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The Unborn Baby

Return to Catholic Life Section | The Gift of Life

Pregnant Woman

The Unborn Baby

Sources: Various

Important Notice: The following is not comprehensive. We make no guarantee regarding any item herein. Items herein may be graphic in nature. We condemn abortion-related violence. Do not inflict violence on those who procure, advise, or participate in abortions. The following is not intended as a political discussion or an official stand on political matters. We are not responsible for - or qualified / intending to give - medical advice. We are not liable for any occurrence which may result from using this site. By using this site you agree to all terms. For more terms information, click here.

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Life Begins at Conception

An Unborn Baby is Different from its Mother

Fetal Development Facts

Other Facts Regarding the Unborn

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Life Begins at Conception

There is overwhelming evidence that life begins at the moment of conception. And, there is absolutely no true scientific evidence that can refute this fact. Even abortionists, scientists, doctors, and a past president of Planned Parenthood admit that a new life begins at fertilization.

"I see no difference between the early person that you were at conception and the late person which you are now. You were, and are, a human being." (Dr. Jerome Lejeune, known as "The Father of Modern Genetics")

"By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception." (Dr. Hymie Gordon, Chairman of the Department of Genetics at the Mayo Clinic)

"[H]ardly anyone in the medical community still openly denies that the pre-born child is a biological human." (Dr. Bernard Nathanson, former abortionist turned pro-life activist)

The fact is that the unborn child is a distinct individual from the moment of conception. From the moment you were conceived, "you were uniquely you"!

Although the pro-abortion side tries to argue that the humanity of a fetus only comes from the acceptance of it by the mother, this is plainly ridiculous.

In fact, when 'legalizing' abortion in this country, the scientific evidence concerning when life begins was entirely ignored. As Justice Blackmun stated in the Court's majority opinion, "We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins." Instead of considering the scientific evidence that clearly showed that life begins at conception, they pushed the inconvenient evidence aside, in favor of a so-called right to 'privacy' - as if privacy could ever take precedence over a person's most basic right to live. 

His Holiness Pope John Paul II, 1995: 

"Some people try to justify abortion by claiming that the result of conception, at least up to a certain number of days, cannot yet be considered a personal human life. But in fact, 'from the time that the ovum is fertilized, a life is begun which is neither that of the father nor the mother; it is rather the life of a new human being with his own growth. It would never be made human if it were not human already. This has always been clear, and... modern genetic science offers clear confirmation. It has demonstrated that from the first instant there is established the programme of what this living being will be: a person, this individual person with his characteristic aspects already well determined. Right from fertilization the adventure of a human life begins, and each of its capacities requires time - a rather lengthy time - to find its place and to be in a position to act'. Even if the presence of a spiritual soul cannot be ascertained by empirical data, the results themselves of scientific research on the human embryo provide 'a valuable indication for discerning by the use of reason a personal presence at the moment of the first appearance of a human life: how could a human individual not be a human person?'. Furthermore, what is at stake is so important that, from the standpoint of moral obligation, the mere probability that a human person is involved would suffice to justify an absolutely clear prohibition of any intervention aimed at killing a human embryo. Precisely for this reason, over and above all scientific debates and those philosophical affirmations to which the Magisterium has not expressly committed itself, the Church has always taught and continues to teach that the result of human procreation, from the first moment of its existence, must be guaranteed that unconditional respect which is morally due to the human being in his or her totality and unity as body and spirit: 'The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life'." 

An Unborn Baby is Different from its Mother

From the moment of conception, an unborn baby is a completely separate individual from its mother. For example:

  • A fetus has different DNA from its mother at the moment of conception. Its entirely unique genetic makeup exists from conception, making it a different individual from both its parents and every other person in the world. 

  • From the moment of conception, an unborn child may be a different gender than its mother. Roughly half of all unborn children are male.

  • An unborn child has a separate blood supply from its mother. It may even have a different blood type than its mother.

  • An unborn child has its own brain.  

  • An unborn child has its own organs.

  • An unborn child has its own fingerprints.

  • An unborn child has its own soul.

Clearly we are not talking about just one person.

Fetal Development Facts

Modern technology has made it even easier to demonstrate the humanity and uniqueness of the fetus. Instruments have been invented which allow us to "peek inside the womb" at an even earlier age. What is already known about fetal development is fascinating. For example:

  • The unborn child's heart starts beating at about the 18th day. 

  • By about the 20th day, the structure for the entire nervous system is present.

  • At about 40 days, brain waves may be recordable.

  • An unborn child has been photographed sucking its thumb at 7 weeks.

  • By eight weeks, the unborn child can feel pain. Yes, the unborn child can feel pain in the womb! Fetuses have even been shown to struggle to escape the instruments of abortion. Click here for more information on abortion procedures

  • By about eight weeks, the unborn child has its own fingerprints.

  • By about eight weeks, all body systems are present.

  • By about nine weeks, the unborn child can make a fist.

  • By about nine weeks, the unborn child may squint.

  • By 11 weeks, the unborn child may be sensitive to heat, touch, light, and noise.

  • By 11 weeks, one may be able to observe smiles and other facial expressions.

  • By 11 weeks, the unborn child may sleep and wake, turn its head, hear, taste, and even urinate.

  • By 11-12 weeks, fingernails may be present.

  • By about 12 weeks, all body systems may be functioning.

  • REM (Rapid Eye Movement) - associated with dreaming - has been detected in the womb as early as the 17th week.

  • Babies only 21 weeks old (and even some at 20 weeks) have survived outside the womb.

The fetus is also shown to be alert and conscious. He or she may see and hear, and can even cry if conditions permit it.

Other Facts Regarding the Unborn

  • Abortionists themselves can tell you that the unborn are human - they know they are! When they perform an abortion, they see the tiny hands, feet, arms, legs, fingers, toes, ears, and head. They see what they are doing when they tear off limbs, crush skulls, suck the children out of the womb, etc. Sometimes the battered child even comes out still alive. Click here for more information on abortion procedures

  • Are you not yet convinced that the unborn is a human child? Just look at a picture of an aborted child. There's absolutely no question. If you can't bear to look at the bloody images of torn limbs, decapitated bodies, mangled torsos, try viewing pictures of fetal development. Note that the average age of aborted children may be 11 weeks. If you were to look at a fetus at 11 weeks, you would notice that it looks completely human, although small.

  • In various ways, our own legal system admits an unborn child is human. For example:

  • Our courts may try persons for the crime of killing the unborn (when not connected with an abortion).

  • Our courts may also allow the willing of property to the unborn.

  • One pro-life activist was recently arrested and tried for displaying the remains of an aborted baby. He faced jail time due to "unlawful display of human remains without a permit". They therefore unwittingly admitted that the child is human! Is it not unjust that one can perform an abortion (that is, kill a child) with the full protection of the law, but one cannot show the results of the killing without being charged with a crime?

  • Even those in the business of abortions have admitted the aborted children are human. Although they may tell a troubled woman that her unborn child is "just a blob of tissue" on one hand, if they sell the body of her aborted baby, they may then call it "human". Organizations literally pack and sell bodies of aborted babies. The bodies are listed in their catalogs as "human". They have been sold as novelties (e.g. paperweights), used for experiments, harvested for organs, and used in manufacture of certain products. In some cases, the babies were still alive (and capable of experiencing pain). 

  • Note that "being an 'embryo' or a 'fetus' is considered just one stage in life, like later being a child, or a teenager, or an adult, or an older person. You weren't a non-person at any of these stages, you were simply you at a different stage of your life." Note: Before approximately12 weeks, an unborn child may be called an 'embryo', and after that a 'fetus' (Latin for "young one"). Whether an embryo or fetus, the unborn child is a tiny human being.

  • Holy Scripture tells us in various places that the unborn are human. For example:

"The New Testament revelation confirms the indisputable recognition of the value of life from its very beginning. The exaltation of fruitfulness and the eager expectation of life resound in the words with which Elizabeth rejoices in her pregnancy: 'The Lord has looked on me... to take away my reproach among men' (Lk. 1:25). And even more so, the value of the person from the moment of conception is celebrated in the meeting between the Virgin Mary and Elizabeth, and between the two children whom they are carrying in the womb. It is precisely the [unborn] children who reveal the advent of the Messianic age: in their meeting, the redemptive power of the presence of the Son of God among men first becomes operative. As Saint Ambrose writes: 'The arrival of Mary and the blessings of the Lord's presence are also speedily declared... Elizabeth was the first to hear the voice; but John was the first to experience grace. She heard according to the order of nature; he leaped because of the mystery. She recognized the arrival of Mary; he the arrival of the Lord. The woman recognized the woman's arrival; the child, that of the child. The women speak of grace; the babies make it effective from within to the advantage of their mothers who, by a double miracle, prophesy under the inspiration of their children. The infant leaped, the mother was filled with the Spirit. The mother was not filled before the son, but after the son was filled with the Holy Spirit, he filled his mother too'." (Pope John Paul II, 1995, emphasis added)

"Isaac entreated the LORD on behalf of his wife, since she was sterile. The LORD heard his entreaty, and Rebekah became pregnant. But the children in her womb jostled each other so much that she exclaimed, 'If this is to be so, what good will it do me!' She went to consult the LORD, and he answered her: 'Two nations are in your womb, two peoples are quarreling while still within you; But one shall surpass the other, and the older shall serve the younger.'" (Gen. 25:21-23, emphasis added)

"You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother's womb. I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works! My very self you knew; my bones were not hidden from you, When I was being made in secret, fashioned as in the depths of the earth. Your eyes foresaw my actions; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be." (Ps. 139:13-16)

  • The unborn are objects of God's care:

"Human life is sacred and inviolable at every moment of existence, including the initial phase which precedes birth. All human beings, from their mothers' womb, belong to God who searches them and knows them, who forms them and knits them together with his own hands, who gazes on them when they are tiny shapeless embryos and already sees in them the adults of tomorrow whose days are numbered and whose vocation is even now written in the 'book of life' (cf. Ps 139: 1, 13-16). There too, when they are still in their mothers' womb - as many passages of the Bible bear witness - they are the personal objects of God's loving and fatherly providence." (Pope John Paul II, 1995, emphasis added)

Also Try...

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