Authors of Disputed Fetal Pain Study Work for Abortion Group, Business

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 24, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Authors of Disputed Fetal Pain Study Work for Abortion Group, Business Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 24, 2005

San Francisco, CA ( — The author of a new study discounting evidence of the pain unborn children feel during abortions formerly worked at a pro-abortion organization. Also, the school where the study was conducted, the University of California at San Francisco, has been cited as a bastion of activism in favor of abortion.

The lead author of the study is Susan J. Lee, a UCSF medical student who once worked for NARAL, an abortion advocacy group that recently came under fire for falsely accusing Supreme Court nominee John Roberts of backing abortion-related violence.

Meanwhile, another author, UCSF obstetrician-gynecologist Eleanor Drey, is the medical director of the abortion center at San Francisco General Hospital.

The Journal of the American Medical Association published their study today, which claims unborn children don’t feel pain until 29 weeks into pregnancy, but JAMA did not include any information about the author’s ties to the pro-abortion group and abortion business.

One of the authors is on the staff of UCSF’s Center for Reproductive Health Research and Policy (CRHRP).

In a monograph about CRHRP, abortion activist Carol E. Joffe wrote, "What UCSF has done, more so than any other medical institution I can think of, has been to integrate abortion into mainstream medical care."

"The message that this medical school gives the rest of medicine is that abortion is a normal part of women’s reproductive health," Joffe wrote about the university.

Meanwhile, experts in fetal pain dispute the study’s findings.

Neurologist Dr. Paul Ranalli says the 20-30 week child in the womb may even feel more pain than an adult. He adds that the "pain impulse connections in the spinal cord link up and reach the thalamus (the brain’s reception center): at 7-20 weeks."

Father Frank Pavone, the director of Priests for Life, says the USCF study doesn’t settle the debate on fetal pain.

"The disputed report coming out of the University of California, indicating that pain may not be felt by unborn children during abortions in early pregnancy, hardly settles the matter scientifically," Pavone said.

"Other studies over the last 15 years around the world show evidence of earlier fetal pain. Research has to continue. Meanwhile, it makes sense to err on the side of caution," Father Pavone explained.

Pavone also pointed out that while the possibility of pain should give us pause regarding abortion, the absence of pain does not justify killing unborn children.

"There are many painless ways to kill both born and unborn. That doesn’t make it right," he concluded.