Foetus 'cannot feel pain before 24 weeks'

The Telegraph online leads with the story that according to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the human foetus cannot feel pain before 24 weeks. The inference is therefore that abortion is acceptable up to this limit.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists were commissioned to produce a report  by the Department of Health. According to the article...

The report said: "It can be concluded that the foetus cannot experience pain in any sense prior to this gestation." Professor Allan Templeton, president of the Royal College, who chaired the review, told The Times that research put forward by anti-abortion campaigners that the human foetus did feel pain at or before 24 weeks was based on evidence from premature babies. This did not apply to the foetus in the womb, he said.

A second finding is that the foetus is naturally sedated and unconscious in the womb, leading the panel to advise that anaesthetics for the foetus are not needed when it is terminated.

"There's nothing in the report that suggests any need to review the upper limit," said Prof Templeton.

The review would appear to remove one strut of the argument by pro-life campaigners that the current abortion limit needs to be lowered, although they are likely to challenge the Royal College's findings.

The central 'strut' of pro-life campaigners upon which hinges all other arguments is not whether an unborn baby feels pain during an abortion. The central 'strut' of pro-life campaigners is that abortion is a direct intervention by medical authorities, indeed an invasion, into the womb wherein dwells a living human being which science has verfied is indeed human and indeed alive. This intervention is conducted with the aim of ending a human life which, without their direct intervention would be born alive and enjoy all the rights enshrined in civil law that we enjoy, like the right to life.

As a society, do we really believe that a graphic, brutal (and abortion at 24 weeks is both) and torturous murder is that much worse to shooting someone in the head at point blank range? We might find one murder more ghastly and be horrified at the sadism of the individual who committed the outrage, but the end result is the same. A life has needlessly been ended by an act of gross evil.

I mean, the infamous Dr Harold Shipman, who went around 'terminating' his elderly patients without actually asking their permission probably gave the old dears enough barbiturates to ensure they died in relative peace. Does that mean we should never have put the man inside because he inflicted not pain on his patients, but merely death?

Ironically, the same publication has also ran with an article concerning those terrible Romans, whose brothel site has been discovered in Hambledon in Buckinghamshire along with the skeletons of 97 infants.

Apparently, the Romans only considered people to be human beings from the age of 2 years upwards, so it goes to show just how arbitrary we can be about the definition of human life. According to Dr Simon Mays, a skeletal biologist at English Heritage's Centre for Archaeology, “There is no other site that would yield anything like the 97 infant burials."

So, what did the Romans do for us, again? It looks very much like they gave us roads and abortion clinics.


The blog "Love Undefiled"
is an excellent resource for pro life information.
Today he has posted links to lots of studies about fetal pain.
I highly recommend it to any of your readers who need a bit more ammo ( or even a bit more persuading)
Ben Trovato said…
Something rarely commented on which deserves much more attention is how abortion affects our relationship with the medical profession...
Ben Trovato said…
Something rarely commented on is what abortion does to the medical profession - and also to our relationship with it. This deserves more attention. Just reading the RCOG's position on this lowers my respect for them.... let alone what they actually sanction, and in some cases perform...
Philharmonium said…
Laurence, I shudder to think what you will make of this op-ed that was recently posted on Yahoo news - I imagine when you have recovered from the black-out you will have something suitably damning to say about it! Please, do not open this if you have high blood pressure (and don't shoot the messenger!)
This bit is particularly nasty...

'Crime: The excellent and challenging book 'Freakonomics', by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner documents a fascinating case study showing a sudden decrease in serious crime in American inner-cities. The authors posit, with a commendable indifference to the controversy they would detonate, that this began the first year that Roe Vs Wade, which effectively legalised abortion in the US, began to have an effect on society. Suddenly, the up and coming criminals, born of families which could not care, love for or afford them, were simply not being born. They were being aborted. Crime plummeted. This is not a pretty argument, but it demonstrates two thing: One, women are best placed to decide when they are ready to have a child, not the state or Christian groups. Two, babies need love and attention. Forcing women to have children when they are incapable of offering it that love is a punishment to the woman and the child both. They will suffer its consequences - and so will society.'

The destruction of 'potential criminals' in the womb. Hmm...Remind you of anyone?
Philharmonium said…
Also, he has clearly not read tot he end of the section, in which the authors ask (more or less): 'does this make abortion a solution to social troubles? Well, at approximately 200 abortions for every single crime taken off the record books, it would be difficult to argue that, even if you were otherwise in favour of abortion, there can be much support for the proposition'.

Nice piece of selective reading there!
Philharmonium said…
Also, there is clearly a racist element to this - after all, abortion services are marketed particularly heavily in black and Hispanic areas of US cities. The equation here is quite simple: black person=criminal; abortion=lower crime

Even if abortion itself is still widely practised in 50 years time, the ways in which it is currently targeted at certain demographics will be seen as one of the great scandals of our age
Its the way the World is going, Philharmonium. Eugenics didn't die when Hitler blew his brains out.