Loading
Fetuses may feel pain as early as 20 weeks, doctor clarifies
By Estefania Aguirre and Carl Bunderson

.- An Italian doctor has clarified that fetuses may be capable of feeling pain and pleasure as early as 20 weeks after their conception, after a June 19 article in Time may have led some to believe otherwise.

The Time article quoted a paper co-authored by Carlo Bellieni, from the department of pediatrics, obstetrics and reproductive medicine at the University Hospital of Siena, which says there is “consistent evidence of the possibility for the fetus to experience pain in the third trimester, and this evidence is weaker before this date and null in the first half of pregnancy.”

Time used this quote to characterize Bellieni as having reported that “while it was difficult to truly determine when the first feelings of pain emerged, such sensations likely begin in the third trimester.”

“But this can look like I said that the fetus doesn’t feel pain in the second trimester at all,” Bellieni told CNA June 24.

While acknowledging that his paper was correctly quoted by Time, he added that “saying 'this evidence is weaker' does not mean that it is absent.”

“In fact, I pointed out that evidence of fetal pain is 'null in the first half of pregnancy'” – meaning that after 20 weeks, there is evidence that fetuses can experience pain.

That fetuses “can feel pain in their twentieth … week can't be excluded,” Bellieni said.

While “we don't know exactly when pain sensations begin,” it is as early as 20, and as late as 24 weeks.

Bellieni has also written that “painful stimuli can arrive to the brain at 20-22 weeks of gestation.

“We need more research, because there is not so much out there,” he emphasized.

The doctor believes this is due to a “lack of interest,” adding that “we have the moral obligation” since fetal surgery is possible.

“Fetal surgery has greater possibility of success the bigger the fetus is, but studies show surgery is possible in the first half of the pregnancy.”

“Most of fetal pain research has been made on babies who are outside the womb and have been born, but are premature,” he added.

The Time article was written against the background over debate around the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which was passed in the House June 18.

The bill would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, stating that “there is substantial medical evidence that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain at least by 20 weeks after fertilization, if not earlier.”

Though the bill has passed the House, it must still pass the Senate, and the White House has suggested that if it arrives on President Obama's desk he will veto it.

The administration stated that the bill “shows contempt for women's health and rights, the role doctors play in their patients' health care decisions, and the Constitution.”

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), who introduced the legislation, argued in a June 13 statement that “knowingly subjecting our innocent unborn children to dismemberment in the womb, particularly when they have developed to the point that they can feel excruciating pain every terrible moment leading up to their undeserved deaths, belies everything America was called to be.”

“This is not who we are,” he said.

Tags: Abortion, Late term abortion


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
20

Liturgical Calendar

April 20, 2014

EASTER SUNDAY OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE LORD

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:13-35

Gospel
Date
04/20/14
04/19/14
04/18/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Second Reading:: Col 3:1-4
Gospel:: Jn 20:1-9

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:13-35

Homily
Date
04/20/14
04/19/14
04/18/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: