The following discussion on fetal pain does not attempt to suggest having an abortion procedure should depend upon whether or not an unborn baby can feel pain or not. Especially since there are thousands of Biology and embryology textbooks, modern DNA studies, Medical Dictionaries, Science professors and medical researchers that all confirm that life begins at fertilization. This is a scientific certainty that alone should discourage abortion. Furthermore, it is also well documented how women suffer emotionally, psychologically and in the long term physically due to choosing an abortion. This discussion of fetal pain is to share new insight on previous thought standards that are now changing because of new research on the cortex.
British psychology professor Stuart Derbyshire and John C. Bockmann, a physician’s assistant in the U.S. Army, published a paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics titled “Reconsidering fetal pain.” They conclude that according to several published papers on the necessity of the cortex for pain experience may have been exaggerated, for example, one study demonstrated continued pain experience in a patient with extensive damage to cortical regions generally believed to be necessary for pain experience. A further study has demonstrated activation of areas generally thought to generate pain in subjects congenitally insensitive to pain but receiving noxious stimuli. Those two studies appear to neatly dissociate pain experience from the cortex. In conclusion unborn babies can feel pain at 18 to 20 weeks, and possibly as early as 12 or 13 weeks.
Ingrid Skop, MD Obstetrician from the USA, has seen unborn babies in the womb at 16 weeks gestation, withdraw their limbs when they accidentally encounter the amnio needle as she performs the Amniocentesis procedure (a process in which amniotic fluid is sampled using a hollow needle inserted into the uterus, to screen for abnormalities in the developing fetus.)
When the unborn baby feels pain, the following can be measured in response to pain:
- Elevated stress hormones in their blood,
- heart rate increases,
- & blood pressure increases.