Study shows teens’ ignorance about fetal development and abortion

By Sarah Terzo

For a study, a 15-year-old girl named Beckie who had an abortion explained her feelings:

Q: When do you think, in the course of its development, that the fetus becomes a human life?

A: Three months.

Q. What makes it become a human life at that point?

A. Well, either when the heart starts beating, yeah, I guess when the heart stats beating, because that functions everything else, and I believe that starts around three months. Two and a half or three months….after that I consider it murder, whereas beforehand it’s not, you know. (51)

The heart doesn’t start beating at 3 months – starts beating in 3 weeks, and according to some research, even earlier. You can see a video of a baby’s heart beating 4 weeks in the womb. Beckie’s lack of knowledge of fetal development led to her having an abortion when she assumed the heartbeat started later than it really did.

The study also interviewed a woman named Barbara, who also had an abortion. She was also 15.

Q: When you decide that it’s a human being at three months, what things do you think make it human at that point?

A: It’s got a heart. It’s breathing, it’s got a brain, it moves.

Q: Do you think after that point it would be the same as killing?

A: Yeah.

Q: Do you think it would be the same as killing another human being?

A: Yeah. I don’t really think it should be done.

Q: In the first three month, why is it OK?

A: Because it’s just like an egg, inside of you. It’s just like a thing of fluid, almost. I guess that’s all it is. And it doesn’t really have any shape, it doesn’t really have a brain or anything.” (52)

This is what a baby looks like it 8 weeks in the womb. Brain waves start at 6 weeks.

Here is a picture of a baby’s fingers at at 7 weeks

Again, the study shows that a woman who had an abortion did so with a false view of fetal development

From another teen who had an abortion, Ramona, 17:

Q: You’re saying it becomes a life around the fourth month?

A: Somewhere around, yeah, the fifth, sixth, and on. I mean that’s when it looks like something, you know. But I think that in the first three months, it’s a life, but it’s not, you know, really completely formed, or anything like that…in the lasts three months I don’t think it should be allowed.” (53).

The study shows how little these teens know about fetal development. Perhaps if someone had taught them more about how a baby develops, they would not have aborted.

From: Judith G. Smetana, Concepts of Self and Morality: Women’s Reasoning about Abortion (New York: Praeger Special Studies, 1982)

Editor’s note. This appeared at Clinic Quotes and is reposted with permission.