This was the cover of LIFE magazine in 1965, 8 years before Roe: “The Drama of Life Before Birth.”
The “classic” arguments from the other side are collapsing under the weight of science. “No one knows when life begins” and “It’s a blob of tissue” are frankly on the wane, especially in the context of surgical abortion, which is how the vast majority of abortions are done today.
The zygote is composed of human DNA and other human molecules, so its nature is undeniably human and not some other species.
The new human zygote has a genetic composition that is absolutely unique from itself, different from any other human that has ever existed, including that of its mother (thus disproving the claim that what is involved in abortion is merely “a woman and her body”).
This DNA includes a complete “design,” guiding not only early development but even hereditary attributes that will appear in childhood and adulthood, from hair and eye color to personality traits.
It is also quite clear that the earliest human embryo is biologically alive. It fulfills the four criteria needed to establish biological life: metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction.
The cardiovascular system is the first major system to function. At about 22 days after conception the child’s heart begins to circulate his own blood, unique to that of his mother’s, and his heartbeat can be detected on ultrasound.
Electrical brain activity can be detected at six or seven weeks, and by the end of the eighth week, the child, now known scientifically as a “fetus,” has developed all of his organs and bodily structures.
By ten weeks after conception the child can make bodily movements.
Today, parents can see the development of their children with their own eyes. The obstetric ultra-sound done typically at 20 weeks gestation provides not only pictures but a real-time video of the active life of the child in the womb: clasping his hands, sucking his thumb, yawning, stretching, getting the hiccups, covering his ears to a loud sound nearby– even smiling.
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