At 4 weeks — 5 out of 6 pee-sticks agreed that we were pregnant.
At 5 weeks — Jess went for a very early sonogram. We saw a tiny-white-blur-inside-a-tiny-dark-blur, with the former being the baby and the latter being the amniotic sac.
At 6 weeks — Another sonogram: we could see a pulsing that was the baby’s heartbeat. (An embryo’s heart is pumping blood through a closed circulatory system by 21 days after conception.) Facial features start to form. Buds form that will become arms and legs.
At 7 weeks — We could *hear* the heartbeat on the sonogram machine. The heartbeat at this point was about twice as fast as an adult’s. By this point, with the right equipment, we could have detected his or her brain waves.
At 9 weeks — We watched the little minion kick his or her legs. He or she had a head, feet, arms, all the usual things. Eyes are visible. By this point, he or she has all the equipment necessary to feel the sensation of pain.
By 11 weeks — The baby looks very baby-shaped. The baby also reacted to the feel of the sonogram, bouncing and kicking off the walls. He or she also gave a smile of sorts, probably just a grimace as he or she experiments with muscle control, but still. Typically, genitals begin to develop by this point.
At 13 weeks — We watched the baby suck his or her thumb and “wave.”
At 14 weeks — The little minion starts forming his or her own fingerprints.
With me so far?
Then I find out that all this fuss in Texas is about whether the deadline for an abortion should be moved from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. Knocking it back from 24 to 20 is being spoken of as a gross violation of rights.
Wait, what? Come again for Big Fudge?
24 weeks is still over two months away for us. We’ve known about this little minion for months already. If this was *not* something we wanted, if we were pro-choice and wanted to abort this baby, what possible confluence of circumstances would lead us to wait that long?
By 24 weeks, he or she can hear, can swallow, has a startle reflex, has a hairline, has a sleeping-and-waking cycle, makes faces, can respond to the sound of your voice, can survive delivery with today’s medical technology… If she is female, she already has begun developing her own uterus and ovaries… Not that these things add or subtract intrinsic value to a human, but to wait even 20 weeks seems unnecessarily cruel.
I believe that open dialogue leads to understanding of the other side of an argument, even if disagreement continues. In this case, however, even assuming the pro-choice postulates, I still do not understand the pro-choice conclusions. If I was not pro-life before, impending fatherhood has made me doubly so.