Today the Supreme Court will be hearing arguments on the state of Mississippi’s abortion law banning most abortions after 15 weeks in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Up until now, only laws restricting abortion pre-viability (considered to be 20-24 weeks gestation) have been considered to be constitutional under Roe v. Wade. Today, it might help to reflect that abortion is not about the mother’s body. After all, women’s bodies are made to conceive, carry, nourish, and birth babies. Pregnancy and childbirth are natural functions of a woman’s body. Any effect on the woman’s body would be negative; uterine perforation, bleeding, cramping, etc. So who’s body is affected by abortion?
The unborn child developing in the mother’s uterus is the body targeted by abortion. So what exactly is the state of that body at 15 weeks? From “The First 9 Months,” by Vicki L. Dihle, PA-C and Bradley G. Beck, M.D.:
- 2 weeks – The baby is conceived in the fallopian tube. This single cell called a zygote contains all of the genetic information for the developing child. The zygote has its own distinct DNA.
- 6 weeks – The baby’s heart is beating and the basic structure for the central nervous system has formed.
- 7 weeks – The baby is making his/her own blood and tooth buds are beginning to form. Depending on the sex of the baby, testicles or ovaries are beginning to form.
- 8 weeks – Elbows and fingers can be seen and taste buds are forming on the tongue.
- 9 weeks – The ears and nose are visible, and the bones in the arms are beginning to calcify and harden.
- 10 weeks – The brain is growing rapidly, producing 250,000 new neurons each minute! A baby boy begins to produce testosterone.
- 11 weeks – All major organ systems are in place and the baby can yawn and suck. The eyelids are fully formed and closed to protect the developing eyes. The baby is an obviously recognizable human being and is called a fetus (meaning “little one”)
- 14 weeks – The baby can now find and suck his/her thumb. Fingernails and toenails are beginning to grow. The baby can also swallow and urinate. In a couple of weeks, eggs will be forming in a female baby’s ovaries.
But what about the mother? Is there no sympathy for her difficulties or needs? Of course not. It is for that very reason that pregnancy centers like Lifeline of Berks County exist. No matter what you choose to do, the choice will be difficult and will have consequences. Make sure that you have heard about your life-affirming options before making a decision that can never be changed. Lifeline offers free pregnancy tests and ultrasound, along with education about your options, so you can make an informed decision – calmly and confidently. We provide material services, peer mentoring and education in maternity topics, childbirth, fatherhood, life skills and parenting. Lifeline provides referrals for specific services being met by others in the community and guidance and encouragement in building your support system.
When a woman chooses abortion, what has changed for her afterwards? Nothing. She will have received no assistance, education, or encouragement in making positive steps forward in her life. And she will have the memory of the child she has lost. With Lifeline, there is hope for a future of abundant love and support for the journey. Come in or give us a call.