The “Pro-Life” Version Of Pregnancy Vs. Science

r199280_761286We 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.

Erin Nanasi

Erin Nanasi is the creator of The Bachmann Diaries: Satirical Excerpts from Michele Bachmann's Fictional Diary. She hates writing about herself in the third person. Erin enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with family. And wombats. Come visit Erin on on Facebook. She also can be found on Twitter at @WriterENanasi.

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  • Jim Bean

    Twelve other states have the ‘idiot’ Texas law as well, according to Philly dot com. I am not pro-life or anti-abortion. I’m not even anti-partial-birth or anti-within-the-first-two-weeks-after-birth abortion. In fact I am pro-abortion. I believe its good for society because its exactly the right people who are getting the abortions. But my threshold for BS is exceptionally low. Its indisputable that the life of a human begins at conception and ends around age 82 unless cut short by some interfering event. The notion that you’re going to convince the anti-abortion camp to abandon the obvious in favor of some technical argument that the life of a human doesn’t begin until this or that stage of embryonic development is futile because it defies reason and reality. We’re on much stronger, much less ambiguous, and much more defensible ground if we just stick to the women’s rights and prospective child’s future arguments. They’re the ones that make sense.

    • jbarelli

      I’ve found that generally, when someone say that something is “indisputable”, it simply means that they don’t have facts to back up their assumption, and simply does not want to deal with that part of the discussion. Claiming to be “pro-abortion”, claiming that the “right people” are getting abortions, and supporting “within-the-first-two-weeks-after-birth abortion” leaves me with questions about whether this is simply a false front for an anti-choice argument. There is considerable “dispute” about when independent human life begins (my toenail clippings are “human”, as they still contain a few live human cells), and while folks have a right to believe some groups of people to be intrinsically “better” than others, there is a term for such a belief. That word is “bigotry”. Still, there are a few folks that are “pro-abortion”. Most of us, however, simply believe that the woman, whose life and health will be most affected, has the right to make her own choice, When science advances to the point where someone else can take over those tasks and risks from the woman involved, we can revisit that question, but until then, it’s not up to us. Period.

      • Jim Bean

        No, I am sincerely pro-choice – even at two weeks, two months, whatever – why should I care? I just wish we could past this tiresome thing and my point is, all this ambiguous, arbitrary ‘scientific’ gobbledegook just muddies the water, create more claims to contest, and delays us from getting to the finish line.

  • Moonshadow74

    *sigh*
    Why do people allow just anybody to teach them biology? I suppose they’re still buying miracle cures from the snake oil salesman. The part of the brain responsible for conscious thought, for self awareness, does not “come alive” till right before birth. THIS is when that individual life begins, basically the “I AM” moment. Prior to that is the development of the vessel to carry it, the castle to house it. The body is not the being, the essence of self. Biologically the slate is blank up to that point. No one home to evict. You can’t kill (in the sense of taking a person’s life) what hasn’t lived. Biblically speaking, the soul enters the body with the first breath. Prior to this the soul was with God. THAT is how God knows the child before birth while the vessel for the child is being formed in the mother’s womb. Upon birth God breaths the soul into the vessel. Up until this current generation, that is how it has always been taught. That is how I was taught.

  • Bill T.

    They are not pro-life. They are anti-fornication.

  • Former Survivor Fan

    they are not pro-life. The only thing they are FOR is for their own power to control everyone else’s lives through hateful legislation designed to make life miserable for all but themselves.

  • FD Brian

    so what does an baby dream about in utero?

    • wmaceo

      Ask him, I’m sure he’ll tell you! I believe, I believe, I believe…..that’s not the issue…The issue is what does the woman having to decide believe. Anything other than THAT is not our business.

    • Kelly

      who cares? What do pregnant women dream about? Why do certain people IGNORE the woman and reduce her to an incubator?

  • vivian

    But Texas seems to have NO problem with the death penalty. Strange logic.

    • Ayanna Irek

      Again, we have stupid people in power.

  • Ayanna Irek

    I will tell you what it is about Texas. We have stupid people in power. Luckily there are more informed people trying to change that. 🙂

  • Kelly

    No amount of fetal facts will ever trump my rights. And that side is overflowing with fake fetal facts a bounty! (See: NPLA’s FB page)

    You can not use a non-consenting persons body for your benefit.

    Anti-abortionists (they are so far from being even close to pro-life) are fighting to GIVE the government the right to make private medical decisions away from patients. (see: China-how is that working for them?)

    If that were to happen, I will be the first to hook myself up to one of them. A young, healthy anti. Then, I’d kindly tell them to STFU because it was they who fought to make something so absurd legal.