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RaMa Mama - Doula Share of the Month: Zygote, Embryo, Fetus, Infant - When Does a Cluster of Cells Become A Baby?...

The topic of women's reproductive health and childbirth is a hot one in the US right now because of both the overturn of Roe vs Wade, and an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that embryos are considered children. Science, politics, and religion are all at battle, but who is right?

The Scientific Method is used to make any scientific conclusions, and this method uses many trials and tests to make sure that the information that is concluded is correct. According to science, when the sperm and egg join together in the fallopian tube, conception starts the germinal stage of pregnancy. The sperm fertilizes the egg, and now it is called a zygote. The zygote is a cluster of cells that continues to grow and double itself, reproducing into a greater cluster of cells called a blastocyst. The blastocyst, or embryo travels down the fallopian tubes and into the uterus, where it either implants onto the lining of the uterus or releases as menstrual fluid for the monthly moon cycle. If it attaches to the uterus, then the body produces the hormones needed to build a baby, menstruation ends, and the placenta forms. This is the embryonic stage, starting at three weeks and ending around the eighth week of pregnancy. The heart begins beating and the limbs form at around six weeks. By the eighth week, most of the organs and systems form in the body. At week nine, the embryo turns into a fetus. This is when we are able to tell if a baby is a boy or a girl. Around 20 weeks, mothers begin to feel the baby moving. The fetus continues to grow and develop until the pregnancy is at full term at forty weeks. When the fetus is delivered from the womb and takes its first breath, it becomes a baby.

Religions around the world see things differently. One religion says that life is an act of God and therefore begins at conception. Other religions believe that life starts when we take our first breath. Some religions believe abortion should be illegal because it's murder, while others believe that abortion should be allowed in most or all cases. These are all beliefs based on what their religion has decided for them, and none of it is science-based.

Politicians must abide by the First Amendment, which provides that "Congress make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting its free exercise". The establishment clause prohibits the government from "creating an official religion or favoring one religion over another". The founding fathers believed that government and religion should not mix, and that true religious freedom was not possible unless church and state were separated. However, the government has been dictating what a woman does with her uterus since the beginning of the establishment.

Each of us has the opportunity to believe anything we wish to believe, but science has to follow the facts that follow many trials and tests. The truth is that the majority of Americans believe that people, including women, should be in charge of their own bodies and make their own choices for what is best for them. Only time will tell what direction the country goes with the laws and restrictions currently being set. With this topic in question, we feel it is important to look at all sides and perspectives and judge for ourselves. We can agree to disagree, but we don't have the right to tell one another to live the way we think is "right". As long as we abide by the law, then we are on our own to choose what is best. So the key to it all is to have laws that are unbiased and not persuaded by religion or prejudices. It is important to truly honor all people from all different backgrounds, belief systems, cultures, and creeds. Science is the closest thing to neutrality and unbiased facts that we have to lean on... so maybe we allow science to do its job seeking the truth by test and trial, religion to hold space for sacred connection to the Divine, women to decide what is best for their own bodies, and politicians to work for the people to help make the country function for the greatest and highest good of all. Just a thought...

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