Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

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On “fetal pain,” medicine, and law

Rebloggable by request:

Why shouldn’t a doctor tell their patient when a fetus can feel pain?



Okay, here’s the thing. There’s a lot of misinformation about abortion out there, and the Institute of Clinical Education, Warwick Medical School, Coventry, UK undertook a study about this. Here’s some facts:

Misinformation about Abortion


Objective: To find the latest and most accurate information on aspects of induced abortion.

Methods: A literature survey was carried out in which five aspects of abortion were scrutinised: risk to life, risk of breast cancer, risk to mental health, risk to future fertility, and fetal pain.

Findings: Abortion is clearly safer than childbirth. There is no evidence of an association between abortion and breast cancer. Women who have abortions are not at increased risk of mental health problems over and above women who deliver an unwanted pregnancy. There is no negative effect of abortion on a woman’s subsequent fertility. It is not possible for a fetus to perceive pain before 24 weeks’ gestation. Misinformation on abortion is widespread. Literature and websites are cited to demonstrate how data have been manipulated and misquoted or just ignored. Citation of non-peer reviewed articles is also common. Mandates insisting on provision of inaccurate information in some US State laws are presented. Attention is drawn to how women can be misled by Crisis Pregnancy Centres.

Conclusion: There is extensive promulgation of misinformation on abortion by those who oppose abortion. Much of this misinformation is based on distorted interpretation of the scientific literature.

Citation: Rowlands, Sam (2011). “Misinformation on abortion”. The European journal of contraception & reproductive health care (1362-5187), p. 1. DOI: 10.3109/13625187.2011.570883

Here’s more:

The lack of cortical connections before 24 weeks implies that pain is not possible until after 24 weeks. Even after 24 weeks, there is continuing development and elaboration of intracortical networks. Furthermore, there is good evidence that the fetus is sedated by the physical environment of the womb and usually does not awaken before birth.

Essentially, a fetus does not even have the brain structure to feel pain before 24 weeks - so roughly 6 months gestation, moving into 7 months. 

Here’s when most abortions happen:

So, let’s get something straight - if doctors are forced to tell patients that a fetus feels pain before 20 weeks, they are being forced statutorily to lie to patients. Is that something you’re comfortable with? I’m not.

Filed under abortion fetal pain politics ask box facts

  1. offensivelyscottish reblogged this from cognitivedissonance
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  7. spiralofbees reblogged this from bebinn and added:
    Basically, reacting to stimuli != feeling pain.
  8. coelestinus reblogged this from bebinn
  9. bebinn reblogged this from cognitivedissonance and added:
    Thanks, cognitivedissonance! I’ll be writing more on this as part of the fetal development post(s?) I’m working on.
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