All of us spent the first nine months of our existence surrounded by the water of the womb.
Explore the first stages of human development below.
Month 1: Human development starts when a sperm fuses with an egg to create a zygote. A zygote is a new single-cell human life that contains two copies of chromosomes—one copy from each parent. In the week following fertilization, the zygote undergoes rapid cell division and becomes a mass of cells known as a blastocyst. Just 12 days after fertilization, the cells destined to become the baby turn into something else first: the embryo. By the month’s end, this embryo is about the size of a grain of rice, but already, his/her surface features and major organs—the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys—are starting to take shape.
Month 2: This month, the tiny embryo’s development shifts into high gear. His/her tongue, teeth and eyelids start to form. His/her limbs grow longer and stronger, and the palate is nearly complete. Also in this time period, the embryo’s gastrointestinal tract separates from the urogenital organs and the heart begins beating—twice as fast as yours, in fact. The essential organs all are under construction and major body parts are in place (legs, arms, head and torso). As the eighth week of pregnancy draws to a close, one more major development unfolds. The embryonic baby gets a final name change, and he/she is now called a “fetus” until birth.
Month 3: This is the month of the heartbeat. Using a special tool called a Doppler monitor, doctors can detect the tiny thump-thumps of a 10-week-old fetus. This is also a time of rapid growth inside the womb. By month’s end, the unborn baby will weight roughly 1 ounce, and will double in length, uncurling from a tight C-position until he/she is about 3 inches long. The tail will disappear and eyelids, earlobes, limbs and digits will continue to form. Other developmental milestones for this period include thumb-sucking, head-nodding and balling tiny fingers into fists. And though the unborn baby's reproductive organs now are under construction, it’s still a bit early for the doctor’s gender declaration. That news (should you want it) usually arrives early in pregnancy’s second trimester.
Month 4: Get out the headphones and tune the radio dial to Mozart—this month, the fetus can hear his/her mother’s heartbeat, her voice and other outside noises. The unborn baby is also developing at warp speed; by now, all major organs are complete. In addition, his/her bones are growing stronger and its muscles longer. Reflexes also are sharpening up—the baby can now swallow, kick and execute an occasional somersault with relative ease. And by month’s end, the unborn baby will weigh around 6 ounces and stretch some 7 inches long. Sweat glands will dot his/her palms and soles, and the baby's wrinkly skin will shine transparent pink. At this stage, the unborn baby may look like a complete package, but it still has a few more months of growing to do. By the end of month four, most doctors can perform an ultrasound test and identify the baby’s gender.
Month 5: Finally, the baby really starts kicking! “Quickening” is when a mother senses her potential punter in action for the first time, and this milestone moment usually happens during pregnancy’s fifth month. Also new in this month: hair. The fetus now has tiny white eyelashes and two arching eyebrows. Fine woolly hairs, called lanugo, blanket the body and the baby's bare head also sports a few sprouts. In addition to lanugo, a white, waxy substance called vernix caseosa covers and protects the fetus’s body. And by month’s end, the unborn baby measures 8 to 10 inches long and tips the scales at 1 pound.
Month 6: Month 6 marks the end of the second trimester. At this point, the baby’s essential organs—its kidneys, heart and lungs—are fully formed. The facial features are becoming more recognizable. he/she also can hiccup and react to loud “outside” noises by blinking, shifting or kicking. By month’s end, the fetus will measure about 12 or 13 inches long and weigh roughly 2 pounds.
Month 7: The 7-month-old fetus can blink, and his/her eyes may even remain open for short period of time. Hands and feet are becoming even more active. Also in this phase: Taste buds form and protective fat tissue makes its debut. The unborn baby's hearing is fully developed and, in boys, the testicles have moved to the groin. By month’s end, the unborn baby will measure 14 to 16 inches long and weigh anywhere from 2 ½ to 3 ½ pounds.
Month 8: This month, the unborn baby’s brain develops rapidly, and all of his/her organs except the lungs are mature. An 8-month-old fetus stretches 16 to 18 inches long and weighs between 4 and 6 pounds. And as the baby-to-be grows larger, space in the womb becomes scarce. Expectant mothers should still count on catching a few elbows every day, but the elaborate somersault sequences should stop until delivery day. Other exciting changes during this period? The baby’s fingernails now reach beyond his/her fingertips and the skin is starting to smooth.
Month 9: The finish line is in sight! In this final month of development, the baby’s fat layers thicken to help keep him/her warm outside the womb, and the protective layers of vernix caseosa and lanugo largely disappear. By now, the unborn baby’s lungs are mature, the is skin pink and smooth, and the baby's are toenails fully grown. The baby-to-be can also execute an array of reflexes, such as head turning, blinking and grasping. At this late stage, it stretches between 20 to 22 inches long, and weighs about 7½ pounds. To prepare itself for delivery, the baby changes position and drops down in his/her mother’s pelvis, usually with the head pointed toward her birth canal.
Sources: The National Women’s Health Information Center via the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service(www.4women.gov) and The Office of Public Health’s website, 4parents.gov (www.4parents.gov).
ISSUES - because it really is a matter or life and death
Under the auspices of expanded access to healthcare, Planned Parenthood renews its efforts for fully taxpayer-funded abortions -- a new source of revenue for America's largest abortion business, who already receives tens of millions of dollars in federal and state grants annually for non-abortion services.
“Health Care for America”
A Richmond Times-Dispatch story published July 9th of 2008, announced “a well-financed” national campaign by Health Care for America Now begun in 50 cities across the country, including Richmond. According to the story, the Virginia agent is Virginia Organizing Project.
This is seen as a shot-across-the-bow for fully federally funded abortion-on-demand under the auspices of Health Care for America Now. This is because the proposal’s funding by America’s top abortion chain, Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Planned Parenthood kills hundreds of thousands of unborn babies in their clinics every year.
289,750 abortions were performed at clinics associated with Planned Parenthood of America (PPFA) in 2006, according to the PPFA 2006-07 Annual Report.
The Alan Guttmacher Institute, PPFA's research arm, reports that abortions in the U.S. have steadily decreased since 1990, dropping by 25%. While dropping in the U.S. as a whole, abortion performed at PPFA clinics during the same time frame (1990-2006) have increased by 224%.
The Times-Dispatch story identifies Planned Parenthood Federation of America as one of the national organizations on the steering committee of Health Care for America Now who have given at least $500,000 each to fund the project.
The wholesale killing of unborn babies as practiced by Planned Parenthood Federation of America is a totally inappropriate and totally incompatible component of health care for the sick and suffering, and especially for the poor mother who needs care and help, not the killing of her unborn child.
Planned Parenthood has consistently opposed every effort to provide women facing difficult pregnancies with vital information about help that is available to them and the risks posed by abortion. So committed are they to the abortion agenda that they have consistently fought even reasonable "women's right to know" laws and "parental involvement" laws in all fifty states.
The gauntlet has been thrown. The bandwagon is rolling Now is the time for every citizen to speak up to demand that abortion services and their providers be excluded from health care reform plans as is unfortunately evident in the presence of Planned Parenthood Federation of America in the Health Care for America Now apparatus.
Olivia Gans, President, Virginia Society for Human Life
Human beings, no matter how small, weak, or dependent, possess inherent dignity and intrinsic worth by virtue of their humanity.
Thus the intentional harm or destruction of a human being for the supposed benefit of another human being is wrong.
This bedrock principle of traditional medical ethics was infamously violated throughout the 20th century. Witness the gruesome "research" conducted on Jews and prisoners-of-war by the Nazis at Auschwitz and Dachau, the syphilis experiments performed on uninformed African Americans at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, and the intentional exposure of unwitting American servicemen to radiation during the 1940's. As Prof. James Burtchaell observed, the history of these experiments "shows well that when scientists and therapists set out to exploit one group to benefit another, it is invariably the disadvantaged who suffer for the powerful."
During the last decade, the same kind of reckless disregard for the intrinsic dignity of human life has characterized the practice of conducting experimentation on pre-born children. This experimentation takes two different but closely related forms:
1) Fetal Tissue Transplants/Embryonic Stem Cells: The transplant of tissue from dead unborn babies who have been aborted or live unborn babies who are about to be aborted into individuals who have incurable conditions or diseases.
2) Live Human Embryo Research: The creation or use of human life in the laboratory for harmful tests that involve destroying or discarding the live human embryo.
Of all human beings, pre-born human life is most vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. While VSHL welcomes legitimate medical advances to alleviate suffering and cure disease, those advances must never result from the intentional death and destruction of unborn human beings.
As Do No Harm: The Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics (www.stemcellresearch.org) recently concluded its statement, On Human Embryos and Stem Cell Research,
"If anything can be gained from the cruel atrocities committed against human beings in the last century and a half, it is the lesson that the utilitarian devaluation of one group of human beings for the alleged benefit of others is a price we simply cannot afford to pay."
The foundation for this baseline principle of medical ethics comes from the Hippocratic Oath. Please visit the stem cell section of VSHL CLICK HERE
Euthanasia is the purposeful killing by act or omission of a dependent human being for his/her alleged benefit. Euthanasia has been advocated for certain classes of human beings, including the handicapped young, the mentally impaired, the terminally ill and the comatose.
The inevitable result of this trend will be to escalate from killing for the alleged benefit of an individual to killing for the convenience of others.
Euthanasia violates the principle that each human being has intrinsic dignity and value, regardless of age, physical or mental condition, or state of dependency. Euthanasia seeks to improve the quality of life, not by mutually ennobling acts of care and assistance, but by exterminating those who fall below some arbitrary standard. Killing is never a proper expression of compassion.
We approve of the accepted medical practice of administering pain-relieving drugs in whatever dosage necessary to alleviate the suffering of the terminally ill, as long as there is no intent to bring about or hasten the patient's death. We care about human life and about people and families facing difficult medical decisions. We promote positive steps of advocacy to protect all human life, no matter what its situation on the continuum of life.
Please visit the euthansia section of VSHL CLICK HERE