|Graphic via the Endowment for Human Development|
[This is part 23 of a multi-part series chronicling a pregnancy through the lens of "Baby Chris." Click here for other parts.]
22 weeks after fertilization (24 weeks LMP), Baby Chris is about the size of an ear of corn.
Under United States law, 24 weeks LMP is the point at which a baby is considered "viable," i.e., able to live outside the womb. This is an arbitrary line. In some cases, infants younger than Baby Chris have survived premature birth. In other cases, a baby will not be capable of survival outside the womb until he or she is several weeks older. It varies depending on the child's pace of development, the family's access to cutting-edge neonatal care providers, and a host of other factors.
The real milestone this week is that finally, for the first time, Baby Chris has some minimal legal protection from the abortion industry. The Supreme Court held in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that a state is within its rights to ban abortion at this stage of pregnancy.
But I do mean minimal protection. Late-term abortion bans must have broad "health" exceptions (where "health" is defined to include "all factors—physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age—relevant to the well-being of the patient.") Moreover, many pro-abortion states have chosen not to impose even a post-viability limit. Several notorious abortionists, such as Leroy Carhart and Warren Hern, have made names for themselves committing third-trimester abortions—most of which are not for medical reasons. Bottom line: if Baby Chris's mother were determined to have an abortion, it could still be done.
To learn more about Baby Chris's journey from conception to birth, download the free "See Baby" app.