This week in history takes us back to the infamous Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision concerning abortion on demand. There’s been millions of children murdered since that fateful day in 1973, and the God who gave them life is not pleased. But He is still calling out to the human race to come to Him and learn the truth about when life begins so that we can put an end to this wholesale slaughter. The devotional message today focuses on that truth.
WHEN IS ‘IT’ A BABY?
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you,” said the Lord to the prophet Jeremiah. (Jer.1:4, NAS).
Obviously, according to this scripture passage, the Lord Himself considered Jeremiah a human being worthy of being consecrated to the work of God’s kingdom long before he came out of his mother’s birth canal. There are numerous passages of scripture that verify that God believes the being growing inside a mother’s womb is a real person from the time of its conception. But for many in the world’s society today, the Biblical references aren’t enough to convince them of the sanctity of the life of the unborn.
They believe only hard, cold, scientific facts. So what are those facts? What does medical science and genetic research have to offer by way of understanding the pivotal question on which abortion decisions hang: ‘When is it a human being?’
The following scientific facts clearly chronicle the development of a fetus in the mother’s womb. The facts concerning viability are taken from an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, published in 1993:
01 Days: Conception takes place
07 Days: Tiny human implants in mother’s uterus
18 Days: Heart begins to beat
21 Days: Pumps own blood through separate circulatory system with its
own blood type.
28 Days: Eye, ear, and respiratory systems begin to form.
42 Days: Brain waves recorded, skeleton complete, reflexes present
07 Weeks: Photos show thumb sucking
08 Weeks: All body systems present
09 Weeks: Squints, swallows, moves tongue, makes fist
11 Weeks: Spontaneous breathing movements; all body systems working
16 Weeks: Genital organs clearly differentiated; baby grasps with hands,
swims, kicks, turns, somersaults, (movements usually not
felt by the mother)
18 Weeks: Vocal cords work; baby can cry.
23 Weeks: 15% chance of viability outside the womb if birth is premature.
24 Weeks: 56% of babies born at 24 weeks survive
25 Weeks: 75% of babies born at 25 weeks survive
In 1981 a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee held hearings on the following question: “When does human life begin?” One of the doctors who testified at those hearings was Dr. Hymie Gordon, then Chairman of the Department of Genetics at the Mayo Clinic. He said, “By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.”
A similar testimony came from Dr. McCarthy de Mere, a medical doctor and law professor at the University of Tennessee. He said, “The exact moment of the beginning of personhood and of the human body is at the moment of conception.”
Dr. Jerome Lejeune, known to many as “the Father of Modern Genetics,” also testified (before the Louisiana Legislature’s House) that human life begins at conception. “At no time,” said Dr. Lejeune, “is the human being a blob of protoplasm. As far as your nature is concerned, 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.” He went on to point out that within three to seven days after fertilization the sex of the baby can be determined, and that each human being is unique – different from its mother – from the moment of conception. (All of the above testimonies can be found in the permanent records of their respective hearings.)