Tuesday, August 23, 2005

JAMA: Fetuses Don't Feel Pain In First Six Months

This probably won’t matter as the right wing never lets facts get in the way of their arguments. The New York Times reports on a study to be published in JAMA tomorrow showing that fetuses cannot feel pain during the first six months of gestation.

Taking on one of the most highly charged questions in the abortion debate, a team of doctors has concluded that fetuses probably cannot feel pain in the first six months of gestation and therefore do not need anesthesia during abortions.

Their report, being published Wednesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association, is based on a review of several hundred scientific papers, and it says that nerve connections in the brain are unlikely to have developed enough for the fetus to feel pain before 29 weeks.

The finding poses a direct challenge to proposed federal and state laws that would compel doctors to tell women having abortions at 20 weeks or later that their fetuses can feel pain and to offer them anesthesia specifically for the fetus.


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