"You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments:
rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws;
rights derived from the Great Legislator of the universe."
"We hold from God the gift which includes all others.
This gift is life-physical, intellectual, and moral life.

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I’m an Aunt!

As friends found out  that my sister was pregnant, many of them came to me with the words, “Are you excited? I found out that you are going to be an aunt!” How often we catch on to those little phrases without even a thought as to what is really implied! No I’m not going to be an aunt: I am an aunt!!! (and boy am I excited! 🙂 )

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“O God, how can we take our children,

before we’ve looked them in the eye,

and justify an end to their beginning!

Where will there be a place to hide?

The judgments of the Lord will soon be coming

to avenge the ones who have no voice,

and the murderers will soon be running.

They had their chance, you know they had their choice.”

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How Your Unborn Child Grows

Week 2:
At conception, the sperm joins with ovum (egg) to form one cell that contains the complex genetic blueprint for every detail of human development. At this point the child’s sex, hair and eye color, height, and skin tone are already mapped out.

Week 4:
The embryo’s heart has been beating for one week already. The beginning of the spinal cord, muscles, and nerves become apparent. Arms, legs, eyes and ears can now be seen. The amniotic sac and placenta are in place and providing nourishment to the embryo.

Week 6:
This is a critical period of growth for the embryo. The eyes begin to form and the extremities can be seen in much more detail, including all 10 fingers. The embryo is now moving and responds to touch.

Week 10:

At the 9th week the embryo is now considered a fetus. The fetus is able to grasp and can suck his/her thumb. Fingerprints are already visible in the skin. In addition to being able to sense touch, the fetus can now feel pain. At week 12, the fetus sleeps and awakens.

Week 14:
The fetus is growing very rapidly at this point. The mother can now feel energetic movement, and hair is visible on the scalp. Sex differentiation becomes apparent by week 13.

Week 18:
The ears are now functioning and the baby can hear his mother’s voice. By the end of the 4th month, the fetus weighs a half pound or more and is eight to ten inches in length.

Week 22:
The head of the fetus now accounts for 1/3 of his/her length. If this baby were to be born prematurely, he/she has a good chance of survival with sufficient medical care.

Week 26:
The tongue has formed taste buds and the eyes have fully developed. The baby’s lungs are completely functioning and he can even cry.

Week 30:
Vision, hearing, taste, and touch are all being used now. The baby opens and closes her eyes and looks around. Research shows that the child can recognize her mother’s voice.

Week 40:
The baby is now ready for life outside of his mother’s womb. By this time, the infant usually weighs six to nine pounds and his heart is pumping 300 gallons of blood per day.

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DIARY OF AN UNBORN BABY

OCTOBER 5–Today my life began. My parents do not know it yet, I am as small as a seed of an apple, but it is I already. And I am to be a girl. I shall have blond hair and blue eyes. Just about everything is settled though, even the fact that I shall love flowers.

OCTOBER 19–Some say that I am not a real person yet, that only my mother exists. But I am a real person, just as a small crumb of bread is yet truly bread. My mother is. And I am.

OCTOBER 23–My mouth is just beginning to open now. Just think, in a year or so I shall be laughing and later talking. I know what my first word will be: MAMA.

OCTOBER 25–My heart began to beat today all by itself. From now on it shall gently beat for the rest of my life without ever stopping to rest! And after many years it will tire. It will stop, and then I shall die.

NOVEMBER 2–I am growing a bit every day. My arms and legs are beginning to take shape. But I have to wait a long time yet before those little legs will raise me to my mother’s arms, before these little arms will be able to gather flowers and embrace my father.

NOVEMBER 12–Tiny fingers are beginning to form on my hands. Funny how small They are! I’ll be able to stroke my mother’s hair with them.

NOVEMBER 20–It wasn’t until today that the doctor told mom that I am living here under her heart. Oh, how happy she must be! Are you happy, mom?

NOVEMBER 25–My mom and dad are probably thinking about a name for me. But they don’t even know that I am a little girl. I want to be called Kathy. I am getting so big already.

DECEMBER 10–My hair is growing. It is smooth and bright and shiny. I wonder what kind of hair mom has.

DECEMBER 13–I am just about able to see. It is dark around me. When mom brings me into the world it will be full of sunshine and flowers. But what I want more than anything is to see my mom. How do you look, mom?

DECEMBER 24–I wonder if mom hears the whispering of my heart? Some children come into the world a little sick. But my heart is strong and healthy. It beats so evenly: tup-tup, tup-tup. You’ll have a healthy little daughter, mom!

DECEMBER 28– Today my mother killed me.

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http://www.michaelclancy.com/

As a veteran photojournalist in Nashville, Tennessee, I was hired by USA Today newspaper to photograph a spina bifida corrective surgical procedure. It was to be performed on a twenty-one week old fetus in utero at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. At that time, in 1999, twenty-one weeks in utero was the earliest that the surgical team would consider for surgery. The worst possible outcome would be that the surgery would cause premature delivery, and no child born earlier than twenty-three weeks had survived.

The tension could be felt in the operating room as the surgery began. A typical C-section incision was made to access the uterus, which was then lifted out and laid at the junction of the mother’s thighs. The entire procedure would take place within the uterus, and no part of the child was to breach the surgical opening. During the procedure, the position of the fetus was adjusted by gently manipulating the outside of the uterus. The entire surgical procedure on the child was completed in 1 hour and thirteen minutes. When it was over, the surgical team breathed a sigh of relief, as did I.

As a doctor asked me what speed of film I was using, out of the corner of my eye I saw the uterus shake, but no one’s hands were near it. It was shaking from within. Suddenly, an entire arm thrust out of the opening, then pulled back until just a little hand was showing. The doctor reached over and lifted the hand, which reacted and squeezed the doctor’s finger. As if testing for strength, the doctor shook the tiny fist. Samuel held firm. I took the picture! Wow! It happened so fast that the nurse standing next to me asked, “What happened?” “The child reached out,” I said. “Oh. They do that all the time,” she responded.

The surgical opening to the uterus was closed and the uterus was then put back into the mother and the C-section opening was closed.

It was ten days before I knew if the picture was even in focus. To ensure no digital manipulation of images before they see them, USA Today requires that film be submitted unprocessed. When the photo editor finally phoned me he said, “It’s the most incredible picture I’ve ever seen.”

– Michael Clancy

“The greatest gift I could ever have received as a photojournalist was given to me by an unborn child. A moment in time. Samuel held tight enough ….. and long enough to stop the action in this picture.”

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