Friday, June 25, 2010

UK: Fetus feels no pain before 24 weeks

25 June, 2010

This story is sure to make the Pro-Lifers howl.  In what is being considered as a major setback to anti-abortion activists,  a British medical association in its report claimed that human fetuses cannot experience pain before the age of 24 weeks. Ironically, the lawmakers who were demanding the reduction of limit to 20-22 weeks had funded the study that was conducted by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The report, citing multiple examples of medical research and post-mortem reports, claimed that till the age of 24 weeks nerve connections in the brain were not developed enough to experience pain. The fetus, the report said, was in an unconsciousness or sedation by that period.

There was fairly good evidence that the pathways necessary to feel pain really just aren't there before 24 weeks, although they very clearly are there after, said Richard Anderson, a professor in human reproductive sciences with the University of Edinburgh, who was part of the study.

However, several medical experts differ from the findings of the report. Some argue that fetus begins experiencing pain and other related feelings by the age of 20 weeks. The Neraska government recently signed a bill into law that bans abortion at and after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Meanwhile, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists claims that there is no legitimate logic or evidence to determine that the fetus experiences pain. The association maintains that fetus brain develops between 20th and 40th weeks of pregnancy.

Demands to limit abortion period are raised in other parts of the world as well. In Britain, the Abortion Act of 1967, enables the guardian to get surgical abortions up to 24 weeks.

The law also provides the mother freedom to get the abortion if doctor agrees that the mother’s life is in danger or there’s firm evidence that the fetus would be born with disabilities.

But in Northern Ireland abortions are strictly prohibited even if mother’s life is in danger. "We have no real evidence because the unborn can't speak," said Bernie Smyth, director of Precious Life, an anti-abortion group active in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

"The fact is babies have been born at 24 weeks, they have survived, and they do feel pain."

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Unknown said...

A fetus feels pain at 8 weeks after conception. During ultrasound abortions, doctors have admitted to the fetus(latin word for young one) moving away and struggling violently to get away from the tools used to kill it. Please don't delete this comment.

Unknown said...

Well, it is likely the nerves are responding to stimuli, but the brain is not aware of pain. That's what the UK research suggests.

I only delete comments that are spam or abusive. Your comment is fine.

Unknown said...

How can we say this if we have not gone through it ourselves? What if there's a fetus that hasn't been tested on that's an early developer and feels pain at 20, 19, 18 weeks? and if cells can create more concrete parts of the body, like bones, isn't there a possibility that more fluid sensors have already been made, like feeling pain? And what was the goal of those researchers? There's a lot of money involved in abortions, 400-1,000 dollars per abortion, plus big businesses and organizations, including the government, give to abortion causes and research. Do you think this may have been bought out? What about the more humane side of things? Imagine you're a mother that's pro choice. You have three kids and don't want anymore. Rewind to your third pregnancy. What if you wanted only two kids, and were pregnant with that same third child? What would be the fate of that child?

Rightardia said...

I am inclined to think the UK study was completed using customary scientific standards that are rigorous. A study must have results that are repeatable or the study in considered invalid.

Would the nervous system have to be connected to the brain to fell pain.

That seems to be intuitively obvious, but a neurologist could answer the question bettr than I. I also suspect the study is unbiased because it was conducted in the UK, where there is less politics about abortion.

In a perfect word, there would be no abortion.

In a perfect world, society would also help mothers take care of children that were the result of unwanted pregnancies.

We used to do that in the US until the GOP rescinded ADC and replaced it with TANF which provided 5 years support to a mother during her lifetime.

Are there worse things than abortion? Yes, war is far worse. People who started out whole lose limbs, organs and brain function.

Should we give women the right to chose or let the government make that decision. That is the question.

Unknown said...

The comment on whether the government should choose for the woman, or whether she should choose for herself would be valid if we didn't have to answer for the unborn child who will feel the pain. If the child does not feel pain, why do experts say that an unborn child must be under anesthesia when going through in-utero surgery, otherwise he or she will feel tremendous pain? Why is it that these unborn children are put under anesthesia to keep them from pain during in-utero surgery?

I believe and agree that there are many horrible problems in this world.
Dehydration, women in third world countries dealing with little or no medical help while delivering children, starvation. However, I also believe that abortion is one of these problems. It is a short answer to a situation. This short resolve of abortion leaves children dead, and many mothers emotionally bruised.

Rightardia said...

i don't know the answer to that, but a doctor would.

There could be a political reason for the anaesthesia rather than medical necessity.

I am no fan of abortion,but in some cases it may be the lessor of evils.