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The Prochoice "I Know Fetuses Feel No Pain" Fallacy

Moral Science Club Blog

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) argued that "the baby responds the same way you and I respond to pain, by recoiling." She went on to claim that the pain of a fetus at 20 weeks is "possibly more intense than that felt by older newborns."

The Prochoice "I Know Fetuses Feel No Pain" Fallacy


Abortion supporters are running out of arguments. One argument against new "fetal pain" laws is that the pain receptors aren't fully developed until 24 weeks gestation. Fetal pain bills state other research pinning pain to 20 weeks, and uses that to support a law banning abortions at that age. Below is an excerpt from an article in Mother Jones in June defending the prochoice argument against fetal pain.


Where does this premise for a 20-week abortion ban come from? In the debate on Tuesday, House members repeatedly cited the research of Dr. Kanwaljeet "Sunny" Anand, a University of Tennessee professor of pediatrics, anesthesiology, and neurobiology who has promoted the idea that 20 weeks post-conception is the point when a fetus begins to feel pain. His work, which has been the go-to resource for anti-abortion groups, was mentioned at least four times on the House floor. Citing Anand's findings, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) argued that "the baby responds the same way you and I respond to pain, by recoiling." She went on to claim that the pain of a fetus at 20 weeks is "possibly more intense than that felt by older newborns."


Normally, Mother Jones is much more careful with their facts. I've gotten better insights into issues from their articles. Recently they had an article on the drop in NY city crime that made a good case that Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg had more help from the end of the leaded gas era than any one of their anti-crime strategies. Their reporting on President George W. Bush's "Clean Air Act" proved it to be badly misnamed. It's important to read both sides as one will naturally omit details that embarrass their cause while they go all out to expose the flaws of the opposing side. After my National Review/Mother Jones reading sessions at Barnes and Noble, I always leave with a better grasp of the issues.


Abortion is still a sacred cow of the Left and the Mother Jones defense of abortion at 20-23 weeks is very weak. I have become accustomed to searching through the list of logical fallacies to find a match every time I hear a new prochoice argument. In this case, the Proabort lobby is trying to establish a false dichotomy.


1. A 2005 study argues that pain receptacles in a fetus are not fully developed until 24 weeks.

2. Since pain receptacles aren't fully developed until 24 weeks, it cannot be said for certain if they feel pain.


Remember, the point is whether the fetus can feel pain at all. By the same logic, you could say that it was impossible to sleep in the new Marriott under construction down the street until it's fully finished. Tell that to a homeless person on a rainy night.


Unfortunately for the Proaborts, like the Marriott, the ability to feel pain is a process under construction in the fetus. Abortion defenders are making a mistake erring on the side of carelessness. Rather it cannot be said that fetuses do NOT feel pain at the 20-24 week stage because their pain receptacles are in place at the end of that stage.


Another problem for Proaborts is that babies happen to be born every so often at this stage. A "preemie" baby born at 20 weeks would have to be recognized as a human being. This presents a big problem for abortion defenders. Do human beings feel pain? Can you abort a live baby at 20 weeks because he/she doesn't feel pain based on a 2005 study? The 20 vs. 24 week argument becomes laughable at some point.


In light of a few easy and free thought processes, the idea that abortion is ok because fetuses cannot feel pain is clearly absurd. The point of fetal viability is 20 weeks - as many have survived at that age - and counting...downward. Technology is affording more and more preemies the gift of life despite their abbreviated gestation periods.


A note to prolifers; We need to understand that abortion is big business, and in our money and power rule society, it's very hard to announce bad news. Doctors and scientists stating the plain truth about something tends to turn into speaking truth to power, especially if it poses a problem for powerful interests. Proaborts have thus far found it easy to attack a lone or small group of scientists and doctors  as quacks. The truth is the experts making the big money to write subtly vague, mostly false statements about fetal pain and abortion-breast cancer links are the real quacks.


Exposing the high-paid quacks of the Left is a front in the war for life that should be opened. We must hold bad science accountable. Those who abet the proabortion lobby with sloppy statements now are no better than the bloodletting specialists of the 18th Century. Do they really want to be known in history for being wrong?


P.S. - Read about Baby Freida, born at 21 weeks. She eventually went home at a healthy 7 lbs, 11 ounces and is expected to live a normal life. How sad it is that some people would think State Senator Wendy Davis a hero for standing up for the abortion of such children. 

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