We live in a very small, very conservative town. Our town is surrounded by other very small, very conservative towns, and there is one road through all of them. Along this road, a group called ProLife Across America has put up billboards. These “ads” feature a photo of a cute (usually white) baby, with accompanying text that reads “My mommy told me 4 weeks after conception, I had (insert cute physical trait here).” There’s one that reads “I’m my daddy’s princess, and I had (again, insert physical trait here) 7 weeks after conception.” The sign in our town, right next to the local Walgreens, claims the baby’s mommy told her she had fingerprints 9 weeks after sperm met egg.
I’ve been pregnant. The fruit of my loins is on his way home from school right now, and I know for a fact that he didn’t have fingerprints 9 weeks after my ex-husband’s sperm crashed delightedly into a fertile egg. How do I know that? Because my doctor, a man who had gone to college and received a degree, gave me a gestational timeline so I could follow the little zygote inside me, and understand why I was throwing up every half hour.
After watching a video of Lila Rose earlier today, and digging my fingernails into the arms of my chair, I decided to prove that the “pro-life” movement is lying about fetal development. I can’t take it anymore. Every time I drive past that “I had fingerprints” billboard, I resist the urge to scream. But how does one go about proving the “pro-life” movement is lying through their teeth about fetal development? By comparing ProLife Across America’s chart with one from the National Institute of Health.
That fingerprint claim? Nope. According to the NIH, fingerprints and footprints begin developing at 26 weeks. ProLife Across America states that a baby’s heartbeat begins to beat 18 days from conception. NIH’s timeline gives week 5 as the beginning of the formation of the heart, brain and spinal cord. ProLife Across America tells their supporters that at 18-19 weeks, the mother can feel movement of the fetus, including “hiccups.” I can’t even begin to know how they determined that. However, the NIH’s timeline describes the same time period as when the mother may feel a “fluttering” in her abdomen. Are those the hiccups?
Here’s how ProLife Across America gets away with this: —————————————-
Sorry, I don’t know how ProLife Across America gets away with this. It’s as confusing as “crisis pregnancy centers.” These are actually “pro-life” clinics that give you a pregnancy test, try shaming you into not having an abortion, and if that doesn’t work, they’ll show you a movie. And tell you abortion causes breast cancer. Staff members are not supposed to advocate contraception, they are never allowed to mention abortion, even in cases of rape or incest. Their primary goal is to use shame, manipulation, and/or flat-out lies to convince women not to exercise their right to choose.
I’ve never had an abortion, because I have never been in a situation where I had to make that choice. I have, however, had an unintended pregnancy. When I was 21, I stumbled into a Birthright CPC, took a pregnancy test, fainted when they gave me the results, and tried to figure out what the hell to do. I chose adoption. I had a good job, health insurance, my parents let me live with them, and the adoption agency found a family almost immediately who covered the rest of my medical expenses. Many women I know have had an abortion, and all but a few are now mothers. Great, loving, wonderful mothers.
If my rapist had impregnated me, I would have chosen an abortion. If my son had been diagnosed in utero with the X-link gene on my mom’s side of the family that has killed 4 infant boys before their 1st birthday, I would have had an abortion. This is a child for whom I would give my life, the light of my day, the best thing that ever happened to me. But if my OBGYN had looked at me and said, “I’m sorry, he has it,” I would not have hesitated, because there is no way I would want my child to suffer the pain and agony this disease brings. According to people like ProLife Across America, women who receive the devastating news that 2 of my cousins have received should be forced to carry to term, and watch in horror as their baby slowly dies over the next 6-9 months.
Right wing politicians believe that, too. In defense of a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R, Idiot, TX) told a woman she should have carried her brain dead fetus to term, just in case. Right now in Texas (what is it with Texas?), a woman who has been brain dead since last November is being kept alive by machines because she’s pregnant. According to medical records given to her attorneys, the fetus is “distinctly abnormal” but Texas still will not let her die, despite the wishes of her family.
Fingerprints do not form 9 weeks after conception. There is no science proving a human fetus can “dream,” but that doesn’t stop “pro-lifers” from claiming they can. A Republican congressman told a woman she should have carried her brain dead fetus to term, and Texas won’t let a brain dead woman die because she’s pregnant – pregnant with a fetus that is “distinctly abnormal.”
The lies and the cruelty of the “pro-life” movement must be exposed. They are not pro-life. They are pro-zygote, pro-embryo, pro-fetus, but they are most definitely not pro-life. If they were pro-life, ProLife Across America and Lila Rose would be championing affordable and available contraception. They would be going to schools, educating high school students about sex. They would be outraged by the cuts to food stamps. They would want the minimum wage raised so women who choose to have kids can care for those kids.
Not happening, is it? Nope, and it never will.