Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Fetuses and Pain

Okay, I wasn't going to post any more today but I read an article that has me enraged as a mother and a doctor. Read the mindless pap here.

According to researchers at University of CA, San Fran and published in JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association) proports that fetuses as late as 20 weeks feel no pain. The researchers "reviewing the literature" are not fetal pain experts at all.

But let me give you some personal experience: My sons were born at 24 weeks gestation and they MOST DEFINITELY felt pain. In fact, my sense was that their experience of pain was more acute than what an adult felt but they just happened to possess a greater ability to endure it. Their nerves are still myelinating--they are literally "raw".

Even more telling, a 22 week gestation little girl was also in the hospital at the same time as the boys. She too, from all observation experienced pain.

What do you call drawing back? What do you call crying when being stuck with a needle? What do you call screams when being poked for the fifth time during a arterial draw? Only ten years ago, premature babies were given surgery without anesthesia because doctors ignored the flailing evidence in front of them until it was "proven" objectively that (OOPS!) they do feel pain.

Nevermind that some "aborted" fetuses with arms sucked off have been born crying and then LIVED! (You can't kill the baby once it leaves the mother. How's that for ironic?)

What is wrong with people? Will the morally-challenged persevere in the desire to rid women of the consequences of their behavior at all costs?

I know women pay the biggest price with an unwanted pregnancy. I know that many women who get pregnant don't want the child and become horrible mothers. I know one more fatherless kid ends up on the public dole.

But abortion--especially those beyond the 12th week--are unbelievably vile. That "fetus", that child, with volition sucks its thumb. Why would he need to comfort himself if he felt no discomfort? With volition, the child feels around with his hands the uterus he calls home--any woman who is pregnant knows this. Why touch if he can't feel?

I'm sorry ladies, but that child does feel pain. It has a heart that beats. It has a brain with brainwaves. To further this "no pain" garbage and veil it in pseudo-science to salve the consciences of men and women who want to escape or avoid the trappings of an inconvenient child well, a societal price is paid.

I've tripped over more than one woman in my practice whose sorrow, grief and shame over an abortion causes her more distress than caring for that baby ever would have. Pressured by boyfriends, encouraged by angry parents, sexually-abused by fathers, yet the woman has to live with the consequences--not with the birth but with the death of a child she wanted in her heart.

And so does the baby that feels that pain.
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