The reality of abortion and the unborn

Stuff 22 October 2019
Family First Comment: “Surely Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saw the heart beating on the early scans of her baby Neve. Surely she felt movements of her baby during pregnancy. Does she deny her precious infant was once an unborn child? Why is it that when the baby is wanted we celebrate the miracle of a new life, but when it is not wanted we don’t even admit it exists? Every abortion has the intent of destroying an unborn child. It is unspeakably violent and repelling when such a child is torn apart limb from limb during surgical abortion. I know – because early in my medical career I was part of the killing process. Whatever the situation and distress of the mother, the gravity of the killing of an innocent child, however young, is a fearful decision.”
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OPINION: The Abortion Legislation Bill confronts us with the reality of the humanity and value of the unborn child.

Biology shows us that human life begins at the beginning. The 1977 Royal Commission, having heard from eminent international scientists, concluded “that from conception the child is a distinct individual human life”.

Obstetricians have long recognised they are responsible for two patients, the mother and the child in the womb.

Pregnancy can be diagnosed 10 days after conception when the embryo is not able to be seen by the naked eye – because a hormone produced from the embryo leaks into the mother’s circulation and can be measured in her blood or urine.

After 10 weeks the unborn child, 3cm in length, has hands, feet, eyes, brain, liver and kidneys. The baby is moving and electrical activity can be recorded within the brain. Hiccupping, swallowing, eye movements and passing urine are daily activities. Survival requires only protection and nourishment, just as for a newborn.

The bill would allow an abortion before 20 weeks’ gestation with no medical reason; after 20 weeks if a single doctor believes it “appropriate”.

At 20 weeks’ – mid-pregnancy – many mothers notice kicking. The baby is about the length of a banana and weighs 500 grams. He or she will sleep and wake. Face and body are assuming the appearance of a full-term baby.

The baby has a sucking reflex and is seen on scans sucking his or her thumb. Finger and toe nails are present; fine hair grows on the scalp.

By 20 weeks the baby can hear sounds, including the mother’s breathing and heartbeat.

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