygote contains a new combination of chromosomes that is different from that in the cells of either of the parents. This mechanism forms the basis of biparental inheritance and variation of the human species.”
b) Book: Population and Evolutionary Genetics: A Primer. By Francisco J. Ayala. Benjamin Cummings Publishing Company, 1982. Page 53: “Considerable genetic variation exists in most natural populations. … Consider humans with a 6.7% heterozygosity detectable by electrophoresis. If we assume there are 30,000 structural gene loci in a human being, which may be an underestimate, a person will be heterozygous at 30,000 X 0.067 = 2010 loci. Such an individual can theoretically produce 22010 ≈ 10605 different kinds of gametes [reproductive cells].”
c) Book: Human Reproductive Biology. By Richard E. Jones & Kristen H. Lopez. Third edition. Academic Press, 2006. Page 46 states that women living in developed countries experience about 450 ovulation cycles in a lifetime.
[12] Book: The First Nine Months of Life. By Geraldine Lux Flanagan. Simon & Shuster, 1962. Second edition.
Page 35 states that in the third week, “the brain has two lobes,” and “the early spinal cord is bordered by the future vertebrae and muscle segments.” A picture shows the brain lobes and spinal cord.
[13] Book: Gray’s Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Medicine and Surgery. Churchill Livingstone, 1995.
Page 329 states that at 19-21 days, “The cranial half of the groove, representing developing brain, begins to develop cephalic flexure, optic primordia become visible….”
[14] College textbook: Biology: Investigating Life on Earth. By Vernon L. Avila. Second edition. Jones and Bartlett, 1995.
Page 693: “First, the embryo has its own circulatory system, complete with a heart that started beating only 24 days after conception….”
[15] Book: Gray’s Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Medicine and Surgery. Churchill Livingstone, 1995.
Page 329 states that at 21-27 days, “primary cerebral vesicles appear. … Rudimentary limb buds appear and the heart tubes fuse into a common loop in which contractile activity commences. The primordia of the thyroid gland, lungs, liver, pancreas, and mesonephric tubules are all identifiable.”
[16] Book: The First Nine Months of Life. By Geraldine Lux Flanagan. Simon & Shuster, 1962. Second edition. Pages 52-53:
“In the sixth and seventh weeks, nerves and muscles work together for the first time. If the area of the lips, the first to become sensitive to touch, is gently stroked, the baby, who then is still an embryo, responds by bending the upper body to one side and making a quick backward motion with the arms. This is called a “total pattern” response because it involves most of the body rather than the approximate local part.”
NOTE: The details above are documented by photos. Page 52 notes, “All of the photographs in this book that show the movement of the baby are taken from” films made by Davenport Hooker at the University of Pittsburgh.
[17] Book: Gray’s Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Medicine and Surgery. Churchill Livingstone, 1995.
Page 329 states that in the 6th and 7th weeks, “The pontine flexure, cerebral hemispheres and cerebellum are developing.”
[18] Book: Gray’s Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Medicine and Surgery. Churchill Livingstone, 1995.
Page 95: “When mammalian embryos reach a certain size, growth rather than morphogenesis occurs. The embryo is referred to as a fetus; this occurs at 56-57 postovulatory days in humans when the onset of bone marrow formation in the humerus can be seen (Streeter 1949); at this stage more than 90% of the named structures of the adult body have appeared.”
[19] Book: The First Nine Months of Life. By Geraldine Lux Flanagan. Simon & Shuster, 1962. Second edition.
Page 48: “The appearance of the first bone cells marks the end of the embryonic period. This criterion was chosen by embryologists because the beginning bone formation coincides with the essential completion of the body.”
[20] Book: The First Nine Months of Life. By Geraldine Lux Flanagan. Simon & Shuster, 1962. Second edition.
Pages 52-53: “By the beginning of this third month the baby moves spontaneously, without being touched, for the first time.”
[21] Article: “Fetus.” By Frank D. Allan in the Encyclopedia of Human Biology. Academic Press, 1997. Volume 3.
Page 955 states that in the tenth week, “Division of the heart into chambers is complete, and a definitive vascular system carries blood to and from all parts of the body. … All components of the brain and spinal cord are formed, and nerves link the stem of the brain and the spinal cord to all tissues and organs of the body.”
[22] Book: The First Nine Months of Life. By Geraldine Lux Flanagan. Simon & Shuster, 1962. Second edition.
Pages 53-54: “In the ninth and tenth weeks, if the baby’s forehead is touched, he may turn his head away and pucker up his brow and frown. … [T]he entire body becomes sensitive to touch with a notable exception: the sides, back and top of the head.”
[23] Article: “Fetus.” By Frank D. Allan in the Encyclopedia of Human Biology. Academic Press, 1997. Volume 3.
Page 962 states that in the third month, “Electrical activity of the nervous system is discernible…. Attempts to suckle have been seen in utero and in aborted fetuses of 3 months.”
[24] Textbook: Human Genetics: Concepts and Applications. By Ricki Lewis. Third edition. McGraw Hill, 1998.
Page 56: “By week 12, the fetus sucks its thumb, kicks, makes fists and faces, and has the beginnings of baby teeth.”
[25] Textbook: Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology and Birth Defects. By Keith L. Moore & T.V.N. Persaud. W.B. Saunders Company, 1998. Fifth edition.
Page 106: “Limb movements, which occur at the end of the embryonic period (8 weeks), become coordinated by the 14th week, but are too slight to be felt by the mother.”
[26] Book: Embryology: Board Review Series. By Ronald W. Dudek & James D. Fix. Second edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 1998.
Page 246 states that in weeks 13-16, “Eye movements begin.”
[27] Paper: “Pain and its Effects in the Human Neonate and Fetus.” By K.J.S. Anand & P.R. Hickey. New England Journal of Medicine, November 19, 1987.
Page 1322:
Cutaneous sensory receptors appear in the perioral [mouth] area of the human fetus in the 7th week of gestation; they spread to the rest of the face, the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet by the 11th week, to the trunk and proximal parts of the arms and legs by the 15th week, and to all cutaneous and mucous surfaces by the 20th week. …
Development of the fetal neocortex begins at 8 weeks of gestation, and by 20 weeks each cortex has a full complement of 109 neurons.
NOTE: This article uses the obstetric method of counting from the last menstrual period as evidenced by the chart on page 1322, which uses a gestation of 40 weeks for pregnancy. Two weeks must be subtracted to provide the actual time since fertilization.
[28] Article: “Brain.” New Millennium Encyclopedia. Simon and Shuster, 1999.

“The cerebrum is the largest part of the human brain, making up approximately 85 percent of the brain’s weight; its large surface area (cortex) and intricate development account for the superior intelligence of humans, compared with other animals. … A large part of the human cortex, the frontal area, is used for awareness, intelligence, and memory.”
[29] Article: “Fetus.” American Medical Association Complete Medical Encyclopedia. Edited by Jerrold B. Leikin & Martin S. Lipsky. Random House, 2003.
Page 558: “At 20 weeks, the fetus … now sleeps and wakes and hears sounds.”
[30] Book: Embryology: Board Review Series. By Ronald W. Dudek & James D. Fix. Second edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 1998.
Page 247 states that in weeks 21-24: “Blink-startle reflex is demonstrable on vibroacoustic stimulation of mother’s abdomen.”
[31] Entry: “Fetus.” Encyclopedia of Human Biology. Academic Press, 1997. Volume 3. By Frank D. Allan.
Page 962: “Taste buds are functional at 6 months, and the modality for sweetness is well differentiated. Increased “drinking” of the amniotic fluid is effected when sweet substances are introduced.”
[32] Book: The First Nine Months of Life. By Geraldine Lux Flanagan. Simon & Shuster, 1962. Second edition.
Page 71: “In the fifth and sixth months the grip becomes strong. This baby is holding a rod and moves his arm up and down as the rod is moved.”
Page 52: “All of the photographs in this book that show the movement of the baby are taken from” films made by Davenport Hooker at the University of Pittsburgh.
[33] Paper: “Very Low Birth Weight Outcomes of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network, January 1995 Through December 1996.” By James A. Lemons et al., including Avroy A. Fanaroff. Pediatrics, January 2001. http://www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/107/1/e1
[34] Paper: “Fetal homologue of infant crying.” By J L Gingras and others. Archives of Disease in Childhood: Fetal and Neonatal Edition, April 27, 2005. Pages F415-F418. http://adc.bmj.com/
Page F415: “[I]n a stable state (quiet or active sleep), the fetus was challenged with … [vibroacoustic stimulation]. [This] … was provided by an artificial larynx (model 5c; Western Electric) that emits fundamental tones of about 100 Hz and 95 dB and was mechanically altered to provide exactly 0.5 second of stimulation. … The physiological intrauterine noise intensity has been reported to be about 85 dB.5″
Page F418: “The behaviors were seen in all gestational ages studied, indicating that the behavior occurs as early as 28 weeks gestation, and possibly earlier.”
[35] Advisory: “Hearing Conservation Program.” University Health Services, University of Cincinnati, Revised June 11, 1999. http://ehs.uc.edu/Advisories/Advisory_33_0.PDF
[36] Paper: “Pain and its Effects in the Human Neonate and Fetus.” By K.J.S. Anand & P.R. Hickey. New England Journal of Medicine, November 19, 1987. Page 1325:
Page 1325: “In other studies of the cry response to painful procedures, neonates were found to be more sensitive to pain than older infants (those 3 to 12 months old)….”
[37] Paper: “Symptom Management: Acute Pain, Chapter 3 – Pain in Preverbal Children.” United States National Institutes of Health, Publication Number 94-2421. June 1994. http://www.nih.gov/
Page 2 cites one possible reason why younger humans are more sensitive to pain: “Serotonin (5HT) is a biogenic amine transmitter that serves an important role in pain modulation. … Serotonin levels in the young infants are low and may limit the effectiveness of the endogenous pain control mechanisms (Fitzgerald 1991b).”
[38] Paper: “Very Low Birth Weight Outcomes of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network, January 1995 Through December 1996.” By James A. Lemons et al., including Avroy A. Fanaroff. Pediatrics, January 2001. http://www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/107/1/e1
[39] Textbook: Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology and Birth Defects. By Keith L. Moore & T.V.N. Persaud. W.B. Saunders Company, 1998. Fifth edition.
Page 109: “The expected date of delivery (EDD) of a fetus is 266 days, or 38 weeks, after fertilization; that is, 280 days, or 40 weeks, after LNMP (Table 7-1).”
[40] Entry: “neonate.” Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary. 29th edition. W. B. Saunders Company, 2000. Page 1184: “a newborn infant.”

Twitter Feed