Fetal pain et cetera


I have three articles on abortion that all caught my attention recently.

First, from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, comes one from Minnesota physician Steve Calvin: Think fetuses can't feel pain? Try telling them that.

Twenty-five years of delivering babies and a specialization in high-risk obstetrics provide me some experience to refute the claim that fetuses feel no pain until 30 weeks. Many of the tiny babies that I deliver, some as small as 1 pound at 23 weeks, have required surgery during their difficult neonatal battle for life. All of them receive anesthesia.

Before the 1970s, many newborns, both term and preterm, were operated on without anesthesia in the mistaken belief that they could not feel pain. They certainly couldn't tell anyone about their discomfort. With more sophisticated monitoring it became clear that blood pressure and pulse rose dramatically during the trauma of surgery. Subsequently, a subspecialty of pediatric anesthesia developed.

Those who deny fetal pain claim that hormonal and withdrawal responses to invasive procedures are mere reflexes and are no evidence of pain. Recently, I performed an amniocentesis on a patient at 21 weeks gestation because of a possible infection. On ultrasound, the fetus pulled away from the needle when it grazed her arm. It is clear to me that this fetus felt discomfort, and that she would feel horrible pain if she were dismembered in the exercise of an unjust constitutional right.

The article starts by claiming that the JAMA study about fetal pain "proves the desperation of the defenders of unrestricted abortion." He's right, and for further proof, I point you to the second article, by the WaPo's resident hystericist Ceci Connoly: Access to Abortion Pared at State Level. I won't quote because, well, she doesnt say much worth quoting, but you can read it if you want or just take my word and believe that she does indeed sound desperate.

Finally, from the Daily Illini, we have this abuse of language and reason in attempt to maintain the ruse that a fetus is not a human person.

Soon, fetuses outside the mother would be considered persons whether or not they are still connected to the mother...

The infant's extraction from its mother into a state of aliveness can occur from induced labor, cesarean section or induced abortion...

This act would be applied to cases of failed aborting surgeries. Should a mistake in an abortion occur that leads to a fetus with a functioning muscular, cardiovascular or respiratory system outside the mother, that infant would be deemed a person...

"A critical question is whether the fetus is viable (and) can it subsist when removed from the female's body?" Carmen said. "If yes, the proposed legislation is consistent with Roe v. Wade, which gives the states considerable authority to regulate late-term abortions. If no, then the bill runs afoul of Roe. Thus, if the fetus requires an umbilical chord for survival, it likely is not viable and the mother retains her right to choose..."

What's worse, the reactions of U of I students to the born-alive act leaves one with little hope for the future:

"I can understand how the pro-life side sees this as a victory, but at the same time, many of them believe a human-being is alive at conception, not when it's functioning on its own."

Actually, all of us believe that. The problem is not with how pro-lifers view things, but with those who - in the absence of and even despite this legislation - think it's OK to kill a human baby who has just been born simply because its mother never intended it to live.

"I don't think it solves any issues with the continued abortion debate," Mallon said. "It is another technicality that answers no questions. It doesn't seem to provide any resolution in any direction."

Well, she's half-right. This law doesn't settle any debates, but hopefully it will provide a resolution in the direction of allowing children to survive

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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on September 1, 2005 8:54 AM.

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