Fetuses Cannot Feel Pain Until 35 Weeks, According To Study

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Fetuses Cannot Feel Pain Until 35 Weeks, According To Study

Robin Marty

After working with premature infants, University College London researchers believe they cannot feel pain until at least 35 weeks.

A new study out of England once more affirms the idea that a 20 week gestation fetus is not actually able to feel pain, despite anti-choice claims otherwise.

Via ABC News:

Using EEG, researchers recorded the babies’ brain activity in response to pain, comparing their pain responses from a touch and prick on the heels. The findings were published in the journal Current Biology.

“Babies can distinguish painful stimuli as different from general touch from around 35 to 37 weeks gestation — just before an infant would normally be born,” Lorenzo Fabrizi, lead author of the study, said in a statement.

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The babies, who were 28 to 35 weeks in the womb, showed the same bursts of brain activity for the touch and the heel lance, but babies at more than 35 weeks’ gestation had a greater burst of activity in response to the lance than the simple touch.

“The findings … should help inform the pain perception portion of the abortion debate,” said Dr. F. Sessions Cole, director of the division of newborn medicine at Washington University School of Medicine at St. Louis. “Although this study specifically addresses brain wave differences between premature and term infants, not fetuses, after [receiving] painful and tactile stimuli, it suggests that brain maturation required for fetal pain perception occurs in late pregnancy, more than 11 weeks after the legal limit for abortion in the United States.

There are currently five states banning abortion prior to viability over an alleged accusation of “fetal pain.”

Topics and Tags:

Abortion restrictions, Fetal Pain