The most important abortion battle in decades is taking place today as U.S. Supreme Court justices hear oral arguments for Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.
The case is a challenge to Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban and whether it's unconstitutional. It was enacted in 2018, but was blocked after a federal court challenge. The state's only abortion clinic, Jackson Women's Health Organization, remains open and offers abortions up to 16 weeks of pregnancy.
Pro-life advocates are hopeful that, as a result of the Dobbs case, the high court will overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that invented abortion rights and forced them on the entire nation without congressional approval in 1973.
Some in the pro-choice crowd say a person's life doesn't actually begin until he or she is outside the womb, but the science shows an unborn baby at 15 weeks gestation is a living, breathing human being with unique DNA who can already feel pain.
In fact, by the time a baby reaches 15 weeks, her little heart has already beat nearly 16 million times and every major organ has developed.
Remarkable Evidence of Human Life
The Charlotte Lozier Institute researches and reports the scientific facts surrounding the development of unborn persons. They've released some noteworthy milestones called 15 Facts at 15 Weeks.
From the moment of conception, an unborn person already has unique human DNA that will map their features. Here are some remarkable highlights about the noticeable features of unborn babies at 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Unique Heartbeat & Organ Development:
- A baby's heart starts beating about 22 days after fertilization.
- The baby's heart pumps 26 quarts of blood per day.
- By 15 weeks, the baby's heart has already beat approximately 15,800,000 times.
- In total, a baby's heart beats about 54 million times between conception and birth.
- Brain connections formed by 15 weeks' gestation last into adulthood.
- Starting at 10 weeks of gestational age, the fetus begins the breathing process.
- The kidneys already filter toxins.
- Intestines have started the lifelong contractions that propel food through the digestive system.
- Surgeons have successfully performed surgery on 15-week old babies in utero.
Physical Touch & Movement:
- Pain is felt by the baby.
- Each little finger can be moved separately. If something touches the palm of the baby's hand, the baby will bend his or her fingers as if to grasp the object.
- Fingerprints that identify each unique individual start forming in the 10th week.
- Eye movement can be seen during an ultrasound.
- The baby's entire body responds to touch.
- The unborn baby prefers sucking her right or left thumb.
- By studying ultrasounds, scientists have determined that 85% of unborn babies prefer moving their right hand over their left hand. About 85% of adults prefer their right hand, too.
Full citations and more details are available in 15 Facts at 15 Weeks, researched and prepared by Katrina Furth, Ph.D., a CLI associate scholar who earned her doctorate in neuroscience at Boston University.
From a biological standpoint, there is absolutely no basis for believing that human life begins at any time other than conception. From the moment of conception, there is a progression of development that continues through adulthood.
Science indicates that unborn babies at 15 weeks gestation are functioning human beings that deserve protection from abortion.
CLI President Charles A. "Chuck" Donovan said, "Science affirms what our Founding Fathers once declared. All humans are created equal. How can you follow the science of a 15-week unborn baby already being left-handed, with a heart that's beat nearly 16 million times, and still fight to deny this little boy or little girl all their unalienable rights?"
The Voyage of Life
The Institute also shared a video detailing the "Voyage of Life" and how a baby is growing within the womb beyond the first trimester of pregnancy.
Have you have had an abortion, are contemplating ending your pregnancy, or would like pregnancy-related resources, please click here.