July 12, 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Family Research Council today released a new report that refutes claims made recently by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' (RCOG) that a fetus is not able to feel pain before 24 weeks of development. RCOG's study is being used to uphold Britain's current legalization of abortions up to 24 weeks. Pro-abortion activists in the United States could also try to use this study to argue against Nebraska's new law that states that an unborn baby can feel pain at 20 weeks and which, as a result, outlaws abortions from that point on.
Director of FRC's Center for Human Dignity Jeanne Monahan notes that the RCOG's study is seriously flawed and could lead to a profound moral injustice, the more cavalier taking of unborn life. Said Monahan:
"The report appears to be politically timed and motivated, given the growing momentum in the U.K. to protect the life of the unborn by lowering the time limits for legal abortion.
"RCOG is using a faulty definition of pain in this study. A number of experts in the field of fetal development, who were not consulted for this report, previously have refuted the idea that the cortex needs to be fully developed for an unborn baby to feel pain. On the contrary, it is possible that unborn babies between 20-30 weeks of development can experience greater pain than a full-term newborn or older child. At 20-30 weeks, an unborn child possesses the highest number of pain receptors per square inch he or she will ever possess, and the baby's nerve fibers are located closest to the surface of the skin.
"Most importantly, RCOG is trying - but failing - to dehumanize the baby to make abortion appear somehow more palatable, yet the truth remains that abortion is a violent and painful procedure for the infant and mother. The humanness of the unborn child is not contingent on its capacity for pain. Whether or not an unborn child can feel pain is irrelevant to the respect that an unborn person deserves - respect sufficient to be protected by law from conception until natural death," Monahan concluded.
Click here to download Family Research Council's response to the RCOG report.