Womb Wars

Can fetuses feel pain?

A new bill restricting a woman's right to abortion to within 20 weeks after inception was approved by the House of Representatives on July 18. At the Daily Beast, Michelle Goldberg tackles the heart of the issue: whether fetuses are capable of feeling pain, as purported by passage of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act. The capacity for pain at 20 weeks is debated among scientists, some of whom claim that the neural connections necessary are not developed until 29 or 30 weeks into the pregnancy. Others are less sure. “Nevertheless, unlike other scientific claims put forward by the anti-abortion movement—about the putative connection between abortion and breast cancer, for example—there is a genuine empirical debate about these issues,” writes Goldberg. The bill may have passed the House, but it's considered likely that the Democrat-heavy Senate will block passage.

Read it at the Daily Beast

June 19, 2013 11:35 AM