Biased, pro-abortion researchers have long denied the reality of fetal pain. In 2013, Texas successfully passed legislation protecting most babies from abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation, the time at which babies feel pain, although there is evidence that they feel pain much earlier. The law remains unchallenged by the abortion industry, an indication that the science is sound and the abortion industry knows how bad abortion activists look when describing the killing of pain-capable, defenseless babies in the womb.
In a surprising development, Stuart Derbyshire, a researcher in the United Kingdom who has aided the abortion industry in denying the reality of fetal pain, appears to have changed his mind. Derbyshire is not simply a casual abortion supporter; the professor has served as a consultant for anti-Life groups including the Pro-Choice Forum in the UK and Planned Parenthood, America’s biggest abortion business. Despite claiming in the British Journal of Medicine in 2006 that ignoring the pain of preborn babies killed in abortion was “sound policy based on good evidence that foetuses cannot experience pain,” Derbyshire and fellow-researcher, John Bockmann, have a much different take now.
In a recent article published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, Derbyshire and his colleague now write that denying the pain of preborn babies “flirts with moral recklessness,” due to the emerging evidence that babies feel pain at or before 13 weeks’ gestation. This evidence is not new, and renowned scientist Dr. Maureen Condic has been offering evidence for years that babies experience sensations and pain from the earliest stages in the womb.
Until now, most pro-abortion researchers were comfortable claiming that babies are incapable of feeling pain before 24 weeks’ gestation, which is, conveniently, the legal limit for most elective abortions in the United Kingdom. Breaking with the majority and questioning the bias, Derbyshire and his co-author Bockmann, who appears to be Pro-Life, write that the recent studies of prenatal sensory development show “that the consensus is no longer valid.” There never was a consensus, as there have always been committed scientists who have provided evidence that preborn babies, living human beings with beating hearts, are likely experiencing a wide range of sense experience even early in their development.
Other studies cited in the paper include recent research of adults who had suffered brain damage. Even with significant damage to the cortex, adults could experience pain. The cortex is the part of the brain some researchers have tried to claim is not developed enough in preborn babies for them to experience pain.
Proving once again that attempting to defend the killing of preborn babies is utterly impermeable to science and reason, Clare Murphy of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which supports abortion, told the Daily Mail, “The most comprehensive review of this issue to date concluded a foetus cannot experience pain before 24 weeks.” Evidently, Murphy is a better authority on the latest research that has prompted even an avidly anti-Life researcher to admit that he was wrong.
Unfortunately, even with Derbyshire’s admission that science is on the side of Life, he has refused to reevaluate his anti-Life position. According to Derbyshire, lackey of the abortion industry worldwide, the appropriate response to the clear and compelling evidence that preborn babies feel pain long before the legal limit for elective abortion in much of the world is to tell mothers undergoing elective abortion about the possibility of fetal pain and ask if they would like to administer medication to make the fatal procedure less painful for their child. This is unlikely to gain traction in the abortion industry, which has ignored advances in sonogram technology and continues to claim that babies in the womb are “clumps of cells.” Telling mothers how advanced and highly developed the child is they are considering aborting would certainly be bad for business.
Secondly, the industry built on killing babies in the womb for cash gains nothing from the pricey administration of analgesics to babies who are killed while unable to cry out or communicate their anguish at being ripped limb from limb.
Fundamentally, Derbyshire’s position is laughable because, even though he had work published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, he managed to ignore the key ethical question. The child in the womb is separated from each of us only by time and growth. A person’s human dignity cannot be based on his or her level of development or abilities, because making an arbitrary distinction about what defines a person puts us all at risk. Either we are all human, deserving of the Right to Life, or none of us is. The most important issue is, of course, not whether babies in the womb feel pain while being violently killed but rather that our laws currently allow such atrocities to occur.