AMA Journal Editor Slammed Over Biased Abortion-Fetal Pain Study

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 26, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

AMA Journal Editor Slammed Over Biased Abortion-Fetal Pain Study Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 26, 2005

Chicago, IL ( — The editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association says she is being slammed with critical emails following the publication of a biased article claiming unborn children don’t feel the pain of an abortion until very late in pregnancy.

Dr. Catherine DeAngelis told the Associated Press she’s received dozens of angry and critical emails in the wake of national news about the study, written by abortion advocates.

DeAngelis said she would allow space in an upcoming issue of the respected medical publication for critics of the study to be able to respond.

Previously, she indicated she was "unaware" that the that the medical study who served as the lead author of the study is a former attorney for the abortion advocacy group NARAL. Meanwhile, another author, UCSF obstetrician-gynecologist Eleanor Drey, is the medical director of the abortion center at San Francisco General Hospital.

DeAngelis told Knight Ridder News she was unaware that the two authors are intimately involved in the abortion movement. She acknowledged that revelation could hurt the credibility of the publication.

"This is the first I’ve heard about it," she told the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper. "We ask them to reveal any conflict of interest. I would have published" the disclosure of the abortion ties if it had been made.

However, in comments to USA Today, DeAngelis said the affiliation of the authors wouldn’t have stopped her from publishing the article.

"This is a peer-reviewed article by five people representing all the pertinent fields," she said. "This is an article meant to educate physicians on the issue of what is known and not yet known about fetal pain. It provides the best available scientific evidence to date."

Drey and Lee’s affiliations "aren’t relevant," she told USA Today.

"There’s nothing wrong with this article," DeAngelis said. "This is not original research. This is a review article."

Experts in fetal pain dispute the study’s findings.

Neurologist Dr. Paul Ranalli of the University of Toronto 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."