Friday, June 25, 2010

When Can a Fetus Start to Feel Pain?

According to an Associate Press story, a repot done in the UK reveals that fetuses before 24 weeks are unable to feel pain. This study instantaneously brings up thoughts concerning abortion, human rights and morality, and it rightly does so. The legality of abortion and whether or not the procedure is morally right has plagued the world for years.

For years our two major political parties helped defined their objectives and beliefs with abortion on their minds, the Democrats are Pro choice while the Republicans are Pro life. It has always been a controversial issue since abortions began. But findings like this will the divisive debate over the matter end?

Obviously some doctors disagreed with the findings of the study and lowered the limit of the fetus’ inability to feel pain to 20 weeks in the US state of Nebraska. And on the other side, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has said it knows of no legitimate evidence that shows a fetus can experience pain. According to them, a fetus' brain begins its final stage of development between the 20th and 40th weeks of pregnancy, and that certain hormones that develop in the final trimester also must be present for it to feel pain.

It’s a big subject that continues to divide the world. But it’s a subject that is a matter of life and death. Court cases like the infamous Roe v. Wade has incorporated the rights of the woman as well in to the complex equation.

But in the end, we really won’t know for sure if the baby can feel pain because we can’t just go in and ask it. And for now we are just stuck with our own opinions behind the party lines on the issue of abortion.