Education & FAQ

Education & FAQ

What information can I find here?

Fetal Developmental Stages

Types of Abortion

Pregnancy Options

Assisted Suicide

Stem Cell Research


What information can I find here?

Terminology & Words to Know

Laws & Important Cases

Developmental Stages of Pregnancy

Types of Abortion

Pregnancy Options

Assisted Suicide

Stem Cell Research


Good Info to Know!

  • ?Roe v Wade

Roe v. Wade
410 U.S. 113 (1973)
Summary of Roe v. Wade and Other Key Abortion Cases
The central court decision that created current abortion law in the U.S. is Roe v. Wade. In this 1973 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that women had a constitutional right to abortion, and that this right was based on an implied right to personal privacy emanating from the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments.In Roe v. Wade the Court said that a fetus is not a person but “potential life,” and thus does not have constitutional rights of its own. The Court also set up a framework in which the woman’s right to abortion and the state’s right to protect potential life shift: during the first trimester of pregnancy, a woman’s privacy right is strongest and the state may not regulate abortion for any reason; during the second trimester, the state may regulate abortion only to protect the health of the woman; during the third trimester, the state may regulate or prohibit abortion to promote its interest in the potential life of the fetus, except where abortion is necessary to preserve the woman’s life or health.
  • Doe V Walton

Doe v. Bolton

410 U.S. 179 (1973)

Roe v. Wade was modified by another case decided the same day: Doe v. Bolton. In Doe v. Bolton the Court ruled that a woman’s right to an abortion could not be limited by the state if abortion was sought for reasons of maternal health. The Court defined health as “all factors ? physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age ? relevant to the well-being of the patient.” This health exception expanded the right to abortion for any reason through all three trimesters of pregnancy.

What are my options?

With all of the information out there, it is so easy to be turned around and not know where to go. It is very important that you choose a facility that will explain ALL of your options to you, and let you decide for yourself.

Always ask yourself these questions!

-Did they give you both Pro Life & Pro Choice options?

-Did they explain the immediate health risks involved in each decision?

-Did they explain the long term effects not only mentally/emotionally, but also what you can expect years down the road?

-Did they genuinely listen, without judgement, to your concerns, fears, and questions?


Types of Abortions

Mifeprex (RU 486) (mifepristone) is a drug that blocks a hormone called progesterone that is needed for a pregnancy to continue. Mifeprex, when used together with another medicine called misoprostol, is used to end an early pregnancy (70 days or less since the first day of the last menstrual period).

*This information provided by For a list of side effects and possible complications, visit

RU 486

Mifeprex (brand name of RU-486)

A woman must take two powerful synthetic hormones ? RU 486 and misoprostol. There will be at least 3 required ?trips to the abortion facility.

In the first trip to the abortion facility, the women will take the RU 486 (mifepristone) pill which blocks disables the uternine lining to provide nutrients to the fetus, thus starving the fetus. In the second visit, typically two days later, the women is given misoprostol to initiate uterine contractions. The women usually expells the dead fetus four hours after taking the pill, and often expels the child at home. The third visit, up to two weeks later, makes sure the abortion has taken place successfully. If RU 486 fails to cause a complete abortion, the woman must undergo a surgical abortion.

RU-486, in its short life-span, has significant, well-documented, short-term, dangerous side effects, including prolonged and severe bleeding, nausea, vomiting, pain, and death.

*This information gathered from

Suction Aspiration of 7-15 week-old child

Cannula Tube (magnified tip below)

Suction aspiration abortion accounts for 90% of induced abortions.

A powerful suction/vacuum tube called a cannula is inserted into the womb through the dilated cervix. The body of the developing baby is dismembered and then tears the placenta from the uterus, sucking them into a container. Due to the power of the cannula and sensitivity of the uterine wall, great care must be used to prevent the uterus from being punctured during this procedure (which would cause uterine hemorrhage).

The uterus must be scraped with a blade called a curette to remove all remaining fetal parts because?infection can easily result if any fetal or placental tissue is left behind in the uterus. Abortionists and their assistants will often identify the dismembered body parts and place in labeled canisters of cannula to be sure all was removed.

*Information gathered from

Dilation and Curettage (D&C)

With this technique, the cervix is dilated or stretched to permit insertion of a loop-shaped steel knife (called a curette) in order to scrape the wall of the uterus. This cuts the baby?s body into pieces and cuts the placenta from the uterine wall. Just as in Suction method, the pieces of the child?s body must be removed from the uterus.

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)

Dilation and Evacuation abortions are preformed in the 2nd trimester of a pregnancy, typically when the fetuses bones have become calcified. Because of the calcification, forceps are used instead of the curette to dismember the body of the fetus.

Once the women?s cervix has been dialated, which is a two or three day process requiring two trips to the abortionist, forceps are inserted through the enlarged cervix into the uterus. The forceps are used in the D&E instead of the curette because the calcification of the fetus?s bones. With the forceps, the abortionist twists the limbs and body parts out of the womb, followed by the crushing of skull and removal. As in the D&C, the body parts must be reassembled outside of the mother?s body to be sure all was removed from the womb.

Partial-Birth Abortion (D&X)

Also known as Dilation and Extraction, this procedure is used to abort babies as early as 20 weeks gestation and as late as before birth. Often, the baby is viable at this point, leading many to term this as infanticide.

Guided by ultrasound, the abortionist reaches into the uterus, grabs the baby?s leg with forceps, and pulls him into the birth canal. The abortionist delivers the baby?s entire body, except for the head. If the head is deliver out of the birth canal, the child is protected by law. However, at this point, the abortionist punctures the back of the baby?s skull with scissors and spreads the tips of the scissors apart to enlarge the wound. A suction catheter is inserted into that wound, and the child?s brains are sucked out. The now-collapsed head is removed from the uterus. This procedure is known to cause the child excruciating pain, even though only momentarily.

The Federal Government has outlawed Partial Birth Abortion in Congress and the ban was upheld in the Gonzales v Carhart Supreme Court decision of 2006.


Saline Injection

This abortion procedure, due to its health risks and potential of live birth, is not practiced on a widespread level anymore.

This technique is used after 16 weeks of pregnancy, when enough fluid has accumulated in the amniotic fluid sac surrounding the baby. A needle is inserted through the mother?s abdomen directly into the sac, and a solution of concentrated salt is injected. When the baby inhales, he swallows the salt, thereby poisoning and burning his esophagus, vocal cords, lungs, and other organs. After about an hour, the child dies, and the mother usually labors approximately a day later, delivering a dead, charred, and shriveled baby.

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Fetal Developmental Stages

Stage 1: 0-7 Weeks

A new individual receives 23 chromosomes from each parent. He or she is truly a unique individual human being, never to be repeated. A new person has been created, who at this stage is a tiny living organism weighing only 15 ten-millionth of a gram. Life begins.

First day of new life: The first cell divides into two, the two into four, and so on. Each of these new cells divides again and again as they travel toward the womb in search of a protected place to grow.

18 days from conception: Heart begins to beat, with the baby?s own blood.

28 days: A baby has eyes, ears, and even a tongue!
Muscles are developing along the future spine. Arms and legs are budding.

30 days: Child has grown 10,000 times to 6-7mm (1/4?) long. Brain has human proportions. Blood flows in veins.

42 days: Skeleton is formed. Brain coordinates movement of muscles and organs. Reflex responses have begun. Brain waves can be detected, the jaw forms, including teeth and taste buds. The unborn baby begins to swallow amniotic fluid.
Fingers and toes are developing.

45 days: The unborn baby is making body movements, a full 12 weeks before the mother may notice such stirrings. By seven weeks the chest and abdomen are fully formed. Swimming with a natural swimmer?s stroke in the amniotic fluid, the baby now looks like a miniature human infant.

44-45 days: Buds of milk teeth appear, and the unborn baby?s facial muscles develop. Eyelids begin to form, protecting the developing eyes. Elbows take shape. Internal organs are present, but immature. 99% of muscles are present, each with its own nerve supply.

52 Days: Spontaneous movement begins. The unborn baby then develops a whole collection of moves over the next 4 weeks including hiccuping, frowning, squinting, furrowing the brow, pursing the lips, moving individual arms and legs, head turning, touching his/her face, breathing (without air), stretching, opening the mouth, yawning and sucking.

Stage 2: 8-11 Weeks

8 Weeks from conception: Now a small-scale baby, at approximately 3 cm (1 1/8?) and weighing a gram (1/30th oz.), yet well proportioned. Every organ is present. Baby?s heartbeat is steady. Stomach produces digestive juices. Liver makes blood cells. Kidneys begin to function. Taste buds are forming.

8? Weeks: The unborn baby?s fingerprints are being engraved. Eyelids and palms of hands are sensitive to touch.

8-8 ? Weeks: Of the 4500 structures in the adult body, 4000 are now present in the unborn baby. The skeleton of the arms and legs and the spine begins to stiffen as bone cells are added.

9 Weeks: The unborn baby will bend fingers around an object placed in his/her palm. Unique fingerprints appear. Thumb sucking may occur.

10 Weeks: The unborn baby?s body is sensitive to touch. He/she squints, swallows, puckers up brow and frowns. Eyelids, fingerprints and even fingernails are evident.

11 Weeks: The unborn baby now ?practices? breathing, since he/she will have to breathe air immediately after birth. Baby urinates, and stomach muscles can now contract. Vocal chords and taste buds form. Facial expressions and even smiles are evident.

Stage 3: 12-17 Weeks

12 Weeks from conception: Though too small to be felt by the mother, the baby reaches peak frequency of movement during the third month. The baby?s sex can be visually determined, and the child?s eyes, ears and face begin to display distinctive characteristics. He/she can kick, turn feet, curl and fan toes, make a fist, move thumbs, bend wrists, turn head, open mouth and press lips tightly together. The unborn baby is now about 3 inches long, weighing approximately 2 ounces. Fine hair begins to grow on his/her upper lip, chin and eyebrows. The baby swallows and responds to skin stimulations.

13 Weeks: The unborn baby is about 3 inches long, weighing approximately 3 ounces. His/her facial expressions may resemble the parents. The baby is active, but baby is too small for mother to feel anything.

14 Weeks: At this age, the heart pumps several quarts of blood through the body every day. The unborn baby?s eyebrows have formed and eye movement can be detected.

15 Weeks: In the growth development of the unborn baby, a wild production of nerve cells begins and continues for a month. A second surge will occur at 25 weeks. By now the baby also has an adult?s taste buds.

4 Months: The unborn baby is now only 5 ? inches long, weighing approximately 5 ounces. He/she is actively moving about inside the safety of the womb. The baby turns, kicks and even somersaults ? some of which can now be felt by the mother. Bone marrow is now beginning to form and the unborn baby?s heart is pumping 25 quarts of blood a day.

Stage 4: 18-19 Weeks

4 1/2 Months from conception: Still very small (less than 8 inches in length), the baby can have dream (REM) sleep. Nostrils and toenails become visible.

4 1/2 Months: The unborn baby?s ears are functioning by the end of the 4th month and he/she hears the mother?s heartbeat, as well as external noises like music. The baby is also able to experience pain. Life-saving surgery has been successfully performed on babies at this age.

18-20 Weeks: The baby has grown in size approximately 7 ? inches long and 14 ounces in weight. His/her movements can now be felt by the mother, including the baby?s hiccups.

Stage 5: 20-26 Weeks

5 Months: Each side of the brain now has a billion nerve cells. If a sound is especially loud, the unborn baby may jump in reaction to it. Thumb-sucking has been observed during the 5th month.

5-6 Months: The unborn baby practices breathing by inhaling amniotic fluid into its developing lungs. The baby will increase seven times in weight and nearly double in height.

6 Months from conception: Fine hair grows on eyebrows and head. Eyelash fringe appears. The unborn baby?s weight is about 640g (22 oz.), height 23cm (9?). Babies born at this age have survived.

Stage 6: 27-32 Weeks

25-28 Weeks from conception: The unborn baby can recognize his/her mother?s voice. The baby is using four of the five senses (vision, hearing, taste, and touch), opens and closes his eyes, and knows the difference between waking and sleeping, and can relate to the moods of the mother.

8 Months: The unborn baby?s skin becomes pink and smooth. The pupils of the eye respond to light.

8 Months: The unborn baby?s weight increases by 1 kg. (over two pounds) and his/her living quarters inside the mother?s womb are becoming cramped.

8 Months: The unborn baby?s fingernails reach to the tip of the finger. The skin begins to thicken, with a layer of fat stored underneath for insulation and nourishment.

8 Months: The unborn baby swallows a gallon of amniotic fluid each day and often hiccups. Though movement is limited, due to the cramped quarters the baby?s kicks are stronger, and mother may be able to feel an elbow or heel against her abdomen.

Stage 7: 33 Weeks+

9 Months (33-40 Weeks) from conception: The baby gains about one-half pound per week as she/he prepares for birth. The bones in the child?s head are soft and flexible to more easily mold for the journey down the birth canal.

9 Months (33-40 Weeks): The unborn baby triggers labor and birth occurs, an average of 264-270 days after conception. Of the 45 generations of cell divisions before adulthood, 41 have already taken place. Only four more come before adolescence. Ninety percent of a person?s development happens in the womb.

Assisted Suicide

Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide (PAS) refer to?the deliberate action and intent to end a life unnaturally.? The term euthanasia originated in ancient Greek and means ?easy death.? Doctors perform euthanasia by administering lethal drugs or by withholding treatment that would prolong the patient?s life. Physician-assisted suicide is also a form of euthanasia, but the difference between the two methods is that in euthanasia, doctors end the patient?s life with lethal injections, whereas, in physician-assisted suicide, patients kill themselves with a lethal amount of drugs prescribed by the doctor.

Iowa Right to Life opposes any legislation that would destroy life, regardless of human development, medical condition, or mental state of the individual.

Stem Cell Research

Whenever a cell divides, it has the potential to become either a stem cell or another specific kind of cell like blood cells, heart cells, liver cells, etc.? Stem cells have the power to develop into any cell and repair damaged tissue in the body.? Embryonic stem cell research requires researchers to destroy embryos to obtain the stem cell.??Since embryology textbooks tell us life begins at fertilization, destroying embryos means destroying human life.

An embryo is an unborn offspring in the process of development and Iowa Right to Life is against this type of research.? We do not dispute the other two types of stem cell research which are adult stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells (IPS).

For more information, go to: John Paul II Medical Research Institute (JP2MRI)

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