A research study about twins and the relationships they develop starting in the womb is starting to get more attention in the Pro-Life community. Originally published in the online journal Public Library of Science One (PLoS One) in October 2010, the study has recently started to circulate among the prominent Pro-Life websites because of its implications regarding viability.
The study was conducted by Umberto Castiello, a researcher with the University of Padova in Italy. Twins were filmed using a four-dimensional ultrasound at the 14th and 18th weeks of gestation, and this footage was recorded and analyzed. Researchers discovered that at as early as 14th weeks the “performance of movements towards the co-twin is not accidental.”
The research team noted that the 14-week old twins often “touched each other head to head, arm to head, and head to arm.” Using kinematic analyses the study confirmed that these movements “were not reflexes, but planned and coordinated actions.” The twins also appeared to be more sensitive when touching delicate parts of their co-twin such as the eyes. Researchers saw at the 18th week of gestation, twins would “spend up to thirty percent of their time reaching out and stroking their co-twin.”
Although the original intent of this study was to investigate the social pre-wiring hypothesis, the Pro-Life implications of the research are staggering. These findings go a long way to providing more scientific evidence that life begins at conception. If twins have the level of motor planning necessary to purposely and accurately interact with their co-twin at 14 weeks, then it becomes harder to argue that they are not viable and unique individuals.
This study also confirms that social skills begin in the womb. It has been shown that as early as a few hours after birth, newborns are capable of imitating gestures of people around them. This has given the appearance that babies are “pre-wired” with social skills, and this new study demonstrates that they are practicing these as early as 14 weeks in the womb. Again, it becomes incredibly hard to argue for the destruction of a unique being that is demonstrating social skills.
Pro-Lifers need to spread the word about this fascinating and profound study. For more information please read the study: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0013199