Fetal Pain: Fact or Fiction

There have been many laws passed at state levels banning abortions at 20 weeks and beyond.  These laws are based on the fact that unborn babies can feel pain and it would be inhumane to have them suffer through abortion.  The Guttmacher Institute recently stated that it’s objection to laws that ban abortion at 20 weeks post fertilization is based on the “spurious” claim that the unborn can feel pain at that point.  Let’s examine what science has to say.  According to Dr. Jean A. Wright of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, by 20 weeks gestation, the unborn child has all of the organs necessary to perceive and transmit pain. That is a conservative viewpoint as most scientists believe that pain perception can begin as early as 6 weeks in the womb because at this point in development electrical brain activity has been verified.  There is also considerable evidence to support the argument that unborn babies feel pain more intensely than adults.  Pain “dampeners” develop later in gestation about 40 weeks.  So despite the assertion that the claim of fetal pain is “spurious”, scientific evidence supports that the unborn at a minimum of 20 weeks gestation will experience pain when aborted.  Ironically our society continues to protect animals from abuse (and rightfully so), but refuses to recognize that abortion is by its very nature an inhumane procedure that causes immense pain to tiny human beings.