Unborn babies see more than we first thought, study reveals

Find out where your local candidates stand on abortion.
ASK YOUR MP CANDIDATES TO SIGN THE BOTH LIVES PLEDGE NOW

The developing eyes of unborn babies are far more complex than scientists first thought, new research suggests.

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley found that, by the thirteenth week of pregnancy, light-sensitive cells in the retinas of developing babies interact with each other in an interconnected network and could affect brain development in unsuspected ways.

Incredibly, the scientific breakthrough could help explain problems such as light-induced migraines or why light therapy works for depression.

It was previously thought that unborn babies could not see at this point in their development.

However, the recent discovery has gone beyond known information that already found babies in the womb sensed light at sixteen weeks in order to become accustomed to 24-hour, day-night rhythms.

Marla Feller, who is a UC Berkeley professor of molecular and cell biology and has spent 20 years of studying the developing retina, said:

“In the past, people demonstrated that these light-sensitive cells are important for things like the development of the blood vessels in the retina and light entrainment of circadian rhythms, but those were kind of a light on/light off response, where you need some light or no light.

“This seems to argue that they are actually trying to code for many different intensities of light, encoding much more information than people had previously thought.”

Two years ago, it was revealed that babies may be able to recognise faces while still in the womb.

Researchers at Lancaster University found unborn babies would turn their heads towards shapes which resemble faces – with the position of eyes and nose picked out.

Their study, which was conducted on 39 expectant mothers who were 34 weeks (8 months) pregnant, suggests that the instinct to recognise facial features develops before a baby has even seen their first face.

It also shows that an unborn baby’s senses are already well developed and parents should begin interacting with their baby while it is still in the womb.

Find out where your local candidates stand on abortion.
ASK YOUR MP CANDIDATES TO SIGN THE BOTH LIVES PLEDGE NOW

US stops federal funding for research using aborted baby parts

Adobe Stock/Photographee.eu

The US Department of Health and Social Services (HHS) has ended taxpayer funded federal research using the remains of aborted foetuses.

HHS recognised “the dignity of human life” as a “top priority” in determining what counts as ethical research. “Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration,” the department said in a statement.”

However, privately funded research using parts of aborted babies is still able to continue.

Any research from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that desires to use new foetal remains for its research will no longer be conducted under this policy change.

As for future aborted-tissue research that applies for federal funding but takes place outside NIH, “an ethics advisory board will be convened to review the research proposal and recommend whether, in light of the ethical considerations, NIH should fund the research project—pursuant to a law passed by Congress.”

HHS also said that it was committed to funding ethical alternatives which does not involve the use of foetal remains.

After an abortion, it is possible to harvest the dead foetal remains for use in medical research.

Planned Parenthood were embroiled in a scandal in 2015 after they were discovered to negotiating the trading of baby body parts for research. The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) also openly admitted to being involved in harvesting of baby parts for research following an abortion.

However, biochemistry expert Dr. Tara Sander Lee testified before the US Congress last December that fetal tissue research is medically unnecessary.

She explained that “after over 100 years of research, no therapies have been discovered or developed that require aborted fetal tissue,” and that researchers have access to a wealth of ethical sources for human tissue, including cells that can be given the coveted quality of pluripotency, or the ability to become other types of tissue.