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The Amazing Fetal Development of Unborn Babies at 20 Weeks

by Dave Andrusko | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 8/9/13 5:02 PM

National

Reading some of the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of posts about “late” abortions, it was not until recently that it struck me what a fundamental oversight I’d been guilty of.

The flashpoint for pro-abortionists is the law passed in ten states that says you can’t abort a child capable of feeling pain—20 weeks, as established by a large body of scientific study. Understandably, NRL News Today has written about the science establishing that threshold (by the way, it could be earlier), the politics, the pro-abortion spin, and the like.

But what developmental milestones has the child reached by 20 weeks?

There are lots of ways to help all of us understand the incredible complexity of the developing human being and how it is in place relatively early in pregnancy. Before specifying some of the benchmarks, here are just a few excellent sources.

This is an outstanding fetal development series developed by RTL of Michigan, NRLC’s state affiliate.

* At www.wrtl.org/fetaldevelopment/monthbymonth.aspx you will both read another outstanding overview of developmental markers AND be able to watch “A baby’s first months—infinite possibilities,” – where you will see the beginnings of life in the womb and the step-by-step process of fetal development.

* If you click here, you’ll be transfixed by ”Odysee.” In just 3 minutes, 24 seconds the video does a spectacular job of making you understand how “natural” the child’s unfolding development actually is.

* To name just one more, “The case against abortion: prenatal development.” As I wrote in a review, “This documentary utilizes six different imaging technologies to give you unforgettable images inside the womb of the growing baby at the embryonic and fetal stages…Only 3 minutes and eleven seconds long, the video covers the waterfront –the docks, stevedores, and merchant vessels. In so doing it borrows from many of finest resources—in print and online—to create a riveting and absolutely convincing case against abortion.”

So how far on his/her journey has the little one come by 20 weeks? To name just a few examples (from RTL of Michigan)

Week 5: Organ systems are beginning to develop and the baby’s heart starts to beat, just 21 days after fertilization.

Week 6: The baby’s neural tube closes, eventually becoming the fully-formed brain and spinal cord. The baby’s tiny heart is already pumping blood and beats 80 times a minute, and she is 1/8 of an inch long.

Week 10: The baby’s eyelids close to protect the wonderfully complex eyes while they form. Each minute the baby’s brain develops 250,000 new neurons and she can now move her muscles.

Week 11: The baby is two inches long. She has reached the end of the embryonic stage and is now known as a “fetus,” Latin for “young one.” Her kidneys are developing and produce urine for the first time

Week 16: An ultrasound at this point would reveal the baby moving her legs and arms and maybe even sucking her thumb. It might also be able to determine her gender

Week 20: Halfway through 40 weeks, the baby’s mother might begin to feel her tiny movements for the first time.

You get the picture. The baby is already a marvel, as far from a “blob of tissue/clump of cells” as the east is from the west.

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LifeNews.com Note: Dave Andrusko is the editor of National Right to Life News and an author and editor of several books on abortion topics. This post originally appeared in his National Right to Life News Today —- an online column on pro-life issues.