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Conservative politicians are willingly endangering their constituents over junk science and their personal religious beliefs.
I just got to the prenatal development chapter of my human anatomy textbook and realized it’s mostly a review for me.
No big deal.
They’re going to discuss the various things about pregnancy in a more medical/scientific way because the body is amazing and it is seriously COOL to see everything it can do. Here is what I’m planning:
- A post about embryology: the terms we use, fetal developmental stages, and gestational age
- A post about how a body menstruates and what happens in the body that causes the menstrual cycle
- A post about how a body senses it is pregnant and maintains that pregnancy
- A post about thins that happen to the body during a pregnancy and the common complications or symptoms people have throughout a pregnancy
- A post about common reasons why a spontaneous abortion would occur
- How our bodies make sperm and eggs
Are there any other posts ya’ll would like me to write up about the body (it doesn’t just have to be about pregnancy)?
Are you going to go into detail on the process of fertilization? I’ve wanted to know more about that for a while.
Related to menstruation and how we produce eggs - do you know details about how hormonal birth control works beyond what Planned Parenthood and the like have on it? Like, what exactly do progesterone and estrogen do to regulate ovulation? It’s been a while since my one semester of biology…
Thanks, Rabble! It’s awesome having someone around who studies medicine.
They’re not babies, they’re fetuses. They don’t have brain cells. Their lives aren’t “destroyed”. All they are is a lump of cells. There is a cutoff for when abortion is NOT allowed because that’s when they get the brain cells and start to form into an ACTUAL baby. God. All this fucking guilt tripping propaganda is making me sick.
So… no. That’s not quite right.
Pretty early on, cells differentiate into layers, form an internal space, lay down the trackwork for a spinal cord, skeleton, brain… as soon as it’s a certain size there needs to be a heart to pump oxygen and nutrients to cells, and surprisingly early there’s a brain to stimulate developing muscles to twitch, and abortion is still legal.
(The “lump of cells stage” is more of an embryo thing, less of a fetus thing, fyi.)
Abortion is theoretically protected up to 24 weeks by the Supreme Court. It is possible, though rare and unlikely, for neonates delivered at or slightly before 24 weeks to, with truly fantastic modern medical intervention, survive and finish development outside the womb, sometimes with no developmental problems.
The brain is, at that stage, still not sufficiently formed for the idea of consciousness to be entertained (by doctors or the fetus!) — this presents an interesting case and gets into the theoretical ethics of artificial wombs; these fetuses are undergoing what is normal fetal development in an outside environment. They are still pre-persons in many ways, but our definitions haven’t developed a word to describe them. It’s the sort of question that I enjoy, because it makes me think about humanity in critical ways.
Back to the topic at hand, there’s also the consideration that there isn’t really a secret wellspring of frivolous late-term abortions, especially because the later one goes the more serious a procedure it is, and the more attractive carrying the pregnancy to term may be in comparison.
Plus, consent arguments, like I’ve posted links to before.
Been there, done that.
- The Visible Embryo
- UNSW Embryology
- Embryology online course
- The Multi-Dimensional Human Embryo
- Prenatal development table
- Prenatal development wiki
- The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 8th Edition (first chapter is viewable)
I’m informed and more prochoice than ever before. How’s the anti-science propaganda treating you?
Yeah, I wrote both of these:
…and alla these:
…so I think I’m good on the education.
I feel like I’ve been seeing a lot of pro-choice propaganda lately. You hear all the typical arguments, that the mom should have a say in her life… That the baby is not really alive… It would be worse off for the mom to have the baby because she cannot take care of the kid… etc etc…
How can people be so selfish? I mean, I’m a teen girl, I get it. I understand how totally life changing and devastating it would be to become pregnant right now. How hard my life would become and how I could never go back to the way I was before. It would be so easy just to make that baby go away.
But it wouldn’t be about just me anymore, and pretending like I was the only one who had a say in it is disillusioned and wrong.
I watched a video in health class once showing a baby being aborted. The baby was literally struggling inside his mother’s womb to get away from the tools the doctor was using. I watched it writhe in agony as it was slowly being killed. You cannot watch something like that and then turn around and say the baby isn’t truly alive, or that it cannot feel yet. The proof is clear as crystal.
So I am all pro-choice… pro-choice for the CHILD. Shouldn’t they have a say in what happens to them?
And as for who would take care of the child if they were not aborted… as hard as it would be, I would take in any child if I knew that it meant they would be saved from abortion. And I sincerely mean that.
Oh my god. They’re showing The Silent Scream in schools.
This is why that movie is wrong: The Facts Speak Louder Than “The Silent Scream”
Science changes so frequently it is impossible to keep up with everything they say today versus everything they say a week from now. You’re entitled to your opinion but I do not agree.
Science, you guys, it moves SO FAST that there’s no way we can know the difference between a ball made up of several hundred cells and a full grown baby.
Okay, come on. I’m pro-choice - pro-abortion even, given that I agree with statements (I believe you’ve made) about how if you believe in abortion as a right, then it should always be one, and people should have the right to abortions whatever their motives for getting one (within reason) - but this is just a sad defense.
It’s bugged me for a while that the pro-choice stance doesn’t determine any limit between ‘ball made up of several hundred cells’ and ‘baby’, except sometimes in the case of saying that the baby needs to be autonomous in terms of it’s organs functioning independantly of the mother. Without some sort of link - call it the ‘essence’ of being a baby versus the ‘essence’ of being a fetus - this isn’t really much of an argument: there needs to be a clear dileanation between the two. And even in the latter case, where autonomy is granted to the now-baby because it’s out of the womb: why? It’s still dependant on the mother, often times even her organs still (breastmilk and the like), so again I don’t get how you differentiate the two so absolutely.
Finally, the patent recourse to positivism is disturbing. ‘Science’ may agree with you (or at least certain subsections of ‘science’ and certain experiments and opinions therein), but science isn’t the house of truth - there are extra-scientific truths, and to fall back on ‘well science says it’s so’ shows a complete lack of rigour in trying to argue this point.
And again, so not to give the wrong idea, I’m pro-choice through and through, but that’s precisely why I’m annoyed by this. If you see missing links in an argument you support (these problems bug me too, as I’ve said, and I don’t have an answer to them at all), then it should pain you somewhat for those missing links to go unspoken for in arguments over a subject you care about. We won’t convince anyone by just saying “Well, science says so” - there needs to be more care put into the subject.
Sorry to harp on this more, but I felt it worth to go through this response:
There isn’t a clear line because fetal development doesn’t move at an exact and standardized rate, and as of now, we don’t have a way to test for viability, or even a consensus on what viability is. Any cut-off period would be fairly arbitrary and more of a compromise than anything.
But that’s pretty much my point. If we’re going to say that abortion’s okay because there’s a clear-cut difference between fetus and baby, then we need to be able to point to such a clear-cut distinction. Where we’re not able to do that, we should scrape the argument, because it’s not helpful. Not that there aren’t lots of good arguments for being pro-choice, I just don’t think this is a good one because of structural reasons, which is sad because it’s one of the most common ones I see.
This discussion is only relevant to a small percentage of people who get abortions. I can’t find any record of a preemie surviving after less than 21 weeks gestation (the youngest surviving preemie suffered brain hemorrhage, digestive, and respiratory problems, and her twin died), and the Guttmacher Institute puts 1.5% of all abortions as occurring after that point. By the time abortions near or post-viability take place, it’s usually because of some health problem with the pregnant person or fetus that prevents the pregnancy from being safely carried to term.
I’m sorry, and I really don’t mean this in any aggressive sense, I just don’t understand what this is responding to in what I said. I mean, it’s interesting, and I’m glad I know that now, I just don’t see what you meant to do by saying that. If you meant to use that as a dividing line between baby and not-baby, then I don’t really think that works, because using ‘viability’ as a calculus here just causes problems (as I’ll say more of below).
I think it was Judith Jarvis Thomson, in her violinist essay, who said the right not to be pregnant (bodily autonomy) is not the same as the right to the death of the fetus. That’s the discussion that should be happening - not whether or not someone should be forced to remain pregnant. Of course, then you get to the risks of severe health problems in premature babies, and the trauma of labor and birth, and that’s a whole ‘nother ethical debate that would be more relevant if elective post-viability abortions were a common occurrence (though I think first we’d need to address why those abortions were being performed and how to reduce the need for them).
I agree full-heartedly. That was actually the essay I was thinking of when I said that there are other pro-choice arguments that work much better than this arbitrary ‘baby/non-baby’ distinction. That essay is actually what convinced me to be pro-choice, and I still hold it as being a phenomenal piece of ethical philosophy. Spot-on.
At any rate, a baby isn’t dependent on one sole person. It can be formula-fed and cared for by anyone, not just its biological mother. We’re all socially dependent on others in one way or another, but none of us are biologically dependent on another person, using their oxygen, nutrients, and antibodies, and residing inside them for months at a time. So, that’s that difference.
I do disagree here though. True, a baby isn’t dependent on one person after birth, it’s caught up in a nexus of relations that help develop it, both socially and biologically. Though a baby doesn’t use the oxygen of a person, it does use the nutrients and anti-bodies from what I understand (I’m getting most of this from discussions I’ve had with a neuroscience roommate of mine, so it could be wrong): babies develop a lot of their antibodies early on by being in contact with both males and females*, and though you said that babies don’t have to be fed breast milk to stay alive (there is formula fed stuff), I don’t think that’s a sufficient reason to consider them at all autonomous, at least by the standards of the fetus v. baby argument I’m talking about here. So while we’re all caught up in a nexus of human interrelation, just by being-there, we’re not nearly as dependent as a baby is, even biologically.
So the point of what I was trying to say is that there’s lots of logical and scientific barriers in the way before we could adequately use the fetus v. baby argument justifiably in defense of being pro-choice. Due to that though, I agree with you, we should be focusing on arguments that are much more logically/scientifically sound. I hope that clears things up.
*I don’t meant to imply here in any way that a baby is better off in the company only of a mother and a father (i.e. negating any sort of non-traditional relationship in raising a baby), hence why I used males and females here. It’s important that a baby - again, only if I’m correct in the above statement, which I might not be - in contact with males and females during their early development, but those males in females don’t necessarily have to be a mother and a father or any variation thereof.
Oh, that’s not why I think abortion’s okay! I’m not someone who uses the “it’s a fetus, not a baby,” argument, but I think it is an important distinction to make for those new to the discussion. People use the word “baby” to conjure up an image of a chubby, gurgling 3-month infant, when most abortions occur when the embryo has only just started to look like a shrimp. The anti-abortion side uses emotional manipulation by displaying [often doctored, mislabeled, or fake] pictures of late-term abortions, and that seems to be the most popular image of abortion that comes to mind. Abortions before 9 weeks of pregnancy make up over 60% of all abortions in the United States, when the embryo is less than an inch long, and making the comparison between that organism and a newborn infant seems dishonest to me.
For me, it’s more of a clarification point than a justification for abortion, though I think it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of fetal development (especially brain function) when debating and giving out information.
That’s the reason I threw the viability bit in there. This is a pro-choice blog, so I mention it a lot. I think if we’re talking about right to bodily autonomy vs. right to death of the fetus, the ability to survive outside the womb becomes relevant, because post-24 weeks or so, death of the fetus is not necessarily inevitable once removed from the uterus. But, like we’ve said, there isn’t a bright red line between viability and non-viability, and inducing labor of a healthy fetus at 24 weeks, risking severe and lifelong health problems, is an entirely new ethical dilemma.
My point was that a fetus depends on one person only - the pregnant person. A baby depends on whoever cares for it. It’s the difference between being inside another human being and being physically separated from them that I’m trying to emphasize. A baby still relies on other people to feed it and all, but it’s not going to die if you take it from someone’s arms.
Perfect world scenario, people would be able to get abortions as soon as possible, and this debate would be largely unnecessary.
Well, perfect world, there wouldn’t be unwanted pregnancies, but you know what I’m saying.
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