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Can an Unborn Baby Feel Pain?

Monday, June 1, 2015 @ 2:49 PM
Can an Unborn Baby Feel Pain? Rebecca Davis Assistant Editor of The Stand MORE
So when it comes to fetal surgery in an effort to save the life of the unborn, anesthesia is required to control the pain. Yet, when it comes to abortion – nothing. - Rebecca Davis

The United States House of Representatives recently passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The bill bans abortion after 20 weeks gestation because research proves that babies certainly do feel pain at this point in their development. It is also intended to show the humanity of a child in the womb. 

That being said, there should be no question as to whether a fetus, “a blob of tissue,” is a baby, a person, a human, a life. As a believer, Scripture confirms this for me way before science does. But now, science is starting to support what the Bible already says is true. 

In the words of Dr. Seuss, “A person’s a person no matter how small.” 

And the reality is people feel pain. 

Dr. David A. Prentice, vice president and research director of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, spoke about fetal pain in a recent radio interview with Point of View. He describes fetal pain in great detail and explains how and why unborn babies feel pain, perhaps to a greater degree than newborns and adults. 

Prentice quickly admits that there will be naysayers to his claims, those who cite old studies by researchers associated with Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocates. But the new findings confirming fetal pain is what Prentice calls “real science.” 

He explains it like this: Unborn babies have a “higher density of nerve receptors” and a lack of “certain pathways that sort of tone down pain.” These pathways don’t begin to develop until birth and don’t mature until several months after birth. 

Therefore, it is clear to see why babies are “four times as sensitive” to painful stimuli than adults. So put yourself in the position of an unborn baby. What must it feel like to have a pair of forceps twist and tear your bones apart until you are totally dismembered, including snapping your spine and crushing your skull (dilation and evacuation)? Or what must it feel like to be forced to drink a deadly poison that burns off the outer layer of your skin (salt poisoning/saline injection)? 

Such would be inexcusable if inflicted upon a living adult. Yet these “procedures” are performed on unborn babies daily and excused by the claim (among many other weak justifications) that they cannot feel pain. 

If unborn babies can’t feel pain, then why anesthetize them during fetal surgery? Prentice makes this point by explaining how fetal surgeons “give anesthetic and pain medication directly to the unborn baby, it’s not relying just on an anesthetic for mom.” 

He also explains that clinical anesthesia textbooks state that “unborn babies can feel pain as early as 16 weeks” and “it is critical to administer anesthesia directly to them.” The unborn are also medically recognized as patients. 

“[T]hese are little patients, very tender ones, and as we said they can experience pain even more intensely than you or I do,” Prentice said. “[It’s] this attitude – that these are little persons of worth that we need to handle compassionately.” 

So when it comes to fetal surgery in an effort to save the life of the unborn, anesthesia is required to control the pain. Yet, when it comes to abortion – nothing. In fact, pain and death are the outcomes. 

“It’s the same person in there,” Prentice explained, “but it’s just how we view their worth to us.” 

So what are the unborn worth to you? 

To me, they are of great value – “a heritage from the Lord” and a “reward,” Psalm 127:3 says. 

Therefore, I agree with Prentice: “[W]e need to keep educating people about the truth and the humanity of these little ones.” 

That’s the point of this blog.

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