Pro-Life’s 28 Days Later Billboard

Billboard from <a href="http://prolifeacrossamerica.org/">PLAA</a>; fetus from <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/medical/IM04047">Mayo Clinic</a>

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This rather befuddling pro-life billboard (left-hand side of picture) was spotted in Brooklyn by a Femisting blogger. The billboard, sponsored by Pro-Life Across America, says that a fetus’s arms are formed by 28 days after conception. If you consider limb buds the same as arms (kind of like seeing an acorn as an oak tree) this is true. But what the billboard doesn’t tell you is that even by 35 days, those arms end in an amphibian-looking flippers (see picture at right-hand side). According to the Mayo Clinic, at 35 days after conception, the entire fetus could fit on a pencil eraser and doesn’t have eyes, facial features, gender, bones, or lower limbs. It also still has a tail.

Honestly, the fetus 35 days after conception looks a bit like something out of a horror film more than an adorable infant. Aside from biological niceties, what is “born to ride”? PLAA says that the ad is meant to convey that little boy (all of them!) just LOVE to play with tricycles, bikes, and other wheeled vehicles. I’m going to avoid discussing the sexism of this and just say that with the bandanna and vest, it kind of looks like they want the baby to take a spin on a motorcycle. PLAA has another, more inaccurate billboard that says babies have facial features like eyes, ears, and tongue at 28 days after conception. As you can see by the illustration of a fetus at 35 days, that’s not exactly true. These billboards are disorienting at best, and deliberately deceptive at worst. But they might want to re-think the “personhood begins at conception” idea. If fetuses really do get personal rights, the world might look like this video.

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In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

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