Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The problem of fetal pain and the political will to ignore it.

By Aussiegirl

Dr. Mary Davenport, a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist writes a scientifically accurate and morally chilling article for the American Thinker on the question of fetal pain and how pro-abortion attitudes influence even so-called "scientific" studies on the subject. Shades of the Soviet Union. Everything becomes political -- even science. Why would babies cry if they don't feel pain? Who but a competely insensitive, cold-blooded ideologue could imagine that a human baby, and even a fetus does not feel pain, when even single-celled organisms move away from unpleasant stimuli. The whole idea just makes you shudder. The entire concept is one that is calculated to dehumanize the fetus, thereby removing any vestigial guilt that might be felt. In the history of mankind's various genocides, the first order of the day is either the demonization or the dehumanization of the victim. Kudos to Dr. Davenport for a dispassionate, yet eloquent testament to the truth.

The American Thinker

Can fetuses feel pain? The question has moved beyond the realm of science into politics, with powerful overtones for the general public’s understanding of abortion itself. Regrettably, politics is trumping science in some quarters.

There have been at least two prominent medical journal articles written in response to fetal pain legislation proposed at the federal and state level over the last year. Senator Sam Brownback and Rep. Chris Smith reintroduced the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act in the Senate and House, which would require doctors to inform women seeking abortion after 20 weeks that the fetus can feel pain, and to provide fetal anesthesia on request. The debate surrounding the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, currently under review before the Supreme Court, sharpened public awareness about some of the gruesome methods used to terminate the lives of the unborn in the second and third trimester, which involve collapsing the fetal skull, sucking out the fetal brains, or actual dismemberment.

In spite of appearing in well-known medical journals, these fetal pain articles are simplistic hit pieces specifically created to counter the proposed bills. They contradict good research, as well as the clinical experience and observations of the many physicians who care for these fetuses during fetal surgery or when the fetuses are born prematurely. These articles are reminiscent of the old volumes of Williams Obstetrics still in circulation in the 1980’s that stated that newborns could not feel pain because the spinal cord’s myelin sheath was not fully developed at birth. This mistaken belief allowed newborns to experience circumcision and even heart surgery without pain relief.

There were physicians then, as now, capable of rationalizing obvious screams and signs of distress when newborns and fetuses undergo medical assault. There was little medical literature on the newborn response to pain before the 1980’s. When the ability to measure stress hormones was developed, it was discovered that not only did newborns have similar hormonal responses to pain as older children and adults, but also that procedures on newborns had better outcomes when anesthesia was used.

[...]Derbyshire also makes an argument about immature circuitry that has been made in the past, and has been used in omitting of anesthesia on newborns and children. The intent of the author, as he himself states in the introduction, is a politically-motivated attempt to influence U.S. legislation.

Another of these studies, “Fetal pain: a systematic multidisciplinary review of the evidence,” published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) purports to be an objective review of the literature on fetal neurodevelopment and pain. It is co-authored by a medical student and director of the abortion unit at San Francisco General Hospital, among others. The article states

For fetal surgery, women may receive general anesthesia and/or analgesics intended for placental transfer, and parenteral opioids may be administered to the fetus under direct or sonographic visualization. In these circumstances, administration of anesthesia and analgesia serves purposes unrelated to reduction of fetal pain, including …prevention of fetal hormonal stress responses ….

But, one might ask, why would surgery provoke a stress response on fetus unless it were noxious and painful?

[...]The recent reviews in the British Medical Journal and Journal of the American Medical Association were written to deliberately dehumanize second and third trimester unborn human beings, not only to justify aborting them but to deny them even the pain relief that animals are allowed. It is distressing to see these distinguished journals publish articles of limited scientific merit that are motivated solely by attempts to influence legislation.

They illustrate the success of radical abortion advocates in achieving elite positions of influence in medical practice, as well as the collusion or ignorance of journal editors who allow abortion politics to interfere with scientific discourse.

Mary L. Davenport, M.D is a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist and a Fellow of the American Collge of Obsterics and Gynecology


At 2:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When it was finally proven that newborn babies suffered serious pain during infant circumcision, doctors began using anesthesia to neutralize the issue (instead of discontinuing the practice of infant circumcision itself as many people had hoped). I have a feeling the same thing may happen here. They'll just come up with some sort of drug or chemical that makes the fetus go to "sleep". Women who are worried about fetal pain can then request that this substance be administered to the fetus before it's aborted. And that'll be the end of the matter as far as the medical establishment is concerned.


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