Prenatal Development

Although it may come as a surprise to some people, there is no debate within medical community as to when life begins. Life begins at conception. Therefore, every abortion ends the life of a unique living human being. Not convinced? Consider the testimonies and evidence below from a range of sources: 4D imaging, leading medical experts, prenatal development time-line, medical text books, and leading ‘pro-choice’ feminists.

For further viewing of unborn children >> Endowment of  Human Development (EHD)  


In 1981, a United States Senate judiciary subcommittee received the following testimony from a collection of medical experts1:

Professor Micheline Matthews-Roth, Harvard University Medical School
“It is incorrect to say that biological data cannot be decisive…It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception.”

Dr Alfred M. Bongioanni, Professor of Pediatrics and Obstetrics, University of Pennsylvania
“I have learned from my earliest medical education that human life begins at the time of conception.”

Dr Jerome LeJeune Professor of Genetics, University of Descartes
“After fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being. [It] is no longer a matter of taste or opinion…it is plain experimental evidence. Each individual has a very neat beginning, at conception.”

Professor Hymie Gordon, Mayo Clinic 
“By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.”

The official Senate report reached this conclusion:
Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being – a being that is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings. 1

Biologically speaking, it is undeniable that every abortion – at every point in the pregnancy – ends the life of a genetically distinct unique human being.

See Also:

Abort 73The  Case Against Abortion – Medical Testimony




For the past 4 decades “pro-choice” advocates have deliberately referred to the preborn baby, no matter what the age of development, as a “product of conception” or “a piece of tissue” or “a foetus”. [Whilstfoetus is simply Latin for ‘offspring’, we do not refer to a pregnant woman as gravida – which is Latin for ‘a pregnant woman’).] This has obviously been done in an attempt to dehumanise the preborn.

Moreover, there is a perception in society that the preborn is some kind of blank slate – without emotion, memory or the ability to communicate. This is incredible considering all the medical sciences have demonstrated conclusively and unequivocally that the child in the womb is not only human, but also capable of extraordinary physically, mentally and sensory feats – far more complex than we ever thought possible.




Conception: Father’s sperm penetrates mother’s egg cell. Within the hour, genetic instructions from both parents interact to establish the design and inheritance of a new and unique individual – at this stage no bigger than a grain of sugar.



Splits1st day: Cell division begins. The first cell divides into two, the two into four, and so on.


2nd day: Now a ball of hundreds of cells, the new individual burrows into the wall of the womb. Already the child’s sex can be determined.


14 days: Mother misses her first menstrual period-suppressed by a hormone produced by her baby.

17 days: Blood cells are forming.

18 days: The heart is forming.

19 days: Eyes start to develop.

20 days: Foundations of the brain, spinal cord and entire nervous system are laid.

22 days: The heart begins to beat.

28 days: Forty pairs of muscles are developing along the future spine. Arms and legs are budding.

30 days: From one cell to millions of cells, the embryo has grown 10,000 times. Blood flows in veins (but the child’s blood stream remains separate from the mother’s throughout the pregnancy).

35 days: The pituitary gland is forming in the middle of the brain. Mouth, ears and nose are taking shape.

40 days: The heart’s energy output is already 20 percent of an adult’s.

42 days:  Crown – heel length 1.6 cm. The child’s skeleton is formed (in cartilage not yet bone). The brain co-ordinates movements of muscles and organs. Reflex responses have begun. In the boys, the penis is forming. (And the mother misses her second period.)

43 days: Brain waves can be recorded.

sac45 days: By 6 and 1/2 weeks spontaneous movements have begun. Buds of milk teeth have appeared. “Elbows are distinct. Fingers are beginning to separate, and hand movement can be seen.” (See Hand Movement Video)

This photograph of a 6-7 week unborn baby (age from conception) was taken by medical photographer Robert Wolfe at the University of Minnesota, United States, in 1972. He was removed from his mother because of an ectopic pregnancy (where the baby attaches to the fallopian tubes rather than the womb). The preborn baby was moving until the sac was pierced by a scalpel.



7 weeks: Lips are sensitive to touch. Ears may already resemble a family pattern.


8 weeks: Crown – heel length 4.3 cm. The child is a well-proportioned small-scale baby. Every organ is present. The heart beats sturdily. The stomach produces digestive juices. The liver manufactures blood cells. The kidneys begin to function. Taste buds are forming.  ”Touching the embryo elicits squinting, jaw movement, grasping motions, and toe pointing.”

8½ weeks: Finger-prints are being engraved. Eyelids and palms of the hand are sensitive to touch.

(See Reflex Movement video)

8 weeks9 weeks: The child will bend his or her fingers around an object placed in the palm. Thumb sucking occurs. Fingernails are forming.

(See Sucking and Swallowing video)

10 weeks: Crown – heel length 7.5 cm. The entire body is sensitive to touch (except for the sides, back and top of the head). The child squints, swallows, puckers up his or her brow and frowns.

11 weeks: The baby urinates. He or she can make complex facial expressions – even smile. Sudden spurt of activity: rolling from side to side, extension and then flexion of the back and neck, waving of arms, kicking of legs. Nose and lips completely formed.

12 weeks: Crown – heel length 12 cm. Activity has become vigorous and behaviour shows distinct individuality. The child kicks legs more rigorously, turn feet, curl and fan toes, make a fist, move thumb, bend a wrist, turn the head, open the mouth and press lips tightly together. Hands touch mouth up to 50 times per hour. Breathing is practised – the baby is breathing fluid steadily and continues to do so until birth. Twelve weeks marks the end of the first third, or trimester, of pregnancy.

13 weeks: Crown – heel length 15 cm. The face is prettier and facial expressions already resemble those of parents. Signs of finer co-ordination of body and brain: movements are graceful and flowing. Vocal chords are formed (but in the absence of air the baby cannot cry aloud). Sex organs are apparent and sperm or egg cells are present. Most of body is sensitive to touch.

15 weeks

15 weeks: Taste buds are active.

16 weeks: Easily startled by loud noises and even turns away when a bright light is flashed on her mother’s abdomen. Mother first feels her baby’s movements (earlier or later for some).





18 weeks: Crown – heel length 25.6 cm and weighing 300 grams, the child can use hands to grasp, swim and do somersaults.


22 weeks20 weeks: Crown – heel length 28 cm. Hearing and responding to sound begins. Exhibits stronger facial emotions: happiness, sadness, fear and disgust.

21 weeks: Youngest prem baby to survive (21 weeks 6 days, 24cm and 280g).

23 weeks: Babies born at this age have a good chance of surviving. Language acquisition: unborn babies have been learning speech and practicing the fine neuromuscular movements of vocal tract that are used in crying and vocalising after birth. Five and half month old premature infants’ cry-prints found a correspondence to intonations, rhythms, and other speech performance features of their mothers. 2

24 weeks: Sleeping habits appears. To sleep, the child settles into a favourite position. A loud noise, such as a door slamming, will provoke activity. The child also responds to sounds in frequencies too high or too low for adults to hear. By now the eyelids reopen and the baby exhibits a blink-startle response.

28 weeks: Crown – heel length 39.5 cm. Fine baby hair grows on eyebrow and head. A fringe of eyelashes appears. Most of the skeleton has hardened.

32 weeks: Crown – heel length 45 cm. Permanent eye teeth are present. Eyelids open and close, and eyes look around. Hands grip strongly. Mother’s voice can be heard and recognised. The baby begins to accumulate some fat.

36 weeks: Crown – heel length 48.5 cm. Firm grip. Weight increases by 1 kg and the baby’s space in the womb begins to get cramped.



40 weeks: Labour begins (triggered by the child) and birth occurs, usually 255-275 days after conception. Of the 45 generations of cell divisions between conception and adulthood, 41 have taken place. The remaining four will occur during the rest of childhood and adolescence.

The milestones listed above have been documented by scientific research. Slight variations of hours or days may exist, and future research using more sensitive methods may show that some of these milestones occur earlier than now realised.



Text only adapted from The Foundation For Human Development (Sydney) brochure: The Beginning of the Journey Of Life.
Used with permission – Right to Life, New South Wales.