Late-Term Fetus or Baby Awaiting Birth?

When Does Life Begin, Pregnancy, Development, Late-Term, Fetus, Baby, Abortion

The development of a baby in the last weeks of a pregnancy is astounding. Between weeks 37 and 40 of pregnancy, almost all of the baby’s organs become fully developed. The only organ that continues to mature until birth is the lungs [1].

Within the last few weeks of the third trimester, the baby grows about a half pound a week [2]. This means that the preborn is growing at a very similar rate to what the baby will grow outside the womb.

That being said, a baby within 37 and 40 weeks is primarily just gaining weight and waiting to be born. He or she is clearly recognizable as a human, physically and anatomically.

A baby at this time has all the capabilities of a baby that has been born. He or she has the capabilities to survive on their own:

· The heart has a steady heart beat
· The liver is excreting toxic waste
· The kidneys are filtering blood
· Lungs are producing a regular breathing sequence

So if a baby is viable and growing, why does he or she lack the same protection as a baby that has made it through birth?

This baby is as real as one that has been born, yet he or she is not seen as a human baby. There are some who try to argue that the preborn is merely a fetus. It seems very strange that anyone still holds this view, given what we know from science.

Most abortions do not happen in the third trimester. But babies are in fact alive at every stage, from the moment of conception. With each passing day, the baby’s humanity simply becomes more apparent. Yet every day thousands of babies are deprived of their right to continue living.

Even when the 3rd trimester baby is still inside the womb, he or she does not depend on the mother for basic bodily functions. At this point the baby just relies on the mother for the basic needs like food.

At the end of the third trimester the baby is completely developed, and all their organs are fully functional. The only thing that is still maturing is the lungs.

So, what separates this “fetus” from being universally accepted as human?

Nothing other than the act of passing through the birth canal.



[1] American Pregnancy Association, . “Fetal Development : Third Trimester.” American Pregnancy Association. American Pregnancy Association, Dec 2005. Web. 12 Jun 2011.

[2] Clowes, Brian, PhD. 2001. The Facts of Life. Front Royal: Human Life



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